SARMAC XII - Sydney 2017
SARMAC XII took place in beautiful Sydney, Australia. “Good science. Good fun” was the motto for this SARMAC conference. The harbour city location, unique Australian culture, and laid back, relaxed style made SARMAC 2017 an extraordinary experience.
300 attendees from around the world gathered at The University of Sydney. Delegates presented extremely high quality research that stimulated ideas, passionate debate, and future collaborations. With 2 workshops, five keynotes, 22 symposia, a poster session, and hundreds of paper presentations the conference was a huge success!
The first day of SARMAC XII opened with two thought-provoking workshops given by Alex Holcombe and Reece Roberts. Delegates quickly got a sense of the informal, friendly atmosphere as they collected their conference bags and SARMAC monogramed thongs (otherwise known as flip flops for any momentarily shocked Americans). A few delegates kicked off their shoes on the spot, keen to suntan their winter feet in their new SARMAC footwear.
The conference kicked off officially with an Aussie BBQ during which delegates could feast on typical Australian food including sausages, lamingtons, and Vegemite, as well as more exotic dishes including kangaroo and crocodile. Most of the Australian cuisine was a hit but astonishingly, not too many made it back for seconds of the Vegemite. This is one Australian obsession that that many visiting researchers were happy to give a miss!
After the Aussie BBQ, we walked over to the Opening Ceremony where we were greeted by the deep earthy sounds of the didgeridoo. The traditionally dressed Aboriginal performer used his music to share with us a taste of the ancient indigenous storytelling culture. An Aboriginal elder then welcomed SARMAC delegates to traditional lands in the Welcome to Country ceremony. Finally, Helen Paterson and Richard Kemp brought excitement for the week to come with their scenic slideshow and motivational opening remarks.
Following the Opening Ceremony, renowned Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus gave a public lecture on false memory. The talk was brilliantly pitched to academics and laypersons alike. Every seat was taken in the auditorium that fits 500 and the hallways outside were crammed with additional people who were hoping to see the presentation. Elizabeth Loftus’ talk sparked such interest in the audience that finally she had to be whisked away through the back door as the questions at the conclusion of the lecture were never ending!
The second day of the conference started with an outing to the stunning Bondi Beach. Some early risers chose a brisk morning coastal walk or run along the cliffs. Others chose instead to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at a beachfront café. A few even braved the cold Pacific water and jumped in for a quick swim! Needless to say there were quite a few delegates who arrived in time for Richard Bryant’s exceptional keynote talk on intrusive memories with sand between their toes.
The morning was filled with a range of high quality parallel sessions. Lunch time provided an opportunity for students to converse with well-established researchers in their field in the popular ‘Lunch with the Experts’. The afternoon continued with more great talks, followed by a fascinating poster session, in which delegates got to mingle and discuss research in a relaxed, informal setting while enjoying wine and canapés. Although exhausted after such a full day, some of us chose to carry on to Nerd Night, where delegates enjoyed fun and fascinating talks with their wine and pizza dinner.
The third day of the conference opened with Qi Wang’s riveting talk on episodic memory and culturally motivated remembering. Morning parallel sessions offered a variety of intriguing topics. Next, a student caucus meeting and SARMAC board meeting were held during lunch. The afternoon brought more fascinating presentations and concluded with Neil Brewer’s brilliant talk on accuracy of identification decisions, which left us all pondering the limitations of the capacity of accuracy diagnosis.
At the end of the day buses transported eager attendees to the conference dinner, which was held in a beautiful venue in the historic Rocks precinct of Sydney. We enjoyed fresh Australian cuisine in a room themed with decour that reflected the area’s colonial history. The highlight of the night for many was boogying the night away to top 40 hits and especially to Men at Work’s “I Come from the Land of Down Under” on a dancefloor overlooking the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney’s beautiful harbour.
