“Connectedness, Identity and Alienation: The 21st Century Enigma”
March 28–31, 2013 | The Ramada Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Being connected has become much easier in the 21st century. The digital revolution, the internet social network sites, Skype, and the ubiquity of mobile phones have helped us to reconnect with long-lost family and friends, to make new relationships even with people we have not met in person, and to stay connected despite geographical separation. However, this revolution in convenience and communication has not necessarily helped us to be truly connected. Social connectedness refers to the quality and quantity of relationships with others including family, friends, colleagues, and the wider community, through various modes of contact, and the resulting benefits. Being truly socially connected involves not only the number of connections with important people in our lives, but also factors such as trust, disclosure, loneliness and isolation. Other aspects of connectedness are also equally as important as the social: psychological connectedness with our multiple, changing selves gives us our sense of identity over space and time; connectedness with our environment, be it the natural environment or our social ones, such as school, work, or community provides us with a sense of belonging; spiritual connectedness in the transcendental sense provides meaning in our lives; and moral connectedness, being true to our values helps us to maintain our integrity in our complex lives.
ACP2013 was held alongside ACERP2013, welcoming 275 delegates from around the world to join in discussion ranging from trust, motivation and psychological concerns and mental health issues in modern social systems to practical studies on emotions, policies, and clinical psychology. In the plenary session, our Keynote speaker, Professor Dennis McInerny of The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, addressed the interconnectedness of child education, parental psychological support, and caring schools. His speech, "Harnessing the Power of Social Forces for Healthy Self Development and Successful Engagement in Education" touched on the self-identity formation relative to the self-determination theory, which could predict a child's learning outcome. He also advocated for the concept of parental involvement/engagement being a strong factor for the child's development as well as connectedness with the school. Professor McInerny emphasised that teachers are still a powerful source of reinforcement for a child's academic behaviour and encouraged high quality teacher-child relationships to facilitate higher academic achievement.
Later on in the conference, Featured Speaker Professor Jiro Takai from Nagoya University, Japan, spoke on "When Japanese Are Not Japanese: Being Betrayed by Japanese Samples in Cross-cultural Comparisons" and gave details of how Japanese people could not properly respond to questionnaires without context. Other featured speakers included Dr Sandra Neil from the Satir Centre of Australia, Australia, who gave a presentation on "New Concepts in Family Psychology: Reconnection of Couples, Families and Cultures; Through Affinity, Love and Compassion" and Dr Monty Satiadarma from Tarumanagara University, Indonesia who gave his presentation on "Münchausen by Internet: Psychological Concerns in Modern Communication Systems".