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Small Conference Grant Winners Discuss Their Events

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The SPSP small conference grants program launched this year to provide funding to members who seek to host small conferences related to personality and social psychology. The inaugural group of grant recipients are well on their way to hosting their events: an attitude processes conference was held in Europe, a New York City-based social and affective neuroscience meet-up is taking place this week, and an event providing the chance for psychologists to come together with architects, designers, and other professionals in Austin, Texas is being arranged for this winter.

Experience-Based Versus Information-Based Attitude Processes Conference

Dr. Duane Wegener was awarded $5,000 to use toward the Experience-Based Versus Information-Based Attitude Processes Conference. The conference took place in Cologne, Germany, from July 21-24, 2016. 70 researchers from 10 countries, including 43 participants with a PhD and 27 PhD students, came together to discuss themes of affective and cognitive influences on attitudes, single and dual process models of attitude acquisition, the role of instructions and propositional knowledge on paradigms of attitude change, and much more.

During the three-day event, participants engaged in discussions, exchanged information, and planned future collaborations. The program, which was presented in a single-session format, consisted of two keynote addresses, 34 presentations, and 24 “blitz-talks”. The conference provided an additional forum for American and European researchers to meet and become familiar with each other’s ongoing research.

Duane provided a tentative summary of the meeting’s overarching theme: “The clear distinction between attitude acquisition and attitude change from experiences and acquisition and change from information might be more apparent than real. For example, attitude change due to experiences strongly depend on the meaning that is given by participants to the experiences. It seems that both routes interactively determine attitude acquisition and changes, and future theories should incorporate both routes to allow a more comprehensive picture of this topic.”

He noted that the small conference grant allowed the conference to include a dramatically larger participant group, especially graduate students and post-docs. Previous meetings of this nature have included around 40-50 participants, who were primarily faculty, while this meeting included 70 participants, only 21 of whom were faculty.

New York Social & Affective Neuroscience (NY-SAN) Conference

Dr. Jon Freeman received a grant of $4,000 for the New York Social and Affective Neuroscience (NY-SAN) Conference, coming up in New York City on October 7, 2016. Jon believes that perspectives and methods from neuroscience can facilitate crucial progress in the arenas of social and personality psychology and affective science. The goal of the conference, which will be held at NYU, is to gather some of the greatest minds in the New York City metropolitan area to talk about social and affective neuroscience’s next frontier, as well as the intersection of these areas with social psychology and affective science.

Jon highlighted that an essential element of the conference is that it provides, “an opportunity exclusively for graduate students and post-doctoral trainees to present their research to peers and faculty at multiple institutions. There are numerous national conferences that exist, but these are highly competitive and graduate students and post-doctoral trainees must compete with faculty for talking time. The goal of this conference is to focus on our students and trainees’ development by providing them a unique opportunity to present their latest research and receive feedback from multiple institutions across the region.” He also stated that the small conference grant enabled his team to increase attendance at the conference, and to augment the overall quality of the conference.

Psychology of Architecture Conference

Dr. Sam Gosling was awarded $10,000 towards the Psychology of Architecture Conference, taking place December 4-5, 2016, in Austin, Texas. Psychologists, architects, designers, and policy makers are invited to take part in the conference, which Sam describes as a cross-disciplinary forum for exploring how architecture and psychological processes are connected, how built environments affect people, and how psychology influences physical spaces that people produce and inhabit.

He also stated of the conference, “We are hoping to initiate a dialogue between empirically oriented psychological scientists and architects, who have yet to integrate large-scale empirical research into their practices. At the same time, psychologists have much to learn from the design community about the power of aesthetic and functional design elements on affective and cognitive processes. We hope this conference will start conversations between these two disciplines, with the aim of laying the foundation for cross-disciplinary collaborations.” Sam credits the small conference grant with allowing his team to turn the idea of the conference into reality.

These three very different events all provide opportunities to share research, collaborate, and further our field. If you would like to host your own conference related to personality and social psychology, applications are being accepted until December 1, and two levels of support are available: up to $5,000 and $5,001 to $10,000. 

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