Students on our BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology course study a range of modules related to Psychology and Forensic Science, including individual modules focused on Crime Scene Investigation, the Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice, and Forensic Applications of Psychology.
After completing their studies, many of our Forensic Psychology graduates pursue careers in the police force or a variety of roles working with offenders. As part of this work, many Forensic Psychology graduates may be working on crimes scenes or other settings where they may see a dead body. To help prepare our students for these potential future careers, we recently took a group of our Forensic Psychology students to the Keele University Mortuary. Staff at the Mortuary delivered a number of sessions for our students, including observations of a dead body, seeing how lived experiences (such as smoking or livening in a polluted environment, damage to areas of the brain, undiagnosed aneurysms) affect the body which may only become apparent post mortem, and viewing the Mortuary’s surgical equipment.
Two of our Level 5 Forensic Psychology students who attended the Mortuary visit, Emily and Emily, commented:
“We were taken into the mortuary and shown the cadavers. We were able to see different sections of the body such as the torso, the brain, legs and arms, and a full body. With these different sections we were able to explore actual organs including the brain. This was especially fascinating as psychology students as we were able to see the different areas of the brain that we learn about on our course, and how diseases can be physically shown within the brain. This was especially useful to apply to our Biological Psychology module”
“Another benefit of this trip was to prepare for potential future job areas that a Forensic Psychology student may be interested in, as some jobs may involve viewing the deceased. This also provided an insight into post mortems and anatomy which may be applicable to the forensic field. This trip was not for the faint hearted; you would need a certain mindset to attend this as some students may find this distressing. However, this was a great opportunity and we would definitely recommend that other students take part in this trip in the future.”
Dr Sarah Krahenbuhl (Course Leader, BSc Forensic Psychology) commented: “This was a unique opportunity for our Forensic Psychology students to have direct contact with bodies post mortem, to get some understanding of anatomy, and relate potential theoretical forensic-based experiences to the reality of an individual.”
Dr Rose and the undergraduate students will be hosting a number of activities and demonstrations for families who are interested in finding out more about the human mind. The Potteries Museum is situated in Hanley city centre, Stoke-on-Trent (click here for a map). The hands-on psychology-related activities to be demonstrated on Saturday 2nd March will be suitable for anyone aged two years and older, and for people with any level of interest in psychology and the mind!
Come along and make a brain hat, find out how new skills are learnt, improve your memory and learn about emotions!
Do you teach psychology in a school or college? Would you like the opportunity to connect with other psychology teachers in the local area and hear about ideas for teaching different areas of psychology?
As part of our expanding schools and colleges provision, the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University are running a Psychology Teacher Forum event on Wednesday 27th February 2019. The event will run from 2:00-5:30pm and will include practical workshops focussed on sharing ideas for teaching practice, will enable us to share student progression information (i.e., current content and expectations when studying for a Psychology degree and psychology careers information) and also to provide an opportunity to meet other teachers/lecturers of psychology. We have various sessions planned which include:
Teaching Research Methods
Tour and Demonstrations
Networking and Refreshments
Psychology Degrees and Careers
This event will be followed by our Psychology and Me public event, which you are also invited to attend. This event runs from 6:00-8:30pm, and will involve a series of short talks from our academics, followed by demonstrations of our psychological equipment and research.
The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University is delighted to invite you to Psychology and Me, a fun and interactive evening where you will be given the opportunity to get hands-on with some of our state-of-the-art equipment used in our psychological research, as well as hear about the latest research findings from a variety of experts working in psychology.
This year’s Psychology and Me event includes a number of activities:
Psychology and Me: Listen
Have you ever wondered… why people fall for fake news? What do your children’s drawings really mean? Will seeing a future ‘you’ encourage a healthier lifestyle? A series of short expert talks will explore these and other fascinating questions.
Psychology and Me: Hands-on
Try your hand at learning how our equipment works such as how virtual reality can change our world, how we can know what you are thinking without asking and how we test your reaction skills in our driving simulator, amongst other fun demonstrations.
Psychology and Me: 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.
How does psychology apply to you and your life? Come along and find out.
Could you live for a year or more in space? What challenges might you face living and working there? What would you miss about earth? These are the question we proposed to over 1500 attendees during the European Researchers Night at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in September 2018.
Psychologists from The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research at Staffordshire University attended the event where our aim was to introduce the guests to the physical environment in space and together discuss the challenges with space travel on people’s wellbeing. Drs Nichola Street, Gemma Hurst and Daniel Jolley, and Dina Grinstead and Darel Cookson were on hand during the night to discuss the Psychology of Space with guests.
