Last Tuesday, around 35 AS and A level students took the opportunity to expand their knowledge of their Psychology curriculum, through a series of lectures from leading psychologists.
Over 1000 students attended, each listening attentively and contributing to an effervescent question and answer session at the end, giving them the opportunity to ask the keynote speaker her response to the criticisms of her research, which can be used as counter arguments in the upcoming exams.
Predominately, we were exceedingly fortunate to have listened to Dr Phil Banyard, associate professor at Nottingham Trent University, who highlighted the importance of Psychology in everyday life and the power of our daily observations on psychological theories. He expanded on the ‘narrow topics’ in our textbooks by encouraging vast amounts of audience participation and interactional videos that proved to be one of the most memorable talks, a promising start to the day.
Following this, was a pertinent talk from the conference organiser and author Cara Flanagan, concerning the psychology of successful revision. She explained how, because our long-term memory is semantic, we tend to remember the meaning attached to memories in the long term, therefore, understanding is key to successful revision and doing this will help us ‘work smarter, not longer’. Those in attendance aim to apply this talk to all their subjects, making this a worthwhile trip. After lunch, we learnt how to understand a serial murderer from the case study of Jack the Ripper. Professor David Wilson, as one of the country’s leading psychologists, provided those interested in a career in criminology with a valuable insight into what the path would entail, as he showed us better ways of reducing the incidence of serial murders. By extension, having presented ‘A Man Called Jack’ for BBC 1, he was able to tell us information that was not aired, in the hope to broaden our understanding as aspiring psychologists.
Subsequently, it was time for the keynote speaker- professor Elizabeth Loftus, one of the foremost psychologists of her generation and is listed as the most well-known female psychologist ever. We were exceedingly fortunate to have heard her, as her research into misleading information, in particular leading questions, is a key study in the memory topic that we study as part of our course. Ergo, her focus on the malleability of memory and false memory syndrome, not to mention her response to her critics, is vastly applicable to our studies and has given us the opportunity to boost our understanding of the topic. Overall, all that attended were extremely grateful for such an enriching experience and agreed that each talk was inspiring and definitely broadened our understanding of the course which, in turn, will positively impact our achievements.
By Alice Hodges 12D