Passion, Dedication, Brilliance: Diverse Voices and Perspectives at the 2023 APS Annual Convention 

Photo above: A highlight of the 2023 APS Annual Convention was the inclusivity spotlight, “Upending Racism in Our Science: Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” featuring Idia Binitie Thurston (Texas A&M University) and moderated by John T. Jost (New York University).

If the 2023 APS Annual Convention were categorized alphabetically, it might break down something like this: Australia to Yemen, for attendees’ home countries; artificial intelligence to trauma, for topics explored; and awards to symposia, for types of presentations. Plus hundreds of other A–to–Z highlights—adversity, biometrics, climate, emotion, forgiveness …. redemption, stress, theory of mind, violence, well-being—that, collectively, demonstrated psychological science’s interdisciplinarity and urgent relevance in society today.  

The convention, May 25–28 in Washington, D.C., attracted more than 2,250 psychological scientists from at least 40 countries and featured dozens of symposia, flash talks, and workshops, along with more than 1,200 poster presentations. Attendees ranged from undergraduate students attending their first-ever professional conference to world-renowned practitioners from academia and industry. 

“Meeting so many passionate, dedicated, & brilliant researchers and clinicians has re-fueled the motivation that academia all too often drains from us,” tweeted attendee Christopher Kleva, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

See a few tweets from the 2023 APS Annual Convention and, follow #aps23dc for hundreds more. 

Discussions of artificial intelligence and drug legalization may have packed the rooms most tightly during the four-day convention. In back-to-back sessions on Chat GPT and computational cognitive science, for example, attendees jockeyed for seats to hear experts from industry and academia discuss advances in machine learning research and the next generation of astonishingly—even alarmingly—powerful artificial intelligence chatbots.  

But by many accounts, including robust conversations exploring diverse disciplines and topics such as methodology and career development, it was psychological science more broadly that made the 35th annual convention the premier event within the field. 

See a slideshow of images from the workshops, plenaries, and symposia. 

How to navigate academia as a BIPOC scholar? How to get published? How to find the right career outside of academia? How to write successful grant applications? Students studying psychological science have questions, and the 2023 APS Annual Convention had answers—along with plenty of opportunities for networking and socializing.  

The APS Student Caucus organized and sponsored a variety of symposia and events with students’ needs in mind. These included seven symposia and a roundtable networking event in which young scholars, many of whom also presented their own research through poster sessions, got to interact with established researchers who work in academia, industry, and private practice. 

As it is every year, the 2023 APS Awards Ceremony was a celebration of excellence—this year, that of 18 individuals whose contributions to psychological science have pioneered new areas of research and yielded important breakthroughs in investigations of human behavior. Attendees, many of whom had worked with and/or learned from the awardees for years, enjoyed breakfast while honoring and hearing from researchers for their lifetime of significant contributions to the field. 

The awards ceremony also honored APS members for their invaluable mentoring of others and, in the case of the Spence Awards, for the tremendous promise they show as early-career contributions. 

There were many other highlights of the 2023 APS Annual Convention, but no scientific conference is complete without poster presentations. This year as at every past convention, the posters (nearly 1,300, in all) represented many young researchers’ first-ever opportunities to share their work with a broad audience. Posters explored the science through a kaleidoscope of perspectives, from identifying ideological sources of anti-elderly attitudes to using computer text analysis to better address trauma to demonstrating how social norms can facilitate helpful (or harmful) behavior more broadly. 

Awards were provided for posters in several categories, and the award-winning researchers were on hand to present their work during the opening reception.  

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2023 APS Annual Convention, or catch up on coverage from APS’s previous two conventions: the 2023 International Convention of Psychological Science (in Brussels), and the 2022 APS Annual Convention (in Chicago). APS’s 36th Annual Convention will be in San Francisco May 23–26, 2024. 

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