Dr Sarah Rose (Lecturer in Psychology and Course Leader for Staffordshire University’s BSc Psychology and Child Development) recently attended the British Psychological Society’s Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference, and blogs about her experience of the conference:
This year’s conference was in Belfast and included a wonderful mix of applied and more theoretical developmental psychology. The Conference was preceded by an inspiring public lecture in which Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk emphasised the importance of infant parent bonds not only on the child’s developing brain but for our vision for the kind of society we wish to build. This emphasis on the connections between children and the people around them was reflected in the Conference keynotes (Prof. Susan Golombok, University of Cambridge; Prof. Peter Hobson, University College, Tavistock Clinic; and Prof. Teresa McCormack, Queens University).
While at the conference I gave two research talks, presenting my work investigating the immediate impact of television on young children’s creativity and describing a new measure of creativity that I have been working on with Dr. Elena Hoicka from the University of Sheffield. Both talks were well attended and it was a great opportunity to get some feedback from others with interests in these areas.
I also took to opportunity to present a poster showcasing work done by one of my 2015-2016 3rd year project students. This student, Grace Aldridge, developed an idea that I had become interested in when attending a talk at a previous Developmental Section Conference, this was that children have problems recognising angry dogs and this may contribute to them being at an increased risk of being bitten by a dog. Grace carried out an ambitious project in which she showed 135 young children 15 images and 15 video clips of dogs and asked them what emotion they thought each dog was experiencing and their intention to approach the dog. We found that the children were actually relatively good at recognising the dogs’ emotions. However, although the children were less likely to approach an angry dog there was no difference in their inclination to approach a happy or frightened dog. They appeared to be unaware that there might be problems approaching frightened dogs, and we think that this could contribute to the increased likelihood of them being bitten by a dog. There has been some great coverage of this research in the National and International press and we hope that our evidence can be used to emphasise the importance of teaching children how to behave safely around dogs, especially regarding approaching a frightened dog.
The BPS Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference is very friendly and welcoming and several presenters were showcasing work that they completed during Masters and PhD study. To find out more about the Section and plans for their 2017 Conference in Stratford Upon Avon see their website. Maybe see you there?
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