American Psychologist ® is the official journal of the American Psychological Association. As such, the journal contains archival documents and articles covering current issues in psychology, the science and practice of psychology, and psychology’s contribution to public policy.
Articles published cover all aspects of psychology. As the official journal of the APA, AP does not prohibit manuscripts on any topic as long as they meet the criteria for publication in AP. For manuscripts accepted for publication that advocate policies counter to those of the Association, AP reserves the right to publish an accompanying article articulating the basis for Association policy and addressing any criticisms.
AP publishes articles that are current, timely, and of interest to the broad APA membership. Articles published are written in a style that is accessible and of interest to all psychologists, regardless of area of specialization. Contributions often address national and international policy issues.
The journal does not publish empirical research results except under special circumstances to be determined by the editor-in-chief. However, papers submitted to AP may include meta-analysis or some data analysis on salient points where the intention is to support arguments of broad implication in the field of psychology.
Archival and Association documents include but are not limited to: the Annual Report of the Association, Council of Representatives meeting minutes, editorials, presidential addresses, selected award addresses, other reports of the Association, ethics information, surveys of the membership, employment data, calendars of events, and announcements.
Reports from APA boards, committees, and task forces may be submitted and are subject to review.
The journal occasionally publishes special sections or special issues on particular topics. Proposals for special sections or issues should be submitted prior to developing manuscripts.
Comments on articles published in AP are considered for the AP Comment section. Comments on obituaries are not published. Statements contained in AP are the personal views of the authors and do not constitute APA policy unless so indicated.
Manuscript submissions for the Obituaries section are by invitation only. Candidates for obituaries are selected by the American Psychologist Obituary Advisory Committee and the Obituaries section editor.
Norman B. Anderson
American Psychological Association
Gary R. VandenBos
American Psychological Association
University of Southern California
Edward C. Chang
University of Michigan
Transcultural Mental Health Institute, Washington, DC
The Ohio State University
Patrick H. DeLeon
Former APA President—2000, Washington, DC
John F. Disterhoft
Barbara L. Fredrickson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois
Philip C. Kendall
Frederick T. L. Leong
Michigan State University
Karen A. Matthews
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Susan H. McDaniel
University of Rochester Medical Center
Vonnie C. McLoyd
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Ann Marie Ryan
Michigan State University
William R. Shadish
University of California, Merced
Timothy W. Smith
University of Utah
Mark B. Sobell
Nova Southeastern University
June P. Tangney
George Mason University
University of California, Berkeley
John D. Hogan, History of Psychology and Obituaries
St. John's University
Sandra M. Fowler, Art Co-Editor
La Jolla, California
Kate F. Hays, Art Co-Editor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Abstracting and indexing services providing coverage of American Psychologist®
- Academic Index
- Applied Social Science Index & Abstracts
- Chemical Abstracts
- Child Development Abstracts
- Communication Abstracts
- Criminal Justice Abstracts
- Current Advances in Ecological & Environmental Sciences
- Current Contents
- Current Index to Journals in Education
- Index Medicus
- Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts
- Management Contents
- Research in Higher Education
- Risk Abstracts
- Sage Family Studies Abstracts
- Science Citation Index
- Social Sciences Citation Index
- Social Sciences Index
- Social Work Research & Abstracts
- Studies on Women Abstracts
Prior to submission, please carefully read and follow the submission guidelines detailed below. Manuscripts that do not conform to the submission guidelines may be returned without review.
The American Psychologist considers submissions of the following types, described below:
- Original Articles
- Reports of APA Boards, Committees, and Task Forces
- Proposals for Special Sections or Special Issues
- Comments on Published Articles
- Obituaries (by invitation)
See the Description section for information about the editorial coverage of the journal.
AP considers manuscripts on all aspects of psychology, including manuscripts on national and international policy issues. Manuscripts should be current, timely, and of interest to the broad APA membership. They should be written in a style that is accessible and of interest to all psychologists, regardless of area of specialization.
The journal does not publish empirical research results except under special circumstances to be determined by the Editor-in-Chief. However, papers submitted to AP may include meta-analysis or some data analysis on salient points where the intention is to support arguments of broad implication in the field of psychology.
