How does what we touch influence what we see? Or, flipped around, how does what we see influence what we touch?
Such questions fascinate Glyn W. Humphreys, PhD, the incoming editor of APA's Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (JEP:HPP). In his new post, he welcomes articles that explore them.
"Traditionally the field has focused on one mode, or sense, at a time: touch, smell, sight, hearing," Humphreys explains. "I'm looking for more work on how the senses work together--how you get cross-modal perception."
In a similar vein, he hopes to bring a more cross-disciplinary "edge" to the journal. For example, he encourages studies exploring the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging or linking case studies of brain-injured patients with experimental methods. And he welcomes research on computer modeling of visual cognition, object recognition and other perceptual areas.
This focus isn't surprising considering his own work in experimental neuropsychology, computer modeling and brain imaging at the University of Birmingham's Behavioural Brain Science Centre in England. Such cross-disciplinary work drives the field's development, he believes; perhaps his involvement in it influenced APA to select him as editor, he speculates.
"Having been made editor of the leading international journal in the field shows the importance of this cross-disciplinary movement," he says.
However, Humphreys is also eager to preserve the journal's traditional strengths in areas such as attention and object and word recognition.
Other actions topping his to-do list:
Quicken turnaround time for manuscripts. As a former editor of Visual Cognition and the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology--and past associate or consultative editor to several others, including JEP:HPP--Humphreys well knows authors' concerns about delays in editors' responses to manuscripts. He aims to minimize such delays on JEP:HPP by requiring reviewers to respond to submissions within a month. And with the help of his four associate editors, he plans to respond to authors within six weeks.
He also wants to ensure the journal publishes accepted papers within nine months. In fact, the journal's "Research Note" section, which publishes short groundbreaking papers, will accelerate that timetable considerably. The section will turn around articles within a month after acceptance, Humphreys says.
Moreover, Humphreys hopes APA's new electronic journals submissions system, launching this month, injects even more speed into editing. Easing author frustrations is one reason to speed turnaround; staying competitive is another, he notes.
"A lot of work within the area of this journal has a more neuroscientific emphasis, and in neuroscience there are lots of competitive journals that take faster action," he says. "So it's market driven."
Maintain fairness in review. Again seeking to improve the process for authors, Humphreys wants reviewers to see a paper through, from start to finish, to minimize needless, excessive requests for revisions. When editors pick different reviewers for a revised paper, the new reviewers might ask for more experiments that aren't needed or make demands they wouldn't otherwise make if they knew the paper's history, Humphreys explains.
"I don't agree with that," he says. "I will either keep the same reviewers, or, if I do choose a new one, I will carefully inform the reviewer of the paper's history."
JEP:HPP's first non-North American editor, Humphreys starts reviewing manuscripts this month for his six-year term.