Personalities

  • Vanderbilt University’s Len Bickman, PhD, has received a Fulbright scholarship to work with colleagues in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia. Bickman will help integrate a Web-based therapy feedback system he created in the United States called Contextualized Feedback Intervention and Training with several e-therapy protocols that have been developed in Australia to treat children and teens with mental health problems.

  • The University of North Carolina has recognized Robert C. MacCallum, PhD, with its Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction. Students in the psychology, public health and other social science departments nominated MacCallum for his ability to clearly communicate technical concepts and methods of quantitative psychology to a broad audience.

  • The Social Security Administration has appointed University of North Carolina quantitative psychology professor Abigail T. Panter, PhD, to its Occupational Information Development Advisory Panel. The panel provides independent advice and recommendations to the chair of the Social Security Administration about the creation of an occupational information system for disability programs and adjudicative needs.

  • The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has given Shayna Rosenbaum, PhD, a Sloan Research Fellowship. Rosenbaum, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, uses fMRI imaging and neuropsychological testing to research episodic memory, particularly how one’s ability to recall personal experiences relates to imagining other people’s experiences and engaging in future-regarding behavior.

  • The California Association for the Gifted has honored APA Fellow James Webb, PhD, with the 2009 Ruth A. Martinson Past Presidents Award. Webb was recognized for his lifetime commitment to understanding gifted youth. Among other accomplishments, Webb established Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted Children, a nonprofit organization that trains parents and teachers about the social and emotional needs of gifted children. Webb served on the APA Council of Representatives from 1980 to 1983.


Swarthmore College’s Barry Schwartz, PhD, appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” on March 4 to discuss his book, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less” (Harper Perennial, 2004).

Schwartz posits that many Americans link freedom to choice: The more choices we have, the more freedom we have. But, Schwartz says, this assumption isn’t always true. Too much choice can be paralyzing. In his segment with Colbert, he gave the example of buying jeans. When Schwartz entered a store, he was barraged by a plethora of choices from relaxed, boot, slim and straight fits to button or zipper flies. Faced with so many choices, Schwartz tried on every pair. In the end, he found a “good” pair of jeans, but wasn’t happy.

“I walked out with the best-fitting jeans I’ve ever had,” said Schwartz. “But I felt worse. When there are hundreds of options, I expect to find the perfect pair of jeans. I only found a ‘good’ pair of jeans and I felt like I failed.”

Schwartz’s point is that many Americans waste enormous amounts of time choosing, only to end up questioning their decision later on, which leads to diminished satisfaction.

—J. Clark