At APA's 2009 Annual Convention, more than 4,000 presenters gave talks on topics as varied as the neural underpinnings of memory consolidation, the use of dogs in therapy and the failings of the U.S. prison system. Here's a sampling of the new ideas, theories and findings conventioneers took home.
"I've learned how psychologists can become economically and politically active. We are trained to help people as individuals, but we can think more globally and have a broader impact."
—William Alexander Hall, Philadelphia
"I learned that there is hope for getting a clinical internship. It was extraordinarily helpful to meet with internship directors and get feedback on skills related to interviewing for a clinical internship, and hear them say 'Here are your strengths, here are your weaknesses, here is what you can buff and polish between now and this fall.'"
—Stacie Bigelow, clinical psychology graduate student, Fielding Graduate University
"I liked what Phil Zimbardo said about the need for more research on heroism and what it means for people to be heroes, and I want to learn even more about that."
—Dr. Maureen Holland, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
"We learned that 1 percent of the population has a PhD."
—Dr. Robyn Geelhoed of Ball State University
"It was 1.7 percent."
—Dr. Robin Lett of Ball State University
"The younger generation of psychologists that are coming up are really something to behold. They are quite competent and capable, and I feel quite pleased about that."
—Dr. Derald Wing Sue, Teachers College, Columbia University
"I learned that the Counseling Psychologist is moving away from themes, and Nadya Fouad, the editor, is allowing more flexibility, so now there'll be more diversity in a journal issue. Historically, TCP has always been theme-driven, so this is a significant change."
—Dr. Claytie Davis III, the University of California–Berkeley
"I learned how to better mentor and adapt mentoring styles for cultural and cross-generational situations. I also learned how technology plays an important part in all of this, since younger generations use technology more than my own."
—Dr. Monica Mitchell, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
"To be a scientist-practitioner, you need to pay attention to the research and realize that the therapeutic alliance is what's really important."
—Dr. Robin Lett, Ball State University
"I learned that we need to go beyond a Eurocentric, individualistic, English-language-dominated worldview—we need to add other perspectives if we are going to tackle global problems like poverty."
—Dr. Roy Moodley, University of Toronto
"I learned about positive psychology and ... those individuals who benefit from it more than others. It was research, but it was research I could apply to the clients I see."
—Dr. Jan Collins-Eaglin, Michigan State University
"Today, we saw Zimbardo talk and ... the passion that he has for psychology is really inspiring for young researchers and future psychologists in the field."
—Sumin Na, a recent graduate of McGill University who plans to pursue a clinical psychology doctorate
"I learned about a new way of looking at adherence to psychological treatments or medicines. The session I attended looked at how individual patients may metabolize medication differently, taking into account their demographics, weight and other factors. That might help us better understand adherence and improve patient care."
—Dr. Lori Crosby, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
"I learned some things I did not previously know about pre-20th century anti-Semitism, and I heard an interesting talk about an attempt to construct a theory on the interplay between feminism and psychology."
—Dr. Debra Sue Pate, Jackson State University