A message from Division 6 President Mauricio R. Papini

The new Division 6 President encourages your participation in the division programs at the upcoming 2012 APA Convention

By Mauricio R. Papini, PhD

The APA Convention: It’s not what you think it is.

I heard often from APA Division 6 members that the APA Convention does not have enough to justify attending. And I have agreed with this opinion in the past, but I believe the situation may be changing with the pervasive influence of neuroscience in psychology. This is the reason I borrowed the subtitle from Bob Rescorla’s (1988, Amer Psychol, 43, 151-160) influential article, a paper that helped many changed their view of Pavlovian conditioning.

Now that I am in charge of planning the 2012 program for Division 6 (together with Victoria Chamizo, Division 6 program chair), it seemed appropriate to give you an advance notice that might help change your mind about attending the next APA Convention. You’ll find a very incomplete list of talks that I thought would be of interest to Division 6 members, just to give you an idea for what went on at the Washington, DC convention, this past August.

Why should you pay attention to APA? There are a number of reasons, including impressive advocacy for animal research, tradition, and connection to applied fields (mostly clinical psychology issues) that often figure prominently in the justification of our own research in grant proposals and papers. I would like to emphasize yet another one that I think is of major importance: connection to our colleagues.

Most of us work in Psychology Departments and I am sure some (if not most) have struggled when the time comes to hire somebody doing research with non-human animals, in discussions of budget allocation for animal research, or in talks on curriculum changes for graduate and undergraduate programs. There are many reasons for this situation, but one of them is our relative disconnect with colleagues in our own departments of psychology. Attending meetings such as those of the Society for Neuroscience or the Animal Behavior Society, to name two popular ones, would not do the job because our colleagues do not attend them. I believe a strong presence of research with non-human animals in the APA Convention will help preserve and expand the role of research with non -human animals in psychology departments.
Please do not discard the 2012 APA Convention as a potential meeting to attend next year. We are teaming with Division 3 (Experimental Psychology; President: Karen Hollis, Program Chair: Nancy Dess) to come up with a combined program. We are also asking all in attendance that independently of their talks submit posters to the convention so as to have a really strong poster presence. We also plan to disseminate information about the program of other potentially relevant divisions.

I hope to see you all at the 2012 APA Convention (August 2-5, 2012, in Orlando, Florida).