Reports of APA Boards, Committees, and Task Forces
Reports are reviewed by a committee of the Editorial Board. They may be accepted in whole or in part, or may be rejected. Revisions are generally not requested because such reports are based on group consensus and have gone through extensive review and approval by the relevant APA governance bodies. Reports that are not accepted for publication may be submitted to specialty APA journals, considered for posting on the APA website, or deposited as full-text documents in PsycEXTRA. Practice guidelines that have been adopted as APA policy by the Council of Representatives will be automatically published in AP.
Proposals for Special Sections or Special Issues
Proposals for special sections or issues should be submitted prior to developing the manuscripts.
Feature sections devoted to the explication of a particular topic are one means of fulfilling the journal's mission. A special section of the journal may contain three or four papers on a single theme, and a special issue may contain somewhat more, depending on the content area.
Proposals for special sections or special issues should describe their scope, provide a rationale (including why such a section or issue is timely and what contribution it would make to the literature), and list and describe the proposed papers, with potential authors for each. Potential authors should not be recruited until a proposal is accepted.
In proposing an entire special issue, proponents should be aware that the larger the number of papers included, the more specialized they often become, rendering them less suitable for AP.
Proposals are first reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor. Some special feature proposals are then circulated to two or three individuals for review.
Among the factors used in considering a proposal are
- length of time since this topic was last addressed in AP
- amount of new research conducted since then
- whether the range of topics appears appropriate
- whether ethnic, racial, gender, and other types of diversity are reflected in the content and population within topic areas
Proponents of special sections or special issues should also consider diversity in the selection of manuscript authors.
If a proposal is accepted, the proposal author will be responsible for recruiting authors, with possible suggestions from the AP editors.
All manuscripts should be submitted at the same time, but as separate submissions by individual authors.
In most cases, each paper in a special section or issue is circulated separately for peer review to at least three experts. Editorial decisions about each manuscript in a special package are made separately.
For some special issue submissions, all manuscripts might be reviewed together by a single reviewer in order to ensure integration and consistent quality across all manuscripts.
Further information on special sections and issues can be found in "Editorial Policies of the American Psychologist" on the journal home page.
Comments on Published Articles
Comments should be submitted no later than two months from the date of the issue containing the article to which they respond; they should meet the same criteria for original articles and should make a reasonable and substantial contribution to the discussion of the topic. (Comments on obituaries are not published; comments on comments are rarely considered.)
Comments must be limited to 1,000 words (about five double-spaced text pages) and should contain no more than nine references. Comments should carry a brief content-related title. As for all manuscripts, authors should include page numbers and references for quotes.
A comment is reviewed by the associate editor who handled the original manuscript. If accepted, it may be accompanied by an invited response from the authors of the original article.
Comments are published in the earliest possible issue of the journal, typically six to eight months after the original article.
Manuscript submissions for the Obituaries section are by invitation only. Candidates for obituaries are selected by the American Psychologist Obituary Advisory Committee and the Obituaries section editor.
Authors should prepare manuscripts according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition. Manuscripts may be copyedited for bias-free language (see chapter 3 of the Publication Manual).
Articles must be in English and must be competently written and argued. They may not exceed 35 double-spaced pages in length, including the cover page, abstract, references, tables, and figures.
All regular article submissions must include an abstract containing no more than 250 words typed on a separate page. After the abstract, please supply up to five keywords or brief phrases. Comments and obituaries do not need abstracts or keywords.
Formatting instructions (all copy must be double-spaced) and instructions on preparing tables, figures, references, metrics, and abstracts, are detailed in the Publication Manual.
List references in alphabetical order. Each listed reference should be cited in text, and each text citation should be listed in the References section.
Examples of basic reference formats:
- Journal Article:
Hughes, G., Desantis, A., & Waszak, F. (2013). Mechanisms of intentional binding and sensory attenuation: The role of temporal prediction, temporal control, identity prediction, and motor prediction. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 133–151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028566
- Authored Book:
Rogers, T. T., & McClelland, J. L. (2004). Semantic cognition: A parallel distributed processing approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Chapter in an Edited Book:
Gill, M. J., & Sypher, B. D. (2009). Workplace incivility and organizational trust. In P. Lutgen-Sandvik & B. D. Sypher (Eds.), Destructive organizational communication: Processes, consequences, and constructive ways of organizing (pp. 53–73). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Use Word's Insert Table function when you create tables. Using spaces or tabs in your table will create problems when the table is typeset and may result in errors. Each table should be presented on a separate page following the Reference list.
