How to Attend a Convention
Convention Registration. Psi Beta students can join psychological associations at a special rate and pre-register for their regional or national conventions. Members benefit by receiving newsletters and paying less for registration. Soon after arriving at the convention, go to the registration desk to pick up your identification badge and convention packet. The badge allows you to attend all activities, visit the exhibit hall, and ride the convention shuttle if one is provided.
Convention Program. The program lists and briefly describes every activity. It is organized into several sections. The opening section includes announcements and special events, hosts, and convention policies among other information. The body of the program lists the events by day, hour, and location. Each entry contains the title of the activity and presentation, plus the name and affiliation of the presenters. The appendix contains an alphabetical listing of every presenter and a listing of programs by subject. Programs usually contain a summary chart of presentations as well as a map of the convention floor(s).
Invited Addresses. Prominent psychologists are “invited” to present papers on the latest research findings and theoretical ideas. You, however, do not have to be invited to attend the address.
Poster Session. Numerous presenters display the highlights of their research studies, including charts and tables, mounted on bulletin boards arranged in rows. Presenters stand by their posters as attendees stroll along the rows, reading the posters and discussing them with the authors. These researchers will have copies of their papers available.
Invited Symposia. Several authorities in a research area of psychological interest present a brief paper or short lecture. After the presentations, they discuss the issues involved by commenting and critically evaluating each other’s papers. The chair invites comments and questions from the audience. This can be a lively session.
Paper Reading Session. A chairperson introduces several presenters who present short lectures covering their research. Following the presentations, the audience may ask questions. Most of the material is technical and assumes some knowledge of the subject matter.
Exhibitors. A large hall is set aside for publishers and equipment vendors to display their books and supplies. You can place orders and sometimes purchase the products on the last day of the exhibit.
Film Festival. Videos dealing with topics of interest to psychologists are presented in a special viewing room.
Special Events. Special events and social hours are held by various divisions and other professional groups in conjunction with the convention. These are listed in the convention program.
Dress. There is no formal dress code; however, it is expected that everyone will dress in professionally appropriate clothing. Comfortable shoes will make the day more enjoyable!
Planning a Personal Schedule. Go through the convention program and highlight the presentations you are interested in attending. Then make a day-by-day schedule of the times and rooms of these presentations. Do not hesitate to mark several simultaneous presentations. If you cannot make up your mind, list all of them. Then, if you are dissatisfied with your first choice, you may leave the session and go to your next choice. You are free to enter or leave any session at any time, but as unobtrusively as possible.
Copied from the Spring 1998 Psi Beta Newsletter, Volume 18, Number 2, page 6.