Society for Computers in Psychology

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Society for Computers in Psychology
Logo of society for computers in psychology.jpg
FocusPsychology, Cognitive Science
Key people
Xiaowei Zhao, President
Chris Westbury, President-Elect
Rick Dale, Secretary-Treasurer
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Society for Computers in Psychology (SCiP) is a scholarly society founded in 1971 with the purpose of the increasing and diffusing knowledge of the use of computers in psychological research.

SCiP is an organization of researchers interested in applications of computational techniques and methods in psychology. One focus over the past several years has been on aiding psychologists in using computers in their teaching and research, statistical analysis tools, web-based research, clinical applications, and computational modelling. The Society has also encouraged consideration of psychological aspects of hardware and software development and design. Membership is open to any person who has an academic degree and who is active in scientific applications of computers to psychological research.


The society's founding was initiated by Donald Tepas who asked for support from the National Science Foundation's Office of Computing Activities. Tepas wanted help with the development of intereactive system for searches. Instead, the NSF suggested that a conference be arranged and its proceedings published, which was indeed done.[1][2][3][4]

In 2006, Dr. Christopher R. Wolfe documented the history of the Society for Computers in Psychology in Behavior Research Methods: SCiP history may be divided into three eras: the Paleozoic (1971–1982), the Mesozoic (1982–1994), and the Cenozoic (1994–present). Following a list of Secretary–Treasurers, a list of all SCiP Presidents is provided in Table 1. Next I present personal highlights, including the first symposium on psychology and the World-Wide Web; David Rumelhart’s mathematical explanation of connectionism; and Stevan Harnad’s discussion of “freeing” the journal literature. I observe that a small conference is becoming more intimate and that much of our mission involves figuring out how to conduct high-quality scientific research with consumer-grade electronics. I argue that we are an increasingly international organization, that graduate students are welcome, and that we should become more inclusive in the areas of gender and ethnicity and should make membership more meaningful. I conclude by looking ahead and attempting to predict the future.

Computers and technology in psychology can be a cornucopia or a Pandora’s box. During the 20 years of its existence, the Society for Computers in Psychology has been an important focus for the appropriate and beneficial application of computing technology in psychology. Although the increase of computer use is unmistakable, cyclic trends in computer applications also can be identified and, together with current technological developments, lead to predictions, concerns, and challenges for the future. (Castellan, 1991)

As we enter the next decade, I believe it is important that the Society for Computers in Psychology (S.C.I.P.) develop a little sense of history. So I would like to cover some years of the organization’s development and, in the process, cite several highlights that are worthy of note... (Sidowski, 1990)

Mission Statement[edit]

The Society for Computers in Psychology is a non-profit organization of researchers interested in applications of computers in psychology. Its primary purpose is to "increase and diffuse knowledge of the use of computers in psychological research." Over the past several years the organization has focused on many important issues in psychology, such as computational models of cognitive processes and behavior, computational tools for data collection and analysis, human-computer interaction, knowledge representation in both humans and machines, machine learning, methods and tools for Internet-based research, and technology in the service of improving and evaluating outcomes. We have also encouraged a consideration of cognitively-inspired design of computational technologies and models.

Membership is open to any person who has an academic degree and who is active in scientific applications of computers to psychological research.Please see our bylaws for operating of the society. We do not make payments to beneficiaries, with the exception of Honorariums to keynote speakers, student research awards, and yearly dues to Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. We do not collect on the behalf of other charities. Our primary expenditure is hosting a conference once a year to bring together academic researchers in the areas of cognition, computation, education, research methodology, neuroscience, and related sciences.

Annual meeting[edit]

The Society holds an annual meeting with talks and posters attended by psychologists from around the world. The meeting precedes the Annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society.

The 2017 conference will ake place Nov. 9th in Vancouver, BC, Canada.


President-Elect: Chris Westbury, University of Alberta (2018)

President: Xiaowei Zhao, Emmanuel College (2017)

Immediate Past President: Randall Jamieson, University of Manitoba (2016)

Past Presidents[edit]

  • Randall Jamieson, University of Manitoba (2016)
  • Peter Dixon, University of Alberta (2015)
  • Kay Livesay, Linfield College (2014)
  • Mike Jones, Indiana University (2013)
  • Ping Li, Pennsylvania State University (2012)
  • Joseph P. Magliano, Northern Illinois University (2011)
  • Michael H. Birnbaum, California State University, Fullerton (2010)
  • Xiangen Hu, Advanced Distributed Learning's Center for Intelligent Tutoring Systems Research and Development (2009)
  • Gary L. Bradshaw, Mississippi State University (2008)
  • Roman Taraban, Texas Tech University (2007)
  • Ulf-Dietrich Reips, University of Zürich (2006)
  • Christopher Wolfe, Miami University, Oxford (2005)
  • Robert Proctor, Purdue University (2004)
  • Curt Burgess, University of California, Riverside (2003)
  • David Washburn, Georgia State University (2002)
  • Sarah Ransdell, Florida Atlantic University (2001)
  • Walter Beagley, Alma College (2000)
  • John Krantz, Hanover College (1999)
  • Douglas Eamon, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (1998)
  • Margaret Anderson, State University of New York (1997)
  • Michael Levy, University of Florida (1996)
  • William Palya, Jacksonville State University (1995)
  • Paula Goolkasian, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (1994)
  • Doris Aaronson, New York University (1993)
  • Darrell Butler, Ball State University (1992)
  • Jonathan Vaughan, Carnegie-Mellon University (1991)
  • David Eckerman, University of North Carolina (1990)
  • Cynthia McDaniel, Northern Kentucky University (1989)
  • Earl Hunt, University of Washington (1988)
  • Cynthia Null, College of William and Mary (1987)
  • Walter Schneider, University of Illinois (1986)
  • Dominic Massaro, University of California, Santa Cruz (1985)
  • Geoffrey Loftus, University of Washington (1984)
  • Alan Lesgold, University of Pittsburgh (1983)
  • Russell Church, Brown University (1982)
  • John Cotton, University of California, Santa Barbara (1981)
  • N. John Castellan, Indiana University (1980)
  • Daniel Bailey, University of Colorado (1979)
  • Richard Millward, Brown University (1978)
  • Peter Polson, University of Colorado Boulder (1977)
  • Lee Gregg, Carnegie-Mellon University (1976)
  • Joseph Sidowski, University of South Florida (1975)
  • William Uttal, University of Michigan (1974)
  • Donald Tepas, Saint Louis University (1973)
  • Donald Tepas, Saint Louis University (1972)

