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AAAS Annual Meeting: A Banner Year for Psychology

February 24, 2022 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, titled Empower with Evidence, was conducted virtually on February 17-20, and featured an exceptional array of scientific topics, including public health, science communications, STEM education, science policy, the social and behavioral sciences, linguistics, and more.  

The meeting kicked off with the “Empower with Evidence” Presidential Address by Susan Amara, scientific director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health and fellow of AAAS. 

“There’s a real need to expand scientific communication efforts (such as in AAAS) to provide clear, accurate information to different groups in and through different media. Equipping scientists with strategies for communicating to policymakers, the public, and advocacy groups the ways that evidence-based research can help them make good decisions. Training scientists to effectively communicate findings, respond to questions, and counteract distortions of facts also facilitates our efforts to reduce misinformation.” 

Susan Amara, Professor of Neuroscience and Scientific Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

The Presidential Address also highlighted the successful science communication efforts in the past few years by AAAS fellows Alan Alda, who is interested in sharing research-based best practices with the broader community, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of FactCheck.org, who maintains long-standing experience in strategies to blunt the spread of misinformation. 

The John P. McGovern Award Lecture in the Behavioral Sciences, “Eyewitness Memory is Reliable, But the Criminal Justice System is Not,” was delivered by John Wixted, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at University of California, San Diego. He earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is being recognized for his outstanding research contributions on understanding the mechanisms of human memory, focusing on the neuroscience of memory and amnesia, signal-detection analyses of recognition memory, and eyewitness memory.  

The AAAS meeting covers the full breadth of science. This year, FABBS was pleased to see numerous symposia featuring our disciplines. We also noted the large number of AAAS fellows from our sciences. 

Congratulations to the new fellows inducted: 

  • James “Jim” R. Pomerantz, Rice University, Past FABBS Council Member 
  • Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon, Past President of the Society for Judgment and Decision (a FABBS member society) and featured speaker at the 2021 FABBS Annual Meeting 

2022 Symposium featured connections with Psychology: 

In recognition of continuing leadership, congratulations to: 

  • Francis Gabbay, FABBS Board Member and Past Council Representative for Society for Psychophysiological Research 
  • Jim Pomerantz 

Barbara Spellman, Secretary of Psychology at AAAS, was also a featured speaker at the meeting. See FABBS interview with Spellman on Why You Should Join AAAS

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