Association for Psychological Science

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Association for Psychological Science
New APS logo.jpg
Formation August 12, 1988[1]

1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1000

Washington, D.C., United States
Nancy Eisenberg, Arizona State University

The Association for Psychological Science (APS), previously the American Psychological Society, is a non-profit international organization whose mission is to promote, protect, and advance the interests of scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, teaching, and the improvement of human welfare. APS is dedicated to the advancement of scientific psychology and its representation globally. To this end, APS publishes several high-impact journals, holds an annual meeting, disseminates psychological science research findings to the general public, and works with policymakers to strengthen support for scientific psychology.


The current president (2014–2015) is Nancy Eisenberg, Arizona State University. The President-Elect is C. Randy Gallistel, Rutgers University. The Immediate Past President is Elizabeth A. Phelps, New York University. The executive director is Alan G. Kraut.


APS was founded in 1988 by a group of scientifically-oriented researchers and practitioners who are interested in advancing scientific psychology and its representation at the national and international level. This group of psychological scientists felt that the American Psychological Association (APA) was not adequately supporting scientific research, generally deriving from the fact that APA focused solely on the practitioner/clinician side of psychology, and had effectively “become a guild”.[2] This breakaway effort was not a unique event in the history of organized psychology, for the founding of the APS represents only the most recent instantiation of long-standing intra-disciplinary tensions that have characterized the field since APA’s inception in 1892 (see[2] for a more detailed account). Organized psychology has always represented various constituencies, and beginning in the 1970s, there were several attempts to restructure the organization in an effort to mitigate internal tensions and satisfy the needs of a heterogeneous group. In 1987, the Assembly for Scientific and Applied Psychologists (ASAP) formed to support another reorganization effort, but ultimately this reorganization plan was rejected by the APA membership in early 1988. As a consequence, in August 1988, the ASAP became the APS.[3]

APS grew quickly, surpassing 5,000 members in its first six months. Today, 26,000 psychological scientists in the United States and abroad, whose specialties span the entire spectrum of scientific, applied, and teaching specialties, are members of the Association.[4]


APS has 26,000 members and includes the leading psychological scientists and academics, clinicians, researchers, teachers, and administrators. In joining APS, members gain access to the publications of the Association including: Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Clinical Psychological Science, and the Observer member magazine. Members also receive a discount on registration rates at the APS Annual Convention. At these conventions, members can network with other members, present research, and meet other distinguished researchers.[5]

APS Student Caucus[edit]

Membership is also allowed in an affiliate form to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree or its equivalent in psychology at an accredited degree-granting institution. The APS Student Caucus (APSSC) is a representative body of these student affiliates of the Association for Psychological Science. All graduate and undergraduate student affiliates of APS automatically become a member of the APSSC. Opportunities for involvement include serving as a Campus Representative, reviewing for research competitions, or publishing work in the “Student Notebook” and “Undergraduate Update” student publications.

The APSSC presents a wide array of programming for students and early-career professionals each year at the APS Annual Convention.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • William James Fellow Award: The William James Fellow Award honors APS Members for their lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology. Recipients must be APS members recognized internationally for their outstanding contributions to scientific psychology. Honorees are recognized annually at the APS Convention.
  • James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award: The James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award recognizes APS Members for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the area of applied psychological research. Recipients must be APS Members whose research addresses a critical problem in society at large. Honorees are recognized annually at the APS Convention.
  • Mentor Award: The award recognizes those who have significantly fostered the careers of others, honoring APS members who masterfully help students and others find their own voice and discover their own research and career goals. The inaugural (2013) recipients are Lila R. Gleitman, Robert W. Levenson, and Michael T. Turvey. Honorees are recognized annually at the APS Convention.
  • Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions: The APS Janet Taylor Spence Award was established to recognize transformative early career contributions to psychological science. Award recipients should reflect the best of the many new and cutting edge ideas coming out of our most creative and promising investigators who embody the future of psychological science. Honorees are recognized annually at the APS Convention.
  • APS Fellows: Fellow status is awarded to APS Members who have made sustained outstanding contributions to the science of psychology in the areas of research, teaching, service, and/or application.


