Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA): 2011 Annual Report

Nora S. Newcombe, PhD, Chair

The Board of Scientific Affairs held two meetings in 2011, on March 25-27 and November 4-6. The following report summarizes the major issues that were of concern to the Board over the past year.

Multidisciplinary Team Science

BSA worked with BEA in convening a work group that produced recommendations for specific initiatives that APA might undertake in 2012 to advance training psychologists in multidisciplinary team science.

Psychology as a STEM Discipline

BSA together with BEA developed a resolution that was approved by Council to expand the resources APA would devote to advocacy for psychological science at the federal level.

Science Leadership Conference (SciLC)

BSA worked with Science Directorate staff in planning the seventh annual Science Leadership Conference that took place October 2011. The goal of the annual conference is to bring together key leaders to develop a common agenda that will advance psychological science and help secure its future. The theme of this year’s conference was "Call to Advocacy: Psychological Science and Substance Abuse." Participants received advocacy training and visited congressional offices to advocate for federal funding for psychological research and training in substance abuse.

Culture of Service Awards

BSA established these awards to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their commitment to a culture of service and recognize departments of psychology who instill a culture of service in their training of students and mentoring of faculty. The Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences was presented to Bradley University, Department of Psychology and Temple University, Department of Psychology. The individual Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science was presented to Rachel Keen who is at the University of Virginia.

Advanced Training Institute (ATI)

ATIs provide training in cutting-edge methods and technologies to psychological scientists. Four ATIs took place in 2011.

  • Non-Linear Methods for Psychological Science , at the University of Cincinnati, from June 20-24, 2011. Organized by Guy Van Orden, this ATI provided a thorough introduction to a variety of non-linear and dynamical methods. Such methods are becoming increasingly prominent within psychology and related disciplines. Specific topics included time series analysis, recurrence quantification analysis, fractal analysis and dispersion analysis.

  • Research Methods with Diverse Racial & Ethnic Groups , at Michigan State University from June 20-24, 2011. Frederick Leong led this ATI, which included sessions on methods for investigating treatment outcomes in diverse populations, quantitative and qualitative methods, measurement equivalence and invariance across diverse groups, and methods for work in areas ranging from genomics to aging research to social network research.

  • Structural Equation Modeling in Longitudinal Research , at the University of California, Davis, from June 20-24, 2011. John McArdle, a University of Southern California faculty member led this course, which featured a series of lectures and hands-on computer workshops on longitudinal methods, modeling, and measurement in contemporary psychological research using SEM.

  • Exploratory Data Mining in Behavioral Research , at the University of California, Davis, from June 27-July 1, 2011. John McArdle led this course, which provided an overview of recent methodological advances in this topic. The ATI covered the conceptual bases and strategies of exploratory data mining, and reviewed current techniques and software. Participants gained hands-on experience with the techniques and were invited to bring their own data and research problems to work on in consultation with the course instructors.

Meritorious Research Service Commendation

BSA developed the Meritorious Research Service Commendation to recognize outstanding psychologists in the federal government and nonprofit organizations who help foster psychological science through their work in planning, promoting, and managing funding programs for research and research training. 2011 is the tenth year in which the citation was given. BSA selected Meyer D. Glantz, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Laura C. Leviton, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harold I. Perl, National Institute on Drug Abuse to each receive a commendation for 2011.

Summer Science Fellowship

The Summer Science Fellowship is a modification of the Summer Science Institute. Twelve upper-level undergraduates were selected to take part in this 6-week intensive research experience. Faculty members from George Mason University agreed to mentor the SSF students over the summer. In some cases, the students were able to propose research studies, have it approved by the university IRB, and complete the study in the summer. Others were able to make substantive contributions to ongoing research projects in the labs. The SSF students also spent a number of days at the APA headquarters building, learning about careers in psychological science, the importance of science advocacy, and how to gain entrance to graduate school.

Science at the APA Convention

The 2011 Convention was organized into plenary sessions, substantive division programming, topical track programming, board/committee programs, awards addresses and an opening and closing session. The science programs sponsored by BSA included the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award addresses, the Neal Miller Lecture, the Master Lectures, and BSA, CPTA, CARE, CHR and Science Student Council programs.

Lecture Programs

  • Master Lecture Program : BSA selected the following speakers to participate in the 2012 Master Lecture Program at the 2012 convention: Patricia Bauer in the developmental psychology area, Nicola Clayton in the learning, behavior, and action area, David MacKinnon in the methodology area, George Koob in the psychopathology and treatment area and Jenny Crocker in the social and cultural area.

  • Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Program : BSA selected the following speakers to deliver Distinguished Lectures at regional psychology conferences: Leona Aiken, PhD, Warren Bickel, PhD, and Howard Rachlin, PhD.

  • Neal Miller Lecture : BSA selected Huda Akil, PhD, as the Neal Miller Lecturer at the 2012 APA convention.

BSA Committees

The work of the committees constitutes a large part of science governance as summarized below:

  • The Committee on Scientific Awards continues to recognize important scientific achievement in psychology through prestigious national awards.

  • The Committee also serves as a resource for APA nominations for other scientific awards not conferred by APA for which members may be eligible.

  • The Committee on Animal Research and Ethics worked on projects that focused on educating the public about the nature of nonhuman animal research, in general, and in psychology in particular. The Committee revised its Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Nonhuman Animals in Research.

  • The Committee on Human Research developed a plan for disseminating information on current issues in the responsible conduct of research, including human research participant protections.

  • The Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment began work on the revision of the Guidelines for Test User Qualifications. The Committee continues to participate in the revision of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

  • The Science Student Council advises BSA and the Science Directorate on student-related issues, including awards and programming at the APA Convention.

BSA members elected Drs. Lynne Cooper and Ken Sher as co-chairs for 2012.

The 2011 membership of BSA included nine white/Caucasian members. There were five women and four men. BSA solicited nominations from the ethnic minority psychological associations to enhance the ethnic diversity of the candidate pool for 2012. BSA did not have board specific diversity training during 2011.

2011 BSA members: Nora S. Newcombe, PhD (Chair), Phillip L. Ackerman,PhD, Robert L. Balster, PhD, M. Lynne Cooper, PhD, Robyn Fivush, PhD, Kathleen Y. Haaland, PhD, Kenneth J. Sher, PhD, Jalie A. Tucker, PhD, and Sheldon Zedeck, PhD.