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Campus hosting psychology conference Oct. 9-10

Posted 09/29/15

The Fitchburg State University campus will host the combined annual meeting of the New England Psychological Association (NEPA) and the Northeast Conference for Teachers of Psychology on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10.

The event will include symposia, poster sessions and paper presentations on a variety of topics in the field. The conference brings together hundreds of professionals each year and provides a meaningful scholarly experience for Fitchburg State’s students.

Conference organizers include Professor Peter Hogan of Fitchburg State’s Psychological Science Department. Registration for the conference is free for Fitchburg State faculty and students. Attendees are asked to contact Brenda Coleman at to reserve a space.

Special presentations include a talk by Loreto R. Prieto of Iowa State University at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9 in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. “Right Next Door but Worlds Apart: Demographic Diversity and the University Campus” explores how the culture of academia and culturally diverse students can meet halfway in terms of understanding each other’s needs so that both groups can achieve success. Prieto is a leading researcher into Latino/a issues and the interface of psychology pedagogy and cultural diversity.

Michael Amico of Housatonic Community College will present the NEPA Presidential Address, “Social Creatures: The Connection between Personal Relationships and their Impact on Functioning on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11:20 a.m. in Ellis White Lecture Hall. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? How does the individual impact those around them? Over the years research has examined the ways our relationships with others influences everything from risk-taking behaviors to mate selection. As decades have passed, the media and society have often emphasized certain variables as being more important to long-term survival and thus more thus more relevant to human interconnections than others. The factors that have fluctuated by generation in terms of the influence others have our relationships have included weight, religion, politics, as well as fatherlessness. This talk will examine some of the research Amico has done on these topics and their overall implication in our relationship with others.

Bernard C. Beins of Ithaca College will present “I Think, Therefore I Am a Psychology Major: Psychology and Critical Thinking” on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12:40 p.m. in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall. In this presentation, Beins will show how psychology is useful to students for understanding the world as we use data to create facts, then recognize what facts really are (and aren't), how we assemble facts into theories, and why we should be cautious at every step along the way.

Marissa Harrison of Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg will present the Psi Chi Keynote Address on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. in Ellis White, with “The Means, Motives and Makings of Female Serial Killers.” Research on serial homicide focuses heavily on male serial killers. Harrison’s research team examined the means, motives, and mental health of female serial killers who committed their crimes in the U.S. since 1821. Using mass media reports, the team compiled data on 64 female serial killers, and in her talk she will share the team’s results, provide interpretation of the “typical” female serial killer, offer evolutionary psychological and clinical interpretations of their crimes, and discuss future directions for research.

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Other speakers and topics include:

  • Laura Flashman of Dartmouth University who specializes in the neuropsychology of schizophrenia.
  • Eric Landrum of Boise State University, a leader in psychology undergraduate education.
  • Marissa Harrison from Pennsylvania State University, who will speak on the evolutionary origins of sexuality.
  • Kathy Pasek of Temple University, who will address early language development.

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