Professor Karen Rodham to appear at Latitude Festival discussing the future of healthcare

Professor Karen Rodham (Professor of Health Psychology & Director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) will be appearing at the Latitude Festival on Saturday 14th July discussing the future of healthcare and the role of self-management for people living with long term chronic conditions.

Professor Rodham will be participating in a discussion about new developments in healthcare practice with Robin Ince, Professor Daniel Davis and Professor Greg Hanon (click here for details). Professor Rodham will be discussing her experiences working as a Health Psychologist in the NHS with people living with long term pain conditions and the implications of self-management for patients, policy-makers and healthcare staff.

Professor Rodham has also written for the British Psychological Society’s The Psychologist publication on the topic of the use of self-management in healthcare – read more via:

Karen Rodham – Overrated: Self-management (The Psychologist)


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University has a history of excellence in teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research has active team of Health Psychologists who conduct research and provide consultancy in a range of health-related issues.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

StaffsPsych Technical Skills Staff Support Work Experience Week

The School of Life Sciences and Education recently welcomed seven work experience students to Staffordshire University to give them a taste of working within the scientific field. All students were Year 12 students from local schools and colleges; Stoke-on-Trent College, The Cheadle Academy and St John Fisher Catholic College, and are studying Biology or Psychology.

Some of our work experience students

The combined departments of Psychology and Biology developed an interactive programme showing the effects of stress on the human body through the hormone, cortisol. The activities started with a presentation, led by Biology Technician Sue Avery, which gave the students information about cortisol, how it can be altered and tested for, as well as an introduction to the laboratory testing facilities. Next, Justin Rich (Sport Technician) led the students in a workshop looking at the importance of Health and Safety and Risk Assessments. Students enjoyed the practical session, identifying hazards from a health and safety ‘crime scene’ – a nightmare for most technicians! This laid the foundations for the importance of health and safety in the laboratory and is something that students can take forward into their scientific careers.

Once health and safety matters had been observed, Paul Gallimore and Alice Taylor (Psychology Technicians) introduced the students to the Virtual Reality kit, which caused much excitement amongst the teenagers. Students took part in immersive experiences that were designed to induce relaxed or stressful states; this influenced cortisol levels and students were able to see their physiological responses using the Biopac which shows Heart Rate and Galvanic Skin Response. The visitors particularly enjoyed the stress-inducing experience of ‘walking the plank’ where they were placed at the top of a virtual 30-storey building and attempted to walk out across a wooden beam!

Using the Department of Psychology’s VR equipment in our Virtual Reality Lab

The second day comprised of students testing for cortisol with Rob Manning and Alison Davidson (Biology Technicians). Students watched demonstrations and took part in various activities to learn about the chemical extraction and transformation of cortisol from saliva samples. This included pipette measuring, calibration exercises, microfuge activities, and the use of spectrophotometers which aimed to teach students the importance of accurate measurements and give them the experience of using laboratory equipment. The students learned lots about the chemical processes involved in cortisol detection and analysis and will be able to take these important skills away and reflect upon them in their studies.

This is a great example of technicians collaborating and working together to deliver a successful event. We received fantastic feedback with some of the students commenting that it had helped them to realise which strand of science they wanted to continue to focus their studies at university. We are glad that our efforts could help the students in this way and we wish them the best of luck for their future.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Dr Alison Owen blogs about demonstrating APRIL Face-Aging Software at This Morning Live

By Dr Alison Owen (Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research)

From the 17th to the 20th May the This Morning Live Shopping and Lifestyle Show took place at the NEC in Birmingham. The show is a shopping festival, where the This Morning television program is filmed live, and presenters from the show give talks and discussions on topics such as cooking, fashion and healthcare.

I was invited to attend the This Morning Live show by Katy Foxcroft and Gillian Robson, the developers of tanning cream, Tancream. They developed the cream after Gillian was diagnosed with skin cancer five years ago. After undergoing surgery for the cancer, Gillian was advised to wear a high protection sun cream of SPF50 daily. As she liked to have a tan, Gillian used fake tan, however this also meant having to apply a separate SPF50 product, so together Gillian and her friend Katy developed a false tan with added SPF50.

