As people continue to debate what to call the next century—the zeros, the naughts, the "double o's"—behavioral researchers have settled on a name for at least the first decade. The "Decade of Behavior," an initiative involving more than 30 professional societies representing the behavioral and social sciences, began Jan. 1 as a means to focus these sciences on meeting many of society's most pressing problems.
At press time, a bipartisan group of 10 senators had signed a letter asking President Clinton to make it official and name 2000-2010 the Decade of Behavior. But even without the president's endorsement, the Decade will begin, says Richard McCarty, PhD, executive director of APA's Science Directorate. The National Advisory Committee for the Decade of Behavior, which includes representatives from psychology, sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, economics and public health, has gained support for the initiative from 17 federal funding agencies.
The Decade initiative will focus on five main themes: promoting a healthier nation, a safer nation, a better educated nation, a more prosperous nation and a more democratic nation.