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Scaling up happens when a program developed in one setting is deemed successful and is taken up by other settings or continued in the same setting. Scaling up is considered good practice because it occurs after key elements have been tested, rather than the alternative, which is to roll out a program at scale without first testing if effects are as predicted. Social and personality psychologists are often involved in the first phase – the program development and initial evaluation. But what happens next, the Scaling up itself, has not been the focus of psychological inquiry. The assumption has been that all the theoretically interesting work happens in the initial test and the rest is ‘just’ application. However, programs often fail at the Scaling up point. That is, initial findings fail to replicate when programs are tried again, at larger scale, in a different setting or different time. We believe that this is because the social science of scaling up needs more consideration. There are many steps at which programs may fail to scale, regardless of how well key elements have been tested in the laboratory. These include, but are not limited to communicating the importance of programs to target audiences, providing activities and delivering messages in a way that feels fluent and true, conveying underlying theories to key staff so that their active engagement fits core constructs. Some of these issues may be tagged if initial implementation testing included appropriate conceptualization and testing of implementation fidelity.

Our goal is bring together social, and personality psychologists translating basic research into intervention with researchers from developmental and cognitive psychology, education, and public policy with expertise on scaling interventions. The idea is for speakers to articulate the current state of the field and for ensuing conversations to highlight gaps worthy of future psychological research. We hope to bring together graduate students interested in applying their training in social and personality psychology to develop programs aimed at improving health, educational, and other outcomes with early, mid, and more senior career faculty currently grappling with scaling issues.

Although there is a growing interest in harnessing the power of psychology to produce small interventions that can yield large effects, no conference focuses on the full process. We see the social science of scaling up as a kin to our field’s emerging understanding that methods sections of papers often fail because what actually makes an experiment work or fail may not be clear to the researchers, who report manipulations and instructions without their nuanced context. In the same way, what makes an intervention work may not be captured in an implementation manual. Our goals follow the APA initiative to give psychology away, and the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team’s (a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council) idea to use psychology to create programs that are simple and easy to run in a way that yields intended results.

We hope you can come and help make this event as interesting as we believe it can be,

Best wishes, Daphna Oyserman (University of Southern California), Neil Lewis, Jr. (Cornell University), and Veronica Yan (University of Texas Austin)

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Save $25 when you register for both convention and preconference together!

Registration for preconferences is limited and fills quickly.
Registration is now open and will not reopen once this preconference fills.

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Flash Talks Submission

For the Flash Talks, we encourage researchers from all levels (from graduate student to distinguished professors) to submit a brief (5-10 min) talk. The content of these talks may include topics such as lessons learned from scaling successes and failures, research on the elements of scaling up, considerations for insuring, measuring or evaluating implementation fidelity, or other observations.

Submissions should be emailed to veronicayan@austin.utexas.edu and must be submitted by November 15, 2017. In your submission, please include (a) the title of the Flash Talk and a 250 word abstract, and (b) contact information & current title/position of the presenting author. 

The two best early career (graduate student, postdoc) submissions will receive complementary registrations.

If you are unsure as to whether your talk would be appropriate, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification.

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Neil Lewis, Jr.Cornell University
Daphna OysermanUniversity of Southern California
Veronica YanDepartment of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin


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