FROM THE CEO
At APA, we are developing new and more effective methods for
communicating the scientific basis of psychology, especially to the general
public. One of our newer offerings is an audio podcast series we call “Speaking
of Psychology.” Launched last fall, the series features conversations with
psychologists describing their research and its application to everyday life.
With eight episodes completed as I write this, the series
has spotlighted psychologists discussing topics including
getting inside the mind of a terrorist; how to teach social
skills to autistic teens; the good and the bad of peer pressure;
and the link between brain chemistry and moral behavior.
Upcoming episodes will focus on neuroscience and creativity,
and the psychology of music.
The series is aimed at meeting a key goal of APA’s
strategic plan: to increase the recognition of psychology
as a science. We know from conducting focus groups and
public opinion polls that most people associate psychology
with psychotherapy. While other APA initiatives continue
to educate the public about the value of psychotherapy, the
topics of these podcasts are selected to capture the attention
of everyday people and to illustrate the breadth and depth of
psychological science. In future public opinion polling and
focus groups, we hope to measure how this product and our
other public education efforts have helped to expand people’s
understanding of psychology and psychological science
beyond “the couch.”
While this podcast series is still young, its audience is
growing steadily. And its potential audience is enormous,
given the public’s appetite for learning more about the
human mind and its workings. So far, the episodes have been
downloaded almost 27,000 times from i Tunes and attract
anywhere from 1,400 to 1,600 subscribers each month — and
that doesn’t count people who find it on our own Web pages.
It debuted at No. 84 on i Tunes in the United States (and No.
The cross-linking of all these communication vehicles is
part of our overarching strategy to spread the word widely,
as well as economically — making podcasts is inexpensive,
and there is no cost to use any of the abovementioned social
media. These methods enable us to meet our publics where
There is a synergy between this podcast series and our
expanded public education campaign, Psychology: Science
in Action (see page 10), which we launched in March. Both
are geared toward fulfilling the same strategic goal and try to
explain psychology as a science that asks, and often answers,
some of the most fascinating questions in the world.
Both feature psychologists telling their stories. With
Psychology: Science in Action, there’s a focus on careers and
what it takes to become, say, a forensic psychologist or to land
a job as a psychologist designing video games. “Speaking of
Psychology” uses a conversational tone to explore and explain
cutting-edge research. Both also convey the excitement and
satisfaction of being a psychologist.
I invite you to subscribe to “Speaking of Psychology” on
i Tunes so you won’t miss an episode. Please visit Psychology:
Science in Action ( www.PsychScienceAction.org) to see
what it’s all about. Share both with friends and associates,
both within and outside psychology. And if you think you
or someone you know would make a good candidate for
inclusion in either, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need your help to spread the word about the amazing and
fascinating science of psychology. n
Spreading the scientific word
BY DR. NORMAN B. ANDERSON • APA CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER