News from FABBS and the FABBS Foundation
- Behavioral Science Research and Cybersecurity »
The U. S. House of Representatives put new policies in place to strengthen cybersecurity; new policies aim to improve staff training, among other measures. According to Roll Call, the Senate sergeant-at-arms office recognized the importance of the human side of the cybersecurity problem: “Although technical solutions… go a long way toward protecting online information, end users are still the first and most effective line of defense.” In response to the many highly publicized attacks on the financial and health sectors, among others, efforts are underway to improve both the technological and human sides of the problem.
- Neuropsychologist O'Bryant Presented with Early Career Award »
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) affects over 5 million Americans, and every 68 seconds another person develops the disease. But by the time family members and even doctors recognize the symptoms, the brain disease has progressed to a point that is severe and difficult to treat. What if AD patients could be identified and treated earlier and more easily? Soon that will be a reality, thanks to a blood test developed by FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award winner from the National Academy of Neuropsychology, Dr. Sid O'Bryant at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and his colleagues. “This test can detect with over 90% accuracy who has the disease, and it provides a way for primary care physicians to screen for possible Alzheimer’s,” he explains. This is a big change, because AD has typically been diagnosed by specialists at Alzheimer’s clinics, which are few and far between.
- What’s New – and Not So New – on Capitol Hill in 2015 »
On the heels of a tough, but successful defense of our sciences last year, behavioral and social scientists may wonder what’s in store this year, especially with a new Congress. Our sciences faced, in a House authorization bill, a potential 42% cut at the National Science Foundation. The cut never materialized in the House Appropriations bill that included NSF, but make no mistake that the threat was real. There are a number of factors driving actions on Capitol Hill, all of which will play into how the behavioral and social sciences will fare this year.
- Connecting Science with Policy for the Public Good »
Researchers with solid data or evidence that could go a ways in crafting good policy routinely hear cries these days that they must push their findings into the public sphere for the public good. That was a major impetus for the creation of the new annual journal, Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS), produced by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences with SAGE as publisher.
- FABBS Foundation Honors Harold W. Stevenson »
Harold W. Stevenson was a psychologist whose work made conceptual and empirical contributions to our understanding of children's learning. Following the completion of his Ph.D. degree in psychology at Stanford (1951), his work on understanding the development of learning utilized experiments that typically used either animals or adults. His rigorous paradigms were employed to study learning with a focus on issues such as tangible vs. social rewards, effects of fear of failure, central and incidental learning, and visual display learning, especially television. His book, Children’s Learning (1972) became a leading source of information and his students became the leaders in pursuing our understanding of the developmental processes involved in early learning and cognition.
- Science Caught in Committee Battle with NSF »
For the past year and half, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has been leading the push to change how NSF does business. Although in years past, Members of Congress have periodically focused on individual scientific awards, this battle has a different feel. It is being led by the Chair of the House Science Committee, a committee that has historically worked in bipartisan fashion to craft bills that are supported by the broad science community.
- Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS) Annual Launches »
The Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS) and SAGE will soon publish the inaugural issue of Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS). This annual journal features research findings in the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior that are applicable to nearly every area of public policy. The first issue comprises 33 articles in social and personality psychology focused on topics including health, education, justice, the environment, and inequality. Subsequent annual issues will include policy relevant research in other areas behavioral and brain sciences represented by FABBS member societies.
- Psychologist Burt Presented with Early Career Award »
Why do some kids lie or shoplift and not others? Is it the neighborhood? The influences of friends, parents or siblings? Other environmental triggers? Associate Professor of Psychology S. Alexandra Burt, of Michigan State University and winner of the 2014 FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award from the Society for Research in Psychopathology, is studying how the environment may activate or deactivate genetic and biological risk factors related to behavior. It’s not nature vs. nurture, she explained. “It’s nature via nurture—how the two work together.” Learn more in "Nature Via Nurture and the Origin of Bad Behavior" »
- Social Psychologist Kross Presented with Early Career Award »
Events happen in our lives that challenge our emotions, causing us to be angry, anxious or even depressed. Our attempts to console ourselves after a bad experience can backfire. “We start spinning and ruminating, and we end up replaying those negative experiences over and over in ways that don’t get us anywhere,” said Ethan Kross, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and winner of the FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Kross, who is director of Michigan’s Self-Control and Emotion Laboratory, draws on multiple disciplines of psychology to explore how people can improve emotional self-control in their daily lives. Learn more in "Language and Well Being" »
- Government Funded for Ten Weeks: Spending Battles Shift to Post-Election »
With just over six weeks until the mid-term elections, the U.S. House and Senate passed a “stopgap” spending bill to keep the government operating beyond September 30th. The President signed the bill on Friday.
The Continuing Resolution (CR) funds government programs through December 11th. Funding for the 10-week period is set at FY 2014 levels minus a small across-the-board cut to provide funds to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight the terror group ISIS.
- Congressional Committees Begin Process to Set Agency Spending Levels »
Now that the new Congress is in place, committee assignments are complete (or almost complete), and Congress has had a chance to review the President’s proposed budget for FY 2016 (contact FABBS for details or questions regarding their analysis), House and Senate committees, including appropriations committees that will create the spending bills for federal agencies, are beginning to hold hearings with agency directors to discuss the specifics of their proposed budgets. This will occur over the next month or so. Science advocates, including FABBS, track these closely to learn more about committee leaders’ plans, interests, and concerns with the research agencies who fund our sciences.
- IES Reauthorization One Step Closer to Becoming Law »
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), favorably reported a bill to reauthorize the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research arm of the Department of Education. The bill made modest changes to the House-passed version known as the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA).