Candidates for APA President
Linda M. Bartoshuk, PhD, grew up in a small town in South Dakota. A National Merit Scholarship winner, she earned her BA at Carleton College. Her first trip east of Chicago led to Brown University, where National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) predoctoral fellowships supported her doctoral training. Bartoshuk planned to study with Carl Pfaffmann, but he initially refused her because of concerns about how women would perform in his laboratory. Fortunately, after Pfaffmann's male students protested, he relented and ultimately became very supportive of women in science. Barriers to women were common in those days, and Bartoshuk's early career experiences reinforced her commitment to tolerance and mutual respect.
Bartoshuk is a professor in the departments of surgery (otolaryngology) and psychology at Yale. She initially did basic psychophysical studies on taste, but patients offered new insights. Studies with patients not only led to results with clinical implications but also suggested new basic studies. This interaction between the laboratory and the clinic has benefited her science and led her to appreciate the importance and process of practice.
Bartoshuk and her students discovered that some individuals, known as supertasters, are born with an unusually large number of taste buds. Their heightened taste sensations affect food preferences, smoking and alcohol abuse. She and her students have also worked on oral pain. They used psychophysics to show that capsaicin (found in chilis) could produce practical oral analgesia in cancer patients with oral lesions. More recently, they discovered that taste damage causes burning mouth syndrome, an oral pain disorder found predominantly in postmenopausal women.
Bartoshuk's research has been funded by NIH since 1971. She has received a variety of research awards; in 1995, she was elected to both the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A member of APA since 1966, Bartoshuk is past president of Div. 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative) and current president of Div. 1 (Society for General Psychology). She has just begun a term on the Board of Scientific Affairs. Invited lectures at APA include the G. Stanley Hall lecture (1989), Neal Miller Lecture (2000) and McGuigan Lecture (2002). Bartoshuk has represented APA before NSF to lobby for increased funding for psychology and to testify regarding NSF reorganization and she has served as an APA Distinguished Scientist Lecturer (1992).
Bartoshuk has also had leadership roles with other groups supporting behavioral science. She served on the Publication Board of the Psychonomic Society (1987) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior and the American Psychological Society. She was president of the Association for Chemo-reception Sciences (1980) and the Eastern Psychological Association (1990).
Although her work might seem specialized, Bartoshuk considers herself a generalist because measurement of human experience is fundamental to many branches of psychology. Bartoshuk's recent work focuses on a long-standing problem: Since we cannot directly share experiences, how can we compare the intensities of sensory or hedonic sensations across individuals andgroups? Stay tuned for the solution.
Bartoshuk's candidate statement
I love being a psychologist. We study the behavior we see, but we know how to look beneath the surface to explore mechanisms. We are sophisticated and tolerant thinkers, yet we recognize nonsense. We have impact on the lives of real people, and we care about them. To me, there is no better way to spend one's life.
Psychology contributes to health in significant ways. As an academic working in a medical school, my collaboration with physicians has allowed me to use psychophysics to quantify symptoms, thereby advancing the understanding of disorders in my field (taste/oral pain) and promoting patient well-being. The contributions of psychologists to medicine and other professions need more recognition. The contributions of clinical psychologists need special consideration now because of the ravages of managed care. Clinical psychology and the science supporting it have never been more relevant to the world around us.
Talent has many faces. It ignores race, gender and disability. One of the features of APA of which I am most proud is its genuine commitment to diversity. We don't just preach it: We live it. Supporting the values in APA that have produced this inclusive atmosphere would be one of my highest priorities as president.
Our students are our future. Their welfare as developing professionals and eventual colleagues is critical. I'm proud to say that the chair of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students is one of my students and I fully support his participation in APA.
While devoted to psychology, we do not always agree. Outside views of these disagreements have hampered our ability to obtain funding and influence legislation. I support all efforts to heal divisions in our field and educate the public about our shared values. We should speak with a common voice, focusing on our strengths and solving our problems together.