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The 27th annual G. Stanley Hall Lecture series at APA's 2006 Annual Convention showcases basic psychological science that can enhance teaching of psychology. This year in New Orleans, four psychologists will discuss topics as diverse as the role of technology in the classroom, a critique of evolutionary psychology, the effect of failures to notice large changes in visual events and the role of positive emotion in stress and coping with disease.

Named for the first APA president, Granville Stanley Hall (1844-1924), the series showcases topics that can improve the teaching of introductory psychology. An APA Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology) committee selects speakers for the series, which is funded by APA's Education Directorate and is co-sponsored by the Council of Teachers of Undergraduate Psychology.

Here's a preview of the speakers and their talks at the New Orleans convention.

The impact of technology on teaching

G. William Hill, PhD, a psychology professor and the director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University, will give the Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecture, which honors Kirke Wolfe (1858-1915), a renowned educator. This lecture is directly focused on the teaching of psychology and addresses "Teaching and Technology: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" on Friday, Aug. 11, at 10 a.m.

In the Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecture, Hill will address the enduring question, "Is PowerPoint Good or Evil?" More broadly, he will reflect on the way that rapid changes in technology in recent years have made it difficult for teachers to learn how to best use technological innovations in the classroom. Hill is an award-winning teacher and has a long career conducting research on teaching in higher education. In his talk, he will review the impact of technological changes on the teaching of psychology and discuss the positive and negative consequences of technology for teaching now and in the future.

A critical look at evolutionary psychology

Nora S. Newcombe, PhD, psychology professor and the James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the psychology department at Temple University, will speak on "Uses and Abuses of Evolutionary Psychology" on Friday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m.

The paradigm of evolutionary psychology has become a dominant approach to explaining much of human behavior. While the approach has proved useful in understanding and predicting behaviors in many domains, Newcomb argues that it has also been abused. Newcomb will critique the evolutionary psychology approach to sex differences and the "massive modularity" hypothesis that cognitive processing is the result of innate domain-specific "modules" for the mental tasks people perform.

Do we see what we think we see?

Daniel J. Simons, PhD, an associate psychology professor in the psychology department and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, will address "Failures of Visual Awareness" on Friday, Aug. 11, at 1 p.m.

Would you notice if someone dressed as a gorilla walked into a basketball game? Simons' research in visual cognition suggests you will not always notice unusual events such as this in your visual world. These results are surprising because psychologists long believed that we typically orient to inconsistent or unexpected stimuli. However, Simons' research suggests that, when distracted, we can suffer change blindness-the failure to perceive and remember even large and unexpected changes in our visual environment. His lecture will summarize the evidence for failures in our visual awareness and the practical consequences of these failures.

Positive emotions in stress and coping

The final 2006 G. Stanley Hall lecturer, Susan Folkman, PhD, the Osher Foundation Distinguished Professor of Integrative Medicine and the director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, will speak on "Positive Emotions in the Stress Process: Should We Care?" on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 2 p.m.

Folkman is an internationally recognized researcher in health psychology. For almost 20 years, her work has focused on the relationship between coping with stress and health. In her lecture, she will focus on the adaptive functions of positive emotions in coping with severe stress and the ultimate affect of these factors on health.

Ann Lynn, PhD, is an associate professor in the Ithaca College psychology department.