As well as selling their product, Katy and Gillian’s aim is to inform people about the dangers of not protecting their skin from the sun, and the risks of skin cancer. They therefore asked if I was able to come along to the This Morning Live show, as they had heard about the APRIL software that I use here at Staffordshire University, showing people how their skin may age if they do not protect their skin from the sun.

At the stand, ready to show people the APRIL software

I worked on the stall demonstrating the software to visitors to the show, as well as talking to them about all aspects of safe UV exposure, including skin cancer, sun damage, sunbeds and moles. I met such a wide variety of people, from elderly women who had always protected their skin, to a 19 year old girl who used sun beds for 20 minutes at a time, four to five times a week, and had done since she was 13 years of age. It was so interesting to meet so many different people, and hear their thoughts and experiences of protecting their skin from the sun.

The event was definitely ‘Health Psychology in action’. It was great to speak to such a wide variety of people, and to try and encourage them to protect their skin, and make healthier choices about UV exposure, when at times I only had short bursts of sometimes just a minute before they moved on to the next exhibit.

On the second day of the show, we had the addition of a UV camera on the stall to show people damage that had already been done to their skin. This was great for people to see, as they were able to view any underlying damage to their skin, before going on to see what further damage could be done to their skin (using the APRIL software) if they did not start protecting their skin.

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As well as talking to visitors to the Tancream exhibit, I was also able to enjoy the show, watching Philip and Holly film sections of This Morning alongside other This Morning presenters, including Rylan, Gok Wan, and the This Morning doctors, Dr Chris and Dr Ranj. It was also an opportunity to meet other experts in the area of sun protection and UV exposure, and do some networking.

The show was a great experience, and just shows how different and varied the job of Psychology Lecturer here at Staffordshire University can be!


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

StaffsPsych on Tour! Talking Conspiracy Theories, Super-recognisers & VR at Biddulph High School

By Dina Grinsted, Schools & Colleges Champion (Psychology)

On 21st May, myself and Dr Alexa Guy visited Biddulph High School to deliver some psychology outreach sessions to a group of Year 12 psychology students, in order to discuss the benefits of studying a psychology degree, and to showcase some of the research that happens here at Staffordshire University.

Dr Alexa Guy delivering a session at Biddulph High School

After starting with a talk on ‘Why Study Psychology?’ and ‘What Do Psychologists Do?’ the students then learnt about conspiracy theories, discussing some well-known conspiracy theories and what they have in common, before looking at why people might believe them, and the impact that they can have on behaviour.

The ‘Jesus in toast’ illusion

This was followed by Jesus in Toast (and other face oddities), a session asking why people are so good at seeing faces in random patterns such as clouds, or even the markings on a piece of toast! We looked at so-called ‘super recognisers’ who are extremely good at identifying faces, and Prosopagnosia – a disorder leading to the inability to recognise faces, sometimes even your own face! They then had a go at creating their own versions of the Thatcher Effect, which has recently been updated to the ‘Adele Illusion’ demonstrating how we often fail to attend to facial features when presented with an inverted face.

The ‘Adele Illusion’ based on the famous ‘Thatcher Illusion’ – this is the same picture but shown in two orientations (look at Adele’s eyes and mouth in both pictures!)

Finally, the students learnt about how Virtual Reality tricks our brain into believing that we are in a different world. After looking through some visual illusions and examples of how we can trick our brains, they saw how VR takes advantage of certain processes. To finish, they were able to try on a VR headset and have a go at diffusing a bomb in VR.