There were a few tired faces on Friday morning but even a late night didn’t hinder numbers for the final day of SARMAC talks! Delegates showed up, coffee in hand, ready for another exciting day of presentations. The two ECR Award speakers, Jason Chan and Andrew Butler, began the morning describing their cutting edge research on memory retrieval and educational interventions. The morning also included many interesting paper sessions. A noteworthy highlight was seeing Ira Hyman deliver his presentation dressed in a professional suit and tie, paired with stylish SARMAC thongs on his feet!
Lunchtime provided an exciting panel of experts from real world settings in a session entitled, ‘From Lab to Real World – In Conversations with Research Partners’. Attendees had the opportunity to hear about possible avenues and needs in research from an applied perspective.
The afternoon continued with the final sessions followed by Maryanne Garry’s thought-provoking keynote address on “The End of Facts.” Maryanne not only offered new insights into how false cognitions form and endure, but also provided much entertainment and many laughs. The conference concluded with the closing ceremony and exciting reveal of the next SARMAC conference: Cape Cod!
After an exhausting, but highly satisfying four days, overseas delegates finally had the opportunity to see some koalas and kangaroos at the Wildlife Zoo. SARMAC XII was certainly a great conference which, without a doubt, will be fondly remembered by all who attended. By far the best thing about SARMAC XII was reconnecting with old SARMAC friends and meeting new ones. It is the SARMAC network that brings so much positive energy from like-minded researchers and makes each SARMAC conference so special. Thank you SARMAC attendees! And thank you to the SARMAC Conference Committees, Governing Board, and all the volunteers who make SARMAC conferences happen every two years. Till we meet again in Cape Cod, for what will no doubt be another spectacular SARMAC Conference!
HELLO, FROM THE GOVERNING BOARD!
We thought a quick note highlighting some of our plans for the year would be useful.
First, as always, we are committed to promoting the work of our members and the role of science in society. As a demonstration of that commitment, we signed on as an official partner, and enthusiastic supporter, of the March for Science. Look out for photos of our members—on our website and Twitter—attending the March around the world! And know that our support will not stop when the March ends on the 22nd of April.
Second, we are also looking to develop some new initiatives, such as sponsoring local meetings of SARMAC members. We’ll be in touch with the details of the proposal soon, but the good news is that some people might not have to wait until June of 2019, and our next meeting in Cape Cod, to see their SARMAC colleagues.
Third, we will be undergoing a revision of our bylaws this year, so there will be lots of work happening behind the scenes as we look to complete that effort by November.
Fourth, on behalf of the board and all members of SARMAC, I'd like to acknowledge and give thanks to Deb Connolly and Heather Price for all the work they did as our membership committee from 2012 - 2016. They came up with many initiatives to help recruit and maintain members for several years.
Finally, if you have any suggestions about what you’d like to see SARMAC offer in the future, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We are happy to get feedback from all of you!
President of the Governing Board
SARMAC Student Caucus
The SARMAC Student Caucus elected a new board in March. Thank you to the outgoing board and welcome to the new leaders!
President: Ella Moeck, Flinders University
Social Chair: Stephanie Cardenas, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Secretary/Treasurer: Camille Weinsheimer; Simon Fraser University
Committee Members: Victoria Bridgland, Flinders University, and David Hengerer, Claremont Graduate University
If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions, contact us through Facebook (www.facebook.com/sarmacstudents), Twitter (@StudentSARMAC), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
March 31, 2017
Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol
Bristol Psychology Professor appointed Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
March 30, 2017
Yee-San Teoh, National Taiwan University
Mental Health Issues Mishandled in 10 Death Penalty Cases in Taiwan
We need your help!
We are looking for good recommendations of science communicators/writers that you’ve worked with from around the world. We’re collating a list of writers who may help the Society to disseminate important and interesting work published in JARMAC to a broad general audience. Please send any suggestions to the Chair of the Publications Committee: Chris Meissner at email@example.com.
