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FABBS News Highlights May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Psychonomic Society
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May 24, 2018





FABBS and Colleagues Meet with NIH to Chart Course on Clinical Trials 


Since mid-2017, FABBS has interacted with NIH —and later, appropriators— about our scientific community’s concerns with NIH’s inclusion of basic science involving humans in its clinical trial policies. Given the continuing concerns earlier this year, House and Senate appropriators included Congressional report language in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. The report language directed NIH to halt implementation of the clinical trial policies as they pertain to basic science and seek input from the affected basic science community. To date, NIH has not issued any statements that it has halted implementation of the policies; instead program officers have reported to scientists that NIH is “staying the course.”


In recent weeks, however, NIH’s Deputy Director, Larry Tabak, convened a one-hour meeting with FABBS and other key stakeholders. In addition to FABBS, outside participants included the Council on Governmental Relations, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for Research in Child Development, American Society for Investigative Pathology, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Vice Chancellor for Research at Washington University in St. Louis, and basic scientists from Harvard Medical School (FABBS Past-President Jeremy Wolfe) and Johns Hopkins University’s Kennedy Krieger Institute. The goal, as we understand it, was to hear our concerns and begin the process of charting a path forward. At this time, NIH and the outside participants are involved in collectively summarizing the meeting minutes, so that NIH’s goals and the scientific communities’ concerns are clear.








House Appropriations Committee Approves $8.2 billion for NSF in FY 2019



On May 17, the House Appropriations committee marked up the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), among other federal agencies and programs.


The House CJS Appropriations bill includes $8.2 billion for NSF for FY19, a 5.3 percent increase over FY18, and a 9.4 percent increase over the administration’s request for NSF for FY19. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chair of the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee, noted that the increase will allow NSF “to increase research grants and invest in scientific infrastructure.”




Congress Holds Hearings to Examine the NIH Budget Request

On May 17, NIH Director Francis Collins testified before the Senate Labor, Health and Human and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, providing details about not only how the agency intends to spend its $3 billion increase in the remaining months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, but also discussing its FY 2019 outlook.


Dr. Collins took advantage of the hearing to announce NIH had suspended enrollment in a study on the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption. The study, which had received significant attention during a recent NIH hearing before the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee, drew controversy for involving industry in its initial planning stages—a factor that members of Congress worry could influence the study’s eventual findings.




Balanced Budget Agreement Vote Fails in House, Waiting for Action in Senate


Talk of a balanced budget amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution may seem insignificant to the concerns of scientists, but there are huge implications for science funding, as well as other government programs. In April, the U.S. House of Representatives held a vote on H.J. Res 2, which would require federal government expenditures in any year to be offset by revenues collected in that same year. It would also require a true majority of each chamber to pass tax increases and a three-fifths majority to raise the debt limit. The vote failed to pass the House (233-184), but it had stronger support this year than the last time it came to the House floor in 2011. Senate Majority Leader McConnell reportedly wants to take up a BBA in the Senate, and a vote could come soon after the Memorial Day weekend.


According to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a BBA to the U.S. Constitution would be an economically dangerous way of addressing the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. By requiring a balanced budget every year, a BBA would require the government to cut spending and/or increase taxes during periods when our economy is weak, and could potentially tip us into longer and deeper periods of recession.








NICHD Commits to Five-Year Strategic Plan


Details are emerging about the process the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is pursuing to craft a new strategic plan.  In 2011, former NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher led a scientific “visioning” process, which outlined future research directions, but did not develop a traditional strategic plan.  Since her arrival in 2016, NICHD Director Diana Bianchi has expressed an interest in developing a comprehensive strategic plan—something the Institute has not done since 2000.











Clues to Violence May Be Visible in the Brain


Aggression has destructive and painful impacts on society, as we have seen with mass shootings, domestic violence, and childhood bullying. It is strongly tied to mental health problems, and can manifest not only in antisocial personality and conduct disorders but also with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), narcissistic personality disorder, alcohol dependence, and even anxiety and depression. But it appears that some common brain pathways underlie violent behaviors regardless of the co-occurring conditions, according to Edelyn Verona and Melody Bozzay in a research review for Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences.


Understanding those pathways is key to preventing violence, the researchers write. Verona and Bozzay’s review is part of a growing movement to analyze the brain circuitry involved in maladaptive behavior. After researchers began to see some of the same neurological pathways implicated in separate disorders, the National Institute of Mental Health developed a rubric for thinking about such common pathways, and Verona and Bozzay make use of it to identify two inter-related pathways that seem to be common to aggression across mental health diagnoses. The first is focused on affect, or emotion, and the second is focused on cognition, or thinking patterns.


