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Cal. State Hayward
(Left to Right) Front row: Akira Miyake, Alice Healy, Barry Schwartz; Middle row: Roger Chaffin, Anders Ericsson, Diane Halpern, James Cutting; Back row: Sharon Armstrong, Debbie Clawson, Peter Balsam
Thank you to the following people who gave invited addresses at the 2005 APA Convention in Washington, DC:
Peter Balsam, Barnard College & Columbia University
Roger Chaffin, University of Connecticut
James E. Cutting, Cornell University
Randall W. Engle, Georgia Institute of Technology
K. Anders Ericsson, Florida State University
Diane F. Halpern, Claremont McKenna College
Alice F. Healy, University of Colorado at Boulder
Arthur F. Kramer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Steven F. Maier, University of Colorado at Boulder
Akira Miyake, University of Colorado at Boulder
Denise C. Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nora S. Newcombe, Temple University
Nadine Sarter, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Lisa M. Savage, Binghamton University, State University of New York
Barry Schwartz, Swarthmore College
This year’s Division 3 programming explored the theme “Experimental Psychology and Its Applications.” The invited addresses spanned several areas including animal learning, cognition, neuroscience, human factors, social psychology, expert performance, and public policy – with each address illustrating applications of psychological research.
The opening session on Thursday featured animal learning and memory, with outstanding addresses by Lisa Savage and Peter Balsam. Lisa presented her research on diencephalic damage, its effects on acetylcholine levels, and the way that differing task requirements can recruit different brain regions in solving similar problems. Peter Balsam discussed the often-overlooked but important role of time in learning, as well as implications for psychiatric disorders.
Thursday afternoon, an excellent session on working memory capacity and executive control included addresses by Akira Miyake and Randall Engle. Akira spoke on the active role played by inner speech, or the phonological loop of working memory, in executive control. Randy gave a convincing argument for the importance of working memory capacity to a myriad of cognitive and social tasks.
The final session Thursday featured Denise Park giving a stimulating address on interventions for healthy cognitive aging. Denise spoke about several of her intervention studies, including the new Viva! program of cognitive stimulation, in the form of quilting or digital photography classes, to improve functioning for older adults.
Friday’s sessions focused on transportation, with three thought-provoking addresses. The first session, with Nadine Sarter and Arthur Kramer, touched on human factors issues. Nadine compellingly discussed the relationship between basic research and interface design, with an emphasis on airplane cockpits. Art touched on several different aspects of transportation, including the cognitive benefits of walking and other aerobic exercise, the perils of cell-phone use while driving, and the difficulty of detecting weapons during airport x-ray screening. Continuing the transportation theme, Alice Healy’s Division 3 Presidential Address described her substantial line of research on people’s ability to follow navigational command sequences, similar to those given to pilots by air traffic controllers.
The Charles D. Spielberger Symposium On Emotion, Motivation, And Personality (known as the EMPathy Symposium), sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation, brought together speakers from Divisions 3, 8, and 12. Steven Maier was invited to represent Division 3. His address explored the role of the medial prefrontal cortex in mediating the negative effects of stressors, an understanding of which has implications for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Division 3 poster session displayed about 25 posters that ran the gamut of topics in experimental psychology – from visual perception to understanding conversation to deception in Marmoset Monkeys to antinociceptive effects of nicotine in male rats. Poster presenters enjoyed avid discussions with several invited speakers and executive committee members, as well as other attendees.
This year Division 3 tried something new for the social hour on Friday evening. We met for hors d’oeuvres and cash bar with Divisions 1 and 6 at the Renaissance Hotel Sports Bar rather than in a convention center room. The hors d’oeuvres and atmosphere were delightful and attendance seemed to be better (at least for Division 3) than seen in previous years. At the social hour, incoming Secretary/Treasurer Angelo Santi presented a New Investigator Award to recipient, Mark Haselgrove, who had traveled from Cardiff University to accept the award for his article in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. The social hour was followed by a lovely dinner for invited speakers and their significant others hosted by the President of Division 3 (Alice Healy) and the Program Co-chairs (Deborah Clawson and Sharon Armstrong) at Les Halles in downtown DC.
Saturday morning began bright and early with a presentation by James Cutting who wowed us with his slides of impressionist paintings. He spoke about the role that familiarity plays in artistic preferences. The next speaker was Roger Chaffin who has examined how professional pianists and cellists prepare for a performance. And so, of course, we got to hear some examples of fine musicianship. Finishing up the session, K. Anders Ericsson described the role of extended deliberate practice in achieving high levels of performance, whether in the realm of art, music, sports, etc.
Although Barry Schwartz had already given a G. Stanley Hall address at this year’s APA before giving his address for Division 3 on Saturday afternoon, attendance did not suffer (on the contrary!). His entertaining and informative talk on the down side of having an abundance of choices in life was well attended and well received.
The last day of the conference featured Nora Newcombe and immediate past president of APA, Diane Halpern, who each talked about the importance of exporting the knowledge gained through psychological science to the public, especially to those who make social policy. Diane’s portrayal of her attempts to do just that was sobering: Public policy makers are not necessarily ready to receive evidence in the form of data and arguments. Nora spoke about the importance of implementing procedures that have been demonstrated to improve spatial functioning. Those who stayed on to the very end of the conference were rewarded by two inspiring talks that generated a lot of discussion.