News from FABBS and the FABBS Foundation
- Will Congress Get FY 2016 Spending Bills Over The Finish Line – And How Will Science Fare? »
At this time, a short-term Continuing Resolution is keeping the government doors open until December 11. Hopefully, Congress will be able to reach agreement across the aisle and avoid a shutdown before that date. Although the tracks have been greased, there are plenty of opportunities to derail the process over the next several weeks—and the lack of agreement prevented the bills from getting passed this summer.
- FABBS Foundation Honors Ann L. Brown »
Ann L. Brown was an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of experimental and developmental psychology, special education, cognitive science, education sciences and learning sciences. Indeed, she made seminal contributions to these fields that substantially shaped their direction. She overcame a “slow” start. She was a classic dyslexic who did not learn to read until she was 13 but nonetheless received a First Class Honours degree and subsequently a Ph.D. in Psychology from Bedford College at the University of London at age 24.
Throughout her career, Ann’s research centered on children’s learning, but she studied it in different contexts (laboratory, individual pullout, and intact classrooms) and through different theoretical lenses (behaviorism, cognitive, and sociocultural). She also focused on understanding the nature of individual and developmental differences, with an eye to using this information to enhance the performance of younger and weaker learners, a focus that led eventually to her move to education.
- FABBS Foundation Honors Leaetta M. Hough »
Dr. Hough is known for her independent thinking and work challenging “received wisdom” about what is and is not useful for predicting important outcomes in organizational settings. She is one of the world’s leaders in developing innovative candidate assessment systems. Her focus is on creating tools to reliably evaluate candidate characteristics that predict on-the-job outcomes, such as job performance, advancement, innovation, learning efficiency, engagement, and retention.
- Budget Deal Needed for Science Agencies, But It’s Only a Start »
Just after passing a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), attention turned to what would happen with the rest of the fiscal year funding and whether other matters such as electing a new Speaker of the House and approaching the debt ceiling would play a role.
Meanwhile, federal agencies are playing out various scenarios for FY 2016 – cuts, flat funding, some level of increase – as they once again await the final numbers for the year. The less-than-one-year-planning cycles, combined with funding cuts, continue to undermine the nation’s scientific infrastructure.
- New Members Elected to FABBS Board of Directors »
On January 1, 2016, FABBS will officially welcome three scientists to our Board of Directors. We also recognize three current Board Members who have been re-elected to continue service on the Board. New to the FABBS Board will be: Nora Newcombe (President-Elect), Eugene Borgida (Member-At-Large), and Jun Zhang (Member-At-Large). Continuing their service: Bruce Overmier (Treasurer), Robert Feldman (Member-At-Large), and Donald Foss (Member-At-Large). FABBS appreciates the dedication of time and talent of these new and continuing Board members. Welcome!
- Budget Woes Continue: No Agreement Yet to Avoid a Shutdown »
No one anticipated that this would be an easy year. Yet, with less than two weeks left in the fiscal year, no deal is in sight to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. Complicating the picture for FY 2016 is the budget straightjacket that the White House and Congress placed on federal spending in late 2011 when they created budget caps and automatic spending cuts over a ten-year period. Realizing that these indiscriminate cuts were harmful to taxpayers’ interests, in 2013, a two-year partial rollback of these cuts was made for FYs 2014 and 2015. On October 1, 2015, the start of the new fiscal year, the budget caps and associated cuts will be in full play again.
- FABBS Foundation Honors Charles J. Brainerd »
Dr. Brainerd received his BS, MA, and PhD degrees in experimental psychology from Michigan State University. He is a Fellow of the Division of General Psychology, the Division of Developmental Psychology, the Division of Experimental Psychology, and the Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and of the Psychonomic Society. Dr. Brainerd is board certified in forensic examination and in forensic medicine.
- “National Interest” Research at NSF: Benign or Problematic? »
Just before Congress headed out of town for its August recess, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee introduced legislation that would “provide for greater accountability in Federal funding for scientific research” at the National Science Foundation. The Scientific Research in the National Interest bill is only three pages long and is a duplicate of a section of the America COMPETES legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. The America COMPETES bill reduced authorized funding for NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Sciences Directorate by 55% and the Geosciences Directorate by 8%. It was widely opposed by the scientific and higher education communities. Many in the scientific and higher education communities are also concerned about the motivations for, and impact of, the new National Interest legislation.
- Roth presented with Early Career Impact Award at International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Annual Meeting »
Abuse and neglect have a host of negative effects on children, as social workers, doctors, and scientists have known for decades. But now there is evidence that maltreatment can actually impact the brain, and even more surprising, those neurological changes can be passed on to the next generation. Dr. Tania Roth of the University of Delaware has found that maltreatment affects regions of the brain that are associated with behavioral and emotional regulation, working memory, and even skills like spatial navigation. She studies changes in the brains of rats who have been maltreated, but her findings are consistent with human research showing that children who have been abused and neglected have more problems with executive functioning, inhibitory control, and emotional regulation than their peers. Roth’s work is part of the burgeoning field of epigenetics, which studies how nature and nurture work together. Epigenetics research shows that environmental factors can cause genes to be switched on or off, explaining why some people with similar or even identical genes may behave differently. Roth’s research shows that adverse caregiving leads to changes in an epigenetic process called DNA methylation, leading to less genetic transcription or “turning on” of certain genes. Roth is the 2015 FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award winner from the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology.
- Cai presented with Early Career Impact Award at Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology Annual Meeting »
“One of the nice things about being a statistician is that we’re the last bunch of generalists,” says professor Li Cai of UCLA, quoting the eminent statistician Bradley Efron. At a time when sciences are becoming increasingly specialized, Cai’s work on statistical methodology has led to advances in mental health, psychology, medicine, and a range of other areas. That’s a chance that few researchers get, but few researchers have developed tools like Cai’s. Cai is the 2015 FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award winner from the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology.
- Criss presented with Early Career Impact Award at Society for Mathematical Psychology Annual Meeting »
At New York’s Syracuse University, cognitive scientist Amy H. Criss, PhD, predicts memory using computer programs similar to those used by meteorologists or market analysts. “It’s like weather forecasting,” she said of her computational models of memory. “You might be right, you might be wrong. You generate predictions of how people might behave, or how they might remember or forget things.” An associate professor of psychology, Criss studies normal memory and describes her work as a potential early step in understanding memory loss. “If we are to have any hope of helping people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other problems that affect memory, we first have to understand how basic memory works.” Criss is the 2015 FABBS Foundation Early Career Impact Award winner from the Society for Mathematical Psychology.
- FABBS Foundation Honors Carol D. Lee »
Carol D. Lee is the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education in the School of Education and Social Policy and in African-American Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. She has worked in the Learning Sciences Program at Northwestern from its inception, the first such program in the U.S. She received a B.A. in the Teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1966, a Masters of Arts in English from the University of Chicago in 1969, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Chicago in 1991. Her career spans a 49 year history, including work as an English Language Arts teacher at the high school and community college levels, a primary grade teacher, and her current university professorship. She is a founder of four African centered schools and institutions that span a 46 year history, including three charter schools under the umbrella of the Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools (est. 1998) where she serves as chair of the Board of Directors.