A big welcome to our new Publications Committee Members:
Danielle Polage, Newsletter Editor
Associate Professor of Psychology
Central Washington University
How did you get interested in psychology?
I was a math major in college and had planned on pursuing an advanced degree in Mathematics. My junior year I was part of a Math Honors Program in Budapest, Hungary and realized that I was not as interested in or as good in math as I thought I was. I went back to Emory University my senior year not sure what I was going to do after college and took a Cognitive Psychology course. I was hooked. I spent that year doing research in psychology and ended up going to grad school at the University of Washington. I had planned on studying mathematical psychology only to realize I was much more passionate about Elizabeth Loftus' work on false memories. That set the course for my research interests in psychology and law topics.
Who has been most influential in your psych career?
Beth Loftus was by far the most influential. Her energy and drive was contagious. She is so passionate about her work but so willing to help others succeed also. She allowed me the freedom to pursue my own interests yet was there to help me along the way. She introduced me to people I had only read about it journals. Even though it has been years since I was in her lab, I still email her when I need help and she is quick to respond. I don't think I would have survived graduate school had it not been for her. I owe her a huge debt that I hope one day I can repay! Another person who made a huge impact on me was Don Read. He was the journal editor where I submitted my first solo publication. I was terrified to submit having heard the stories of the publication process. He was extremely nice and kind, even when there were problems with my manuscript that needed work. It inspired me to keep trying knowing that I had survived the first reviews, I knew I could do it again. It was so fun interviewing him for a previous newsletter and getting to know more about this amazing guy!
What is your first/best SARMAC conference experience?
One of my first SARMAC conferences was in Kingston, Ontario. I had never been to that part of Canada and love how SARMAC allows me to combine my love of psychology with my love of travel! I remember how friendly everyone was and how I was able to interact with faculty and students at the conference, at dinner and socials. I made many good friends there that I still look forward to seeing at conferences. It made me realize that we are all in this together, trying to share and expand knowledge. It was extremely empowering feeling like I was part of the group and not just someone in the audience. SARMAC makes it so easy to interact with others and allows everyone to feel included. It is a great conference for first timers.
Advice for grad students/young faculty?
My advice is to get those research papers out as soon as you can after you analyze the data. I try to write up as much of the paper as I can other than the results and discussion before I even collect the data. This way I can make sure my hypotheses are grounded in theory and are supported by research. In addition, having the bulk of the paper ready before even starting the project makes the IRB application easier and prevents me from procrastinating on submitting the paper. I personally enjoy the research part and finding out the results, but I get overwhelmed by the writing process. Sometimes the data has sat for so long I have to remind myself of the details of the study and the whole process takes much longer than it should. I also would encourage students to contact professors who are doing work they enjoy, start a relationship early, and travel to as many conferences as you can (especially SARMAC!). Finally, don't compare yourselves to others. I haven't been as productive as I'd like in terms of my research output and sometimes when I see my colleagues' long lists of publications I feel discouraged. I have to remind myself that I have a heavy teaching load, don't have PhD students, and have had at least one kid at home full time for the last 14 years. It doesn't make my vita look anymore impressive, but it does make me realize that my life is full and I am truly blessed.
What are you working on these days?
This year I am on sabbatical and am living in Spain. So, in addition to trying to submit a backlog of papers that I haven't had a chance to work on, I'm also learning Spanish and traveling quite a bit. I continue to work on studies looking at the effects of lying on memory. It is exciting to see this area get some new interest and new research coming out of the topic. I am also interested in fake news. I published a paper on it a few years back but it looks like the time is right to renew interest in this topic :)
Anything about your lab (recruitment plug, etc)
I love working with students! I have undergraduates and masters level graduate students who work on a variety of memory topics. I am always looking to add graduate students who share my interests so if you are one, or know of one, please have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have rolling admissions and accept students throughout the year.
I enjoy being the newsletter editor for SARMAC and hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me! If you have any suggestions for the newsletter please contact me. Remember, this is your organization too!!