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Foreword and invitation by the president of PC

 
Foreword and invitation by the president of PC
 
 
Esteemed colleagues,

it is my great honor and pleasure to invite you in the name of the Program Committee of the 27th annual Conference of Croatian Psychologists to the scientific and specialist gathering with international participation which will take place in Osijek from 6 to 9 November 2019. The central theme of this conference is "Psychology and the Digital World".

It has been 17 years since Marc Prensky published the article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants in which he pointed out that the students at the time, which grew up along with information-communication technologies (ICT), are digital natives, while older generations are digital immigrants. In the meantime, those students grew up, became parents, had careers (some of them became psychologists). During the course of their work they cooperate with younger generations of digital natives but they also cooperate with older generations who are still just Prenskyan immigrants in this world.

The digital world is a term which highlights the importance of digital systems and their integration into our everyday lives. It usually has negative connotations, especially in the eyes of the so-called digital immigrants, and it shares the fate of earlier newspapers, such as comic books or films, serving as a scapegoat to which causing undesirable occurrences and risky behavior is attributed. Whenever an innovation appears, the initial interest of psychologists in research and practice is focused on the potential risks of its use. Today we are becoming more aware of the need to verify the applicability of knowledge, theories and models which appeared before a significant spread of ICT, meant to explain the occurrences and processes in the physical world to the behavior in the digital world (e.g. is infidelity perceived equally in the real and in the digital world).

By having such a specific conference topic, we wanted to point out the width of the area, as well as the openness toward different areas of psychological science and practice, but also human behavior itself which takes place in the digital surroundings. Using, overusing or complete abstinence from ICT, social media or digital services, each in its own way, contribute in forming the individual's functioning, and it is therefore interesting to the psychological community. Therefore, it is hard to imagine an area of psychology or psychologists which could not advance understanding and the quality of this area of human knowledge with their expert or scientific contribution. And the proactivity of our profession is important, dare I say, necessary. Psychologists, even when they are not experts in technological knowledge, are experts in understanding human behavior and perception. This is precisely why we can advance our own action, and in cooperation with other professions (from other fields of humanities, technology or medicine) encourage the development of technology and services as well as their use for the benefit of humanity.

The annual conference is a traditional location to meet and exchange recent knowledge of psychologists and related professions working in the Republic of Croatia, but also for colleagues from abroad. It is a place for learning, socializing, exchanging experiences and establishing new contacts and cooperation. In order to offer our colleagues a program of the best quality possible, we asked renowned domestic and international colleagues to give keynote lectures. It is my great pleasure to point out that at this year's conference we will get a chance to listen to lectures given by professor David Šmahel, PhD, a professor of social psychology at the Institute for Research of Children, Youth and Family at the Faculty of Social Studies and professor at the Faculty of Informatics, both a part of Masaryk University in Brno, and he is also the founding editor of the magazine Cyberpsychology and head of the Interdisciplinary research team which studies the Internet and society. In his keynote lecture, the professor will present knowledge on qualitative and quantitative research of the way Czech children and youth function in the digital world. We will also get a chance to listen to prof. Zsolt Demetrovisc, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at Eötvös Loránd University, at which he is the dean of Faculty for Education and Psychology, director of the Institute for Psychology and head of the Department of Clinical Psychology and Addiction. The professor is one of the most significant scientists in the world studying problematic gaming, and he will lecture about the motivation for playing computer games. Professor Tena Velki, PhD, is a developmental psychologist, and also the dean of the Vice Dean for Science at the Faculty of Education, who will dedicate her lecture to risky behavior of computer users in the digital world, with a stress on the risks of digital data theft. Prof. Svjetlana Kolić-Vehovec, PhD, cognitive psychologist whose scientific interest is primarily focused on research of cognitive, metacognitive and motivational factors for reading and learning, which she expanded onto studying the effects of ICT on learning, will give a keynote lecture on contemporary learning and teaching technology. It is my great pleasure to point out that prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, who needs no introduction due to her great merit for promoting psychology as science and profession which she achieved as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the head of …, but also as a scientist and tireless advocate for the protection of children and youth, especially those who experienced violence and abuse, will be giving a keynote lecture at our conference as well. Prof. Bujan-Flander will dedicate her keynote lecture to matters related to children and youth in the digital surroundings. It is my great pleasure to point out that the doyen of Croatian psychology and of the key founders of the Department of Psychology in Osijek, and the person who truly presents lifelong learning and selflessly shares his knowledge, and perseveringly encourages psychologists to promote and develop psychology, and even to embark into the widths of the digital world in their work, professor emeritus Vladimir Kolesarić will be the honorary president of this year's conference.

The topic of the conference "Psychology and the Digital world" encompasses three main thematic areas. Therefore, we expect papers focused on how an individual functions in the digital world, the possibilities and challenges of life in this kind of surrounding, as well as papers focused on observing the changes in the way psychologists work in the digital surroundings. Even though the main theme is focused on the digital, papers outside of the main topic are welcomed – from, for example, papers of military psychology to papers studying personality and individual differences or papers studying psychotherapy and supervision. As a place where psychologists meet and socialize, as well as exchange knowledge, the 27th annual GHHP encourages broadness and the aim is to show the annual production of psychologists, but also from colleagues in other professions, and the main topic of the conference may serve as guidance, but it is not a limitation, and papers not focused on it are welcome. Therefore, I take this chance to invite all interested participants of psychological and related professions to contribute to our conference with their presentations, workshops, round tables and posters.

Spreading of the Internet was often mention in the same sentence along with fear of alienation and loneliness of its users. Even though research has shown it to be quite unjustified, we, the immigrants of the digital world, value the rich social program traditionally tied to the annual conferences. This year, as all the years before, we plan to make this conference an opportunity to socialize and meet and, along with the rich conference program, we have also planned a rich social program, and Osijek and Slavonia are known to be good hosts. This title, that we are very proud on, we plan to justify at this conference as well, and I take this chance to invite all of the participants of the conference to take part in various planned activities, but also in those which have not been planned, such as delightful socializing during conference breaks, evocating experiences from the last conferences and creating experiences we will be happy to remember in the following years. I am glad to observe that we have achieved a successful transgenerational transfer of values of socializing as one of the significant marks of psychologists from this generations of digital immigrants onto digital natives: younger colleagues, even though they grew up with ICT, readily prioritize socializing face to face, spending their evenings in song and dance, and days in direct exchange of expertise. So I am looking forward to seeing you face to face (with the occasional aid from technology), learning, working and having fun and I invite all those who are interested to apply and actively participate in the 27th annual conference of Croatian psychologists "Psychology and the Digital World" from November 6 to 9 2019-

Eagerly expecting your applications, meeting and socializing with you at the 27th annual GHP, I send my warm regards in the name of the Program committee.

Associate professor Daniela Šincek, PhD

President of the Program Committee of the 27th ACCP
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Organizer - Croatian Psychological Association
Co-organizers -  Croatian Psychological Chamber | Društvo psihologa Varaždin
Društvo psihologa Primorsko-goranske županije | Društvo Krapinsko – zagorske županije
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