Food for thought Why do people crave chocolate? How did humans develop a preference for an innately offensive taste, like hot peppers? Why do they prefer “natural” things? What’s the link between our food preferences and our sense of morality — why do we think of some foods as “good” and others as “bad”? These are among the questions Paul Rozin, PhD, will address in his convention plenary talk. Rozin is perhaps best known for his early work on disgust and contagion. In one classic study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1986, he found that after watching an experimenter dunk a sterilized cockroach in a glass of juice, most people wouldn’t even consider drinking the juice, though they knew that there was no risk of disease. Over the decades, Rozin’s focus has expanded to encompass the interplay of food, culture and morality, and what we can learn about a culture from studying its relationship with food. In one recent study, for example, he xplored the fact that no synonym for the word “craving” exists in many languages, suggesting that the concept of “craving” food may be less relevant outside North America (Addictive Behaviors, 2010). “My general interest is in how people relate to food, taking into account biological, cultural and psychological perspectives,” he says. Rozin
When most people think about retirement, they only
consider the state of their financial portfolio — whether they
have enough money to stop working.
But just as important, says Nancy
Schlossberg, EdD, is contemplating
what she calls one’s “psychological
portfolio” — whether you are
psychologically equipped to retire.
“Retirement is a career change
requiring you to figure out a new life,”
she says. “The excitement of finding
a new path — either paid or unpaid
— and strengthening your psychological portfolio provides
possibilities to live out alternative dreams.”
In her plenary address for psychologists of all ages,
“I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair: New Adventures in
Retirement,” Schlossberg will discuss how retirement
choices can change one’s sense of identity, as well as one’s
relationships, support systems and overall sense of purpose.
“This is important for everyone,” say Schlossberg.
“Psychologists are in a position to help others who are
The past, present and future
of multiple intelligences
In 1983, Howard Gardner, PhD,
made a fateful choice. While
proposing that people’s abilities
might be divided up into seven
different spheres — linguistic,
interpersonal and intrapersonal
— the Harvard professor decided
to call these categories “intelligences” rather than,
say, “talents.” In his plenary talk, “The Theory of
Multiple Intelligences: Reflections on the First Thirty
Years, Speculations About Future Developments,”
Gardner will discuss how he came to make this
linguistic gamble, and why it raised the ire of IQ
test designers while sparking the imagination of
“Educators are much less wedded to disciplinary
standards of evidence and acceptability,” he says.
Since then, teachers, museum educators and even
theme-park designers have applied Gardner’s ideas,
while mainstream academic psychologists have been
reluctant to pick them up — perhaps because Gardner
refuses to translate his theory into a set of easily
administered aptitude tests. “I’m reluctant to create a
new kind of straitjacket,” he says.
In recent years, Gardner has turned his attention to
people who have meaningful, engaging, high-quality
careers. He and his colleagues have been conducting
in-depth interviews with more than 1,200 people who
have sought to find such work despite challenging
economic conditions. So far, they’ve found that many
people would like to do meaningful work that makes
a contribution to society, but they feel economic and
social pressure to “sell out,” or seek material gain at
the expense of their own values.
The goal of the Good Work Project
( goodworkproject.org), says Gardner, is to
identify ways educators can reinforce people’s
inherent drive to do good, while also pressing for
regulations or other social change to ease their
way. It’s a step away from the research that made
him famous, but it’s still about helping people
capitalize on their strengths.
“We don’t need more people of high intelligence
or multiple intelligences, we need people who will
use their intelligences for positive ends,” he says.