APA Exhibits Psychological Research on Capitol Hill

In an effort to convince policymakers of the importance of federal support for the behavioral sciences, APA showcased some cutting-edge psychological research, funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), at a Capitol Hill reception May 9. This was the second year that scientists from various disciplines convened on Capitol Hill to spotlight basic research supported by DoD. This year, exhibitors included APA, the Joint Policy Board of Mathematics, and several groups from research universities. APA's exhibit, which was the only one to feature behavioral science, presented research that was conducted at the Armstrong Laboratory at Brooks Air Force Base in collaboration with university psychologists.

Allen Munro, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Southern California, demonstrated interactive training software developed with a shell program that was based on his own research. The shell program enables people with technical expertise, but not necessarily computer expertise, to design highly interactive training programs. The advantage of this technology over more traditional methods is that it allows content experts to design the training software.

Also featured at the APA exhibit was the Fundamental Skills Training (FST) Project. Demonstrated by Kurt Steuck, PhD, of the Human Resources Directorate at Armstrong, this long-term research project is bringing state-of-the-art intelligent tutoring technology to the public schools and industry (under federal technology transfer guidelines). A prototype displayed at the APA exhibit taught both content and process in science. It was interactive in that it taught the scientific method by allowing students to develop a hypothesis and then test it.

The Capitol Hill event was well attended, and some of those who stopped by the APA exhibit included Sheila Widnall, PhD, Secretary of the Air Force, Rep. Floyd Spence (R-SC), Chair of the House National Security Committee, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who is on the House Science Committee. Staff from the Senate Armed Services Appropriations Subcommittee, the House Science Committee, the offices of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Rep. Frank Tejeda (D-TX), and other members also visited the exhibit.

This is the fourth Capitol Hill exhibit sponsored by the Public Policy Office and the Science Directorate as part of an effort to inform members of Congress and their staffs about the value of federally supported psychological research. For more information, contact Elizabeth Baldwin in the Public Policy Office.

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