Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D., Chair

The Board of Scientific Affairs held two meetings in 2007, on March 23-25 and November 2-4.  The following report summarizes the major issues that were of concern to the Board over the past year.

PSY21 – Psychological Science for the 21st Century: BSA and the Science Directorate are working together to develop PSY21-Psychological Science for the 21st Century.  This initiative will create a foundation to build an agenda to support and promote the science of psychology.  The goals of this initiative are to advance the science of psychology, provide value to its membership, and attract new members.  PSY21 is organized around three areas of emphasis: (1) facilitating the responsible conduct of research (RCR), (2) promoting a culture of service to the discipline, and (3) identifying and addressing infrastructure needs for the science of psychology.

  • Science Leadership Conference (SciLC) –   BSA worked with Science Directorate staff in planning for the third annual Science Leadership Conference that took place October 2007.  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 focused on advocacy and featured more than 100 psychological scientists making the case for science in individual and group visits to their own Members of Congress.

  • Culture of Service Awards – These awards presented at the Science Leadership Conference, and established by BSA, honor both individuals and Departments of Psychology.  The Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences was presented to the Psychology Department at George Mason University and the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida.  The Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science was presented to Roxane Cohen Silver who is at the University of California, Irvine.  These awards, established by BSA, 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.

  • Ad Hoc Committee to Advance Responsible Research (CARR) – CARR met twice in 2007. The Ad Hoc Committee is composed of six members who broadly represent the various areas of psychological research involving human participants.  The mission of the Ad Hoc Committee complements the specialized charge of the Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE).  CARR finalized a statement on the value of psychology research participant pools. The Committee also drafted for consideration by BSA a model for training the next generation of scientists in the peer-review process. In addition, CARR developed a tentative program for an annual conference on RCR, and forwarded it to CARE for input at its spring 2008 meeting.

  • Office for Applied Psychological Science (OAPS): BSA is working closely with the Office for Applied Psychological Science whose goal is to develop and implement initiatives that encourage and support applied research in both academic and non-academic settings. The Office will also help to bridge the gap between basic research and psychological practice.  OAPS activities for this year include developing a questionnaire that explored how psychologists define applied psychological science and expectations for the future.  OAPS also put together a virtual committee of seven applied psychological scientists charged with providing input and guidance towards the development and implementation of programs and initiatives within the office.  OAPS is involved with the 2008 presidential initiative “Grand Challenges:  How psychological science informs the grand challenges of society”. 

Task Force for Increasing the Number of Quantitative Psychologists: After their two meetings in 2006, members of the Task Force continued to focus on the development of a report detailing approaches for making qualified students aware of the discipline of quantitative psychology.  In December 2007 the report was completed.  The draft report will be distributed to the Task Force’s sponsoring Boards (BSA and BEA) for review.   A Task Force supported website devoted to the delivery of information about training opportunities in quantitative psychology became operational in the summer of 2007. 

Task Force on Recommending Changes to the APA Convention That Would Appeal to Scientists: The Task Force met in September 2007 and discussed what changes could be made to the APA Convention that would appeal to scientists.  The Task Force identified the role of the APA Convention in 21st  century psychological science and proposed several recommendations.  The Task Force report will be reviewed and discussed by the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) and the Board of Convention Affairs (BCA) during the March 2008 consolidated meetings and return to Council for discussion in the latter part of 2008.

Advanced Training Institutes (ATI): BSA continues to oversee the implementation and expansion of training opportunities for researchers.  During 2007, five ATI’s were held.  These include:

  • Structural Equation Modeling in Longitudinal Research was heldat the University of Virginia in May 2007.  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.

  • Using Large-Scale Databases: The NICHD’s Study of Early Child Care was held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June 2007. The goal of this course is to equip researchers with the skills to access, use, and analyze data from large-scale databases for original research.  The NIH grant supporting this ATI was originally scheduled to end in 2007, but a no-cost extension will allow the ATI to be offered again in 2008.

  • Non-Linear Methods for Psychological Science was held at the University of Cincinnati in June 2007. Organized by Guy Van Orden, this ATI teaches methods of non-linear analysis, including tutorials on software used for non-linear statistics.

  • Performing Web-Based Research was held at the University of Northern Iowa in July 2007. This ATI is taught by John Eustis Williams, and covers web-based data collection for surveys and experiments, website creation, the use of shared databases, and ethical issues in web-based research.

