Psychology Happenings in Singapore 2014 (and 2015 too!!)

This is a list of the psychology-related events that were held in 2014.  Make sure you stay tuned to the Conferences and Events page and the Facebook Page to keep yourself updated about the latest events and happenings!!!  The below events are written in chronological order.

February:  3rd Annual International Conference on Cognitive and Behavioural Psychology
This is an annual conference that is held in Singapore.  The accepted papers are available here.  For the 2015 event, the early bird registration ends on 29 December 2014, so better register now!

March:  NTUxSIM Psychology Societies Spring Talks 2014
Held at NTU, this is the first collaboration between NTU and SIM Psychology societies conducting a talk together.  It was a one-day event, featuring a talk on Emotional Intelligence (by Jeffrey Williams) and a Career talk (by Dr Joy Low and Steven Tan).  Photos are available from the SIM Psychology Society Facebook Page!

March:  SPS Annual General Meeting
The 2014 Singapore Psychological Society Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at Rendezvous Grand Hotel, with two pre-AGM talks.
Topic: - "Is positive psychology too "positive" for Asians? International and local evidence for behavioral vaccines" by Dr Albert K. Liau
Topic: -"How can we learn from errors and mistakes - A contribution to applied psychology" by Prof. Michael Frese

April:  Brain-Based Therapy workshop by Dr John Arden
This workshop is organised by Singapore Psychological Society and aims to train participants in the use of brain-based psychotherapy to enhance outcomes with a variety of client populations.  This was a very rare event with such a prestigious and highly regarded trainer happening in Singapore!  Hope this happens more in Singapore!

May:  2014 Asian Congress of Applied Psychology (ACAP2014)
This conference was organised by Asia Pacific International Academy (APIA), a subsidiary of Aventis School of Management.  Being the first time it is being organised, it holds good prospects for an event that could be held annually.

September:  Well-Being in Singapore - Current Developments and Implications
This event was organised by the School of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS) at SIM University.  This biannual series serves as an opportunity for an open exchange on well-being with academics and practitioners from the fields of psychology, sociology, communication and related social sciences, with a bigger aim to help develop policies and practices that improve the well-being of all in Singapore.

October:  SIM PsychWeek
This was a successful week of talks from different fields of psychology, organised by the SIM Psychology Society.  I believe those who attended the talks benefited a lot from them!!  Hope this could be a successful tradition and event held in SIM every year!!

October:  Singapore Mental Health Conference (SMHC) 2014
Theme: “Mental Health and Resilience – It Takes a Whole Community”.
This was the second time this conference was held, with the aim to promote discussion to create a holistic care model to better support persons suffering from mental health problems and their caregivers.  This year, SMHC 2014 is held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day, which falls on 10 October.

November:  Is that a Psychologist in your Pocket? The Use of Smartphone Apps and Web Based Applications in Psychology
A full day workshop by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg organised by United World College Southeast Asia (UWCSEA).  Please see link for more details.

December:  20th APECA Biennial Conference-Workshop
Held in National Institute of Education, Singapore.

TMC Academy talks:
February: Ms Clare Yeo - "The role of the psychologist: How to thrive in the 21th century" Poster with Photos
September: Choo KahYing - "Recovering from Manic Depression - An uplifiting story" (Photos)
October:  Dr Julia Lam - Forensic Psychology talk  (organised with Singapore Psychological Society)

Events in 2015:
January:  2015 International Conference on Society, Psychology and Education (ICSPE)
February:  Asia-Pacific Symposium on Motivational Interviewing
February:  4th Annual International Conference on Cognitive and Behavioural Psychology (CBP 2015)
March:  5th ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies (ARUPS) Congress
March:  2015 International Conference on Management and Behavioral Sciences (ICMBS 2015)
May:  2015 Asian Congress of Applied Psychology (ACAP)
October:  Regional Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health

Do make sure you stay tuned to the Conferences and Events page and the Facebook Page to keep yourself updated about the latest events and happenings!!!

SGPsychStud: Top 10 and Bottom 10 of 2014 Posts

It's almost the end of the year of 2014.  I have decided to collate the results for 2014.  This has been a really busy year for me.  After overloading myself with teaching assignments (more than I can handle) for the first quarter, I took up a full-time teaching position since April 2014.  This keep me really busy every month, which I nearly could not fulfill my promises of coming up with 2 posts a month.
To date, there is a total of 31 posts, including 5 invited posts, 4 from Miss Psychobabble and 1 about neurotransmitters by Dr V.  With a total pageview count of more than 54,700 for the whole year, this worked out to be more than 4560 pageviews per month!! Thank you everyone!! 

Let's have a look at the top 10 and bottom 10 posts of 2014.  The rankings are based on the total views on each of the respective posts, from the dates they are posted till today (24th December 2014).

