Wendy Berry Mendes: Statement

I attended the first SPSP meeting as a graduate student in 2000 and was thrilled that this new society promised an alternative to SESP by offering a more student-friendly and inclusive membership. Fast-forward 18 years and boasting more than 7,500 members, a formal executive office, a healthy balance sheet, and thriving revenue streams from society-owned publications, the promise of SPSP has far exceeded the most optimistic expectations. But rather than congratulating ourselves on the successful society we built, the membership should be asking “now what?” What can SPSP do to advance social and personality psychology in terms of advocating funding, communicating our work to policy makers, leading the charge on best practices, and maintaining focus on research that is theoretically and/or practically important? In short, SPSP can and should do more.

I am honored to be part of the SPSP board as Treasurer and would be delighted to serve another three years. I think I bring a valuable perspective to the board as an interdisciplinary researcher who benefits and collaborates not simply across areas in psychology (social, personality, developmental, clinical), but also across areas in social and biological sciences (public health, biological sciences, medicine).

Observing the current landscape, one could easily conclude that we are in the best of times, and the worst of times. On one hand, these are exciting times where we can examine behavior from neurons to neighborhoods, cells to society, and bench-side to bed-side. However, we should also take seriously the questions regarding the replication of our results, the integrity of our data, the importance of our findings, and the value of transparency as fundamental pillars of our society. These are critical issues that cannot be ignored. SPSP needs to be a leader in tackling the hardest problems in the hardest science.