Past-President’s Column: Some Thoughts

Krishna Kumar
V. Krishna Kumar, PhD
kkumar@wcupa.edu

Life sometimes, or perhaps often, tends to take its own course. Bandura (1998) notes “Under certain conditions…fortuitous events set in motion a constellation of influences that alter the course of lives (p. 95). In a previous article, Bandura (1982) observed that some chance events touch us lightly, but others have a major impact. Just when I thought, it is my last year in my three-year presidential stint in Division 46, our 2021 President Christopher Ferguson unexpectedly resigned from APA, and Don Grant graciously asked me to step into the Past President role vacated by Chris Ferguson. I am thankful to the Board for their unanimous stamp of approval. Thus, I have the pleasure of staying on the Division’s Executive Board for one more year; so, I am now an Immediate Past-Past President. 

The role of a Past-President is an important one in many ways—apart from serving as Award’s Committee Chair and a member of the Elections Committee, the past president serves as a member of the Presidential trio that meets behind the scenes as needed to discuss issues that come up in the running of the Society.

In over a decade of my being involved in the affairs of our Society, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many talented and distinguished individuals who volunteered in many roles and many of them continue to stay active in one way or another. This has been a highly inspiring, but humbling learning experience. You learn quickly that you are working with a diverse group of highly talented people, and you learn to work collaboratively and democratically. You learn that your opinion counts but considering the opinions of other always lead to better outcomes—it is not so much the art of negotiations to achieve your goals that is important, but you learn that we need to work together to advance the goals of the Society. In a sense, our Society is a cooperative of members. 

The division offers several membership benefits, which include the Annual APA Convention, a listserv forum for discussion of issues in media psychology and technology, and The Amplifier Magazine published twice a year. I must add the Student Committee, chaired by Stephanie Miodus and Stephanie Joseph, has been extremely active in the past two years and they have a mentoring program for students to help with their theses and dissertations. The student committee has produced several podcasts featuring distinguished media psychologists, all available on our Division’s Website. 

I want to add that The Amplifier Magazine has the potential to be highly influential. We have a wide circulation and in 2021 we had 28,056 views (18,222 visitors), up from 2020 when we had 25,588 views (15,725 visitors). The Amplifier Magazine is easily found through any of the search engines, and consequently, the visitors are from around the world. In 2021 most views were from the USA (11,392), Philippines (9,630), and Pakistan (1,868) (Source WordPress). Publishing in The Amplifier Magazine is not restricted to members of the APA Society of Media Psychology & Technology, and we welcome everyone to consider submitting their articles, book reviews, and film reviews for consideration. 

Coming back to Bandura (1982) who remarked “The unforeseeability and branching power of fortuitous influences make the specific course of lives neither easily predictable nor easily socially engineerable. Fortuity of influence does not mean that behavior is undetermined” (p. 749). What would life be without trying and allowing the elements of chance to operate? Sometimes it will be like winning a lottery, and other times, you will need to face the losses in the stock market. Regardless, it is always worth putting in your two cents—the chances are the stock market will at some point take a positive turn and hopefully, you can cash in at the right time. 

References

Bandura, A. (1982). The psychology of chance encounters and life paths. American Psychologist, 37, 747-755. 

Bandura, A (1998). Exploration of fortuitous determinants of life paths. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 95- 115.

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