Students trying out our Virtual Reality equipment

Throughout the sessions, the students engaged in the activities, enjoying making their own version of the Thatcher Effect, testing their ability to recognise faces, trying to see pictures in patterns, and diffusing the virtual reality bomb. We are hoping that this will be followed up by a class trip to the university, watch out for future blogs!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Sun Awareness Week 2018 – Protecting against skin cancer & harmful UV exposure

The British Association of Dermatologists’ Sun Awareness week is running from May 14th to May 20th. The aim of the week is to teach people about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning, and to discourage people from using sunbeds, as well as encouraging people to regularly self-examine for skin cancer (click here for more details about Sun Awareness Week).

Each year in the UK, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast and lung cancers combined. Thankfully, the majority of skin cancers are treatable, but the most deadly form, malignant melanoma, kills over 2,000 people in the UK each year, with all skin cancers killing a total of more than 2,500 people annually (click here for a factsheet by Skin Cancer UK). Malignant melanoma is the second most common cancer in 15-34-year-olds, and at least two young people in Britain receive this diagnosis every day (Cancer Research UK, 2011). The World Health Organization (WHO, 2012) suggests that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, including exposure to the sun and sunbeds, are the primary causes of all melanomas, leading to skin cancer.

Here at Staffordshire University, Dr Alison Owen carries out research encouraging people to take care of their skin, and protect it from the sun and sunbeds. Dr Owen, alongside colleagues Prof Sarah Grogan (Manchester Metropolitan University), Prof David Clark-Carter and Dr Emily Buckley, have carried out a number of pieces of research looking at the impact of APRIL facial ageing software, which can show people the damage that exposing their skin to the sun without sun protection, or using sunbeds, can do to their skin. The researchers found a number of very positive findings, in particular when comparing the appearance-focussed intervention to more traditional health-focussed literature (i.e. leaflets), there was a much bigger impact on people’s opinions after viewing the damage to their skin.

The World Health Organization recommends a number of steps to protect your skin from the sun and UV exposure, including:

  • Limit time in the midday sun
    The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To the extent possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
  • Wear protective clothing
    A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for your eyes, ears, face, and the back or your neck. Sunglasses can greatly reduce eye damage from sun exposure. Tightly woven, loose fitting clothes will provide additional protection from the sun.
  • Use sunscreen
    Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15+ liberally and re-apply every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors.
  • Avoid sunlamps and tanning parlours
    Sunbeds damage the skin and unprotected eyes and are best avoided entirely.

Dr Owen will be at the This Morning Live shopping and lifestyle show (running from the 17th to the 20th May, NEC Birmingham) demonstrating the APRIL software, working alongside the award winning sun protection brand Tancream.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Student Success! MSc Health Psychology Student Publishes her Dissertation Research

By Dr Sarah Dean, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire University.

Lucy Field

Lucy Field completed the MSc in Health Psychology at  Staffordshire University in 2017 and has recently had her dissertation research, which was supervised by Dr Sarah Dean, published as an open access article in the Global Journal of Health Science.

It has been recognised that stress can have a very negative impact on people’s health and wellbeing and it is therefore important that interventions are designed to help people deal with stressors effectively. One way of doing this is to use interventions that help people to become more aware of their bodies, their response to stress and how to regulate this. Lucy’s work explored the effectiveness of a biofeedback intervention, using the HeartMath training programme, to reduce a person’s physiological response to stressors. It was found that the intervention had positive effects for participants. Participants reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed after taking part in the intervention and Lucy’s physiological data supported this. Future research is needed to explore the use of HeartMath further.

This is what Lucy had to say about her time on the MSc:

“I really enjoyed my MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University. Health promotion and stress have become areas of specialty for me. I completed my research on stress using a  biofeedback technique with support from my tutor and other researchers in the field. This has been published! I would not have believed this to be something I could have accomplished at the beginning of the course. I am now looking forward to starting the Prof Doc in Health Psychology!”

Please click here to read Lucy’s published article.

Field, L. H., Edwards, S. D., Edwards, D. J., & Dean, S. E. (2018). Influence of HeartMath Training Programme on Physiological and Psychological Variables. Global Journal of Health Science, 10(2), 126-133.


Thinking about postgraduate study in Health Psychology?

