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   SPSSI Programming at the 120th APA
   Annual Convention in Orlando

   Justin Hackett and Sean Massey, Co-Chairs

In addition to our own biennial convention, each year SPSSI—in its role as Division 9 of the American Psychological Association (APA)—sponsors various programs and sessions of interest to our members at the APA Annual Convention.

We are excited about Division 9’s Program at APA this year! The theme of the program, Research and Policymaking: Making the Most of our Efforts, addresses one of SPSSI’s core goals: To bring empirically sound research findings to bear on public policy. 

The relationship between research and public policy to be highlighted at the APA convention was conceptualized across three thematic questions: (1) How can research be designed to maximize its effect on public policy? (2) How can researchers increase the usefulness of—and better communicate—their findings to address social issues at the local and national governmental level? (3) What tools can researchers use to improve their communication of science findings with the public in general?  We received many excellent proposals this year. As a result, we put together a program filled with symposia, paper and poster sessions, conversation and social hours, as well as two keynote speakers. All told, we have an interesting and informative schedule set for you. 

A number of symposia address a diverse range of issues, including a neighborhood research and intervention project in upstate New York; psychology’s role in promoting social change;  experiences of infertility among racial and ethnic minorities; relational and sexual development across the life span; LGBT parenting activism in psychology; policymakers and justice; and the ecologies of knowing. Don’t miss the four paper sessions on the schedule. Here you can hear about the latest research covering issues of homelessness, housing services for veterans, a review of mental health policies, bullying legislation, bullying amongst Pakistani college students, and the role of emotional intelligence in managing stress. For more research presentations, check out the SPSSI-sponsored poster session.

Along with listening to these exciting research programs and presentations, be sure to join in on at least one of the four conversation hours planned. These conversations hours will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability, a biennial recap, policymaking, and a senior scholar roundtable discussing what does and does not work when trying to influence public policy. More informal discussions are waiting to be had at the joint social hour with Division 8 (SPSP).

Our two excellent keynote speakers are Dr. Susan Saegert (Vanderbilt) and Chris Mooney (The Center of American Progress). Dr. Saegert will discuss her work on housing issues, while Mr. Mooney will speak about the importance of psychological research for society.

Finally, we are pleased that SPSSI will also participate in the Divisions of Social Justice symposium, Psychology and Human Rights: Issues and Future Directions. Talks will address who cares about human rights, human rights in an international perspective, professional ethics and human rights, and the APA Central Office Human Rights Initiatives.

This is going to be a great conference. We hope to see you in Orlando!

- Justin D. Hackett & Sean Massey
APA Div 9 Program Co-Chairs,


The 2012 APA Convention will take place on 2-5 August at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. For more information on SPSSI programming, see the program summary sheet here: For more details and to register for the APA Convention, check the APA convention website here:

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