Association for Psychological Science

Association for Psychological Science
Formation August 12, 1988 [1]

1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1000

Washington, D.C., United States
Membership 23,000
President Douglas L. Medin

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 annual meetings, disseminates psychological science research findings to the general public, and works with policymakers to strengthen support for scientific psychology.

The current president (2011–2012) is Douglas L. Medin, Northwestern University and the President-Elect is Joseph Steinmetz, The Ohio State University. The Immediate Past President is Mahzarin R. Banaji, Harvard University. The executive director is Alan G. Kraut.



The Association for Psychological Science was founded in 1988. APS grew quickly, surpassing 5,000 members in its first six months. Today, more than 23,000 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.[2]


APS has more than 23,000 members and includes the leading psychological scientists and academics, clinicians, researchers, teachers, and administrators. Approximately 20% of APS members are students of psychology, most pursuing graduate degrees. APS comprises members from every discipline in the field of psychology, in more than 65 countries.

APS Student Caucus

The APS Student Caucus (APSSC) is a representative body of the 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

  • 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.
  • 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, together, embody the future of psychological science.
  • 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.

Annual Convention

The first APS meeting was held in 1989, less than one year after the organization was founded. George Armitage Miller’s Keynote Address, “The Place of Language in a Scientific Psychology,” set the foundation for future APS meetings as a place to present new research, but also a forum for discussion and idea exchange.

The APS Annual Convention is vital to the APS mission by promoting research and education across all areas of psychological science, and increasing public understanding, support, and use of the knowledge produced by psychological science.

Prior to the start of the APS Annual Convention is a Teaching Institute co-sponsored by APS and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

Future APS Conventions[3]
  • 24th Annual Convention: May 24-27, 2012 in Chicago, IL
  • 25th Annual Convention: May 23-26, 2013 in Washington, DC
  • 26th Annual Convention: May 22-26, 2014 in San Francisco, CA


  • 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.[4][5]
  • 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 definitive 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, and the current status and future prospects of clinical psychology. Upcoming report topics include 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 monthly Observer magazine educates and informs Members on matters affecting research, academia, and applied disciplines of the field.

APS Wikipedia Initiative

APS began a Wikipedia Initiative[6] 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.

Public Outreach

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 blog, "We're Only Human" which is also printed in Scientific American Mind. A version of his blog appears on Huffington Post.


A founding principle of the organization is a dedication to supporting 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 publishes the monthly “Teaching Tips” column in Observer, 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. 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 (then the American Psychological Society) 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.[7] [8]
  • National Institute of Mental Health Centers for Behavioral Science Research. These Centers helped to translate basic behavioral science findings into applications.[9]
  • The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). APS (then the American Psychological Society) supported the formation of OBSSR and APS worked with Congress to develop its mission.[10]
  • The establishment of the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet), funding $120 million in research through 2014.[11]

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 Programs

APS is an international organization with members from more than 79 countries. APS is 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. In 2009, APS and nine European subdisciplinary societies met to discuss the international promotion of research and education in psychological science. That meeting identified several broad goals: 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. As part of that effort, APS jointly sponsors programs at the meetings of several European societies. An oversight committee of world-renown psychological researchers has been formed to continue this effort and develop new programs. The mission statement of that group is:

The psychological sciences address phenomena whose understanding requires a multilevel, cross-disciplinary analysis of mind, brain and behavior in social context. The mission of this Committee is to facilitate and promote this integrative endeavor and ensuing agenda. Our subordinate goals are: (1) to identify critical and fundamentally broad phenomena that would benefit from such an integrative perspective; (2) to engage scientists within and across disciplines towards furthering this perspective by creating effective boundary crossing events; and (3) to facilitate the building of an increasingly cumulative science.


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