Beyond a Personal Journey to Peace Psychology


Violet Cheung-Blunden

Introduction of SEC chair

An emotional theme reined my professional life in the year of 2002. As a doctoral student with a specialization in emotions, I listened to lectures on appraisal antecedents, facial expressions and cortisol levels. When I stepped outside of classrooms, I was bombarded with visceral crowds demonstrating against (and sometime for) the Afghanistan war. For a good part of the year, the abstract lectures and the real world remained disconnected. When I made the connection on my own by conducting several studies on public sentiments in the aftermath of 9/11, my applied research proved a misfit with the basic research that dominated the agenda of most of my R01 professors. With over 500 data points in hand and little support from my program, my work needed an intellectual home.

Division 48 fulfilled this need. I presented and published my findings on the mass emotions that propelled the U.S. to war post 9/11. Besides emotion processes, my graduate training also covered the flip side of the coin, self-control. Again, I took the concept out of the ivory tower and advocated self-control as a pathway to peace. The wisdom of exercising self-control in interpersonal settings is particularly useful to reference and a similar approach in intergroup relations is warranted. Today, I focus on a new domain of conflict in terms of cyber threats and identified anxiety as the main emotional determinant of American cyber policies.

My gratitude to the division motivated me to chair the student and early career section (SEC). But to assume that other SEC members have the same need from the division as I did is an ill-timed complacency for the current state of membership at APA. To inquire into the needs of SEC members, a survey was sent earlier this year and several unexpected results were obtained – a higher researcher to practitioner ratio, a keen interest in cultural diversity and a need for assistance in professional development (Davis & Cheung-Blunden, present issue).

A Program Initiative

The data here, albeit tentative, should be listened to, as my professors used to say. In order to respond to the general need in professional development and the specific publication need of a researcher, I planted the seed for a Reviewer Exchange Program. After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the leadership team and also from the attendees of this year’s APA convention, the program was put in motion in the summer of 2014. In a bird’s eye view, it is a mentorship program with a twist, aiming to build a collegial environment which reduces publication stress and promises future collaboration (see Cheung–Blunden in present issue for program details).

Please join us regardless of your seniority. You may serve as a mentor (who will only review without submitting any manuscripts) or as an equal partner (who has manuscripts for others to review but also serves as a reviewer). There is enough flexibility in the program to accommodate various degrees of involvement and skill levels. To sign up, please type the url below in any browser (Explorer, Firefox etc.) and fill out your basic information in a three-minute survey. One of my tasks is to track individuals who review for each other and identify possible research collaboration opportunities as they arise.

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