A wonderful opportunity to give back to APA is how Charles Carver, PhD, views his editorship of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Personality Processes and Individual Differences(JPSP: PPID), which begins this month.
"APA and its divisions give a lot to researchers--places to publish, meetings where we can talk about our ideas," says Carver, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami. "One reason I was drawn to the editorship is that it's also a way to serve the field. At some point in our professional lives, we should think a little about how we can give something back."
While Carver praises the work of his JPSP: PPID predecessors, he aims to make one change to his journal section: publishing more succinct articles. His goal was inspired by a recent article written by psychologist Jerry Suls, PhD, on what he learned as a journal editor.
"One of his main points was that we have drifted to an implicit policy of writing articles so as to include every bit of background information there is. There are good reasons for this to have happened, but...we have gone too far in that direction," says Carver, who will try to induce authors to be briefer in introducing their studies and in drawing conclusions. "I would like to publish more articles, but this can be done only if we make ourselves be more concise."
The shift can make room for the exciting work personality psychologists are doing in diverse research areas, says Carver, including trait psychology, adult attachment, self-determination and the link between biology and personality--"which includes everything from behavioral and molecular genetics to the involvement of hormones and neurotransmitters in personality, to studies of brain activity."
While it is his first time at a journal section's helm, Carver is no stranger to journal editing, having just completed a stint as associate editor of Health Psychology. He has also held roles as a consulting editor for such titles as the Journal of Research in Personality and Cognitive Therapy and Research for more than 20 years. Carver aims to be a "hands-on" editor who works closely with his authors and associate editors--a diverse group he hand-picked to complement the diversity of the journal's readership.
"I want people in all areas of personality psychology and its intersections with health, psychopathology and social behavior to feel as though their interests are being respected and represented," says Carver, whose own research interests include self-regulation processes, optimism and pessimism, coping with cancer and emotion.