SARMAC GOVERNING BOARD ELECTIONS
Get your votes in! Regular (voting) members are encouraged to participate in the biennial election to fill six new terms on the Governing Board of SARMAC. All 2017 Regular SARMAC Members should have received a unique link to a ballot. The winning candidates will serve as Board members starting on January 1st, 2018, for four years until the end of 2021. The polls ARE NOW OPEN and will close Sunday 26 November, 2017 (GMT - British standard time). Thank you for participating in this important activity of the Society.
SAVE THE DATE! SARMAC XIII
JUNE 6-9, 2019
OCEAN EDGE RESORT
BREWSTER, CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
SARMAC REGIONAL MEETING GRANT
The Governing Board was very pleased to receive a number of exciting proposals for SARMAC regional meetings in 2018. We are delighted to announce that the Regional Meetings Committee voted unanimously to fund SARMAC Regional Meeting Down Under – Adelaide, Australia, in 2018. This meeting will be held at Flinders University, and will be led by Dr. Jennifer Beaudry (Swinburne University in Melbourne) in collaboration with Drs. Jim Sauer, Matthew Palmer, Carolyn Semmler, Nathan Weber and Prof Neil Brewer. The event will comprise two days of workshops on computational modeling and Bayesian analyses, and one day of research presentations and discussions. The Governing Board is confident that this meeting will improve the calibre of research produced by SARMAC members, and help to raise the profile of our society. We thank all of the wonderful colleagues who put much thought and time into preparing an application to host a SARMAC regional meeting and certainly hope to expand this funding program in future years.
Veronika V. Nourkova
PhD, DocSci, Professor Department of General Psychology
Lomonosov Moscow State University
How did you get interested in psychology?
Honestly, I don’t think that I had many options. I grew up in a family of psychologists. My parents didn’t force me to become a psychologist, but everything around me was about psychology and University life. My mom was intensively involved in the study of thinking, in particular, the possibility of enhancing creativity by hypnosis, while my dad started with aphasia research then turned to social psychology. When it was time to choose my own area of research I actually had no idea. One day it just popped up in my mind unexpectedly. I became aware that I wanted to study memory; not memory in general, but autobiographical memory. Soon after that I was quite surprised that I couldn’t find this term in a psychological dictionary. In the early 1990s, scientific psychology didn’t seem to be able to answer essential questions about functions of autobiographical memory. Since then, my perspective on autobiographical memory has been guided by the functional approach, i.e. I have been making efforts to understand the impact of autobiographical memory on human self and behavior.
Who has been most influential in your psych career?
Definitely, it has been Prof. Elizabeth Loftus. In 2002, early in my academic career, I won an international contest to go to the United States as a Fulbright researcher. In retrospect, I think joining the Loftus Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle was one of my wisest decisions. Under Dr. Loftus’ careful and very supportive supervision I carried out two studies on memory malleability. But it was even more important to witness Elizabeth’s solid personality and the way she resisted against popular opinions of memory.
What is your first/best SARMAC conference experience?
They say the first is always the most memorable. I attended SARMAC V in Aberdeen in 2003 right after I completed my Fulbright stay in Seattle. I was really impressed by the diversity of theoretical and applied studies presented there and also by the wild beauty of the North Sea. After the Aberdeen experience I marked SARMAC conferences as a must in my schedule and I have never been disappointed.
Advice for grad students/young faculty?
I would like to emphasize three main points from my experience. First, be a healthy skeptic, continually asking oneself “how do we know this?”, “do the empirical data really support theoretical speculation?” and “what might be improved to make the results more informative?”. Second, don’t reduce your expertise to your research topic. Expand your horizons and broaden your outlook on life. Psychology is about human beings living a real life so everything may appear to be relevant. To some degree follow a famous Feierabend’s principle “everything goes!”. And third, keep personal communication with people who work in your field of research. It is almost impossible to detect all controversies of the problem from one point of view. So your professional development to the great extent depends on your skills to make points clear and to disseminate your findings across professional network.
What are you working on these days?
For the last two decades our group has been examining numerous research questions relevant to the development and function of autobiographical memory. Those questions came from considering autobiographical memory as a new mental ability that developed in evolution to establish a culturally specific mode of personality via selection of experiences to be remembered. The first line of our on-going research focuses on the complex reciprocal relationship between self-concept, self-esteem and autobiographical memory. For instance, in one study we demonstrated that the implantation of positive self-defining autobiographical memories in anxious participants increased self-esteem at a long time delay. The second one deals with comparison of autobiographical memory development in ordinary family environment and under specific negative conditions. Namely, we investigate how autobiographical memory develops in people, who were born blind or in people who lost their parents in early childhood. We are also very excited about examining various cultural transformative reminiscence tools and technologies. In this vein we are running projects on digital photography, life-logging technologies, and various reminiscence tools such as drawing of Life Lines.
Anything about your lab
My lab at present is composed of two permanent researchers and four PhD students. In a couple of months we are going to move into a new unit where all lines of research that were mentioned above will be enriched by exploring neural mechanisms of autobiographical memory functioning. Thus, the prospects of our studies are connected to fMRI, EEG/MEG and eye-tracking techniques.
SARMAC STUDENT CAUCUS
On behalf of the Student Executive Board, I am proud to announce the inaugural recipients of the 2017-2019 SARMAC Student Research Grants. This student-led initiative aims to provide funding for students to conduct applied memory and cognition research between now and 2019. I would like to publicly congratulate the four recipients, whose grant proposals demonstrated outstanding innovation, practical and theoretical significance, and feasibility. These students will present their findings at an invited symposium, which will undoubtedly be a feature of the 2019 Cape Cod meeting.
Student Research Grants Recipients:
Danielle Hett, University of Birmingham
Supervisor: Dr. Heather Flowe
Title: Investigating the role of meta awareness in computerised metacognitive training
Hayley Cullen, University of Sydney
Supervisors: Helen Paterson & Celine van Gold
Title: “Put your hands where I can’t see them”: Inattentional blindness for crime in police officers
Tim van der Zee, Leiden University
Supervisors: Yana Weinstein, Wilfried, Admiraal, Fred Paas, Nadira Saab, & Bas Giesbers
Title: Distractingly complex or boringly simple? Effects of video complexity on mind-wandering and learning
Eva Rubinova, University of Portsmouth
Supervisors: James Ost, Hartmut Blank, Ryan Fitzgerald, & Heather Price
Title: Remembering instances of an experienced repeated event: What happens when an instance differs in content or sequence of actions?
To read more about their proposed research, click here .
I would also like to thank and commend all 23 applicants who submitted extremely thoughtful grant proposals. If the caliber of these proposals is anything to go by, the future of applied memory and cognition research is bright!
Finally, I would like to thank the sub-committee of eight senior graduate students who had the hard task of judging these applications. It was a pleasure to work alongside the following students, who generously donated their time:
- Gianni Ribeiro, University of Queensland
- Deanne Green, Flinders University
- Shiri Portnoy, University of Portsmouth
- Rebecca Andrews, Macquarie University
- Andrea Wolfs, Florida International University
- Mevagh Sanson, Waikato University
- Trish Varao, University of British Columbia
- Louise Jupe, University of Portsmouth
Thanks again to all the students involved in this initiative, and to the Executive Board for their unwavering support. Like many of you, I look forward to hearing the research outcomes from these grants in Cape Cod! -Ella Moeck
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).
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