Graphics files are welcome if supplied as TIFF or EPS files. Multipanel figures (i.e., figures with parts labeled a, b, c, d, etc.) should be assembled into one file.
The minimum line weight for line art is 0.5 point for optimal printing.
For more information about acceptable resolutions, fonts, sizing, and other figure issues, please see the general guidelines.
When possible, please place symbol legends below the figure instead of to the side.
APA offers authors the option to publish their figures online in color without the costs associated with print publication of color figures. Prior to publication, authors will be asked if they would like their color figures displayed in color online.
The same caption will appear on both the online (color) and print (black and white) versions. To ensure that the figure can be understood in both formats, authors should add alternative wording (e.g., "the red (dark gray) bars represent") as needed.
We strongly encourage you to use MathType (third-party software) or Equation Editor 3.0 (built into pre-2007 versions of Word) to construct your equations, rather than the equation support that is built into Word 2007 and Word 2010. Equations composed with the built-in Word 2007/Word 2010 equation support are converted to low-resolution graphics when they enter the production process and must be rekeyed by the typesetter, which may introduce errors.
To construct your equations with MathType or Equation Editor 3.0:
- Go to the Text section of the Insert tab and select Object.
- Select MathType or Equation Editor 3.0 in the drop-down menu.
If you have an equation that has already been produced using Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010 and you have access to the full version of MathType 6.5 or later, you can convert this equation to MathType by clicking on MathType Insert Equation. Copy the equation from Microsoft Word and paste it into the MathType box. Verify that your equation is correct, click File, and then click Update. Your equation has now been inserted into your Word file as a MathType Equation.
Use Equation Editor 3.0 or MathType only for equations or for formulas that cannot be produced as Word text using the Times or Symbol font.
Because altering computer code in any way (e.g., indents, line spacing, line breaks, page breaks) during the typesetting process could alter its meaning, we treat computer code differently from the rest of your article in our production process. To that end, we request separate files for computer code.
In Online Supplemental Material
We request that runnable source code be included as supplemental material to the article. For more information, visit Supplementing Your Article With Online Material.
In the Text of the Article
If you would like to include code in the text of your published manuscript, please submit a separate file with your code exactly as you want it to appear, using Courier New font with a type size of 8 points. We will make an image of each segment of code in your article that exceeds 40 characters in length. (Shorter snippets of code that appear in text will be typeset in Courier New and run in with the rest of the text.) If an appendix contains a mix of code and explanatory text, please submit a file that contains the entire appendix, with the code keyed in 8-point Courier New.
Submitting Supplemental Materials
APA can place supplemental materials online, available via the published article in the PsycARTICLES® database. Please see Supplementing Your Article With Online Material for more details.
View the Presubmission Checklist. The purpose of the checklist is to enable authors to evaluate a manuscript in light of the mission of the journal and the factors that are most salient in the initial round of editorial review.
Submit manuscripts electronically (.rtf or .doc) via the Manuscript Submission Portal.
In addition to addresses and phone numbers, please supply email addresses and fax numbers.
Keep a copy of the manuscript to guard against loss.
The AP review process is handled by the Editor-in-Chief, the Managing Editor, and a board of Associate Editors. The review process for all manuscripts occurs in two stages. The first stage of review is conducted by the Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor, and the second stage is handled by one of the AP Associate Editors.
Approximately 70% of author-submitted manuscripts are returned without review within 30 days for a host of reasons: Empirical manuscripts are more appropriate for one of the APA primary journals; the topic of the manuscript or style of the writing is too specialized for the broad AP readership; the same topic was recently covered in the journal; inappropriate content or style; or other, more typical reasons such as the paper does not offer a major contribution to the field or is simply not written well enough.
Masked Review Policy
As a matter of policy, the identities of authors and reviewers are masked. Manuscripts that are peer reviewed are circulated without their title pages to mask the identity of the authors.
