Conferinta internationala militara de stiinte comportamentale 2015

The 1st International Military Behavioral Sciences Conference was held at the Officer’s House (Cercul Militar National), Bucharest, Romania.

afis conferinta


Scientific Committee

Eugen Avram

Tudorel Butoi

Ticu Constantin

Daniel David

Dragoş Iliescu

Vasile Marineanu

Bradley Poppen

Marian Preda

Ciprian Răulea

Alin Sava

Jeffrey Yarvis

Marian Zulean

Organizing Committee

Vasile Marineanu

Adrian Prisăcaru

Cristian Popescu

Iulian Ţăranu

State of the art

stateofthe artCOL. Jeffrey S. Yarvis

COL Jeffrey S. Yarvis, PhD is a published social work and military scholar in the field of psychological trauma for nearly 30 years, has practiced internationally with disaster, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, accident, and war-induced trauma across many different cultures and populations. He has received numerous honors for his humanitarian efforts to include 2008 Uniformed Services Social Worker of the Year, 2008 U.S. Army Social Worker of the Year, numerous decorations to include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Action Badge and induction into the Order of Military Medical Merit. He received the US Army’s Alpha proficiency designator as a full professor and military scholar in social work. COL Yarvis is currently the Deputy Commander for a medical center caring for 1/8 of the active US Army and senior behavioral health officer on his base. He also is an adjunct professor of social work at the University of Southern California.

Conference Presentation: Reintegrating Returning Warriors and the Subtleties of PTSD

Partnering with our international colleagues has enabled all participants to better address psychological injuries and the reintegration of soldiers into the workplace and their families. Understanding posttraumatic stress disorders and early intervention are key to the reintegration process.

A growing literature addressing the issue of subthreshold posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has appeared in recent years. However, only a small portion of this growing literature base represents empirical investigations of subthreshold PTSD and its implications. Further, the reliance on the categorical and diagnostic models of psychiatric disorders has lead to a lack of investigations into the study of the posttraumatic sequelae that fall short of full criteria for PTSD. Providers have observed substantial disability, depression and alcohol use as well as a great need for health care has been well studied for veterans with PTSD, but these associations have not been well studied in the subthreshold population. Few studies have examined the role of comorbidty and impairment in veterans with subthreshold PTSD.

Understanding how to leverage evidenced-based practice in combating the effects of so-called war-induced trauma spectrum disorders is vital in addressing the “invisible wounds” of war.

dragos iliescuDragoş Iliescu

Dragoş Iliescu is a Professor of Psychology with the University of Bucharest (Faculty for Psychology and Educational Sciences). He has been active as a scientific consultant for the past 15 years, being involved in and having led important consultancy projects in Romania and other countries, mainly in Eastern Europe. In Romania, he has founded the Psyence Group, a group of scientific researchers active in several applied domains, such as test publishing, consumer psychology, management consultancy, educational testing, and occupational and vocational counseling. His research interests group around two large domains: applied psychology in the occupational and human resources area, and psychological assessment, tests and testing (with an important cross-cultural twist). Dragoş Iliescu is the immediate Past-President of the Romanian Association of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (APIO) and the President-Elect of the International Test Commission (ITC), having also served in time in other capacities for the International Test Commission.

Conference Presentation: Assessing Psychological Suitability for High-Risk Military Jobs

Behavioral assessment for high-risk military jobs has a strong psychological component. Psychological assessment contributes with important data to decisions regarding the suitability of a prospective candidate for engaging in such high-risk activities. Several psychological variables have been shown to be related to important criteria for high-risk military jobs, such as performance, adaptability, psychological resilience, etc. These variables are pooled from all areas of assessment and comprise cognitive abilities, personality, motivation, coping styles and behavioral patterns. However, there is no consensus as yet regarding the approach to the measurement and decision integration of these variables. This presentation will focus on an overview of said predictor variables, and said criteria and will discuss the several approaches taken so far to their integration in personnel decisions, arguing for psychological adaptability as a paramount criterion in any such assessment or decision.

bradleyBradley Poppen

COL. (Dr) Bradley Poppen is the Director of Human Factors at the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, where he serves as the Department of Defense’s Senior Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Psychologist. His office develops guidance for how the DoD plans, prepares for, and responds to personnel recovery events involving the isolation or captivity of DoD or other US personnel. He provides psychological expertise regarding the dynamics of captivity and isolation, the psychological impacts of captivity on the individual and how they cope and adapt in the captivity environment, support to isolated personnel and their families, and the reintegration of former hostages or prisoners of war back to work, family and society upon their return from captivity.

