News Release| Psychology Department; Cal State L.A.

Western Psychological Association Convention in Los Angeles

Co-hosted by CSULA, four-day conference to explore puppy love, science of sin, workplace bullying, more

Los Angeles, CA -- On topics ranging from mistaken identity to effects of methamphetamine, the Department of Psychology at Cal State L.A. will host the 91st annual Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention April 28-May 1. The conference, which is also co-hosted by CSU Pomona, is designed to provide a forum for the exchange of research and ideas.

Pictured: (l-r) CSULA Psychology Professors Brigitte Matthies, Gaithri Fernando and Heidi Riggio.Pictured: (l-r) CSULA Psychology Professors Brigitte Matthies, Gaithri Fernando and Heidi Riggio, who are co-chairs of the 2011 WPA Convention.

More than 1,700 from 200 colleges, universities and healthcare centers have registered to attend the 2011 WPA convention, which will be held at the Wilshire Grand hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The four-day forum will feature numerous symposiums, paper sessions, poster presentations, and special workshops and panels covering a variety of subject matters, including sexual attraction, science of sin, neuroscience of magic, homeless young people, workplace bullying, puppy love, and more.

As part of the conference, a special symposium cosponsored by Cal State L.A., the Innocence Project, and the L.A. County Bar Association will focus on “Mistaken Identifications and False Confessions.” Mitch Eisen of the Psychology department at CSULA is coordinating this symposium that highlights the great fallibility of human memory and the tragic legal consequences that may result from such memory flaws.

The following are presentations by CSULA psychology faculty members:

Alicia Izquierdo will discuss “Methamphetamine Effects on Cognitive Flexibility: Implications for Abstinence and Relapse.” A special emphasis will be placed on how this research may increase our ability to identify therapeutic targets to ameliorate the poor decision making arising from methamphetamine abuse and help addicts remain abstinent.

Henry D. Schlinger, Jr. will speak on “What ‘Clever Hans’ Can Teach Us about Miracle Autism Cures and the Importance of the Scientific Method”—a critique on quick fixes and the seduction of the scientific community and funding agencies by therapeutic treatment methods that are too good to be true.

Gaithri Fernando will present “Intimate Partner Violence: A Global Mental Health Priority?”—which addresses issues around violence against women around the world and makes an urgent call to researchers and practitioners to make ending intimate partner violence a global mental health priority.

Culminating on Sunday, the convention will also feature a panel, “The Psychology Student’s Survival Guide,” which is aimed toward undergraduate and graduate students as well as beginning teachers who are learning about advising psychology students. Panelists include Professors Heidi R. Riggio (CSULA), Brigitte Matthies (CSULA), Dale E. Berger (Claremont Graduate University), and Bernardo J. Carducci (Indiana University Southeast).

Riggio, who is co-chairing the WPA Convention with Fernando and Matthies, said, “WPA is the largest American regional association of psychologists. Many California State Universities have hosted WPA over the years but this is the first time at CSULA. WPA is a very student-friendly conference, and many of our psychology majors and graduate students will be volunteering, participating, and/or attending the conference this year.”

For additional highlights of the WPA convention, go to

The Western Psychological Association was founded in 1921 for the purpose of stimulating the exchange of scientific and professional ideas among students, professors and practitioners of psychology and, to enhance interest in the processes of research and scholarship in the behavioral sciences.

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