The Flatirons on the Front Range

The Flatirons on the Front Range

Friday, July 3, 2015

The 37th Annual Meeting of The Society for Descriptive Psychology

37th Annual Meeting  
Society for Descriptive Psychology

October 22 - 25, 2015
American Mountaineering Center
Golden, CO
The Society for Descriptive Psychology is a Community exploring the Person Concept: The interdependent conceptual framework of Person, Behavior, Language, and World to create common ground for the Human Sciences.

This year's diverse topics range from clarifying the concept of Social Justice, discussion of appropriate treatment approaches for the  variety of Dementias, and the place of embodiment and biological "explanation" in Descriptive Psychology. Other presentations will examine the concept of Alief, elucidate science denialism, explore the contribution of Descriptive Psychology to conflict resolution, and present a variety clinical cases that are conceptualized using a Descriptive Psychology framework.  

The goal of this year's conference is to continue the exploration of Descriptive Psychology as a conceptual approach to a broad range of topics within the behavioral sciences, neurobehavioral sciences, social sciences, and humanities, continue building the Descriptive Psychology Community, and to promote further discussion about new approaches to disseminating Descriptive Psychology concepts and applications.

Registration Information

Attendees will be able to earn up to 12.5 Continuing Education credits during the meeting.

Registration on or before September 15th includes the Banquet and meals.

The fee for the Banquet will require a separate payment of $80 after that date.

In-person registration
will be available
at the American Mountaineering Center
on the days of the program.

October 22-25
The American Mountaineering Center Golden, CO


3:30 - 5:25 Board meeting  (AMC Drumwright Board Room) 

5:30 - 6:30 Check in/Meet and Greet (AMC)
A light dinner buffet will be served
6:30 - 7:00 The Conference will be convened
Introduction of the President

7:00 - 8:30  Presidential Address
Wynn Schwartz, PhD


8:15 - 9:00 Breakfast
(served in the AMC Conference Room)

9:00 - 10:00 Why is Behavior Not Reducible To Biological States of Affairs?
Ray Bergner, PhD

Abstract: This talk, after very briefly reviewing Ossorio’s conception of behavior, uses his formulation to demonstrate why human behavior per se is neither explicable in terms of, nor reducible to, biological states of affairs, and thus why the claim from certain quarters that the science of psychology will  be superseded by that of biology — that in the end it’s “all really biological” — cannot be justified. 

10:00 - 10:10 Break

10:10 - 11:10 When in Doubt, Get Descriptive: Using Descriptive in the Philosophy of Science Class to Understand Science Denialism
Timothy Doyle, PhD

Abstract: This presentation shows how Descriptive Psychology concepts are used in a Philosophy of Science course in order to help students both gain an overview of, and understand similarities and differences between, the wide array of arguments employed by ‘science denialists’. Mirroring in some ways the ‘scale of justified belief’, a scale of doubt is developed, ranging from healthy skepticism to patent absurdity.

11:10 - 11:20 Break

11:20 - 12:20 Difficulties in Establishing A Working Definition of Social Justice
Matthew Cohen, M.S.W.
Abstract: This discussion will revolve around the two basic American concepts of Social Justice: one that focus more on groups and is defined in terms of basic human rights; the other that emphasizes individuals and focuses on buying power in the market place. Using the two poles we would like to open up a discussion that can help us synthesize these two, figure out what is missing and establish a more precise working definition that can inform fields such as Social Work, Politics, Criminal Justice

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
(served in the AMC Conference Room)


1:30 - 2:30 Free Will, Persons, and Alief
Ryan Scherbart, PhD
Humanities & Religious Studies Instructor
Chabot College

Abstract: There appears to be substantial agreement among descriptive psychologists that a person is more than mere physiology.  A person, they say, is something over and above a highly organized bio-chemical system of cells, tissues, organs, bones, fluids, neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, etc.  Persons are not 'meat machines'.  Human bodies -- fine -- are just physical objects; however, this is not the case for persons.  I will not so much argue that persons are merely physical beings but rather will suggest that those who claim otherwise face difficult, perennial questions about causal interaction between physical and nonphysical things and questions about free will.  These queries are intended to promote fruitful discussion.  I will provide an overview of how philosophers have generally grappled with these issues, including a presentation of my own work on free will and the concept of alief.  