  • A new ATI, Geographic Information Systems for Psychological Research took place in August 2007 in San Francisco during the APA Convention.  This special one day pre-Convention ATI introduced GIS and its use in psychological research, with examples from psychologists with active research programs using GIS.

  • The ATI on Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) had its last session in 2006.  As the capstone of this six year NIMH-funded program, the Science Directorate developed two activities in 2007 designed to introduce the public to the use of fMRI technology in psychology: a public outreach event on brain science, and two booklets on fMRI and psychological science. The public event was organized by FABBS as part of their popular Science Café series on hot topics in brain science. The booklets present psychological research using fMRI in an engaging and straightforward manner. One is intended for a lay adult audience and the other for teenagers. 

Meritorious Research Service Commendation:  BSA developed the Meritorious Research Service Commendation to recognize outstanding psychologists in the federal government who help foster research by their programmatic activities.  Psychologists in federal funding agencies play a crucial role in the development of the discipline -- in running the programs that fund psychological scientists, in identifying new opportunities and directions, in working with the science community to develop programs and funding opportunities, in serving as catalyst for promoting cutting edge opportunities, and in shepherding behavioral research within their institutions.  2007 is the sixth year in which the citation was given.  BSA chose one individual to receive the citation for 2007 and she is Dr. Lula Beatty of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Summer Science Institute: In an effort to increase the psychological science pipeline, BSA sponsored two summer institutes for students.  Promising freshman and sophomore undergraduates were provided with an in-depth exposure to scientific psychology at the 12th Annual Summer Science Institute (SSI) at the University of California, San Diego in June 2007.  More advanced undergraduates participated in a new training program, the Advanced Statistical Training in Psychology (ASTP) program, held in July, 2007 in Washington, DC.  This program, in its fourth year, is an intensive, 10-day, hands-on seminar in which students who are planning to pursue a graduate degree in psychology learn about statistics and research methods in a dynamic setting that emphasizes hands-on computer skills.  The ASTP targets students from traditionally underrepresented groups in psychology.

Decade of Behavior:  The Science Directorate continues to coordinate Decade of Behavior activities.  The activities of the Decade of Behavior for 2007 included:  (1) Decade of Behavior Congressional Briefings that feature the recipients of Decade of Behavior Research Awards presenting material with high policy relevance; and (2) Behavior Matters Booklet Series – a publication that offers a sampling of behavioral research that has led to innovations and improvements in our lives.  A new booklet on “Health” was released and the booklet on “Psychology” was reprinted.

Science at the APA Convention:  The 2007 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, and Science Student Council programs. 

Lecture Programs:

Master Lecture Program:  BSA selected the following speakers to participate in the 2008 Master Lecture Program at the 2008 convention:  Mark Bouton, PhD, learning, behavior, and action; Jose Cortina, PhD, methodology; Michelle Gelfand, PhD, social and cultural psychology; Connie Hammen, PhD, psychopathology; and Linda Smith, PhD, developmental psychology.

Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Program: BSA selected the following speakers to deliver Distinguished Lectures at regional psychology conferences: Renee Baillargeon, PhD, Henry Roediger, PhD, and James H. Woods, PhD.

Neal Miller Lecture: BSA selected Klaus Miczek, PhD as the Neal Miller Lecturer at the 2008 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 developed educational packages geared toward high school students that will be available via the web as well as by request through the Science Directorate.  In addition, CARE initiated a project to gauge the current status of nonhuman animal research in psychology.  The Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment continued to work on revising two position statements, “Disclosure of Test Data” and “Observers of Psychological Testing.”  The Science Student Council advises BSA and the Science Directorate on student-related issues, including awards and programming at the APA Convention. 

At its November meeting, BSA members elected Alice M. Young, PhD, as Chair for 2008.

The 2007 membership of BSA included one Asian American and eight white/Caucasian members.  There were six women and three men.   BSA solicited nominations from the ethnic minority psychological associations to enhance the ethnic diversity of the candidate pool for 2008.  BSA did not have board specific diversity training during 2007.

2007 BSA members: Ronald T. Brown, PhD, (Chair), Toni Antonucci, PhD, Patricia Greenfield, PhD, Barbara Landau, PhD, Frederick Leong, PhD, Liora P. Schmelkin, PhD, Norman E. Spear, PhD, Lois E. Tetrick, PhD, and Alice M. Young, PhD.