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Schizophrenia in spotlight as MTSU hosts psychology conference

One of the nation’s foremost experts on schizophrenia will share his expertise at the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association Spring 2016 Meeting at MTSU.

Thomas R. Kwapil, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, will deliver the keynote address at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 23, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Dr. Thomas R. Kwapil

Dr. Thomas R. Kwapil

Kwapil’s expertise includes the developmental vulnerability for schizophrenia, which is called schizotypy. This is a theory that schizophrenia has a continuum that ranges from socially manageable and even useful behavior, such as that found in some very creative people, to psychologically destructive behavior.

“People who are schizotypal see more patterns,” said William Langston, an MTSU psychology professor and coordinator of the gathering. “So it’s associated with paranormal belief because you might find coincidences and meaning in things that other people wouldn’t, whereas, in full-blown schizophrenia, you might see so many patterns that … you’re trapped in patterns.”

Students from throughout the region will present their academic papers and posters and receive educational and career advice from psychology professors at the gathering, which is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Langston says psychology as a major provides excellent preparation for the workforce.

“Employers like our majors because, in psychology, we don’t have black-and-white answers,” Langston said. “We have a lot of ambiguity, and so, as students major in it, they get tolerance for ambiguity, which is an important skill in real life.”

Kwapil’s address is free and open to the public, but the registration fee to attend the entire conference is $5 for students and community members and $15 for faculty and other psychology professionals. Online registration is available at http://tinyurl.com/guz9893. The advance registration deadline is Friday, April 15.

High school students may attend for free, but they must register. In addition to admission to the conference, the registration fee includes breakfast for the day of the conference and membership in the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association.

For more information, contact Langston at 615- 898-5489 or william.langston@mtsu.edu.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

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