Board of Scientific Affairs and Its Committees Review Science Policies

At its semiannual meeting in November, the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) convened to review policies and take action on several issues of importance to scientific psychology. The Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE) and the Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment (CPTA) met in late September, prior to the BSA meeting, to evaluate initiatives specific to their mission areas.

The Board discussed the importance to the field of re-examining the use of statistics in psychological research and, specifically, the issue of null hypothesis significance testing. BSA members agreed that psychology's perspective on statistics needs to be reconsidered and appointed a subgroup to explore the issue further. The subgroup will collect information from a variety of sources and devise a plan to present to the Board at the March 1996 meeting.

BSA members also discussed the archiving of scientific data. The Board acknowledged that other social science groups have been archiving data centrally for more than 30 years and considered the possibility of archiving psychological research data in a central location. Board members agreed to work with staff to explore this issue further. The Directorate will be soliciting comments through the Science Leaders Network and collecting information from other organizations that actually archive data. The material collected will be presented to the Board at its March 1996 meeting for review and discussion.

BSA also met with the Board of Directors to discuss ways that APA can retain current science/academic members and attract new members. Both BSA and the Board of Directors thought that this direct contact was a productive use of time and agreed to make this an annual event.


CARE met in late September and reviewed sveral of its current projects: a survey of animal use in psychological research, a book on the care and use of animals in research at smaller institutions, and the development of a videotape about the value of animal research for use in public schools. The survey on animal use is near completion and will be printed and distributed to departments of psychology early in 1996. The book is in the early stages of development; it will be based on a science conference that took place last year. The committee is exploring the idea of developing a series of 5- to 15-minute videotaped segments depicting animal research procedures and methods for studying psychological phenomena. The tapes are intended for use by high school teachers.


At CPTA's meeting in September, Committee members met with the president of the Association of Test Publishers, Lorin Letendre, to discuss issues of mutual interest, such as test-user qualifications and the revision of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. CPTA devised a plan for coordinating APA governance review and reactions to draft chapters of the Standards. The Committee also developed comments for the Department of Education's proposed regulations on pupil rights, addressing issues of informed consent when conducting research with students.

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