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2020 SPSP New Orleans Convention

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	Existential Psychology
Location: Room TBD  |  8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Existential psychology—or "XP" for short—is a growing research area that examines critical issues of "being" and "becoming" in the study of human nature and social life.

Building on cross-disciplinary theoretical foundations, XP has enabled researchers to empirically test bold ideas about how and why people do what they do. In this way, it has deepened our understanding of a wide range of social phenomena, from prejudice and aggression to self-determination and creativity. XP wrestles with the core dynamics shaping our lives, including: freedom and control; social connection and isolation; death awareness; the quest for meaning and purpose in life; the pursuit of identity and the struggle for authenticity.

To synthesize and further stimulate these developments, this preconference will cover existential psychology's core themes and questions, present highlights from over 30 years of research, and sketch a bold vision for expanding XP's theoretical scope and further applying it to improve personal and collective well-being.

Both eminent and rising scholars will present their work in a stimulating variety of formats, including a keynote address, poster session, a data-blitz session, and full research talks. There will also be plenty of opportunity for informal discussion and networking.

Below, you will find information about programming schedule, submissions, awards, and registration.

We welcome you to attend!

We are excited to announce that this year's conference will again feature sponsored awards—details below!


8:00 - 8:30 am
  
Breakfast
8:30 - 8:45 am
  
Welcome, orientation
8:45 - 9:45 am
  
Keynote address
  
  
Sheldon Solomon, Skidmore College
9:45 - 10:45 am
  
Poster session
10:45 - 11:00am
  
Coffee break
11:00 - 11:30 am
  
Featured research talk
  
  
Eva Jonas, University of Salzberg
11:30 - 12:00 pm
  
Featured research talk
  
  
Nina Strohminger, University of Pennsylvania
12:00 - 1:00 pm
  
Lunch
1:00 - 2:00 pm
  
Special Address
  
  
Roy Baumeister, University of Queensland
2:00 - 2:30 pm
  
Data blitz session
2:30 - 2:55 pm
  
Coffee break
2:55 - 3:25 pm
  
Featured research talk
  
  
Jon Jong, University of Oxford
3:25 - 3:55 pm
  
Featured research talk
  
  
Lucas Keefer, University of Southern Mississippi
3:55 - 4:25 pm
  
Featured research talk
  
  
Elizabeth Pinel, University of Vermont
4:25 - 4:30 pm
  
Closing Remarks

We encourage you to submit your exciting new research! On this page, you'll find a preliminary schedule of events. We invite anyone to submit abstracts for the following presentation types: poster session and data blitz. Abstracts can be submitted through the online submission portal (below) between September 1 and November 15, 2019. You will be notified about the status of your submission within a few weeks of the November 15 deadline.

Submissions may deal with critical existential issues involved in such diverse topics as (in no particular order): culture; self and identity; close relationships, love, and attachment; ingroup bias; shared reality; minds and morality; politics; religion; meaning in life; mental and physical health; aging, wisdom, and life narrative; the self in time; nostalgia; humor; choice, judgment, and decision-making; free will, agency, and control; creativity; personal growth and exploration; existential neuroscience; and other topics not listed here.

Data Blitz session: A Data Blitz session will feature brief (5 min max) research talks. Come share with us a snapshot of your cool new findings!

Poster presentations: A poster session will showcase XP's wide range of research topics, methods, and applications.

We invite submissions from undergraduates, graduate students, and seasoned researchers alike.

Submissions will be collected September 1st through November 15th.

submit here


We are excited to have a large and active group of conference participants, and we are especially committed to supporting the attendance and inclusion of diverse students and professional researchers in existential psychological research area.

To be selected, submit your abstract for posters and/or data blitz and indicate your eligibility for one or more of the following awards.

Ernest Becker Foundation Diversity Travel Award

  • Award amount: $150.00
  • Number of awards: Up to 10 (ten) awards available.
  • Sponsor: Ernest Becker Foundation
  • Eligibility: Preference will be given to members of under-represented groups, to cultivate contributions from individuals across a broad range of age, developmental and acquired disabilities, minority religious perspectives, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic status, sexual orientations, indigenous heritages, national origins, and sex/genders.
  • Note: Recipients of this award may be contacted by the sponsor and asked to prepare a description (e.g., for a news announcement, blog post, audio recording) of how Ernest Becker's work influenced their research and/or how the Ernest Becker Foundation supported their conference experience.

Worth Publishers/Macmillan Learning Student Travel Award.

  • Award amount: $150.00
  • Number of awards: Up to 2 (two) awards available.
  • Sponsor: Worth Publishers/Macmillan Learning
  • Eligibility: Must be either an undergraduate or graduate student; preference given to those who submit a presentation.

Cleveland State University Student Travel Award

  • Award amount: $150.00
  • Number of awards: Up to 1 (one) award available.
  • Sponsor: Cleveland State University
  • Eligibility: Must be either an undergraduate or graduate student; preference given to undergraduates who submit a presentation.

Innovation in Existential Psychology Research Award.

  • Award amount: $150.00
  • Number of awards: Up to 1 (one) award available.
  • Sponsor: The International Society for the Science of Existential Psychology (ISSEP)
  • Eligibility: Must submit an abstract for either a data-blitz or poster presentation; innovation in existential psychology research involves: applying an existential lens to research a topic that has thus far received minimal attention in XP; developing a compelling new theoretical perspective in XP; and/or developing research methods that offer fresh insights into existential psychological processes.

We are excited to have a large and active group of conference participants, and we are especially committed to supporting the attendance and inclusion of diverse students and professional researchers in existential psychological research area.


Please click below to learn more about this year's Existential Psychology SPSP Preconference Sponsors:

ernest becker logo

The Ernest Becker Foundation explores how death-denial influences human behavior. Learn more at Ernestbecker.org

Worth Publishers logo

Worth publishes key titles in social psychology, such as Social Psychology: The Science of Everyday Life (second edition), which integrates core perspectives in social psychology and includes the existential perspective. Learn more at Macmillanlearning.com

Cleveland State University logo

CSU is seeking talented graduate students interested in Existential Psychology or in other research programs. Learn more at CSUohio.edu/gradpsych

International Society for the Science of Existential Psychology logo

The International Society for the Science of Existential Psychology (ISSEP) is a new organization devoted to encouraging and guiding the scientific research, discovery, communication, and practical application of key findings in existential psychology.



Kenneth Vail
Cleveland State University

Mark Landau
University of Kansas


2020 Annual Convention
February 27-29, 2020
New Orleans, LA USA