If you are interested in studying our BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology why not sign up to our next Open Afternoon on Tuesday 3rd July?

For more information about the Open Afternoon, please email the MSc Health Psychology  Course Directors Dr Sarah Dean s.dean@staffs.ac.uk or Dr Gemma Hurst G.L.Hurst@staffs.ac.uk.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

Psychology & The Brain 2018… on tour!

By Dr Sarah Rose, Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire University.

A ‘brain hat’ coloured in by one of our guests at the Potteries Museum

Brain Awareness week is a worldwide celebration of the brain, encouraging people of all ages to appreciate the importance of what our brains do for us. As well as a very successful Psychology and the Brain event held at the University, a smaller event was also held at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. This was led by myself and five of our Psychology and Child Development Students. The aim of the event was to provide some interactive activities for families to take part in, to learn together about the marvels of the brain.

The students found the experience of running the event and engaging with the public to be rewarding and had fun making their own ‘brain hats’ (see above for a picture).

“It was great to incorporate the information learned from my Psychology and  Child Development course into various activities. Also, being able to teach children about what the brain does and how it works was a truly worthwhile experience.” (Ingrid, Level 5 student)

“Demonstrating to local children at the Psychology and the Brain event what is involved in psychology using child friendly engaging activities was so much fun! As a Psychology and Child Development student, being given the volunteering opportunity has enabled me to demonstrate skills learnt on the course and helped towards building the perfect foundation for working with young people in my future psychology career.” (Rebecca, Level 6 student)

 “I found it very helpful how we were able to use the knowledge we already had but adapt this to suit children. For example, changing the “normal” Stroop task for one that children would find engaging and easier to comprehend. I think applying AND adapting knowledge enhances learning even more, as you really get to grips with the theory underpinning it.’ (Zoe, Level 6 student)

In addition to the students enjoying the event, I also had a great time! It was great to work with this group of students outside of the classroom. Seeing them share the knowledge that they have developed during their degree with families was very rewarding. They worked really well together and demonstrated that they could put what they were learning into practice as they explained the marvels of the brain to young children and their families.

Dr Sarah Rose is planning to organise similar events in the future if you are interested in finding out more about these please do get in touch (click here for Sarah’s contact details).


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Psychology and the Brain 2018

By Dr Daniel Jolley, Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire University.

During this year’s Brain Awareness Week, the Department of Psychology organised an event called Psychology and the Brain.

Psychology and the Brain was an interactive evening where guests first enjoyed short talks from experts in the Department, such as how we measure brain activity and how Virtual Reality can trick our minds. Next, guests were invited to get hands-on with some of the latest technology in the Department – as such our Virtual Reality headsets, eye-tracking, EEG, driving simulator, and many other interactive demonstrations. We also had colleagues from Biology who joined us to run a demonstration for the guests. To end the evening, guests who had visited 3 or more demonstrations were invited to enter a prize draw to win some Love2Shop vouchers.

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At the end of the evening, guests were invited to give feedback on their experiences… some of the comments are included below:

“A mix of information and interaction. Very enjoyable and well planned”

“Thanks for setting up so many different tasks to have a go at – very interesting”

“MINT”

“I’ve loved this, I learnt how the brain works and I played on a game and beat a 30 year old (Henry, age 9)”

“Fantastic evening. Great technology and amazing demonstrations”

“It was an amazing experience and will love to come back next year!”

Psychology and the Brain was only possible with the support of many staff and students throughout the University. Dr Emily Buckley, Head of the Psychology Department, who led the thanks on the evening has said:

“We love hosting these kinds of events as it’s great for us to be able meet members of the local (and not so local) community and introduce them to psychology, as well as specifically what we do here at Staffs.  We welcomed a wide variety of guests from young children to those of the older generations, and from all different walks of life. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with people really enjoying the opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with our kit as well as the free cake and chance to win prizes.” 

Highlights from the Psychology and the Brain event, including photos and videos of the evening’s activities, can be viewed by our ‘Psychology and the Brain‘ twitter moment (click here).

