» Conference Agenda

The 2nd Biennial Heterodoxy in Psychology conference will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Orange, CA on January 9-12, 2020.

Note: Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

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Thursday, January 9

 7:00 p.m.  Welcoming Dinner


"Partisan Bias and Its Discontents"

Friday, January 10

8:45 a.m.   Continental Breakfast 


"Woke From the Dead"


Academic Freedom and Pedagogy in a "Sensitive" Age

(Drs. M. Bailey, Frisby, & Lilienfeld) 

In this time of trigger warnings, safe spaces, and easy offense what is happening to our classrooms? Many of us have long enjoyed the freedom to teach about topics that have been viewed as of a sensitive nature such as sexuality, race, and politics. How many of us have changed the way we approach these topics into the classroom, restricting the range of topics taught and/or how they are discussed (or not) into the classroom? And how do we teach critical thinking and encourage students to develop honest and open discussion skills if all that matters is whether someone is "offended" by what a fellow student or their professor says?

Should the Mental Health Professions Weigh-In on SocioPolitical Issues? The APA Men's Guidelines and President Trump's Mental Health as Examples

(Drs. Lee, Lilienfeld, & Satel) 

Recently, two headline-making incidents took place.  First, a group of clinicians published a book asserting that President Trump's mental state made him a danger to national security.  As experts in predicting danger, they claimed, they had a duty to warn the public. Hundreds of other concerned professionals signed open letters that carried similar messages.  Second,  the American Psychological Association produced guidelines on the treatment of men and boys.  The document came under scrutiny for its discussion of "toxic masculinity," its strong feminist sensibilities, and the implication that societal change, not merely the health of individual patients, was their goal. In these two instances, and in others that received less public attention, the actions of mental health professionals raised important questions about proper scope of professional authority, the degree to which they risked politicizing their profession, and whether participation in the sociopolitical arena threatens to erode public faith in what many think should be disinterested helping professions.

Paper Session

11:30 a.m. Lunch

"Giving the Devil His Due"


"Dangerous Ideas"-Are There Some Topics We Just Shouldn't Study? 

(Drs. Haier, & Winegard)

Heterodox psychologists tend to agree that currently there is ideological pressure intended to close off ideas merely because they are uncomfortable or politically incorrect, even if they may be true. But are there limits to intellectual heterodoxy? Should all ideas be on the intellectual table? Or are some ideas so harmful or offensive that they should be rejected outright, and essentially banned from the Academy?

Curricula and Mentoring - Bringing Heterodoxy to Undergraduates and Prospective Graduate Students

(Dr. Jussim, & Ms. Planke)

The psychology curriculum, developed by academic faculty at universities and colleges around the US, will often reflect ideological and perspective-based biases in terms of what courses and content are included. Topics such as the genetic underpinnings of behavior, for instance, are often omitted from such curricula. This workshop will develop ways to bring more diverse viewpoints and topics into the psychology curriculum across the US. Standard processes for curriculum revision, along with other ways to affect the curriculum, will be presented to help shape the thinking of this group in terms of developing plans to effect change.

Paper Session 

2:30 p.m.  Break


Walking On The Edge: Controversial Topics in the Study of Human Sexuality

(Drs. M. Bailey, Geher, & Salmon)

Sex researchers walk a fine line with the questions they ask and the data they seek which often upsets people across political and ideological spectra. The speakers in this panel will discuss their own research with regard to this issue.

"Cultural Competence:"  A (Politicized) Ethical Mandate?

(Drs. Frisby, & Redding)

"Cultural competence" is a ubiquitous phrase that is aggressively promoted as a professional "best practices" mandate and necessity within such diverse fields as business, medicine, social work, psychiatry, and of course, applied psychological and mental health services. The assumption is that this construct is scientifically vetted, and consists of a theoretically coherent set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that service providers need in order to more effectively work with persons from different racial, ethnic, language, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. However, there are serious questions about its construct validity, ethical necessity, measurement, real-world outcomes, and whether the concept has been politicized. This discussion will explore the many challenging issues inherent in this construct,  its practice limitations, and pathways for future research.