Each copy of a manuscript should include a separate title page with authors' names and affiliations, and these should not appear anywhere else on the manuscript. Footnotes that identify the authors should be typed on a separate page.
Authors should make every effort to see that the manuscript itself contains no clue to their identity.
APA policy prohibits an author from submitting the same manuscript for concurrent consideration by two or more publications. APA policy prohibits as well publication of any manuscript that has already been published in whole or substantial part elsewhere. Authors have an obligation to consult journal editors if there is any question concerning prior publication of part or all of their submitted manuscripts.
APA requires authors to reveal any possible conflict of interest in the conduct and reporting of research (e.g., financial interests in a test or procedure, funding by pharmaceutical companies for drug research).
Authors of accepted manuscripts are required to transfer the copyright to APA.
- For manuscripts not funded by the Wellcome Trust or the Research Councils UK
Publication Rights (Copyright Transfer) Form (PDF, 83KB)
- For manuscripts funded by the Wellcome Trust or the Research Councils UK
Wellcome Trust or Research Councils UK Publication Rights Form (PDF, 34KB)
American Psychologist publishes photographs of authors that accompany their articles, but this is not a requirement for publication. Photographs may be included in regular and award-related articles and in special features; photographs in obituaries are at the discretion of the section editor. Photographs are not included for articles with “institutional authorship” (where a group is the author) or in comments.
It is a violation of APA Ethical Principles to publish "as original data, data that have been previously published" (Standard 8.13).
In addition, APA Ethical Principles specify that "after research results are published, psychologists do not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected and unless legal rights concerning proprietary data preclude their release" (Standard 8.14).
APA expects authors to adhere to these standards. Specifically, APA expects authors to have their data available throughout the editorial review process and for at least 5 years after the date of publication.
Authors are required to state in writing that they have complied with APA ethical standards in the treatment of their sample, human or animal, or to describe the details of treatment.
The APA Ethics Office provides the full Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct electronically on its website in HTML, PDF, and Word format. You may also request a copy by emailing or calling the APA Ethics Office (202-336-5930). You may also read "Ethical Principles," December 1992, American Psychologist, Vol. 47, pp. 1597–1611.
Authors of accepted papers must obtain and provide to the editor on final acceptance all necessary permissions to reproduce in print and electronic form any copyrighted work, including test materials (or portions thereof), photographs, and other graphic images (including those used as stimuli in experiments).
On advice of counsel, APA may decline to publish any image whose copyright status is unknown.
For miscellaneous correspondence, the address of the editorial office of the American Psychologist is AP Editor. Please do not submit manuscripts to this email address or directly to the Editor-in-Chief. AP policy does not allow for evaluation of manuscripts prior to submission. All manuscripts should be submitted through the AP electronic Manuscript Submission Portal to be properly acknowledged and processed.
For manuscripts rejected without review. Authors of manuscripts rejected without review may appeal the decision to the Editor-in-Chief, requesting a reconsideration of the decision. If that appeal is rejected but the author believes the decision is inappropriate, the author may next appeal to the APA Chief Editorial Advisor, the ombudsperson for all APA journals, who is not an APA employee. If this appeal fails, the author may make a final appeal to an Appeals Committee, consisting of the chair of the Publications and Communications (P&C) Board, the chair of the Council of Editors (composed of the editors of all APA journals), and the APA Board of Directors' liaison to the P&C Board.
For manuscripts rejected after peer review. An author wishing to appeal a manuscript should direct the editorial appeal first to the AP associate editor who made the rejection. If the associate editor declines to further consider the manuscript, or the associate editor does a second review of the manuscript and still rejects it, the author may appeal next to the AP Editor-in-Chief. If the AP Editor-in-Chief believes the appeal has merit, the manuscript may be reassigned to a new associate editor for independent re-review. If the AP Editor-in-Chief rejects the appeal, the author may request that the appeal and the manuscript be sent to the APA Chief Editorial Advisor for evaluation. The next levels of appeal are the Appeals Committee and the APA Board of Directors.
For rejected comments. Decisions on comments are final and cannot be appealed.