We are excited for our next public engagement event – keep your eyes out for advertisements!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Psychology and the Brain

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University is delighted to invite you to Psychology and the Brain, a fun and interactive evening where you will be given the opportunity to get hands-on with some of our fascinating equipment and hear from experts in the field.

Psychology and the Brain will take place at Staffordshire University’s Science Centre, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, on Thursday 15th March 6 – 8:30 pm. Click here to view the location of the Science Centre on Staffordshire University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus. Includes free parking on site and refreshments.

Psychology and the Brain: Listen

Have you ever wondered… how we measure brain activity? How does VR trick our eyes into thinking what we’re seeing is reality? A series of short expert talks will explore these and other fascinating questions.

Psychology and the Brain: Hands-on

Try your hand at learning how our equipment works such as how we tell if you are stressed, how we can uncover if you are lying and how we test your reaction skills in our driving simulator, amongst other fun demonstrations.

Psychology and the Brain: A chance to win

Having taken part in the hands-on activities, you have a chance to win some Love2Shop vouchers. Entry information and winners announced on the night.

Follow the Psychology and the Brain event via our twitter hashtag #StaffsPsychBrain, including live tweets on the night.


Book Tickets: All welcome. Reserve your (free) space at https://psychologyandthebrain.eventbrite.co.uk or contact psychologyevents@staffs.ac.uk for more information.

Psychology and the Brain is part of a series of events organised in connection with the Psychology Society to celebrate Brain Awareness Week. Full details can be found here.

How does psychology and the brain apply to you and your life? Come along and find out.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

The Department of Psychology Celebrate Staff Success!

By Dr Robert Dempsey, Senior Lecturer in Psychology.

In October 2017, the Department of Psychology were pleased to celebrate winning three awards at Staffordshire University’s Celebrating Staff Success Ceremony held at the Kings Hall in Stoke-on-Trent. This yearly awards ceremony recognises the contributions and successes of staff working at the University across a range of roles.

The Department of Psychology had a number of nominated staff across a variety of award categories, including nominations for our Psychology and Me event (for public engagement), research impact (with both Professor Karen Rodham & Dr Amy Burton receiving nominations), as well as a People’s Choice Award nomination for Judy David‘s valued contributions to the successful running of the Department of Psychology.

The team were ecstatic to win three highly competitive University awards for: Living our Values – Brilliant and Friendly (Sarah Higgins), Best Newcomer (Dr Michael Batashvili), and Innovative and Applied Learning (Dr Robert Dempsey).

“I was so surprised to be nominated and then to win it was incredible. It felt amazing to receive the award, mainly because it reminded me how much I love my job and the people I work with, both students and staff.”

Dr Michael Batashvili, Lecturer in Psychology & Winner – Best Newcomer Award

 

“I am delighted and very proud to have received this award. I feel that the award is a reflection of the supportive and encouraging environment that I work in with my many brilliant colleagues and students. A big thank you to the nominator and to everyone that made achieving this award possible. The event was a lovely opportunity to celebrate and reflect on so many achievements from colleagues over the past year.”

Sarah Higgins, Technical Skills Specialist in Psychology & Winner – Living our Values – Brilliant & Friendly Award.

“It was a pleasure just to be nominated and invited to attend the ceremony. To win the award was a very nice surprise and motivates me to keep improving my teaching approaches and develop my students as independent learners, whilst also challenging them and having fun at the same time”

Dr Robert Dempsey, Senior Lecturer in Psychology & Winner – The Innovative and Applied Learning Award

 

“While it was fabulous to see some of our LSE staff winning awards at the CSS event, it was really pleasing to see so many LSE  nominations, and for both academic and professional staff. It was a really enjoyable event – connecting with staff from the many different parts of the University. A  much valued opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the many individual and team achievements within the School and across the wider University”

Dr Nigel Thomas, Head of the School of Life Sciences & Education

 


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages: