Cover Story

APA's Annual Convention offers a host of top science speakers this year, a number of whom will receive Distinguished Scientific Con-tribution Awards (DSCA). This year's recipients and their presentations are:

  • Claude Steele, PhD, Stanford University, "Contingencies of social identity: their implications for achievement and intergroup relations."

  • Lila Gleitman, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, "How children learn the meaning of words."

  • Bruce McEwen, PhD, The Rockefeller University, "The end of stress as we know it."

  • Stephen Ceci, PhD, Cornell University, "From basic research to applied research and back again."

  • Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, University of California, Irvine, "Make-believe memories."

Presenting the Annual Neal Miller Address will be Edward Taub, PhD, who will speak on "CI Therapy: a new behavioral intervention in neurorehabilitation and its effect on brain organization--from primate laboratory to human clinic."

Master lecturers present the best of psychological science

The Board of Scientific Affairs has named five psychologists to be the 2003 Master Lecturers. The lectures spotlight experts in psychological science and are organized into 10 core areas in the field, five of which are addressed each year. This year's featured core areas include personality, cognition and perception, health and behavioral medicine, animal and human biopsychology, and applied psychology.

  • William Cross, PhD, (personality), City University of New York, will discuss "Advances in the psychological discourse on black identity." Cross is considered one of the leading experts on the study of African-American identity, and his text, "Shades of Black: Diversity in African-American Identity," is considered a classic. Cross is also a consultant to government, education and industry on the business and educational implications of America's changing demographics.

  • John Jonides, PhD, (cognition and perception), University of Michigan, will address "Modules of working memory in mind and brain." His research most recently has focused on the storage and executive processes involved in working memory. This research uses a combination of behavioral testing on normal and brain-injured adults as well as neuroimaging techniques applied to adults engaged in working-memory tasks.

  • Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, (health and behavioral medicine), The Ohio State University, will cover "Love, marriage and stress hormones: how close relationships influence health." Her work has demonstrated important health consequences of stress, including slower wound healing and impaired vaccine responses, and has also focused on the ways in which personal relationships influence immune and endocrine function and health.

  • Mortimer Mishkin, PhD, (animal and human biopsychology), National Institute of Mental Health, will present "The joists and tiers of memory." In his studies of brain-behavior relations in humans and nonhuman primates, Mishkin has helped identify areas in the cerebral cortex that are essential for perception and memory. He and his colleagues have also found that cortical sensory streams stimulate two brain circuits required for memory--one for the memory of facts and events and another for the learning of habits and motor skills.

  • Gary Wells, PhD, (applied psychology), Iowa State University, will speak on "Improving police lineups: a successful application of scientific psychology." His internationally known studies demonstrate that rates of mistaken eyewitness identification can be exacerbated by the methods that crime investigators use in conducting lineups and photo spreads. This has led to the development of the sequential lineup--widely regarded as a superior criminal identification method.

Plenary speakers

A number of eminent psychological researchers will present new research findings at APA's plenary sessions. Among them are:

  • Bruce McEwen, PhD, (also a DSCA recipient), The Rockefeller University, on "The end of stress as we know it." McEwen will explore how stress is defined, focusing in particular on "allostasis," an alternative view that stress is a response of the body that promotes adaptation and survival in the face of real or imagined threats to homeostasis. He will consider the causes of allostatic overload as well as potential ways to fight it.

  • Stephen Ceci, PhD, (also a DSCA recipient), Cornell University, on "From basic research to applied research and back again." Using his research career at Cornell as a backdrop, Ceci will consider the various processes of sometimes turning an interesting theoretical idea into practical substantiation and other times starting with a practical finding and building its theoretical aspects. His research examples will mainly focus on intellectual development in childhood and the role of memory in child witness accuracy.

  • Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, (also a DSCA recipient), University of California, Irvine, on "Make-believe memories." Loftus will discuss new research findings pointing to the power of imagination and suggestion in making people believe that they've had experiences they haven't had. She will explore how they can be led to falsely believe that they have had familiar experiences, but also bizarre or implausible ones (that, for example, they witnessed demonic possession as a child). She will also consider the implications for the courts, therapy office and other such societal settings.

  • Steven D. Hollon, PhD, Vanderbilt University, on "Treatment and prevention of depression with drugs and psychotherapy." Hollon will focus on the relative merits of leading treatments for depression, including antidepressant medications, interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy. The latter two treatments, he posits, compare favorably with the first and also improve relationship quality, though he also will consider benefits of various combinations of the three.

  • Daniel M. Wegner, PhD, Harvard University, on "Voodoo, spirits and hypnosis: on misperceiving the authorship of our own actions." Wegner will analyze the question, "How do we know what we've done?" He will argue that self-knowledge of intentions is not infallible--that knowing our own actions, distinguishing them from other events, and even telling them from the actions of other people are major feats of the mind. He will also explore how people's authorship processing systems make errors--as in the practice of voodoo.