Change of Subscription Mailing Address
To change the mailing address at which you receive the American Psychologist and other mail from APA, please send information to the Subscriptions Department or to
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
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Special issue of APA's journal American Psychologist, Vol. 66, No. 6, September 2011. Articles discuss psychological issues regarding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including PTSD; social psychological impacts; political responses; growing up after the attacks; psychological science and national security; and intelligence gathering and management.
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Special issue of APA's journal American Psychologist, Vol. 65, No. 3, April 2010. Articles address issues regarding diversity and leadership, including gender and culture; race; work and family issues; and sexual orientation.
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Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 64, No. 2, February–March 2009. Includes articles about the influence of Charles Darwin on functionalism; comparative psychology and ethology; race, gender, and culture; emotion expression; emotions and emotional disorders; and the emergence of evolutionary psychology.
- Obedience — Then and Now
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 64, No. 1, January 2009. The articles discuss Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments, including the impact on personality and social psychology, historical perspectives, and change over time.
- Eating Disorders
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 62, No. 3, April 2007. Includes articles about eating disorder diagnoses; risk factors; psychological treatment; Medicare reimbursement for weight loss interventions; and effective obesity treatments.
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 62, No. 1, January 2007. Includes articles about the challenges of leadership in the modern world; trait-based perspectives; the role of the situation; promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory-building; and a systems model of leadership.
- Genes, Race, and Psychology in the Genome Era
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 1, January 2005. Includes articles about race and ethnicity; the social construction of race; the meaning of race in psychology; intelligence, race, and genetics; the impartial treatment of genetic and environmental hypotheses of racial differences; race and IQ; use of race variables in genetic studies of complex traits; and controversies in biomedical, behavioral, and forensic sciences.
- Fifty Years On
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 59, No. 6, September 2004. Includes articles about the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, specifically the scientific attacks on the decision; the effects of segregation and consequences of desegregation; intractable self-fulfilling prophecies; social science research; and increasing the number of African American PhDs in the sciences and engineering.
- Prevention That Works for Children and Youth
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 58, No. 6/7, June/July 2003. The articles highlight key research findings and common principles for effective programming across family, school, community, health care, and policy interventions and discuss their implications for practice.
- Interactions Among Scientists and Policymakers
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 57, No. 3, March 2002. The articles explore the controversy over a child sexual abuse meta-analysis; the influence of politics; the peer review process; scientific publishing dilemmas; and the impact of the Internet.
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Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 55, No. 1, January 2000. Includes articles about the evolution of happiness; individual development in a bio-cultural perspective; subjective well-being; the future of optimism; self-determination theory; adaptive mental mechanisms; health; wisdom; excellence; creativity; giftedness; and positive youth development.
- Applications of Developmental Science
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- Intelligence and Lifelong Learning
Special issue of the APA journal of American Psychologist, Vol. 52, No. 10, October 1997. Includes articles about the concept of intelligence and its role in lifelong learning and success; intelligence testing status and trends; schooling; society; income; training and employment; special education; sex differences; race–ethnicity; ability assessments; and teaching.
- Outcome Assessment of Psychotherapy
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Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 48, No. 2, February 1993. Includes articles on violence and youth; school and family experiences; development in high-risk settings; depression; suicide; and mental health.
- Reflections on B. F. Skinner and Psychology
Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 47, No. 11, November 1992. The articles discuss B. F. Skinner and his impact on behavior analysis; radical behaviorism; functional behaviorism; operant conditioning; child development; human infant behavior; social construction of knowledge; and social justice.
- History of American Psychology
Special issue of the APA journal of American Psychologist, Vol. 47, No. 2, February 1992. The diverse collection of articles tells the story of American psychologists involved in the advancement of psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare. Moreover, these articles are illustrative of historiography as practiced by contemporary historians of psychology.
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Special issue of the APA journal American Psychologist, Vol. 45, No. 2, February 1990. Articles discuss organizations of the future; organizational culture; work teams; training system issues; work motivation; developing the competitive organization; designing systems for resolving disputes; workplace technology; power and leadership; developing managerial talent through simulation; women and minorities in management; entrepreneurship; human resource planning; family issues; worksite stress management interventions; employee fitness and wellness programs; and health issues at work.
Here you'll find guidelines for submitting proposals, calls for papers, tips for preparing manuscripts, APA policies, and more