Minutes, APA Division 3 Executive Committee

6:30 am, Friday, November 20, 2009

Café Apropos, Boston Sheraton Hotel



Present: Ralph Miller (President), Nelson Cowan (Past President), Jeremy Wolfe (President-Elect; at large), Veronica Dark (Secretary-Treasurer), Nora Newcombe (at large), David Washburn (at large), Robert Cook (at large), Randy Engle (Council), Angela AuBuchon (Graduate Student Representative), Emily Elliott (2009 Program Chair); Kristi Malthaup (outgoing newsletter editor), Mark Faust (outgoing newsletter editor, outgoing webmaster), Tom Zentall


I.  Approval of Minutes

     The meeting was called to order at 6:30 a.m.  The Minutes of the August 2009 meeting of the Division 3 Executive Committee in Toronto, as published in the September Newsletter, were approved. 


II. President’s Announcements (Ralph Miller)

New Appointments

Emily Klein, Research Associate at the Language Research Center at Georgia State, has been appointed as the Division 3 Newsletter Editor

Anne Cleary, Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State, has been appointed as the Division 3 Webmaster.

Recognition of Service

Kristi Multhaup was presented a plaque in Recognition of Six Years of Service as the Newsletter Editor.

Mark Faust was presented a plaque in Recognition of  Six Years of Service as the Newsletter Editor and Webmaster.

Membership/Fellows Recruiting

The President sent letters to 84 Fellows in other Divisions, inviting them to join Division 3.  Of the 84 contacted, 28 applied and were accepted.  Their names will be forwarded to next year's Fellows Committee.


III. Reports

Secretary-Treasurer's Report (Veronica Dark)

Update on finances: Expenses for the year are $6405.  That includes $300 for today's breakfast and $260 to enable the President's recruiting efforts.  Only 6 speakers asked for their $100.  The expenses are above last year's expenses of $5312 but below income of $7327. 

Update on membership: Since the August report, 1 additional member, 1 student affiliate, and the 28 members recruited by the President have been added. 

2009 Program Chair's Report (Emily Elliott)

Attendance was higher than expected averaging 35 attendees (range 13-59) for the 9 substantive symposia and addresses.  Attendance was especially good for the presentations with a Development or Aging theme.  Attendance was not good at the symposia for the New Investigators and New Fellows.  Very few people signed up for CE credit.

2010 Program Chair's Report (written report submitted by John Wixted)

Program Chair Report

November 16, 2009

My initial plan for the program was to showcase young experimental psychologists who are already becoming influential players in the field, and I started with 3 recent recruits at UCSD (who were to be the focal points for the 3 separate symposia). All 3 readily agreed, and they started contacting influential junior and senior colleagues to participate as well. However, it soon became clear that they agreed because they wanted to please me, not because they had any interest in speaking at APA (despite the fact that the convention would be held right here in San Diego). All 3 reported to me that their colleagues were dismissive of the possibility of speaking at the APA convention (which, as they see it, is a collection of non-scientifically oriented clinicians concerned mainly with 3rd-party reimbursement for services delivered). Eventually, it became clear that they wanted out of their agreement to participate, so I let them off the hook and went back to the drawing board. I had also invited a senior colleague to deliver a 1-hour talk. His eventual response surprised me: "What's the point?" In his view, APA has done as much harm to science as good.


This was a disillusioning start for me as program chair, and it called to mind the surprising information I heard at that board meeting that I attended in Toronto. At that meeting, there was much discussion of rapidly declining Division 3 memberships, declining attendance at Division 3 talks and symposia, etc.


On top of all this, I was alerted to a recent paper in Psychological Science in the Public Interest and the corresponding editorial in Nature, which said:

Clinical psychology at least has its roots in experimentation, but it is drifting away from science. Concerns about cost–benefit issues are growing, especially in the United States. According to a damning report published last week (T. B. Baker et al. Psychol. Sci. Public Interest 9, 67–103; 2008), an alarmingly high proportion of practitioners consider scientific evidence to be less important than their personal — that is, subjective — clinical experience.


As best I can tell, by "science" these people mainly mean empirically testing the efficacy of proposed therapeutic interventions. It occurred to me that this view of science must be broadened to at least include basic science with direct relevance to clinical applications. As such, when I went back to the drawing board, I thought it might be worth having a Division 3 program at APA next year that goes out of its way to reach out to clinicians. Most (but not all) of the presentations I am working on will involve basic science with a more-obvious-than-usual connection to issues that interest clinicians.


Ideally, the fact that Division 3 is making an effort to do this would be advertised. Clinicians, who should still be smarting over the negative attention they have received because of their non-scientific attitude, would then face an interesting choice: (1) ignore Division 3 like they always do despite the effort to reach out to them, or (2) come listen to some talks that involve basic science. To me, this is an experiment worth performing. If attendance is noticeably improved, it might indicate that the future of basic science at the APA convention will largely involve basic science with apparent clinical implications. Having said all that, I have no idea if this experiment has been tried before (perhaps it has) or if there is another division that exists for this very purpose (perhaps there is).


Graduate Student Report (Angela AuBuchon)

The graduate student affiliate list has been updated.  There are 42 active members.  The main problem from a student view is finding ways to contact members during the APA Convention.  There are two science related student groups, but it is unclear how they differ.  There is a recently formed science subcommittee in APAGS and a Science Student Council, which is affiliated with the Science Directorate.  Student affiliates will be informed about both opportunities.


Fellows Committee Report (summary of written report by Lisa Savage)

The names of 4 scientists as recommended by the Fellows Committee and approved by the Executive Committee were sent to APA for approval as Fellows in Division 3. Two of the 4 have not been elected as Fellows in any other Division.


IV.  Name Change and other Bylaws changes

     Several bylaws changes were approved.  The major change is a recommendation to change the name of the Division from Division of Experimental Psychology to Division of Cognition and Behavior.  Other procedural changes were recommended to bring the bylaws in line with current practice.


Editors Note – For more information please see separate column detailing the proposed bylaw changes (including the proposed name change).


Members will be notified by mail of the proposed changes.  The changes will be voted on at the August 2010 business meeting in San Diego. 


The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Veronica J. Dark

Secretary-Treasurer, Division 3