Top 10 posts of 2014:
  1. Updated: Comparison of Bachelor Degree programs in Singapore
  2. Pathway for Singapore Psychology Education
  3. Statistics Made Easy 3: Relationships or Differences?
  4. Stereotypes vs Reality: Psychology Major
  5. Why the internship/volunteering plan did not work
  6. SGPsychStud's reflections: Getting a psychological-related career in Singapore
  7. 2014 Update: Academic requirements for local psychology degrees
  8. The Mysterious Neurotransmitters
  9. What we need NOW in Singapore psychological education and training system
  10. Psychological Burnout: How does it feel like?
Bottom 10 posts of 2014:  (1 being most viewed and 10 being the least viewed)
  1. Miss Psychobabble: Positive Psychology - How to Live a Healthier and Happier Life
  2. Accreditation of programs and Registration of psychologists
  3. SGPsychStud's Guide to Exploring SG Psych Stuff
  4. SGPsychStud's Reflections: Experiencing Loss
  5. Miss Psychobabble: Busting the Myths of Counseling
  6. Miss Psychobabble: Facebook Addiction - When logging out is the hardest thing to do
  7. Jack of all trades or Master of one?
  8. The scientist-practitioner model: What it is, the importance and its issues
  9. Fear and Hope in Life
  10. Statistics Made Easy 4: Types of Data
Similar to last year, most readers of my blog are interested in posts pertaining to psychological education and training in Singapore.  The most interesting thing was that the Number 1 post (Updated: Comparison of Bachelor Degree programs in Singapore with over 1400 views) was viewed more than three times of the Number 2 post (Pathway for Singapore Psychology Education with over 400 views).  I hope that these posts have truly helped students who are planning to study psychology or currently studying psychology now.
Despite the bottom 10 in their current position, I believe this is because they are all the most recent posts, with 9 of them posted in the last three months.  Time will make up the difference.  How do I know?  Look at the bottom post (Statistics Made Easy 4) and the Number 3 post (Statistics Made Easy 3).  They are on the same topic of statistics and highly related, hence I believe the numbers will increase with time.
Be sure to read the Bottom 10 posts as well, as some of them are really good and will also help in your psychological journey!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance!!!  Happy Holidays!!!

The scientist-practitioner model: What it is, the importance and its issues

What is the scientist-practitioner model?  I think I already have discussed this in previous posts over the last three years (2011/2012/2013).  There are some really good articles (see reference links below) regarding this topic.

The scientist-practitioner model:
According to Shapiro (2002), the model is of a psychologist practicing as a scientist and clinician at the same time.  The psychologist is to use psychological therapies and methods that have been validated and proven to be effective.  On the other hand, he must also do research through applying scientific research methods and principles, to test out the efficiency of existing therapies and treatments or to understand the psychological theories and mental health issues and disorders.  With the research and practice of validated psychological methods and theories existing at the same time, this is the true display of the scientist-practitioner model.  This is also the reason for why we must take so many modules related to psychological practice and research in university.    

It is important that we have such a model in psychology, as we need to constantly evaluate our methods and theories.  This way, we can make sure that the theories and psychotherapies that we are using are fully validated and tested to be practical for this modern era.   



Why do we need to criticise what we already know? Can't we take it for granted?
In order for psychology to be recognised as "science" and our theories and psychotherapies to be of "scientific value", we must make sure that they can be tested and proven through various levels of testing.  What we know from our textbooks and research articles have also gone through the same scientific testing by the various researchers and psychologists, and that is the only way the field of psychology can grow and improve.  For the continuation of learning and growth in the psychological field, we just have to continue our research and practice our therapies with validated methods.   

Issues with the scientist-practitioner model
Though we know that the scientist-practitioner model is being used in the psychological field, Barlow, Hayes and Nelson (1984, as cited in Dick, 1996) found that:
  • Research paradigms are inadequate for researching psychological issues.
  • The training does not result in practitioners doing research.
  • Practitioners do not even make much use of research findings.
  • Research has little influence on practice
This indicated a lack of connection between the sides of  the researcher and practitioner.  What was found was that students were probably trained more in the practitioner side, rather than the researcher side, which resulted in less people doing researches and less people applying the findings from research.  This indicated that we (students, psychology lecturers, researchers, psychologists, etc.) probably need to try to connect these both sides as much as possible.  

Hence, to improve this situation,  a similar recommendation have been provided by Dick (1996), Lowman (2012), and Shapiro (2002).  The recommendation is to integrate the science of psychology with the practice of psychotherapy, both conceptually and operationally.  This can be done by having research that are driven by and applicable to practice, and have clinical practice that is highly supported by quality research.  In this way, we can then sustain the scientific rigour of psychological research and practice.