Checking our Blindspots: Bias Across the Political Spectrum

(Drs. Clark, Ditto, & Winegard)

For decades, the flaws of political conservatives have been a persistent theme in social psychology, with some scholars contending that conservatives are more prone to a variety of biases (e.g., motivated skepticism, ingroup favoritism) than liberals.  A new wave of scholars—awakened by the realization of (liberal) political homogeneity among social psychologists—has begun to challenge and test these assumptions, and has found a great deal more symmetry than previously believed. Some scholars even contend that liberal biases pose a far greater threat to scientific discovery. In this panel, we will discuss political bias similarities and differences among liberals and conservatives and the challenges these pose for the left-leaning field.

5:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception 

Saturday, January 11

8:45 a.m.   Continental Breakfast



“Lessons Learned from Studying and Communicating Individual               Differences Research” 


Hack-A-Thon:  Bringing Heterodoxy to Mainstream Psychology Organizations 

(Drs. Kashdan, & Motyl)

Mainstream psychological organizations, such as the APA and APS, famously focus on certain politically correct paradigms (e.g., social constructionism) more so than others (e.g., evolutionary psychology). The problem will be discussed and spelled out. This workshop will develop specific plans to help bring a broader array of perspectives to mainstream conferences (by proposing such products as special pre-conferences, meet-and-greets themed around a particular perspective, etc.). 

Hack-A-Thon: Fostering Communication and Networking Among Heterodox Researchers

(Drs. Geher, & Salmon) 

With the second conference related to heterodoxy in psychology as well as the formation of the HxPsych Facebook group, specific steps to connect heterodox researchers in the behavioral sciences with one another have started. This workshop will be devoted to the development of additional steps (e.g., the launching of a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google group, informal regional meetings, etc.) to help build a strong infrastructure for allowing heterodox researchers to stay connected with one another. 

Hack-A-Thon:  Using Heterodox Psychology to Promote Tolerance Across Political Divides

(Drs. Clark, & Ditto)

Several initiatives have emerged with the goal of promoting intellectual and civic tolerance across political divides. Two of the most successful such initiatives are the Heterodox Academy and the Open Mind initiative. The Open Mind initiative, in particular, utilizes empirically based social psychological processes to help unite individuals across various communities who find themselves in disagreement with one another. This workshop will discuss these extant initiatives and will allow participants the space to develop related and/or derivative initiatives that will have the goal of increasing civic tolerance during this trying time in our nation's political history. 

Panel Session:
Forecasting Tournaments: Improving the Flow of Well-Calibrated Probability Judgments Into Policy Debates

(Drs. Mellers, & Tetlock)

Drawing on a decade of research sponsored by the US intelligence community, this panel will discuss: (a) how forecasting tournaments can be used to identify and cultivate skill at making accurate probability judgments of politically charged real-world events; (b) how tournaments can be used to incentivize people to be more careful than they usually are in separating fact from value judgments, thus potentially depolarizing unnecessarily polarized debates.  

12:00 p.m.   Lunch


Political Ideology in Social Psychology

(Drs. Clark, Tetlock, & Winegard)

Social psychologists are almost entirely left of center in their politics.  Political partisans often hold exaggerated and unjustified views of their political opponents.  Furthermore, some have argued that the most extreme biases stem not from left/right ideology per se, but from equalitarianism: a dogmatic commitment to cosmic egalitarianism, the complete equality among demographic groups in anything that matters.  These biases may play out in two broad ways: political discrimination against individuals who violate leftwing norms or equalitarian sacred values, and distortions in the conduct, interpretation, dissemination, and canonization of psychological research.  But how severe are such biases?  The answers to this question are neither obvious nor easy to obtain, in part, because existing empirical research has produced mixed results, and because political biases may taint the research on political biases itself.  This panel will attempt to sort through this complex maze of theory and evidence to provide a clearer understanding of what is and is not known about influences of political ideology in social psychology, and to provide guidance regarding how empirical research can help understand political biases and limit their effect on social psychological science.

Panel Session:
How Much Should Failed Replications Shake Our Confidence in Research Findings?

