The purpose of the conference is to promote scientific exchanges between young and confirmed European scientists who have demonstrated theoretical and empirical excellence in the field of social cognition. Members of our European Social Cognition Network already met twice on an informal basis in Nijmegen (The Netherlands, 1999) and Heildelberg (Germany, 2000). These meetings turned out to be extremely stimulating and we are now seeking support from the European Community to sustain the development of our activities. Members of the network are selected from the very best social cognition laboratories in Europe and have developed an expertise in the field via training and research stays either across Europe or in the us. For two years, we have experienced a need to meet in the context of mid-size conferences in order to promote scientific exchanges between our laboratories. This strategy proved highly productive, as evidenced by an increasing (and substantial) publication rate in top Social Psychology journals. At the long-term level, our ambition is to foster the development of social cognition across Member States and to provide our most prominent researchers with the incentive to resist the calls of us laboratories.
The 2001 conference will concentrate on the contribution of social cognition to the psychological study of racism and stereotyping. This theme covers timely issues such as the interplay of emotion and cognition in the development of negative (or positive) attitudes toward social groups. Our own laboratory has specialized for years in these issues (see the publication list of the co-ordinator), which are definitely relevant in the context of our enlarging European Community. As detailed in the program, the meeting will mainly consist of oral presentations discussed in parallel sessions.
We also included five plenary sessions for keynote speakers and a poster session. Given our experience in managing scientific meetings, we are confident that this conference will foster new international collaborations between our European laboratories and fulfill its training and development objectives regarding young scientists.