Last week I attended the 122nd annual conference of the American Psychological Association for the first time. I was glad I did and here are the reasons why:
1) There were so many sessions focusing on creativity! Creativity is such a fringe topic in Cognitive Psychology. It was exhilarating to be in an environment that values the study of creativity.
2) My poster was well attended and I had many interesting discussions about the research (because of point #1)
The title of the poster was “The Songs Stuck in your Head: Conceptual Representation and Use of Thematic Music in Creative Tasks”. Here is a link to the APA 2014 Poster in pdf format. Here is a link to the pdf describing the research discussed in the poster: “APA14_Thematic Music Handout“
The research is a follow up of the research I conducted and reported at the 2012 Cognitive Science conference (Link to the Abstract – CogSci2012_PubAbstract) in which I demonstrated that listening to thematic music (war-themed, and child-themed) activated associated concepts in semantic memory which are then incorporated into a story generation task. The research discussed in the APA poster extends that research by demonstrating that the music theme and the story theme simultaneously influence which activated concepts are chosen to be incorporated into the stories.
3) I met a lot of interesting, friendly people from APA Division 10 (Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts). I plan on attending APA next year in Toronto to maintain these new relationships.
4) I talked one of my Ras into borrowing Google Glass from OU for the trip so I could play with it while I was there and that was a blast too. I want to explore the possibilities of the technology for higher education and this was a perfect opportunity to play with it and see the problems and benefits of this new technology.
4) D.C. has so many museums that are free and (in August at least) are open until 7 so it was possible to visit them after the conference sessions ended at 5.
We visited the Natural History museum (I got to see mummies and dinosaurs) and the top floor of the American History museum (so many wars!) the day before the conference. After the conference the next day, we went to the International Spy museum. All the museums were good but that one was my favorite. I wanted to see the Air and Space museum but was too busy networking, going to sessions and catching up with my advisor (Tom Ward) to do so.
If you are a Cognitive Psychologist/Scientist, I recommend looking through the APA divisions to see if there is a division that taps into your research interests. If so, I think you should try to attend APA at least once in your academic lifetime.