The G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series invites four renowned experts to discuss the latest research in their fields at APA's Annual Convention.
Myths about memory, nurture's ability to overcome nature, the beliefs behind prejudice, and enhancing teaching and learning through professional service are the topics for the 2000 G. Stanley Hall Lecture Series during APA's Annual Convention, Aug. 48, in Washington, D.C.
The series, sponsored by APA's Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology) and APA's Education Directorate, is held each year to provide teachers of psychology with insights of experts in the field on new research and educational trends. Times and dates for these presentations were not available as the Monitor went to press, but will be listed in the 2000 Convention Program catalog, available in July, or on APA's Annual Convention Web site.
"Prejudice: a social role analysis," by Alice Eagly, PhD, Northwestern University. Session chair: Elizabeth Yost Hammer, PhD, Belmont University.
The need to examine the beliefs that underlie stereotyping will be the focus of Alice Eagly's lecture.
Within psychologists' classic approach to understanding prejudice, the concept is defined as a negative attitude toward a group. This attitude is thought to lead to discriminatory treatment, placing individual group members at a disadvantage not merited by their own conduct. According to Eagly, one challenge to this viewpoint derives from research showing that some groups that receive discriminatory treatment are not particularly disliked or thought to be generally inferior. The sources of this discrimination can be understood by looking not at people's attitudes but at the beliefs that underlie these attitudes. These beliefs derive in general from people's implicit reasoning that groups of people have the attributes that correspond to their common or highly visible social roles.
For example, women are thought to be kind and nurturing because of their involvement in child care and occupations that involve service to others. African-Americans are thought to possess good athletic ability because of their visibility in prominent athletic roles. Such attributes can be evaluatively positive, but do not qualify people for roles that are thought to favor other qualities--for example, for leadership roles in organizations. Discrimination thus arises when members of a group attempt to move into roles that not only are unusual for members of their group but also are perceived to require attributes different from those traditionally ascribed to group members. Research relevant to this analysis will be reviewed in the talk.
Eagly is a professor of psychology at Northwestern University. Earlier she served on the faculties of Purdue University, University of Massachusetts in Amherst and Michigan State University. She earned her doctoral and master's degrees from the University of Michigan and her bachelor's degree from Harvard University. Eagly has published widely on the psychology of attitudes, especially attitude change and attitude structure. She is equally devoted to the study of gender.
"Capturing the essence of excellence: an expert-performance perspective on intelligence," by K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, Florida State University. Session chair: Maureen McCarthy, PhD, Austin Peay University.
K. Anders Ericsson will discuss recent research that finds that experience and practice (nurture) can overcome people's inherited skills (nature).
Over a century ago, Sir Francis Galton proposed that excellence in intellectual domains of expertise was primarily due to inherited general mental abilities. He argued that no amount of nurture could overcome limits set by individuals' innate mental capacities, any more than practice would enable individuals to excel in sports by changing the innate limits for physical characteristics, such as size, speed and strength.
Recent research in many domains of expertise, such as chess, music and sports, confirms that some forms of nurture, such as mere experience with domain-relevant activities, have surprisingly limited benefits for enhancing performance. However, this research also demonstrates that focused training activities--deliberate practice--can dramatically change the human body and brain, and over time modify characteristics relevant to superior performance, with the exception of height. The acquisition of expert performance entails successive active development of new refined mental representations and mechanisms that give experts more control over their performance and allow them to circumvent limits that general abilities impose on beginners' performance. Consequently, the development of expert performance will be primarily limited by the quality of the training environment and individuals' engagement in deliberate practice. Evidence will be presented for viewing high IQ and giftedness as acquired expert performance in academic domains, such as mathematics, language and arts.
Ericsson is Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. He received his PhD in psychology from the University of Stockholm and earned a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie-Mellon University. During the last 10 years, he has worked with many collaborators to identify the cognitive mechanisms that mediate expert performance in domains such as music, chess and sports, and empirically demonstrate the role of extended deliberate practice in developing expert performance.
"Teaching myths about memory," by James Nairne, PhD, Purdue University. Session chair: Christopher Hakala, PhD, Lycoming College.
James Nairne will discuss a modern functionalist approach to the study of remembering.
Memory, like other psychological processes, developed to help us solve problems in our lives--it did not develop so we could warmly remember past conversations with our grandmother. Many modern memory researchers are convinced that we do not store static memory traces. All instances of remembering are essentially reconstructive; we remember so that we can predict the future, or decide on the most adaptive response in current time. This new perspective has many implications for how the topic of memory should be taught in the classroom. Educators continue to teach many myths about memory--about limited capacity, the distinction between short- and long-term memory, and so on--and Nairne will discuss how to avoid some of these pitfalls in your lectures.
Nairne is professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University. He received his undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in psychology from Yale University. He is an active researcher in cognitive psychology, specializing in human memory.
"Enhancing teaching and learning through professional service," by Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD, James Madison University. Session chair: Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., Texas A&M University.
In her lecture, Virginia Andreoli Mathie will examine the many ways in which service is defined and evaluated and argue that professional service plays a vital role in academe, in the profession and in teaching and learning.
Teaching, scholarship and service are typically viewed as the three primary responsibilities of faculty members in higher education. Although teaching is generally listed first, many believe that in the reward structure, teaching is secondary and the real rewards are given to those who excel in scholarship.
The discussion about the relative value and weight given to teaching and scholarship in the evaluation process has led to a body of literature addressing the scholarship of teaching. It is interesting to note that, in these discussions, no one questions the fact that service is always last on the list and given the least weight in the evaluation process. Indeed, in many institutions, service is frowned upon because it takes time away from scholarly activities. Using her own experience, as well as the experiences of colleagues around the country, Mathie will give examples of how service can enhance teaching, learning and professional development. She will consider the concept of the "scholarship of service" and discuss how to evaluate service more effectively.
Mathie is a professor of psychology at James Madison University in Virginia. She holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in social psychology. She has been on the faculty of James Madison University for 25 years and served as the department head of psychology from 1994 to 1998. She is a member of APA's Board of Educational Affairs and chair of its Psychology Partnerships Project: Academic Partnerships to Meet the Teaching and Learning Needs of the 21st Century.