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Eye on Psi Chi: Winter 2018

Catch 'Em All!
Psi Chi 2016–17 Benefits

Jon Grahe, PhD, Pacific Lutheran University (WA)
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This morning I dropped Poké balls when my bag filled up in hopes of getting potions, any potions, from the next Pokéstop. If that sentence makes no sense to you, then we share my worldview from about 13 months ago. If that sentence does make sense to you, then you have experience playing PokémonTM Go. The makers recently changed the game itself to encourage more playing and interpersonal interactions, and this caused this strong change on my game-playing strategy.

This made me think of little ways my behavior has changed since starting to play, and then I realized that I feel the same way about Psi Chi. My years as Western Regional VP and then as President have transformed me in many, quite significant, ways and I am consistently intrigued by the emerging and changing opportunities that Psi Chi provides for its members. I will use this final message to you to share some of those changes and opportunities.

Creating an Account/Joining Psi Chi’s Board
My daughter taught me the basics of Pokémon Go on our father/daughter college tour visits, and I was fascinated by the augmented-reality interface that this game provided. I started to play to connect with my children, but then I began observing it as a social/personality psychologist.

Likewise, when I joined the Psi Chi Board of Directors, I had only one agenda item to “Increase Undergraduate Research Opportunities” through increased focus on crowd-sourcing research. Even before the Replication crisis (Spellman, Gilbert, & Corker, 2017), I became frustrated by so much wasted data—because data from so many undergraduate research projects are never shared beyond the classroom. I ran on an election platform to increase opportunities for members and to address changes in research expectations within the discipline.

Soon, however, I began to view Psi Chi in different ways too. I joined the Board at the beginning phase of strategic planning and learned about the organization in ways I had not understood before. For example, the organization was engaged in transforming itself to fulfill its dream as an international organization, and it needed to update the information technology infrastructure to adapt to the Internet age. I learned about the organization’s needs and about my role as a Vice-President.

Augmented Reality Opportunities/Connecting Through Psi Chi
When starting to play Pokémon Go, players join one of three teams that are rewarded for different achievement within the game (Mystic-evolving Pokémon, Instinct-hatching Pokémon, and Valor-defeating Pokégyms). I am fascinated by how individuals might identify with one of these three teams and what reciprocal effects that might have on their interactions throughout the game. I am also fascinated with the opportunities the technology of augmented reality provides researchers, educators, and entertainers in
the future.

Six years after joining the Board, Psi Chi as an organization has transformed in many ways. Though the growth of internationalization has been slower than I hoped, the organization now has policies and programs in place aimed at increasing the number of international chapters. The pace of informational technology changes requires even more aggressive changes.

The difference between the current website and that of six years ago is so impressive that it is hard to describe in words. For example, it now provides personalized accounts for all members to help them network with the organization and each other. This allows members to share their chapter’s latest materials such as a calendar of upcoming events, photos, and a blog maintained by each chapter’s officers and advisors. The website is supported by an entire team at the Central Office in information technology, communications, membership, or administrative roles who are dedicated to improving the lives of our members through the programs and structures of the organization.

Game Updates/Psi Chi Advancements
As a stats/methods instructor, Pokémon Go provides many little experimental examples that are easy to explain in a methods environment. I continued to play because it helped me track distance walked at the dog park, and I really enjoy catching new Pokémon in the wild. My kids both stopped playing the game within months of my starting, and my college students seemed to follow that pattern. Playing this game related to a number of changes. It transformed my understanding of what is possible with technology, and I ponder how it might surface in other applications and how that relates to psychology. I updated my vocabulary and altered my morning routine to pass more Pokéstops. Many others experienced these changes to varying degrees.

Psi Chi Central Office has similarly changed in dramatic ways over the six years with only one staff member who isn’t new. Additionally, the organizational structure changed such as the recent addition of a new Director of Membership and Development. The board developed this position to coordinate efforts to increase training and connection opportunities while simultaneously inviting members to give back to Psi Chi through fund-raising efforts. These fund-raising campaigns will directly support our most popular programs such as grants, awards, and scholarships.

Last September, the location of the Central Office moved from its historical and quaint,
if undersized and structurally insufficient, house into offices on the top floor of a modern six-story office building overlooking the Tennessee River. The Board will now hold summer meetings at the Central Office rather than renting meeting space. This
further allows for Board members and staff to meet face to face, which rarely occurred
6 years ago.

