From the CEO
As I write this column, some 13,000 members are returning home after attending APA's 2011 Annual Convention. If you were there, thank you for attending. I hope you had an interesting and rewarding meeting. Judging from input we received so far, the Washington, D.C., location is a stimulating one, and attendees appreciated all the added features of this year's convention, including one price for unlimited continuing education and our new mobile app that offers a list of convention sessions a touch screen away.
The meeting, held in Washington, D.C.'s state-of-the-art convention center, included hundreds of panels, posters and sessions, featured speakers, a busy exhibit hall—including a technology "classroom"—division meetings and social events. In short, our discipline's intellect and energy were in broad supply.
During the opening session—in which we honored two renowned elders of the discipline, Drs. Florence Denmark and James Jones—social psychologist Dr. Claude Steele set the tone for a meeting that demonstrated the many ways in which psychology can provide a better understanding of and solutions for societal issues. Steele reflected on his own childhood, his research on stereotype threat and emerging research on what can be done to address stereotypes' negative impact on minority students and women.
Other fascinating presentations included:
Dr. Brian Wansink, head of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, on how external cues in the environment can lead people to consume more calories than they need through mindless eating.
Dr. Brian Smedley, of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, on the negative impact of health disparities and the inequitable allocation of health care on the national economy.
Dr. Richard Rogers, of the University of North Texas, on his soon-to-be-published research finding that many suspects in criminal investigations do not understand their Miranda rights.
A panel of leading clinicians and clinical scientists on the convincing body of data showing that psychotherapy is the best treatment for many psychological and behavioral ailments, including anxiety, depression, social phobia and hyperactivity disorders.
A panel on suicide prevention in the military that discussed the finding that 46 percent of U.S. college students who are veterans reported thinking of suicide at some point in their life—and 20 percent reported suicidal thoughts with a plan.
A new convention feature—Science Showcase—that presented live demos of psychological science in action. This year's top demonstrations included a device that allows people with sight impairments to "see" objects with their ears and a project that integrates psychology with emerging technology to help people save on their home energy costs.
That's just a sample of the psychological scholarship that was on display during the meeting. Next month's APA Monitor will feature a more complete report.
In addition, the APA meeting always affords us the opportunity to communicate new findings to the public via the news media. Thanks to the good work of our public affairs staff working with numerous convention presenters, this year's meeting resulted in more than 100 print, TV, radio and Web news reports. Visit APA News for a look at that coverage.
In closing, we enjoyed hosting what I believe was a record number of families with young children at the convention, most probably as a result of the Board of Convention Affairs and Committee on Early Career Psychologists collaboration to designate a family area and child-friendly activities during the meeting. It is reassuring to see so many younger psychologists actively engaging in their discipline. I hope and expect we can continue to offer these types of amenities so that this trend continues—especially since next year, we'll be meeting in family-friendly Orlando. I look forward to seeing you there.