  • APS launched its flagship journal Psychological Science in 1989. Psychological Science publishes authoritative articles of interest across all of scientific psychology’s sub-disciplines, including the behavioral, clinical, cognitive, neural, and social sciences. Psychological Science is among the most widely cited journals in the field of psychology.[6][7]
  • In 1992, APS established the journal Current Directions In Psychological Science, which publishes concise reviews written by leading experts, and spans all of scientific psychology and its applications. The articles in Current Directions in Psychological Science are written in terms that are accessible outside of the realm of research subspecialties.
  • APS launched its third journal, Psychological Science in the Public Interest (PSPI) in 2000. PSPI provides assessments of topics where psychological science may have the potential to inform and improve the well-being of society. Topics addressed in this journal include the validity of projective techniques such as the Rorschach inkblot test; the impact of classroom size on student achievement; and whether herbal supplements, like Ginkgo biloba, can enhance cognitive abilities. Recent reports have included issues such as lie detection, the efficacy of preschool education, the current status and future prospects of clinical psychology, giftedness and gifted education, mentoring, psychopathy, and organizational training and development.
  • A fourth journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science was launched in March 2006. More eclectic in its scope, Perspectives presents a lively mix of theoretical statements, literature reviews, viewpoints and opinions, research presentations, and scholarship. Perspectives contains both invited and submitted articles.
  • The newest APS journal — Clinical Psychological Science (CPS) — launched in 2013. CPS publishes advances in clinical science and provides a venue for cutting-edge research across a wide range of conceptual views, approaches, and topics. The journal encompasses many core domains that have defined clinical psychology, but also boundary-crossing studies that integrate and make contact with diverse disciplines.
  • The monthly Observer magazine educates and informs members on matters affecting research, academia, and applied disciplines of the field.

Public outreach[edit]

APS publicizes psychology research in an effort to increase public understanding of psychological science. The APS website serves as a news portal for psychological science, distilling research results for a general audience, while maintaining a scientific approach to the field. In addition, Wray Herbert, APS Writer-in-residence, writes the blogs, "We're Only Human" and "Full Frontal Psychology". A version of his blogs appear on Huffington Post.

APS began a Wikipedia Initiative[8] in February 2011, calling on APS members and their students to write, edit and update Wikipedia entries, with a focus on improving the scope and quality of the coverage of psychological science.

Teaching Initiatives[edit]

APS oversees several initiatives to facilitate the teaching of psychological science. The APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science, established through the support of an endowment from the David & Carol Myers Foundation, supports activities that enhance education and communication in the scientific and academic sectors in psychology. APS co-sponsors an annual Teaching Institute in conjunction with the APS Annual Convention and sponsors and underwrites members’ attendance at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology each year. APS is also sponsoring a Teaching Institute at the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), to be held in Amsterdam in March 2015. High school teachers of psychology may receive a complimentary online subscription to Current Directions In Psychological Science, which includes articles particularly well suited to classroom use. APS Classroom Use Policy: There is no reprint, copyright fee, or permission required for the use of any APS article for any teaching, classroom, or educational activity, provided that no resale occurs.


APS was established in large part to provide a strong and separate voice for psychological science. From its founding, APS has advocated for funding for basic and applied behavioral research by educating federal science policymakers about the role of behavioral science in health, education, productivity and other areas of national concern. APS led the efforts to establish the following programs:

  • A separate directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. According to an issue of Science & Government Report, APS was in the “vanguard” of that effort.
  • Grant programs for new behavioral science investigators at several National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes. Known as B/START (Behavioral Science Track Awards for Rapid Transition), these programs provide early support for newly minted PhDs.[9][10]
  • National Institute of Mental Health Centers for Behavioral Science Research. These Centers helped to translate basic behavioral science findings into applications.[11]
  • The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). APS supported the formation of OBSSR and APS worked with Congress to develop its mission.[12]
  • The establishment of the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet), funding $120 million in research through 2014.[13]

APS also publishes the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest which provides policy-makers and a non-psychology audience with a scientific perspective on issues of direct relevance to the general public.

