Discussions of Stanley Milgram's obedience research, bridging the gap between science and practice in psychology, and how children regulate their emotions are the topics to be explored at this year's G. Stanley Hall Invited Lectures at APA's Annual Convention, Aug. 2428, in San Francisco. In addition, the Harry Kirke Wolfe invited address will examine effective teaching in the contemporary sociocultural context.
The lecture series, which began in 1980, reflects the commitment by APA's Office of Precollege and Undergraduate Programs to teachers of psychology. It is co-sponsored by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Div. 2) and the Council of Teachers of Undergraduate Psychology. (See more details of the lectures at www.ithaca.edu/beins/gsh/gsh.htm.)
Shocks and aftershocks: the continuing significance of Stanley Milgram's obedience studies
Thomas Blass, PhD
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Stanley Milgram's obedience research is among the most famous and controversial research any psychologist has ever published. It has stimulated discussion, condemnation, editorial comment and even filmmaking. Thomas Blass, PhD, has investigated obedience and has studied Milgram's work for the past 15 years.
His presentation will identify the importance of Milgram's work to contemporary psychology and contemporary society. To do this, he will trace the impact of Milgram's work since its appearance in the early 1960s, including a biographical sketch, his own related research, the impact of the obedience studies on collateral research and the reasons for the continued fascination with this topic and the research associated with it.
Blass is professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he began in 1972. Currently, he is writing a biography of Milgram and has developed a Web site devoted to Milgram's work, www.stanleymilgram.com/index.html. The site puts Milgram's life and work in context and includes a "Question of the Month" designed to stimulate awareness of the psychologist's work. He won the J.R. Kantor Fellowship Award of the Archives of the History of American Psychology in 199899 in support of his research for the biography.
Children's emotion regulation
Nancy Eisenberg, PhD
Arizona State University
One of the most important aspects of children's development is the emergence of temperament, including emotional and social competence, emotion regulation and the effects of parental socialization on temperament.
Nancy Eisenberg, PhD, Regents Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, has studied the relations among these variables and identified short- and long-term patterns in children's behaviors. She and her colleague Richard Fabes, PhD, were the first to use nonverbal methods as a means to sort out children's emotional reactions, such as sympathy versus personal distress, to the emotional states of others. In recent studies, they found that physiological arousal is higher for children experiencing personal distress than for children showing sympathetic reactions.
She has published more than 250 books, chapters and journal articles and has received five-year Research Scientist Development Awards from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health. Among her other activities, she spent a week as an invited guest of the Dalai Lama with four other Western scientists to discuss altruism, ethics and compassion in a Mind and Life Dialogue.
In her G. Stanley Hall Lecture, Eisenberg will present trends in the development of emotion regulation. She will also discuss the modulation of emotions and how they are expressed.
Rethinking personality disorders: bridging the gap between science and practice
Drew Westen, PhD
Clinicians continually face the problem of making valid and useful diagnoses in their patients and clients. Part of the problem is that people do not conform exactly to textbook descriptions. In fact, Drew Westen, PhD, a director at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, has suggested that the psychological community needs to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) thoroughly.
His work on personality disorders reveals that, in some cases, the diagnostic criteria can group together people with different underlying problems, whereas, in other cases, the criteria make false distinctions among similar people. He has worked to develop criteria that are both clinically and psychometrically valid.
Westen currently holds grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and from the Fetzer Foundation and the Glass Foundation. The University of Michigan has honored him with the Golden Apple Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching.
In his G. Stanley Hall Lecture, he will discuss the important connection between theory and practice. He will discuss how personality disorders fit with general issues in personality theory; how assessment should proceed, particularly in areas that resist easy classification; and the tensions between researchers and practitioners.
Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecture: Beyond sages and guides: a postmodern teacher's typology
Jane Halonen, PhD
James Madison University
Psychologists who are interested in being effective teachers face the difficulty that nobody has ever been able to define teaching excellence. At the same time, we know that excellence emerges only with serious attention to improvement. Harry Kirke Wolfe, PhD, after whom this address is named, serves as a paragon of excellence, although few today would think it desirable to emulate his teaching load, which ranged up to 30 contact hours a week.
In her G. Stanley Hall Lecture, Jane Halonen, PhD, will explore changes in the sociocultural context of teaching in contemporary institutions that demand that we explore our search for postmodern teaching excellence. These changes have implications for the ways that teachers approach their craft.
Halonen is past president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She helped to design APA's 1991 National Conference on Enhancing the Quality of Undergraduate Education in Psychology, participated on the Steering Committee of the Psychology Partnerships Project and advised teachers in the development of the National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology.
She has written books on the improvement of teaching skills and has co-authored three textbooks. Halonen also received APA's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000.