Conference Presentation: Principles of Post-captivity care

Individuals held hostage or in captivity may experience a variety of potentially traumatic events. Upon their return from captivity, these people face a common set of psychological needs and challenges. Understanding these needs and challenges, and successfully applying the principles of post-captivity psychological care, maximize the probability these survivors can return to healthy functioning while experiencing minimal negative psychological impacts. Individuals who have survived captivity are normal people who have survived an abnormal event, and tapping into their inherent resilience and adaptability are keys to a healthy recovery. These same principles of post-captivity care can serve as a working model to assist individuals facing a wide variety of other potentially traumatic life events.

danielDaniel David

Daniel David, Ph.D., is Director of Research and a Diplomate/Supervisor at the Albert Ellis Institute (AEI). He holds the Aaron T. Beck Professorship at Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Dr. David is the President/Director of the International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health, as well as an adjunct professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Oncological Sciences, in New York. Dr. David is the founding editor of the Journal of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapies, and the founding director of the ”Babeş-Bolyai – PsyTech” Psychological Clinic. He serves as President of the Romanian Board of Psychologists, Cluj Branch, President of the National Commission for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy on the Romanian Board of Psychologists, and President of the Professional Commission in the Romanian Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies.

Conference Presentation: Cross-cultural aspects of Clinical Psychology

In a globalized worlds, when cultures and people from various cultures interact more and more one another, the role of cross-cultural psychology is fundamental. In this presentation, I will explore some of the cross-cultural psychology developments, with implications for clinical assessment and interventions (e.g., counseling/clinical psychology/psychotherapy). Examples relating the psychology of Romanian people will be discussed.

tudorelTudorel Butoi

COL. (retired) Tudorel Butoi is Professor at the “Spiru Haret” University, Bucharest, Senior Clinical Psychologist, and Forensic Psychologist. He is a licensed practitioner in Psychology and Law and Ph.D. in Legal Psychology. For the past 35 years, he has been active as an expert in detecting simulated behavior and in polygraph examination, being the specialist who brought the polygraph to Romania for the first time. He brought an important contribution to the theory and practice of forensic techniques and in the specific areas of the domain, offering expertise in the fields of Criminalistics and Penal Investigation. He is the author of many handbooks, studies and research papers in the fields of psychology, behavioral sciences and law.

Conference Presentation: Deception in Clinical Assessment

The purpose of this presentation is to familiarize the public with the utilization of the polygraph or, as it is more referred to, the lie detector in the investigations. Basically, the polygraph examination uses mechanical and electronic instrumentation to graphically record the physiological changes that take place in personsquestioned under controlled conditions. Changes in cardiovascular activity, respiratory activity and galvanic skin reflex are recorded on a moving chart as the examiner asks the subject specific questions. These charts are then evaluated to determine whether the person’s answers present modifications showed in the diagrams by the emotional parameter in the presence of the critical neutral or control stimuli.

vasileVasile Marineanu

COL. Vasile Marineanu is the Head of Behavioral and Social Research Center, Romanian MOD and Adjunct Professor at the University of Bucharest. He is a licensed practitioner and Ph.D. in Psychology, as well as an Air Force Academy graduated.

His scientific work includes publications and research projects in the fields of Military Psychology, Organizational Diagnosis, Psychological Operations, Clinical Psychology, and Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies. In practice he is a principal psychologist, involved in clinical evaluations and specialized psychological interventions such Cognitive Behavioral Therapies with active duty military personnel as well as veterans.

