My trip to Saint Petersburg was so inspiring in so many ways! It was a great pleasure to revisit the St.Petersburg State University and to reconnect with friends and colleagues there and also make new friends and connections.
It was a very insightful round table organized by Stepan Mednikov about the doping scandal in sports and what psychologists can do about it – there were psychologists working with athletes, a coach, students, who work with athletes and very nice discussions. I really enjoyed the session.
From the talk by B. Rogers “Issues and non-issues in 3D-vision” I took away that purpose of perception is to detect what the world offers us, it is extraction of meaning that it is designed for. We have not evolved in isolated, but rather complex environment, where everything is present at the same time and is rather mixed up. I enjoyed that he was rather critical to his own work and discussing the challenges of making research in the lab conditions, where we try to isolate the particular phenomenon to study a particular mechanism, but what does it give us in the end? How to put all those separate mechanisms back together? And I believe he stirred some minds by announcing that the representations don’t exist.
There was also an insightful session about the link between the current prices for oil, ruble rate and occupational future of students studying in the oil related specializations, which led me to think that oil is a limited resource and it impacts the environment and climate and why do we still use it actually? Why some countries still choose to not to switch to the alternative and less harmful energy resources? Why do students still make a choice towards these type of occupations?
Besides that I enjoyed the section lead by Olga Strizhitskaya “Positive psychology of aging” where Lika Mikeladze was presenting part of her PhD study.
Besides the conference itself I immensely enjoyed walking around the streets of St.Petersburg. I have also treated myself to an opera show at Mariinsky theater – The Gambler, based on the novel by Dostoyevsky with the music by Sergey Prokofiev (this year is his 125th birthday, so there was a special program dedicated to that occasion) and directed by Valery Gergiev. It was a great show!
And for those who understands Russian – here is a photo with all the different ads one can see nearby the wardrobe at the Psychology Department at St.Petersburg State University. A funny story happened to me – I needed to leave earlier one day and it happened to be during one of the technical breaks that the wardrobe had. It took us some time together with some organizers of the conference until we managed to retrieve my coat. But then it became more clear why actually almost no one was leaving their coats there ))
Overall it was a great trip and I’m looking forward to new collaborative ideas that hopefully would bring me back there on another occasion! And many thanks to Olga, who made it all happen!