SESPSociety of Experimental Social Psychology


Videos from the 2009 SESP Conference

This page offers video clips of two friendly debates that took place at the October, 2009, SESP conference in Portland, Maine.

The first debate, between Piotr Winkielman (University of California, San Diego) and Matthew Lieberman (University of California, Los Angeles), focused on the question of observed high correlations between activation in regions of the brain with self-reports. The debate was whether these high correlations are valid. Winkielman took the position that the correlations are "puzzlingly high" and questioned their validity; Lieberman defended the correlations as appropriate for the purposes that they were being used.

The second debate, between Steven Heine (University of British Columbia) and Constantine Sedikides (University of Southampton), explored the question of whether self-enhancement is pan-cultural or whether it is a phenomenon that represents primarily Western individualistic cultures. Heine took the position that self-enhancement is a Western individualistic phenomenon; Sedikides took the position that although the form of self-enhancement might change according to the culture, self-enhancement still exists (and is functional) across all cultures.

The purpose of these debates was to enlighten, educate, and find overlapping points of agreement as well as points of disagreement. There were no "winners" or "losers."

We thank the debaters and moderators for their participation, and Eric Wesselmann for videotaping both sessions.

Debate #1: High Correlations in Cognitive/Affective Neuroscience

Moderator: David Kenny

Debate #2: Is Self-Enhancement Pancultural?

Moderator: David Dunning