COL. Marineanu has over 15 years of experience in operational psychology, acquired during the operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1997), Kosovo (2000, 2002, 2004), and Afghanistan (2010). Between 2005 and 2008, he worked with NATO Rapid Reaction Corps in Valencia, Spain. Since 2014 he has been the Romanian national liaison officer for mental health at the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine.

Conference Presentation: The current state of Romanian military psychology, evolution and perspectives

This paper aims to make an analysis of the Romanian military psychology current state. It focuses on the conceptual development underpinning its current and future operational and clinical applications, in order to increase the effective human and organizational resource management, the individual and group performance, and to ensure effective operational stress control. This will offer a scientific framework for the structural and procedural changes in the field of military psychology, including current policies and regulations, through the mainstreaming of human behavior from the perspective of its social and individual determinants. The theoretical, methodological and practical aspects will be completed with examples of activities that impact on behavioral and organizational health in the military.

marianMarian Zulean

Marian Zulean is a vice-dean for research at the Faculty of Public Administration and Business and the coordinator of the social science department at the Institute for Advanced Research-University of Bucharest (ICUB). He teaches public policy analysis, national security policy and military sociology. He holds a MPIA (University of Pittsburg), a doctorate in Sociology (University of Bucharest), a postdoctoral Fulbright Fellowship (University of Maryland). He was a military officer within the Romania MoD.

Conference Presentation: Emergency preparedness in Romania: dynamics, shortcomings and policy proposals

The research paper aims to describe the risks and institutions dealing with disasters, to assess the emergency preparedness, the uses of Foresight Methodology approaches and to discover the shortcomings of the Romanian Emergency System. The empirical study - designed as a reality check- focuses on the perception of the local leaders of the emergency system regarding the most probable risks, and the uses and utility of long-term strategic planning and foresight methodologies, using the Delphi technique. 

alinAlin Sava

Florin A. Sava received his Ph.D. in psychology from Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 2005 with a thesis focusing on teacher-student interaction from a social cognition approach. Currently, he is a professor of Psychology at West University of Timisoara, Romania and the coordinator of the Social Cognition and Personality Psychology Lab. His main two administrative experiences are related to management (Chair of Psychology Department, since 2008), and to research agencies (the representative person for Psychology and Psychotherapy in the Romanian National Science Foundation, from 2009 to 2013). His research interests are related to implicit social cognition and personality psychology. He is currently a member of the executive committee of the European Association for Personality Psychology and a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

 Conference Presentation: Implicit and Explicit Personality Assessment in the Context of Personnel Selection

Misattributions people make about their own reaction to ambiguous stimuli can be used to measure personality self-concepts implicitly. On the basis of a semantic misattribution priming paradigm [semantic misattribution procedure (SMP)], we assessed the implicit personality self-concept related to three dimensions included in the Big-Five model: conscientiousness, neuroticism, and extraversion. Across three studies (N1 = 98, N2= 140, and N3 = 135), the SMP was robustly related, in the expected direction, to individual differences in self-reported personality questionnaires and managed to predict both self-reported and objectively measured behaviours. The main advantage of SMP over classical explicit measures of personality is its higher resistance to social desirability tendencies, although its psychometric properties are somewhat lower than those pertaining to explicit measures of personality. Finally, comparisons of our results with studies that used other implicit measures of personality self-concept indicate that the SMP has higher criterion validity. Implications for psychological assessment in military context are discussed.




W1 – Building Resilience for High-risk Missions: 2 hours

Trainer: COL. Jeffrey Yarvis, Ph.D., Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Texas

Workshop’s Objective: To bring together practitioners in behavioral sciences, in order to discuss the theoretical framework of building resilience in the military and establish an interdisciplinary approach of resilience concept emphasizing the physical, mental, spiritual and social components.