Castellan Award[edit]

The Society sponsors The John Castellan Student Paper Award for the outstanding student paper annually. Student papers on the application of computers to any area of psychology (theoretical, experimental, applied) are welcome. Eligibility is open to work done by a student currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses, or work done as part of a course, thesis, or other student research by a person who graduated within the past year. The student must be the primary author and the presenter of the paper to be considered. The award is presented at the conference.

Past recipients of this award include:

  • Felix Henninger, University of Koblenz-Landau, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, University of Mannheim (2015). Winning Paper: "A flexible, cross-platform, open framework for interactive experiments."
  • Erica Snow, Arizona State University (2014). Winning Paper: “Does agency matter? Path analysis within a game-based system.”
  • Haiying Li, University of Memphis (2013). Winning Paper: "A comparative study on measures of text formality."
  • Alexandra Paxton, University of California, Merced (2012). Winning Paper: "Linguistic alignment in debate."
  • Brent Kievit-Kylar, Indiana University (2011). Winning Paper: “Word2Word: A visualization tool for high-dimensional semantic data.”
  • Jun Xie, University of Memphis (2010). Winning Paper: "Analyzing Directed Data by using MPT Models of Source Monitoring."
  • Brendan Johns, Indiana University (2009). Winning Paper: "Using automated semantic measures to test the assumptions of memory models: Do random representations reflect the organization of semantic memory?"
  • Gabriel Recchia, Indiana University (2008). Winning Paper: "More data trumps smarter algorithms: Training computational models of semantics on very large corpora."
  • Richard Landers, University of Minnesota (2007). Winning Paper: “TREND: A tool for rapid online research literature analysis and quantification.”
  • Jessica Ray, University of Central Florida (2006). Winning Paper: “Train-to-code: An adaptive expert system for training systematic observation and coding skills.”
  • Cyrus Shaoul, University of Alberta (2005). Winning Paper: “Toward a more psychologically relevant high-dimensional model of lexical semantics.”
  • Christopher Myers, The Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate (2004). Winning Paper: "Computational cognitive modeling of adaptive choice behavior in a dynamic decision paradigm."
  • Michael Jones, Queen's University (2003). Winning Paper: "Tracking attention with the focus-window technique: The information filter must be calibrated."
  • Andrew Edmonds, Clemson University (2002). Winning Paper: "Uzilla: A new tool for web usability testing."
  • Matthew Pastizzo, State University of New York (2001). Winning Paper: “Multi-dimensional data visualization.”
  • Wai-Tat Fu, George Mason University (2000). Winning Paper: “ACT-PRO action protocol analyzer: A tool for analyzing discrete action protocols.”
  • Patrick Conley, UC Riverside (1999). Winning Paper: "A computational approach to modeling population differences."
  • Ricard Downing, University of Missouri (1998). Winning Paper: "The missouri developmental disability resource center: A web site responding to a critical need for information of parents with a child with a disability."
  • Katja Wiemer-Hastings, University of Memphis (1997). Winning Paper: "Abstract noun classification: using a neural network to match word context and word meaning."
  • Ed Colet, New York University (1994). Winning Paper: "Visualization of multivariate data: Human factors considerations."
  • Hilary Broadbent, Brown University (1991). Winning Paper: "Analysis of periodic data using walsh functions."
  • Steven Greene, Yale University and Northwestern University (1987). Winning Paper: "A flexible programming language for generating stimulus lists of cognitive psychology experiments."
  • Michael Granaas, University of Kansas (1984). Winning Paper: "Simple, applied text parsing."
  • Timothy Post, Syracuse University (1983).
  • Winford A. Gordon, University of North Carolina (1982).
  • Mark Alan Johnson, Washington University (1980).
  • Timothy Post, Syracuse University (1977). Winning Paper: "Software control of reaction time studies."

Early Career Impact Award[edit]

The Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS), which provides support for the Early Career Impact Award for the Society for Computers in Psychology, is a FABBS society.

  • Rick Dale, University of California, Merced (2016)
  • Michael Jones, Indiana University (2012)


  1. ^ Special Issue of the journal Behavior Research Methods & Instruments (BRMI)
  2. ^ Castellan, (JR.), N. John (1991) Computers and computing in psychology:Twenty years of progress and still a bright future, Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation 23 (2), 106-108
  3. ^ Sidowski, Joseph B. (1990) Past, Present, and Future of the Society for Computers in Psychology, Behavior Research Methods & Instruments 22 (2): 94-97
  4. ^ Wolfe, Christopher R. (2006) SCiP at 35: An idiosyncratic history of the Society for Computers in Psychology, Behavior Research Methods, 38 (2), 245-250

External links[edit]