Speakers at APA's 2006 Annual Convention sounded off on topics spanning chocolate-loving rats, prison avoidance, obnoxious technology, and existentialism and war.
"You're not supposed to follow on the podium a fantastic, brilliant, very energetic and funny speaker, that's the first rule of politics. And the second is, whenever there's a guy with a bowtie and tennis shoes that match, you know you've got problems, and from Boston nonetheless. Should I ask you how the Yankees are doing?"
Opening session speaker Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitchell Landrieu, on following the entertaining Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington and poking fun at APA President and Boston resident Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, who is known for his trademark bowtie.
"A lot of guys are comfortable coming to therapy through the Internet. I ended up being a referral source for my whole town."
Fred Rabinowitz, PhD,a psychology professor at the University of Redlands, on how the Web is an effective way psychologists can reach out to men.
"It's not like people would be fine with prison or slavery, if only the food were better."
Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, a psychology professor at Florida State University on how humans constantly strive for more freedom.
"[Ernest Becker] said, 'Look, as soon as you run into a culture that has a different worldview than yours, that's a psychological threat. That's somebody saying that your basis of security is wrong, and this is what it really is'....
There's a variety of ways we handle this threat of alternative world views....The ultimate thing you can do is say, 'I got my God. You got yours. Let's fight it out and see who's got the real God.' That's happened many, many, many times over-one group tries to annihilate the other as a way to get rid of the threat."
Jeff Greenberg, PhD, head of the University of Arizona social psychology program, on psychologist Ernest Becker's theory that human aggression stems from our unique ability to comprehend our own mortality.
"Cannabis exposure impairs performance on rat cognitive tasks...only when the animals are adolescents at the time of the experiment....This led us to pose our gene environment interaction hypothesis about early cannabis use during adolescence. That and probably because most of my lab smoked cannabis as adults and didn't want the hypothesis to apply to us."
Terrie Moffitt, PhD, a psychology professor at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London,on how her lab came to develop the gene environment interaction hypothesis.
"It turns out that rats really like chocolate. You can give them bowl after bowl of chocolate and they'll never get sick of it. It's something we can relate to."
Jonathan Crystal, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, on why he had to switch from chocolate to grape-flavored food pellets when a rat memory experiment required the animals to become satiated to a particular taste.
"Hey fatty, ugly polar bear."
Susan Clayton, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Wooster, reading one of comments she overheard while listening in on comments at a zoo for an observational study that examined how people respond to zoo animals.
"As we all know, psychologists are human. The degree to which they acknowledge this fact may be related to how well they deal with their humanity and the stress that comes along with it."
Rebecca Schwartz, a University of Missouri clinical/developmental psychology doctoral student and winner of the 2006 APA/APAGS Graduate Student Ethics Prize, on the key role of self-awareness in managing professional stress-an awareness that's important to emphasize during psychology graduate training, she said.
"We learn to read between the lines. There are good letters, really good letters and walk on water letters."
Nadine Kaslow, PhD, a psychology professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, speaking to graduate students about how internship training directors get around the fact that professors don't want to write negative comments in recommendation letters.
"We have cautious cars; we're getting cantankerous kitchens, but if we're not careful they're going to take over our lives and add to our frustrations because they are going to try to read our minds and help us, often incorrectly."
Donald Norman, PhD, on how a technologically sophisticated lifestyle can backfire when machines take an increased amount of control over daily actions.
"Our realistic goal for each member of Congress is incremental change. It's not to take somebody who's a rabid opponent and turn them into a champion. It's to take somebody who's a rabid opponent and move them a little bit...it's very important-to never give up on your member of Congress."
Peter Newbould, of the APA Practice Organization Government Relations Office, speaking on advocacy at a session for psychology graduate students.