William Paterson University professor of psychology Amy Learmonth, PhD, has been elected the 2019-20 president of the Eastern Psychological Association. Founded in 1896, the EPA strives to advance the science and profession of psychology through the dissemination of professional information about the field. The EPA boasts about 25,000 members. Famous past presidents include Margaret Floy Washburn (1931), Gordon Allport (1942), B.F. Skinner (1954), and Doris Aaronson (1989).
Learmonth is a developmental psychologist with research interests rooted in questions about the nature and mechanisms of imitation, memory, and spatial development through the preschool years. She has spent most of her career studying the development of cognition in typically developing children but has recently begun to explore imitation in children with autism. Learmonth runs William Paterson University’s Cognition, Memory, and Development Lab.
She describes the EPA as a “wonderful” organization, particularly due to its nurturing of undergraduate psychology students, who are invited to submit their research posters for the group’s annual conference. “The collegial feel of the meetings and the consistently interesting and valuable programming is something I value a great deal. Becoming president puts me in a position to shape the future of EPA while also providing support for new and seasoned members,” Learmonth says. “EPA has been a constant in my career for more than 15 years and I am proud to be a part of the leadership team.”
William Paterson University sent approximately 25 undergraduates – “the best of the best” – to this year’s EPA conference in March, Learmonth says proudly. “We are a contingent; we are a force at that meeting,” she adds.
Learmonth has also been elected to the role of program director for the International Society of Developmental Psychobiology from 2018 through 2020. The ISDP encourages research on the development of behavior in all organisms, including humans, with special attention to the effects of biological factors. In her role as program director, Learmonth will be responsible for reading researchers’ submissions for the annual conference, organizing the papers into groupings, and deciding what to accept and reject.
“What’s fun about that is people submit things to conferences that are not yet ready to be written up, so I get to read about what everyone’s doing right now – all the cool, interesting work researchers are doing in their labs that won’t appear in a publication for another year or so,” Learmonth says.
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