(Drs. Jussim, & Lilienfeld)

According to some, the "replication crisis" has shaken psychology to its core.  According to others, it is a tempest in a teapot, because false positives are an inherent part of scientific research in psychology, and some failed replications are inevitable even for true effects.  How, then, should psychologists respond to failed replications?  Do they primarily reflect, as some of have argued, the incompetence of the replicators?  Do they reflect the invalidity of the original study?  Or is the truth more nuanced than it seems?  This panel will address these issues with a goal of bringing greater clarity to the role of replication in psychological science, and, especially, with respect to understanding the implications of failed replications for advancing psychological knowledge.

Hack-A-Thon: Bringing Heterodoxy to the Journals 

(Drs. Haier & Salmon)

Academic journals naturally show ideological and political biases connected with modern academia. This workshop will address this issue in detail. Participants will be charged with developing specific plans to bring heterodox work (including both work that (a) cuts against the ideological grain or (b) studies meta-heterodoxy: psychological processes that underlie issues surrounding heterodoxy in academic psychology). Specific plans to create systemic change on this front, perhaps in the form of a set of collaborative articles on this topic that are submitted to mainstream journals in the field, will be developed.

3:00 p.m.    Break


What Happens When You Talk About Intelligence in Education?

(Drs. D. Bailey, Gottfredson, & Wai)

This panel will draw from a range of scholars who have tried to talk openly and honestly about how intelligence is important in education. Despite over a century of evidence supporting the construct of general intelligence, or g, it remains a controversial and quite heterodox topic to discuss in regards to education, especially U.S. education. This panel will explore through their lived experiences what happened to them when they discussed intelligence in education, and what can be done to help incorporate the concept of intelligence into education research and policy.

Hack-A-Thon:  Developing a Research Agenda for Studying Meta-Heterodox Issues

(Drs. Geher, & Redding)

Many behavioral scientists who consider themselves to be relatively "heterodox" in their work have expended some energy into studying meta-heterodox issues. In other words, such scholars study political and ideological attitudes among academics in efforts to try to better understand the underpinnings of the current ideologically homogenous culture that characterizes the academy. This workshop will allow participants the opportunity to develop a new research agenda, including the creation of a set of research questions along with proposed methodology and a plan for data collection/implementation. A goal of this hack is, ultimately, the publication of this work in a scholarly outlet. 

Paper Session


Sunday, January 12

8:45 a.m.   Continental Breakfast


Premature Advocacy and its Potential Risks for Psychological Science: Spanking as an Example

(Dr. Larzelere & Gunnoe)

Although most parents spank their children, the practice is controversial among researchers, policymakers, and the public.  The mental health professions have weighed-in against the practice, arguing that research shows it to be harmful to children and not an effective disciplinary practice. Recently, however, some researchers have challenged that prevailing view, arguing that before opposing such a widespread practice, researchers need to document stronger causal evidence against it and identify an alternative disciplinary practice that is more effective. 

Making the Heterodox Orthodox:  Communicating Across Political Divides (Particularly When Your Findings Are Politically Incorrect

(Drs. Haier, Kashdan, & Motyl)

A perennial problem for researchers is the accurate communication of research results and appropriate implications. This problem is magnified when political ideology makes for deliberate misunderstandings and misrepresentations is in favor of promoting specific worldviews. What is a young researcher, especially one doing research on politically charged topics, to do? 

Conservatives and People of Faith in Psychology: Challenges and Opportunities

(Drs. Frisby, Shariff, & Yancey)

This panel will discuss the evidence of academic bias against political conservatives and people of faith, using both quantitative and qualitative work to look at the sources of that bias.  The panel will then discuss the consequences of such bias in academia.  Viewpoint bias is characterized by four assumptions: (1) there is an objective truth that psychologists strive to discover, (2) this objective truth is suppressed or distorted to a significant degree, (3) this distortion is systematic, not random, and (4) this distortion leads to undesirable consequences in academia. Although this distortion can and does originate from any side of the political spectrum as this relates to applied psychology, the most egregious and long-standing examples come from the progressive left.  Examples of undesirable consequences that can influence the psychology professoriate, university students, publishing, grant application, and training are discussed.  But these consequences also present implicit opportunities for conservatives and people of faith in psychology.

Paper Session

Paper Session

Paper Session 

10:30 a.m.   Break

10:45 a.m.   PLENARY SESSION:


12:15 p.m.   Lunch


Richard Redding, J.D., Ph.D.