References
Dick, B. (1996). Is it time to revise the scientist-practitioner model? An unpublished discussion
paper. Retrieved from http://www.aral.com.au/DLitt/DLitt_P14scip.pdf
Lowman, R. L. (2012). The scientist-practitioner consulting psychologist. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63(4), 151-156. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/cpb-64-3-151.pdf
Shapiro, D. (2002). Renewing the scientist-practitioner model. The Psychologist, 15(5), 232-234. Retrieved from https://www.uvm.edu/~psych/graduate/clinical/scientist-practitioner.pdf

Miss Psychobabble: Facebook Addiction - When logging out is the hardest thing to do

One specific type of Internet Addiction that emerged recently was Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).  Facebook, the largest social networking site created by Mark Zuckerberg, had over one billion active users as of September 2012.  Having a profile is the first step to Facebook Addiction Disorder! 

Some noticeable signs of FAD
Click Here to enjoy a free Facebook Addiction test.  Please note that the results on this test are purely indicative.  So, do not take it as a serious diagnosis.











Social factors that influenced the emergence of FAD:


1) Impression Management
Impression Management is how people form, maintain and enhance their social identities to reach one's goal and influence other’s perception on them (Piwinger & Ebert, 2001, as cited in Sharma & Sharma, 2012).  People’s addiction to Facebook arises because of the need to constantly maintain that ideal or perfect impression.  It appears that we present different aspects of ourselves depending on where we are and whom we are with (Goffman, 1959).  This is why we shape our impression based on the user’s desired audience.

http://meme-lol.com/wp-content/uploads/meme-lol/Facebook-Addiction-2014.jpg

2) Mere exposure effect
Mere exposure effect is when we start to develop good feelings towards an object that is expose to us frequently.  Facebook is good at marketing and advertising because it is visible everywhere.  This is why you pay good money for Facebook Ads.

3) Conformity
One would choose to conform and change his behavior just because everybody does it or because it is very evident in our society.  Since almost everybody has a Facebook account, you would also like to have one because you want to be a part the “in” crowd.

Conclusion
Facebook has truly become a global phenomenon and social factors paved way to its emergence.  Furthermore, it led to many cases of Facebook addiction and cyber crimes.  Therefore, we should try our best to become responsible users, know our limits and control ourselves to not lose sight of our priorities!

References
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday. Retrieved from http://monoskop.org/images/1/19/Goffman_Erving_The_Presentation_of_Self_in_Everyday_Life.pdf
Sharma, A., & Sharma, A. (2012). Impression management works in career success! : Myth or reality? International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, 2(3), 350-368. Retrieved from http://www.ijmra.us/project%20doc/IJRSS_AUGUST2012/IJMRA-RSS1728.pdf

Statistics Made Easy 4: Types of Data

(http://www.amygump.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/confused-number.jpg)
In my last post, I mentioned about continuous, discrete and categorical data.  In the statistics used in psychology and in SPSS, these are also known as
  • Nominal (Categorical) data
  • Ordinal (Ranked) data
  • Interval (Scale) data
  • Ratio (Scale) data
Polgar, S., & Thomas, S. A. (2008). Introduction to research in the health sciences (5th edn.). PA, USA: Churchill Livingstone
Nominal data are categorical data, which are separated in different groups.  Each of these categories are assumed to be distinct (as in the above picture) and independent of each other.  A specific value of a variable either falls into a specific category, or it does not.  For example, a value of "male" will only be categorised into the 'male' group and not into the 'female' group.

Ordinal data are ranked data, with the values being ordered in sequence, signifying the rank of the value, e.g. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  Note that though there is an order, the difference in ranking does not imply the variation of class performance, i.e. the the difference between the 1st and 2nd is not the same as that between the 2nd and 3rd.

Unlike ordinal data, the interval and ratio data has that last characteristic (equal differences between subsequent values) as mentioned.  Interval and ratio data are also known as 'scale' data in SPSS, because they are measured on a scale with continuous values.  As long as your value can be measured on a 'scale' (e.g. cm, inch, kg, etc.), it would most probably be interval or ratio data.
The main difference between interval and ratio data is that ratio data has an absolute (or non-arbitary) zero.  An absolute zero is a "0" that is quite meaningful, as it indicates a value of an absence or non-existence of the value.  For example, 0 degree Kelvin represents an absence of heat (ratio data), while 0 degree Celsius is the melting point of water (interval data) with the values of degree Celsius being able to go below zero.  Hence if the value can go below the value of zero and consist of a negative value, it would be interval data, and if the lowest value can only reach zero, it would be ratio data.

Are you now clear on which type of data you using?  Please note that you might have to decide on the type of data you are using earlier in your research, as it might affect your hypotheses and research questions.