Recently, many of us here at Science of Relationships attended the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual conference in Austin, Texas. Research on close relationships was well represented at the conference, with symposia covering a range of topics, including social support in relationships, social networks, evolution and sexual behavior, attachment, and more. For my part, I had a chance to attend some fascinating talks from researchers who have been tackling some interesting questions across two of my favorite, closely-related research areas - social support (i.e., how people in relationships help each other) and responsiveness (i.e., how a close other’s behavior make us feel understood, cared for, and validated).
Entries in spsp (12)
Our mission at ScienceOfRelationships.com is to share relationship science with as many non-scientists as possible. Over our careers we have found that sharing and discussing research at conferences, such as SPSP, has proved invaluable in preparing us to accomplish this mission. And now we want to give back a little. To this end, we are pleased to announce that ScienceOfRelationships.com will send one student to the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference.
I have attended a lot of academic conferences over the years and I’ve almost always had the same thought after leaving each one: “What would make this conference even better? More sex on the program!” But it turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking this. Several of my colleagues have also noticed that many of our major conferences have a serious lack of sexuality programming, so we got together and decided to take matters into our own hands. The fruit of our labor is the first ever Sexuality Pre-Conference to be held at the 2014 meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).
Each year at SPSP, (mostly) students and faculty line up to present over 1000 posters, which are descriptions of research studies presented on a 3-foot by 4-foot bulletin board. It’s quite a sight. With approximately 300+ presenters telling their scientific stories at any given poster session; these sessions can be a bit overwhelming and hectic to navigate. I slogged through such a poster session last night, and have returned with findings from three posters that I thought were particularly interesting.
An up-and-coming area of relationships research examines “consensual non-monogamy”—the phenomenon in relationships where partners engage (sexually and emotionally) with other people, and that this is a mutually-accepted norm. This symposium featured our own Jennifer Harman and Bjarne Holmes (both ScienceOfRelationships.com contributors).
I’ve kicked off this year’s SPSP in N'awlins by attending the close relationships preconference – an all-day relationship research extravaganza that precedes the official conference. One of my favorite aspects of this event is its signature “data blitz,” in which ten up-and-coming relationship researchers are each given just three minutes (!!!) to quickly tell us about their most exciting, hot-off-the-presses data. Here are some of this year’s highlights:
Dr. Robin Edelstein talked about her research on how power/dominance relates testosterone and “unrestricted” sexual desires. In her talk she cited the recent example of David Petraeus (the former general and CIA chief), who resigned in disgrace after admitting an extra-marital affair. Why do powerful men like Petraeus behave this way? Edelstein’s research showed that when researchers in the lab primed partnered (i.e., not single) men to feel powerful, they had an increase in testosterone levels, and that this change in testosterone was associated with an increase in the desire for more casual sex partners. These increases in testosterone resulting from a powerful status are one biological explanation for why men like Petraeus engage in infidelity.
I kicked off SPSP this year by attending the close relationships pre-conference where Dr. Emily Impett (my mentor) received the Early Career Award. In her award address, Dr. Impett presented research on how we may give up our self-interests to meet our relationship partner’s needs, and when this can be beneficial and when it is may be less ideal.
Greetings from The Big Easy! Many of us at ScienceOfRelationships.com belong to an organization known as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), which is a community of scholars who study all things related to social behavior and individual differences (e.g., morality/religion, self-esteem, aggression, and of course, relationships!). Every year SPSP hosts a conference that unites social and personality scientists worldwide. This year we’re gathering in New Orleans.
Conferences like this one are a great tradition. They provide a time for researchers to come together and share recent projects they’ve been working on as well as new and exciting results/findings, and to learn about cutting-edge methods and ideas. Many of us who write for ScienceOfRelationships.com will be presenting studies from our own labs. The conference also offers a great opportunity to connect with peers in the field who are doing related work and to hang out with old friends or former lab mates who live far away. On top of all that, it’s a chance to explore fun cities that we might not ordinarily get the chance to visit.
We also thought this would be a great opportunity to share some tidbits from the conference with our readers. So, over the next few days, expect to see some brief posts with never-before-seen, fresh-from-the-oven research findings (mmmmmm delicious data…) and some general excerpts from the conference.
We're headed to New Orleans this week for the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) conference. Given the success of our live-blogging at the IARR conference in Chicago last summer, we'll be doing it again at SPSP. Stay tuned for reports on the latest and greatest in relationships research begining this Thursday and continuing through the weekend.
We'll also be receiving the 2012 SPSP Media Award at the conference. Thanks for all your support in making us the best place on the internet to learn about relationships!
If you're also going to be in New Orleans later this week you might want to check out our tips for attending your first conference.