W2 –Trans-cultural Aspects of Clinical Psychology: 2 hours

Trainer: Assistant Professor, Silviu MATU, Ph.D., “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca

silviuSilviu-Andrei Matu, Ph.D., is a young researcher and senior assistant professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (, and member of the International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health (, both at Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. His main areas of expertise are related to evidence-based treatments, cognitive emotion regulation, and technology enhanced mental health services. He has published several articles, chapter and books related to clinical research and practice, both national and international. He has also authored or co-authored other research reports, psychological test translations, and book reviews. He also had several presentations at international prestigious conferences in his field, such as the Annual Congress of the European Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the International Congress of Cognitive Therapy.

Workshop description:

The workshop will focus on understanding the key factors that should be taken into account when working in clinical contexts with patients coming from different cultural background. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will be the main approach, in an evidence based-paradigm. The workshop will also tackle cross-cultural variations in the epidemiology and the symptomatology of mental disorders and present practical techniques to facilitate the cultural accommodation of psychotherapeutic strategies. To facilitate learning, the workshop will be informative but also interactive.

Workshop’s objectives:

1. Understand the impact of cultural level factors on the psychotherapeutic relationship, process and outcomes;

2. Identify important variations in the symptomatology of mental disorders in relation to cultural differences.

3. Accommodate cognitive-behavioral treatment strategies to cross-cultural clinical contexts.

W3 – Assessing Risk Factors in Traffic Psychology: 2 hours

Trainer: Associate Professor Ciprian RĂULEA, Ph.D., University of Sibiu

Workshop’s Objective: To teach participants about risk factors in traffic psychology and practice the development of their assessment skills.

W4– Strategies for the identification of organizational risk; analyzing the psycho-social risk factors: 2 hours

Trainer: Professor Ticu CONSTANTIN, Ph.D., “AI Cuza” University of Iaşi

 ticuTicu Constantin is Professor at The ”Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University at Iaşi, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, at all the academic levels: bachelor programs, masters programs, doctoral school, post university programs. He is also a Ph.D. thesis coordinator since 2009, Head of The Department of Doctoral Studies, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences. He held the position of project manager for 3 international projects and 5 national projects, and he was a team-member in other 23 research projects. He published 8 books (4 coauthored), over 88 studies in professional journals, and presented 60 papers at national and international conferences.

He has been active as a consultant in the evaluation, management and optimization of the organizational change and development processes. Also, he has been accredited by the Psychologists Collegium of Romania as Trainer in organizational diagnosis (The Analysis of the Organizational Climate), and in psychological assessment of the individuals (Psychological Assessment of the Employees), being the author and developer of some tools for psychological assessment ( and for organizational diagnosis (

By reviewing the existing scientific data regarding the assessment and prevention of risks of a physical nature (security and work safety), of the individual psychological mechanisms involved in risk taking (perceptions and individual risk taking), or the importance of the collective factors involved in the perception of risks (the culture and the climate of work safety), we will briefly analyze the efficacy of the existing interventions involved in reducing the costs associated to professional accidents and illness on three levels (technical, psychological, cultural). We propose the analysis of a new type of risk that can influence organizational activity, namely the psychosocial risk (Clarke & Cooper, 2004).

Together with the participants to our workshop, we will discuss a possible model to analyze the internal psychosocial risk factors, and we will asses a standardized methodology that can be implemented in military units. In the team-based activities, we will analyze the results obtained using this methodology inside a public institution in order to see which are the main conclusions that can be drawn based on such data, and to identify the empirical bases of a set of possible interventions aimed at reducing risks associated to the identified mentioned factors.

At the end of the workshop, participants will have an integrated, comprehensive picture of the ways in which risk assessment can be done in organizations, and a better understanding of the “psychosocial risk factor” concept. More, they will become acquainted with a possible assessment methodology for analyzing such risks, and will be familiarized with the main practical data resulting from such an endeavor, conclusions that could serve at defining organizational intervention strategies.


W5 – Mental Health Rehabilitation: 2 hours

Trainer: COL. Bradley Poppen, Ph.D., Human Factors Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, Washington

Workshop’s Objective: To provide an overview of the reintegration and rehabilitation process for individuals who faced physical and psychological trauma in captivity, in order to be able to apply the principles of Psychological Decompression during post-captivity care and to discuss complicating factors.