International Integrative Psychological Science[edit]

APS is an international organization with members from more than 80 countries, with approximately 20 percent of the association’s membership coming from outside North America. APS provides a home to psychological science’s subdisciplines as well as research that crosses disciplinary and geographic boundaries.

Each year, the APS Annual Convention brings together psychological scientists and educators from around the globe for cross-cutting programs spanning the discipline. The Convention program is made up of invited talks, addresses, symposia, and special events, as well as submitted symposium and poster presentations.

In 2013, APS announced the creation of the International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), organized under the auspices of APS, to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 12–14, 2015. The inaugural ICPS will provide a forum for presentations on cutting-edge research and methodology across all of psychological science, neuroscience, genetics, sociology, anthropology, economics, linguistics, and related fields. The ICPS meeting features symposia and skill-building workshops designed to strengthen integrative research and promote collaboration across geographic and disciplinary borders. Keynote speakers at the first ICPS are Stanislas Dehaene, Collège de France and INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, France; George Lakoff, Departments of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of California, Berkeley, USA; and Terrie E. Moffitt, Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, USA. ICPS will also include submitted symposium and poster presentations.

ICPS is an outcome of a broader Initiative for Integrative Psychological Science, overseen by a steering committee of world-renown psychological researchers who are leading an effort to stimulate advances that attack scientific problems by drawing broadly on research conducted at multiple levels of analysis, in multiple branches of psychology and related disciplines. Members of the committee are Daniel Cervone, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA; Kenneth Hugdahl, University of Bergen, Norway; Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom; Alan G. Kraut, APS, USA; Anne Maass, University of Padova, Italy; Walter Mischel, Columbia University, USA; Wolfgang Prinz, Max Planck Institute, Germany; Sir Michael Rutter, King's College London, United Kingdom; Klaus Scherer, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Gün Semin, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Portugal, Koç University, Turkey, Utrecht University, Netherlands; and Tania Singer, Max Planck Institute, Germany.

The steering committee was one outcome of a series of meetings between APS and European subdisciplinary societies beginning in 2009. Those meetings identified several broad goals to promote research and education in psychological science: Advancing the internationalization of psychological science across geographical boundaries, furthering public interest in and awareness of psychological science and its policy implications, furthering cross-talk between sub-fields within psychological science, and influencing agenda-setting and funding policy at supranational levels. Other ways APS advances these goals is through jointly sponsored programs at meetings of European societies and the APS Postdoc Exchange and Global Observer e-newsletter.


  1. ^ APS FAQ - Retrieved on Jan. 11, 2009
  2. ^ a b Cautin, Robin L. (May 2009). "The Founding of the Association for Psychological Science: Part 1. Dialectical Tensions Within Organized Psychology". Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (3): 211–223. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01120.x. 
  3. ^ Cautin, Robin L. (May 2009). "The Founding of the Association for Psychological Science: Part 2. The Tipping Point and Early Years". Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (3): 224–235. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01121.x. 
  4. ^ "History of APS". Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^ Benefits - Association for Psychological Science
  6. ^ "Impact Factor". Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  7. ^ "Journal Citation Reports". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  8. ^ APS Wikipedia Initiative
  9. ^ "Mortgaging Science's Future". Retrieved 1996-08-23. 
  10. ^ "Young Scientists Get Quick B/Start at NIDA". Retrieved 1996-11.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ "Behavioral Research at NIMH". Retrieved 2005. 
  13. ^ "BSSR News". Retrieved November 2009.