In a nutshell, one of my biggest responsibilities for these couple of months, which is MAPSA, is officially over for good.
How did I get involved?
My assigned tasks were editorials and content development. I enjoy some minuscule reputation for being a passable writer due to my blogging and involvement with MY Psychology, along with doing fairly above average in my psychology degree for a couple of years (psychology subjects are all writing heavy so yeah). Pretty much there are a lot of people out there more suitable for the position, but then I was there at the right place and right time.
Why did I get involved?
I once swore that I would be more focused on my coursework and less on other things that don’t give grades.
Quite a large chunk of this came from being close friends and housemates with some of the bigger players in the project, and my inability to declines things. It’s one of those brain says no but heart says yes kinda scenario. On top of that, I have always wanted to be part of conferences, but I never had research which I was passionate about to want to present in one. This time I get to be directly behind the organizing team and understand the elements needed to make an academic conference work. Last but not least, I had always been curious about the actual state of psychology in Malaysia. What would have been better than being part of a committee for a national level conference?
What did I do?
Initially, my work involved leading a team of writers and editors, which basically had one important role that is to produce content for the social media. The most prominent content are profiles of keynote and plenary speakers. The writers will scout for their information according to a template provided by the editors, which will then be edited and sent to another team to make info-graphics out of.
On top of these, I had three involvements with the conference programs. Firstly, I was tasked with moderating a forum on evolutionary psychology. Then, I had to help my team with the presentation of our mixed method research. Lastly, I had to show some support for my Human Factors group in presenting our usability study and prototype.
I will be commenting on these as a delegate rather than a committee member.
Evolutionary Psychology Forum
Surprise, I didn’t get to speak publicly at all (after preparing for two months T.T). My part was intended to cover the miscellaneous parts of the discussion but the discussion never got to escalate to that part. Either that or that some of the audience may be a little challenging for me to handle: there was a high profile speaker who happened to be the Nottingham University Malaysia Campus’s head of Psychology and our very own psychology and religion lecturer. Even so, I was still kinda salty over not being able to speak after like months of prepping topics and would have attended some of the other ongoing sessions.
Human Factors Presentation
The attendance was pretty bad because very few people saw the connection of human factors to psychology. This is essentially a rehearsal for our in class presentation and allowed us to see the flaws in our preparation. Overall a waste of time for me as I may not even get extra credit, but there are no other sessions ongoing at the same time so I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mixed Method Research on Perspective on ISIS
Will save this for a future rant, but basically what happened was, in my opinion, a terrible piece of research. There is significant amounts of bias in the literature review from due to main citations predominantly consisting of pro-Islam sensationalist news sites, questionable qualitative data collection, a questionable questionnaire (basically one line “what you think of ISIS”, scale from 1 to 4), and lastly, very loose degree of freedom for hypothesis testing. Any learned researcher in psychology could have very easily tore this apart, but luckily for us the audience was passive and we were spared of any inquisitions on our methodology. To be perfectly honest I had no desire to want my name associated with that research, but hey there is 2% bonus credit in it for me. I am going to need loads of that this semester.
Aside from some new friends and a couple of interesting talks, I felt a little disappointed by the schedule and quality of the programs. There are very few sessions that really caught my attention and if there are any they are always scheduled to clash with my other plans. It was a little underwhelming compared to the humanistic-existential psychology conference earlier in the year despite having some of the largest numbers in terms of delegates in Malaysia. That being said, I absolutely enjoyed the two keynotes, R.AGE’s coverage of sexual offenders through social media and Dr. Choy Tsee Leng’s talk on the state of neuroscience and psychology. If I had more proper research, I definitely will give similar conferences another shot!