Variations on a theme

Associate Editor for Conference reports Fiona Jones introduces the reports from the London
On 15 December, psychologists once again converged in the rain on that dismal concrete block, the Institute of Education. This year’s London conference was successful in attracting over 800 people. When all gathered in the breaks between sessions, the central hall, with book publishers, coffee and posters, formed a lively focus for discussion and renewing acquaintances. For the first time, the conference had themes — something which has until now been reserved for the Annual Conference. The two themes chosen were ‘risk and decision making’ and ‘the family’. The former seems to have been particularly popular in attracting a very wide range of presenters, at least some of whom did manage to remember that risk taking has benefits and can be a whole lot of fun. While reducing risky driving is clearly a worthwhile aim, other risk reduction strategies seem worrying in terms of increasing control and uniformity and the stifling of innovation (e.g. in the case of medical protocols) or making life possibly longer but very boring. Many such issues were raised by Frank McKenna in his invited speech and by other individual speakers and symposia throughout the conference.

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