What factors influence non-US students membersí decision to be an SPR member?
Last year the International Students subcommittee conducted an internet survey in order to assess what factors influence studentsí decisions to be an SPR member. The questions covered demographic and membership information as well as information about acceptance of the annual meetings and its special opportunities for students. Further, we asked participants about how they perceive the SPR as an international organization and if it can fulfill their needs.
Twenty seven students participated (55% male and 45% female) whereof most of them have been Europeans (59 %) followed by Asians (26 %). Most students worked in the field of psychophysiology (85.2 %) with an emphasis on attention, emotion and psychopathology.
About half of the students were current members, the others being recent members. The average membership (recent and current) was 2 years. Most of the participants (77.8 %) first heard about the SPR in their own institution they have been working at. Only a small part got in touch with SPR via the journal (7.4 %). The motivation to join the SPR was mostly driven by reduced conference fees (54.4 %). Some students were asked by their advisors to do so and about 20 % joined because of representation of interests.
The SPR is perceived as an international society by non-US student members but a majority feels less the well-integrated (68.4 %). Interestingly, most participants do not think that a national society can better fulfill their needs (62.5 %). Many students stated that they know non-US students working in the field of psychophysiology that were not members of SPR.
Many students expressed the wish to have more meetings in Europe (66 % would attend annually a meeting in Europe). The members expect easy access to the journal, reduced fares, a possibility to meet other researchers, to get more updated information about technology and software in addition to information about grant-writing and jobs.
Considering those students having attended at least one meeting, 91 % of them presented a poster, 50 % attended the student social hour, 55 % attended a special interest meeting and 50 % participated in the poster competition.
In sum, the SPR is indeed perceived as an international organization and most students do not think that any national society can better fulfill this function. But they also do not feel well integrated. Many of them know others working in their field that are not SPR members. Thus, the potential for recruiting and retaining non-US members is very high, but efforts need to be made to help them feel more integrated in the society.