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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Report on EASP Meeting: Annecy Interpersonal Relationships and Tech

24.06.2019, by Tina Keil in meeting report

May 24-25th, 2019, Annecy, France; Organizers: Rick Klein, Rhonda Balzarini, Elisa Sarda, Michelle Kaufman, and Hans IJzerman

EASP Meeting: Annecy Interpersonal Relationships and Tech in total, 7 pictures
EASP Meeting: Annecy Interpersonal Relationships and Tech

In May 2019, we organised a meeting at the interface of interpersonal relationships and technology in Annecy France. The academic meeting was made possible with the generous support of the European Association of Social Psychology.

Alongside the academic meeting, we organised a hackathon, which was sponsored by Facebook, AdopteUnMec, and EmbrWave. Our website ( was created and sponsored by Eris Enterprises. The meeting had 6 keynotes (Tim Loving, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Rich Slatcher, Chris Agnew, Hans IJzerman, and Justin Garcia) on VR use in relationships, social relationships and health, smartphone technoference in relationships, receptivity in relationship commitment, love and sex in the digital age, and social thermo-regulation in the modern world. Beyond the keynotes, the conferences featured nine symposiums with three speakers each (the schedule is available via Google Sheets). The talks ranged from those on family therapy to touch interventions via smartphone applications.

Overall, we considered the conference a great success. There was a lot of lively exchange between different people from different backgrounds, who had never exchanged information before. Most attendees expressed an explicit desire to organise this meeting again next year and other organisations, such as the International Association of Relationship Research, expressed interest in sponsoring in following years. The most important point for improvement on our end is that we needed a better and more coherent organisation of our hackathons (partly on our end, but also partly because four hackathons were cancelled the week before the conference). Further, we should also aim for a better role distribution within the team. Finally, for the next conference, we should make our Open Science Framework page available before the meeting starts for attendees to share their talks and hackathon materials more widely.

Selection of Most Representative Comments

(from a survey we conducted amongst our participants)

General comments

  • I appreciated that the conference allowed for talks by researchers who were interested in becoming involved in research on the intersection of tech and relationships in addition to the main feature of tech + relationships.
  • I really enjoyed this conference! Well done, everyone. I really liked the keynotes, thematically grouped symposium, and long lunches for networking. The size of the conference and the collegiality/personality of the committee members made for a very welcoming time. Some thoughts on improvements for next year: Extend the conference by one day--this could help provide a few more longer breaks for networking or integrating the researchers and hackthoners. There was a lot of content to cover in two days, which made for long days. If the goal is to keep the conference smaller in size, I think poster sessions and concurrent talks may take away from networking and getting to know other people.
  • I actually really liked that I was able to attend all talks because there weren't concurrent sessions. If the conference does expand next year my preference would be to add an extra day (if possible and cost-effective).

What can be added: Training in data management

  • My main goal was to attend the hackathon. Since it did not take all the time I also attended some talks (they were very interesting and presented in an engaging way!) but the topics were not connected to my daily work. The hackathon (it was my second one) was disappointing as the task was not really creative and the leader was not engaged enough and had not enough expertise in the methods we were using. I did not learn much.
  • More discussion time and more social activities.
  • I liked the structure - it was appropriate for a conference of this size. Having concurrent talks in different rooms would decrease the audience size for any one talk. I really would've liked to attend the hackathons but prioritised the main talks (perhaps have half a day of hackathons with no concurrent main talks). Location was brilliant! I loved Annecy but would be interested in another location next year for the sake of variety (in Europe rather than North America please!). Going into the conference, I was slightly concerned about organisational issues (conference program wasn't finalised until shortly before the conference; length of talks were cut in half only a week or so before the conference). But organisation wasn't an issue at all once the conference started. In fact, it was one of the most well-organised, slick operations I have seen yet at a conference. Many thanks to the conference organisers for doing such a great job.

Satisfaction with the Conference

(from 1=unsatisfied to 5=very satisfied)

Overall Satisfaction of the Conference: 4.57
Speakers and Presentations: 4.71
Relevance to Participants’ Work: 4.29
Conference Location: 4.93
Hotel Arrangements: 4.43
Catering: 4.83
Likelihood of Future Connections: 4.21

Recommendation of Conference

(from 1=Extremely Likely to 7=Extremely Unlikely)

Likelihood to recommend the conference to colleagues: 1.43


Number of EASP Conference Participants: 33 (51.5% EASP Members)
Number of Facebook / AdopteUnMec Hackathon Participants: 29

Conference Talks:

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all our sponsors for supporting this very productive meeting.

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