2:30 - 2:40 Break

2:40 - 3:40 The Internet as a Medium of Community
Boston Study Group

3:40 - 3:50 Break

3:50 - 4:50 Significance and Aggression:  A Reconceptualization of "Anger Management Training"
Erol Zeybekoglu 

5:00-7:00 Free time for dinner on your own and enjoying Golden.


7:00-7:30 And the Beat Goes On
Carolyn Zeiger, PhD

Abstract:  This is an informal opportunity for conference participants to briefly share the ways they are using Descriptive Psychology, invite discussion or just give an update on their continuing work.

7:30 - 8:30 Society Business Meeting
Moderated by Wynn Schwartz, PhD
SDP President

The major topic, as introduced and moderated by Wynn Schwartz, President, SDP, will be discussion of strategies for fostering the survival of Descriptive Psychology and the Society for Descriptive Psychology


8:15 - 9:00 Breakfast
(served in the AMC Conference Room)

9:00 - 10:00 Descriptive Psychology, Personhood, and Neurocognitive Disorders - Lessons Learned, Next Steps
Aladdin Ossorio, PsyD

10:00 - 10:10 Break

10:10 - 12:20 Clinical Case Presentations
Sonja Holt, PhD, Fernand Lugubuin, PhD,
and Graduate Student Presenters from the University of Denver Clinical Psychology Program

12:30 Lunch (on your own) and afternoon free for personal business, meetings, and recreation


7:30  Society Banquet
Announcements and Celebration


8:15 - 9:00 Breakfast
(served in the AMC Conference Room)

9:00 - 10:00 Conflict Resolution – Using Descriptive Psychology to Negotiate Relationship Change
Paula Holt, Esq., LLB

10:00 - 10:10 Break

10:10 - 11:10 Critique
C.J. Stone

Abstract: Actors have actions, Observer/Describers have observations and descriptions, Critics have...what? In the past, we have only used the term "critic talk", but critics do a lot: identify phenomena, highlight assessment,  separate appraisal from other phenomena, and so on. We can explicate what they do and use it to conceptualize what is happening.

11:10 - 11:20 Break
11:20 - 12:20 Sense and Significance in the Human World
Tee Roberts, PhD

Abstract: Making a distinction between the Performance of a behavior and its Significance is essential for the scientific study of human behavior.  The validity and value of the distinction is first demonstrated by a set of empirical studies, dealing with sex roles, intrinsic value, developmental disabilities, and alcoholism treatment.  Then two methodological devices — parametric analysis and calculational system — are introduced. The use of the devices is illustrated, culminating in the presentation of a concept of Behavior in which both Performance and Significance have a place.  The implications of the package as a whole for neuroscience are briefly discussed.  (This is a shortened version of a presentation given in March, 2015 at the first International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam.)

12:30 - 2:00 Lunch
(served in the AMC Conference Room)

12:30 - 2:00 Board Meeting
(AMC Drumwright Board Room) 

Further Information about the Society, Descriptive Psychology and Student Support
Please consider donating to the student support fund!
Information on The Society for Descriptive Psychology can be found on the Society's website: 

Please consider supporting student presentations by donating to The Student's Fund. The Society for Descriptive Psychology is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible, but please consult with your tax advisor.

Support a Student:

Peter Ossorio's masterwork, The Behavior of Persons,  and his  volume of status dynamic maxims, Place, are now available in paperback from the Descriptive Psychology Press

A brief orientation to Descriptive Psychology can be found in the postings, People Make Sense: Foundations for a Human Science and A Short Course in Descriptive Psychology.

Information about Lodging

Lodging is available at the Golden Hotel and the Hampton Inn. Call the hotels directly to make reservations.

Conference Discounts are available at:

The Hampton Inn (303-278-6600) under "Society for Descriptive Psychology" $109/night

The Golden Hotel by the deadline of 9/21/15 (303-279-0100) under "Society for Descriptive Psychology" $162/night for a King Suite, or
$192/night for a Deluxe Double Queen Suite with a sleeper sofa, sleeps 3 people – a great option for students or anyone who wishes to share a room and save (equates to $64 a person/night)

Other hotels in the area that have competitive rates:

Denver West Marriot:
Table Mountain Inn:

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