New APA public education campaign demonstrates psychological science in action

Psychology: Science in Action addresses APA's strategic plan objective to increase the public's recognition of psychology as a science and a STEM discipline.

APA has launched a new component of its ongoing public education program designed to increase the public's understanding of psychology as a science and the work of psychologists in research and diverse work settings

Launched in March with the theme Psychology: Science in Action, the campaign addresses APA's strategic plan objective to increase the public's recognition of psychology as a science and a STEM discipline. Its strategies and content are based on the results of public opinion polling and focus groups APA conducted to better understand the public's thinking about the discipline. This public awareness research helped determine the messaging and campaign tactics that would be most effective to increase the public's understanding of psychology as a science.

The campaign opens up the world of psychological science with real life examples of how psychologists use empirical research to ask and answer important questions. These profiles demonstrate how psychology contributes to a wide array of daily activities, from learning to health care; from workplace productivity to criminal justice.

The campaign is first reaching out to high school and community college level students, teachers and counselors. A website, publications and social media activities share the underpinnings of psychology as a science, the value of the psychology major and the many career paths within the discipline. Students and other visitors to the website will learn about the critical role psychological research plays in improving lives and advancing our understanding of human and animal behavior.

“The Psychology: Science in Action campaign is an exciting next phase of APA's ongoing public education program,” said Rhea K. Farberman, APA's executive director for public and member communications, who oversees the campaign. “I'm particularly excited about the great stories we tell in the campaign's video profiles of psychologists doing important research. The campaign is also an opportunity for APA to bring the breadth and depth of psychology to students in media they use – the Web and social media. Our goal is to educate the next generation of professionals about psychology careers for those students who want to pursue them. For others the campaign demonstrates the many ways the discipline makes important contributions to society.”

Teachers will also find suggestions for classroom activities and curriculum materials on the campaign's website. Students and others interested in psychology can also follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #PsySci.

Initial campaign materials include posters featuring Eduardo Salas, PhD; Deborah Tate, PhD; and David Strayer, PhD. Salas studies team communication and how to decrease errors in high-risk work settings. Tate studies how new technologies can help people lose weight. Strayer studies distracted driving. Copies of all three posters can be ordered on the Psychology: Science in Action website.

Later this year, additional campaign activities will include opportunities for students to enter their psychological science research projects in judged contests and share their work with other campaign followers via social media, including Tumblr and YouTube.