Last month Vancouver Convention Centre’s West building became the first of its kind to be awarded the prestigious Double LEED Platinum certification. Have you ever wondered what exactly happens underneath that grass covered roof? Luckily, last weekend I had the chance to find out. 

On November 9-12 the Convention Centre played host to over 2,700 attendees of the Psychonomic Society’s 58th Annual Meeting. The meeting—which brings together members of the cognitive and experimental psychology community to meet, mingle, and discuss everything from memory to problem solving to language—kicked off bright and early with a Keynote Address by Georgia Institute of Technology’s Randall Engle, entitled “Working memory capacity and intelligence.” Attendees spent the weekend attending symposia sessions presented by leading researchers in their field, and discussing the ideas presented. Among the many local researchers who spoke were University of British Columbia’s Caitlin Mills, Gabriel Smith, and Kalina Christoff who presented on mind wandering and task-unrelated thought, and Simon Fraser University’s Caitlyn McColeman and Mark Blair who discussed data-driven decision making, graphs, and experimental stimuli. “Strong themes emerging at #psynom17: #OpenScience, #BigData, women in science, applied, use-inspired research. Lots to do and think about,” University of Essex’s Tom Foulsham tweeted about the important discussions that arose from the meeting.

The state-of-the-art convention entre offered the perfect location for the conference. The meeting occupied most of the 30,980m2 building, and an array of seating areas and the Centre’s ‘scratch’ café and kitchen gave room for extensive networking for both international and local attendees. With award winning hotels, restaurants, and social venues at the convention centre’s doorstep, attendees were able to venture out into the city’s vibrant downtown core and continue the conversation. Easily accessible via Vancouver’s extensive transit system, the attendees were able to explore and engage with local businesses and the city’s beautiful scenery, and comfortably navigate to and from the airport and the nearby hotels.

The Psychonomic Society also offered “Jogonomics” early on Saturday morning, where attendees could jog through Vancouver’s iconic waterfront area and Stanley Park on two different routes. Many attendees, such as Lancaster University’s Chloe Rhianne Newbury, took to social media to share their Vancouver adventures: “Had a wonderful (and very rainy) post conference walk around the beautiful Stanley Park.”

The meeting was open to the public, and free for members and undergraduate students, bringing the global conversation of cognitive psychology to the local stage. The Psychonomic Society’s meeting phone app offered a networking section, where attendees—from leading psychologists in their field, to students looking to progress in their career—were able to connect with one another, and maintain the relationships created with each other and the city. As the attendees said goodbye to each other, and Vancouver, it was clear how important it is for communities such as the Psychonomic Society to come together to discuss, engage, and invest in future research, and how conventions offer an excellent opportunity for Vancouver to participate in these international conversations.



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