2017 Cross-Cutting Theme Programs

The Many Flavors of Relationships

Friday, May 26 9:00 AM – 11:50 AM Commonwealth

Patrick Davies, University of Rochester
Katherine Jewsbury Conger, University of California, Davis
Shigehiro Oishi, University of Virginia
Belle R. Ragins, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University

People are living alone, working longer, and living to old age more than ever before. These changing demographics raise the importance of understanding the myriad of relationships in which people are embedded. Starting with family connections during early childhood, continuing with the centrality of peers in late childhood and early adulthood, and extending to professional networks in the workplace, this symposium aims to raise the profile of the diversity in relationships across life stages. Davies’s work pinpoints the consequences of parental discord on children, and Conger illuminates the boons and banes of adult sibling relationships. Rubin delves into children’s and teens’ friendships, whereas Oishi focuses on friendship in adulthood. Ragins reviews what underlies high-quality mentoring, and Cohen provides a broad overview of social support and integration. If you’ve ever been curious about the science behind the wide variety of relationships that shape people’s lives, this session is for you.

The Science of Fear: From Basic Psychological Mechanisms to Impact
on Society

Friday, May 26 1:00 PM – 3:55 PM Commonwealth

Daniela Schiller, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Nnamdi Pole, Smith College
Steven L. Neuberg, Arizona State University, Tempe
Linda M. Isbell, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Arie W. Kruglanski, University of Maryland, College Park

During the 21st century, a “culture of fear” has developed in much of the Western world. A primordial response to perceived danger, fear alters our perception of and interaction with the world around us and can be used for social and political manipulation. This cross-cutting theme program considers several aspects of fear: why we experience fear and by what neural mechanisms; how these mechanisms can go awry, as in post-traumatic stress disorder; how fear shapes our cognition, real-world decision making, and interactions with people from ethnic and social outgroups; and the roles of fear in terrorism and our responses to it.

Doing the Most for the Many: Psychological Scientists Who Inform
Public Policies

Saturday, May 27 1:00 PM – 3:55 PM Commonwealth

Ruth B. Balser, Massachusetts Legislature State Representative
Patrick DeLeon, Former President of American Psychological Association
Elana J. Eisman, American Psychological Association
Timothy B. Baker, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Valerie F. Reyna, Cornell University
Elizabeth T. Gershoff, The University of Texas at Austin

Psychological science can impact policy through research that informs policy, advocacy for psychologically aware policies, direct involvement with government officials in creating and evaluating programs, and direct service as an elected official. Experts from a range of areas, including clinical, community, developmental, and social psychology, will discuss their experiences interacting with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state and federal governments. Speakers will include Massachusetts Representative Ruth Balser, who was the first psychologist elected to the Massachusetts Legislature, and Laurence Steinberg, whose research on and amicus brief about adolescent brain development informed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to abolish the juvenile death penalty.