Presidential Column

A Perfect Wave

Like the San Diego surf, the fourth annual APS convention in San Diego has come and gone, leaving behind traces of nearly perfect waves of scientific information in addition to fond memories shared by many. Nearly 2,000 members and others registered to enjoy the three-day feast of lectures, symposia, and posters presenting the best of psychological science. And what a great feast it was — served up by the APS program Committee consisting of Tom Nelson (Chair), Judy DeLoache, Andy Baum, Paul Gold, and Gene Stone (Posters Chair). Attendees had the luxury of choosing from over 60 speaker sessions covering most major topics in the behavioral sciences.

Smooth Sailing

Every day-time hour of the convention provided one or more invited addresses or symposia. There were 21 major invited addresses, with three followed by invited commentaries. The convention opened with a classic experimental psychology keynote address by William K. Estes and featured an entertaining and educational Bring-the­Family address by Judith Dunn. In addition, 34 symposia were spread across three days covering topics ranging from brain mechanisms in human memory through cognitive aging and occupational stress to chaos theory and models of text comprehension.

The President’s Invited Symposium on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) featured speakers who were renowned clinical researchers of psychopathology. One of the papers on PTSD and one on people’s formation of political views were headlined in articles in USA Today on June 22 and 23.

Over 400 research presentations were offered as posters in the large exhibit hall. The poster sessions included a session-organized by Jane Steinberg (National Institute of Mental Health) of 16 federal agencies describing their programs that provide funding opportunities for behavioral science researchers. Both the poster sessions and the commercial exhibits were well attended.

High C’s

The daily scientific waves were capped off by receptions at the end of each day’s sessions outside the hotel on the Lanai Terrace overlooking the San Diego Bay and Yacht harbor — a most gorgeous setting. The final night featured a dessert party and dance with great music provided by the Synaptic Plasticity Jazz Band whose distinguished members (four APS stalwarts: Jim McGaugh, Michael Gabriel, Len Jarrard, and Aryeh Routtenberg) earlier had presented, appropriately, a scientific symposium, “The Orchestration of Memory: Systems, Synapses, and Substrates.”

At the convention business meeting, we were happy to announce APS membership has now passed the 14,000 mark, the Society is out of deficit and gaining financial health (although not running a surplus), and the Board of Directors commended the APS staff and extended for five years the contract of Executive Director, Alan Kraut. Alan has done extremely well in his job for the past three years. The five-year contract is the Board’s vote of confidence in his ability to guide the future of APS, providing more services for our members and strong advocacy for our behavioral science agenda in Washington.

Next year’s convention will be held June 26-28 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Chicago, Illinois. Andrew Baum has agreed to serve as chair of the convention Program Committee. Suggestions you have for invited speakers and symposia should be submitted in the next few months to Andy at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Rd., Medical Psychology Dept., Bethesda, MD 20814.

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