Read more »


Access the article "Biobehavioral Approaches to Aggression Implicate Perceived Threat and Insufficient Sleep: Clinical Relevance and Policy Implications" by Edelyn Verona and Melody Bozzay here »





David E. Meyer, PhD



David E. Meyer is the Clyde H. Coombs and J. E. Keith Smith Distinguished University Professor of Mathematical Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; has been honored with the 2008 William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science; and has received the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. He is being honored for fundamental empirical, theoretical, and applied contributions to the science of cognition.


Professor Meyer was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and received a BA from Wittenberg University in 1964. He received his Ph.D in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1969, after which he worked under Saul Sternberg as a member of the Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories. He returned to the University of Michigan in 1977 to join the faculty, where he has been ever since.


Read more »








FABBS Sponsors Cohen Silver for Capitol Hill Exhibition


FABBS was pleased to invite Roxane Cohen Silver, (Professor, University of California, Irvine) to present her NSF-funded research at the 24th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding’s Exhibition and Reception on Capitol Hill. The event, “Investments in Scientific and Educational Research: Fueling American Innovation,” took place on May 9th, 2018, in the Rayburn House Building. Cohen Silver represented the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, a FABBS member society.


Read more »


FABBS Submits Testimony in Support of NSF Funding


FABBS submitted written testimony in support of robust funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The testimony included comments thanking the House Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee Chair, Rep. John Culberson, and Ranking Member, Rep. Jose Serrano, for their support of NSF in the FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill as well as their support for all sciences funded by NSF.


Read more »






Society for Research in Child Development Joins FABBS


FABBS is excited to welcome the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) as a member of our growing coalition of scientific societies. Founded in 1933, SRCD is a multidisciplinary organization of approximately 5500 researchers, practitioners, and human development professionals. The organization was created to “stimulate and support research, to encourage cooperation among individuals engaged in the scientific study of child development, and to encourage applications of research findings.”


As a society, SRCD supports advancing developmental science through an array of biological, cognitive, psychological, social, and cultural perspectives, and is committed to using the knowledge gained through science to improve the well-being of children, families, and communities. SRCD has a small grants program for early career researchers; an awards program for dissertation, early career, and senior scientists; and a grant program for early career success in young children’s mental health as well as a dissertation grant for global early child development. We look forward to working with SRCD in the coming years.






Paula Skedsvold featured as a "Force for Science"


The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently featured FABBS Executive Director, Paula Skedsvold, as its featured "force for science". AAAS highlights a member every month. Read more about Paula and her advocacy work here.


We are so appreciative of  her efforts on behalf of FABBS! 





The First Year of College: Research, Theory, and Practice on Improving the Student Experience and Increasing Retention, is now available. It was edited by Robert S. Feldman, former FABBS Vice President. It is available through Cambridge's website, and all royalties benefit FABBS advocacy work. For a limited time, the book is available at a 20% off discount using the code FELDMAN2017.


From the blurb: "This book is premised on a very powerful social/educational concern about college retention rates: one-third of first-year students seriously consider leaving college during their first term, and ultimately only half of all students who start college complete it."


Read more »


















FABBS News Highlights is a monthly electronic newsletter published by the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences with the goals of keeping scientists updated on funding and policy issues affecting the sciences of mind, brain and behavior; recognizing the research contributions of leading scientists; and sharing research findings to inform policies and programs.


Editor: Paula Skedsvold

Contributors: Paula Skedsvold, Mary Jo Hoeksema, Manisha Gupta, Suzanne Bouffard, Diana Liao


FABBS Member Societies


American Educational Research Association  •  American Psychological Association  •  Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback  •  Association for Behavior Analysis International  •  Behavior Genetics Association  •  Cognitive Science Society  •  International Society for Developmental Psychobiology  •  Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society  •  National Academy of Neuropsychology  •  The Psychonomic Society  •  Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology  •  Society for Computers in Psychology  •  Society for Judgment and Decision Making  •  Society for Mathematical Psychology  •  Society for Psychophysiological Research  •  Society for Research in Child Development  •  Society for Research in Psychopathology  •  Society for the Scientific Study of Reading  •  Society for Text & Discourse  •  Society of Experimental Social Psychology  •  Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology  •  Vision Sciences Society



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FABBS promotes human potential and well-being by advancing the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior; promoting scientific research and training in these fields; educating the public about the contributions of research to the health and well-being of individuals and society; fostering communication among scientists; and recognizing scientists who have made significant contributions to building knowledge.


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