Workshop’s Objectives:

1. Understand the underlying principles, procedures and goals of post-captivity support

What does the psychological literature say about recovery from potentially traumatic events, and how does this inform post-captivity care?

2. Understand the role of behavioral health professionals when supporting post-captivity care

What unique roles to behavioral health professionals have in post-captivity care? What type of specialty training/qualifications do mental health professionals need to support individuals coming out of captivity?

3. Understand the psychological needs of individuals coming out of captivity

What are the common needs of individuals coming out of captivity? Are these similar to, or different from, the psychological needs of survivors of other potentially traumatic experiences?

4. Understand the need for, and be able to explain, the decompression protocols

5. Explain some of the common problems encountered during post-captivity care

Understand how actions, even if taken under the best intentions, by family, media, and senior military or governmental leaders can impact the healthy recovery of the person coming out of captivity.


W6– Occupational Health Psychology: 2 hours.

Trainers: Professor Eugen AVRAM, Ph.D., Professor Dragoş ILIESCU, Ph.D., University of Bucharest;

 eugenEugen Avram is the Director of the Department of Psychology, University of Bucharest and he coordinates a Master in Health Psychology – Clinical Research and Behavioral Optimization.

His scientific work includes publications and research projects in the fields of clinical assessment, clinical research, occupational health, counseling and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) deals with the psychological aspects related to the promotion and maintenance of the highest possible degree of safety and wellbeing (physical and mental) of employees. It focuses on prevention, risk control and adaptation, but also on treatment and rehabilitation. Most if not all its effort is geared towards some way or another of understanding and dealing with “stress”.

This workshop will offer an introductory view of OHP, presenting some of its fundamental theories, and explaining how these theories can be used to implement, if not evidence-based, then at least theory-driven interventions in the workplace. We will discuss such leading models as the Job Demands-Resources model, and will focus on a number of antecedents (e.g. job characteristics such as extended work hours, role ambiguity, job insecurity and others) and a number of outcomes (such as burnout and engagement). The workshop will also present ways in which to use utility analysis as a mode of ‘selling’ OHP ideas and programmes to stakeholders, and some application on safety management.

At the end of the workshop, participants will have a better understanding of the psychological mechanisms in the area of occupational health, will be more aware of the ways in which psychology as a science and practice can contribute to workplace wellbeing and will understand how to approach utility analyses in the domain of OHP.


Assessment and Motivation of Human Resources

Organizational Diagnosis and Human Factors Role in Performance of Complex Teams

Resilience and Psychological Intervention in Crises and Force Deployment



Start Time

End Time




1st Day



Registration/name tags




Welcome remarks/admin issues





Keynote remarks

Officials from the Ministry of National Defense, the Romanian College of Psychologists, the Joint Staff, the Human Resources Directorate




Coffee break, Group picture




Reintegrating Returning Warriors and the Subtleties of PTSD

USA/Col. Jeffrey YARVIS, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center




Assessing Psychological Suitability for High-Risk Military Jobs

ROU/Dragoş ILIESCU, University of Bucharest




Principles of Post-captivity care

USA/Col. Bradley POPPEN, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency








Trans-cultural Aspects of Clinical Psychology

ROU/Daniel DAVID, “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca




Deception in Clinical Assessment

ROU/Col. (retired) Tudorel BUTOI




Romanian Military Psychology – Evolution and Perspectives





Emergency preparedness in Romania: dynamics, shortcomings and policy proposals

ROU/Marian ZULEAN, University of Bucharest




Implicit and Explicit Personality Assessment in the Context of Personnel Selection

ROU/Alin SAVA, University of Timisoara








Workshops (W1, W2, W3)

W1 – Building Resilience for High-risk Missions; W2 –Trans-cultural Aspects of Clinical Psychology; W3 – Assessing Risk Factors in Traffic Psychology





End of the 1st Day





Workshops (W4, W5, W6)

W4 – Organizational Diagnosis; W5 – Mental Health Rehabilitation; W6 – Organizational Health








Sections Debates

End of the 2nd Day