Although I had very little direct input on many of these changes, my role as Vice-President, and then as President, is meant to support the Executive Director and Central Office staff in fulfilling our mission. Because much of this occurs behind the scenes, it is important for members to understand that this organization has made incredible changes to improve member benefits and outreach, and I want to thank the staff here.

There are some changes that I feel greater responsibility for achieving, and I would like to recall these here because they provide great opportunities for you that did not exist before I joined the Board. As I stated earlier, when I ran as VP, my primary agenda item was to increase collaborative student research opportunities. About the same time I joined the Board, the Replication Crisis emerged in psychology. Here again I experienced change; rather than approach the problem of student research as an under-valued commodity, I started to learn about problems and possibilities associated with the larger Open Science ( movement. Much as my understanding of Psi Chi became more complex with my time on the Board, my goals for students’ understanding of research and scholarship became more complex.
  • To address members’ ability to participate in crowd-sourced science, I encouraged the Board to support early Open Science Initiatives such as the Reproducibility Project (Open Science Collaboration, 2015).
  • Psi Chi also collaborated with Psi Beta on their National Research Project, and Psi Chi sponsored the Collaborative Replications and Education Project’s Research Awards.
  • To respond to the increasingly complex issues emerging in the field, Psi Chi created a Research Director Position with an accompanying Research Advisory Committee.
  • I guided the organization to adopt Open Science transparency badges for the Psi Chi Journal and then to make the Psi Chi Journal Open Access.
  • This year, the Psi Chi Journal announced a special issue inviting articles seeking Open Science badges.
  • Finally, with our Executive Director I helped coordinate the Diversity Advisory Committee and the International Advisory Committee to develop the Network for International Collaboration Exchange—NICE ( to encourage increased communication between our members and international researchers, support collaborations for cross-cultural research, and increase crowd-sourced open-science research.
All of these changes represent sustained and major changes in the research opportunities for our members—and I hope members take full advantage of them!

Catching ‘Em All/Participating in Psi Chi
Through all the moments I spent playing Pokémon Go, there were opportunities. I wonder how many players did take or continue to take advantage of those opportunities. For instance, each Pokéstop is attached to a location identified as culturally significant. How many people learned about some new historical location or some new, hip book store because of playing the game? Pokegyms were designed to bring people together; and the updated version includes transformations that make people more likely to engage others at Pokegyms. How many people met someone new or interacted with a stranger because of playing the game? Changes and opportunities often coincide, but often time passes too quickly for us to enjoy them. The same is true of our time with Psi Chi while part of a college chapter.

There is so much opportunity in Psi Chi, not just for students, but also for professional members in and outside of academia, but they must be pursued. Much like the little culture notes associated with PokeStop descriptions, information about Psi Chi opportunities must be read to be realized. Members must use the Psi Chi website, Eye on Psi Chi magazine, Digest e-mails, the Journal, the LinkedIn discussions, and the various regional and Central Office social media platforms in order to realize their tremendous value.

This year our current President, Dr. R. Eric Landrum, is promoting the theme of “Destigmatizing Mental Illness.” Although this is our first “presidential theme” ever, President-Elect Dr. Melanie Domenech Rodríguez intends to have a theme year as well. During my presidential year I didn’t declare an official theme year, but my focus has been on student research and Open Science since I was first elected to the Board as a VP.

I often tell colleagues that running for election for Western VP was the best professional development decision I ever made. I felt that Psi Chi was the perfect vehicle to address my passion for undergraduate research. Psi Chi offered me the chance to pursue that passion in a leadership role. Along the way, I met so many fantastic people, either at the Central Office, on the Board, or at the various regional, national, and even international conventions I attended on behalf of Psi Chi.

Whether you are a student, faculty, or alumnus member working outside of academia, remember that opportunities for leadership abound. Always consider ways you can give back to Psi Chi because you will receive much more in return.


Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716.
Spellman, B., Gilbert, E. A., & Corker, K. S. (2017, April 19). Open science: What, why, and how. Retrieved from

Jon Grahe, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University. He also serves as a councilor in the Psychology Division of the Council for Undergraduate Research and is the managing executive editor for The Journal of Social Psychology. He is a passionate advocate for increasing undergraduate participation in crowd-sourcing science opportunities such as the Collaborative Replications and Education Project and the International Situations Project and a general supporter of open science initiatives (see his posts to the Open Science Collaboration Blog



Copyright 2018 (Vol. 22, Iss. 2) Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology


Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs, awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers, graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.

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