The event was split into different parts. First, guests ‘travelled’ to the International Space Station (ISS) using Virtual Reality equipment to explore the living conditions of space travellers. We asked guests to consider what they would find most challenging living on the ISS for a year and what they might miss about earth during that time. The ISS that they explored can be termed an ICE environment; those environments which are Isolated, Confined and Extreme. Spending time in these types of environments is a psychological challenge. For those guests who were a little too young to use the Virtual Reality, they were able to view the space centre on a projected screen.Alongside the VR exploration, we asked what guests would miss the most if they had to live in space for a year. The responses from guests were heart-warming and clear patterns appeared: People would miss their Family, Friends, Pets, Food (they had tasted space food in another Staffordshire University run activity on the night) and nature. People talked about missing the space to walk the dog or the chance to change where you are.Next, guests entered a ‘psychology relief room’ in which they were exposed to natural imagery and sound. These nature interventions have been trailed in ICE environments as a way to dampen the potentially harmful effects of physical space with success. Evidence shows that even when direct access to nature is not possible (as it would not be in space) nature substitutes can go some way to reduce psychological harm.
While the ‘extreme’ aspect may be missing from many of our experiences on earth we can certainly think of many places that fit into the isolated and confined categories such as hospitals, prisons or even your home or work places. And like our space travellers pointed out, Nature exposure can go some way towards combatting the negative effects. The research of Drs Nikki Street & Gemma Hurst aims to shed light on the impact of physical environments on an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. To learn more about the exciting research from the department please visit The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research‘s website.
Conspiracy theories are associated with almost every significant social and political event, including the theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, that the U.K Government murdered Diana, Princess of Wales, or that the harms of vaccines are being covered up so that pharmaceutical companies can continue to make huge profits. Belief in these types of conspiracy theories is blooming in the 21st century: millions of people subscribe to them.
A basic understanding of logic, rationality, and probability tell us, however, that most of these conspiracy claims are probably false. So why then do so many people believe them? What makes them so attractive and compelling to people? And, anyway, what’s the problem, aren’t they just harmless fun?
In this talk, Dr Jolley will take you through the psychology of conspiracy theories. You will learn why people subscribe to conspiracy theories and discuss some of the misconceptions (including whether all conspiracy believers wear tin-toil hats!)
Dr Jolley will also uncover some of the potentially damaging consequences of conspiracy theories; maybe they are not just harmless after all! There will also be an opportunity for a Q&A session at the end.
Staffordshire University held its annual Big Biology Day on Saturday 13th October 2018, a free public engagement event where families from the local community and beyond came to learn about the different aspects of biology, including its applications to psychology, the environment, forensic investigation and education.
As part of this event, psychologists Dr Michael Batashvili and Dr Robert Dempsey demonstrated a number of biological psychology activities to visiting children and their parents, showing how psychology and biology can be integrated to better understand how people live, think and behave. Demonstrations included the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality to show the workings of the brain, its structures and neuronal connections to children of a wide variety of ages.
Dr Michael Batashvili testing the Virtual Reality headset at the Big Biology day
Over 500 visitors from the Staffordshire county and beyond visited the University’s Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent for the Big Biology Day. The Science Centre was buzzing with families enjoying the activities and taking part in the Great Biology Bake Off cake competition.
The Psychology stall was particularly popular, with children enjoying using VR to explore the brain, finding out about what makes a healthy brain using our augmented reality apps, and testing their brain’s adaptability using our mirror drawing task! The mirror drawing task drew out some competitions between parents and children to see who could draw the best shapes when relying on the mirror to guide their pencil (with children usually winning!).
Visitors using the VR and mirror drawing equipment at the 2018 Big Biology Day.
The Psychology in the Pub series features a range of talks about various aspects of psychology but in the setting of The Glebe Pub in Stoke-on-Trent. The talks are open to anyone with an interest in psychology, including staff and students from Staffordshire University as well as the general public. Talks typically take place on the first Wednesday of the month and start at 6pm (although it is recommended to arrive by 5:30 to get a seat and refreshments from the bar).
This year’s series features a range of talks delivered by researchers from Staffordshire and Keele universities, including:
3rd October 2018
Dr Rachel Povey (Staffordshire University): Urghh, I’m not eating that!” Why children don’t eat their greens and what we can do about it.
The talks feature a variety of speakers from both within and external to the University who will be presenting their latest research findings to staff and students from the Department of Psychology. The talks are open to all staff and students from across the University, as well as to members of the public with an interest in psychology.
The 2018-2019 series starts with a Showcase Seminar on Thursday 27th September (4pm, R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre) featuring short talks delivered by members of staff from the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, including:
Dr Sarah Rose (using psychology to prevent dog bites amongst young children)
The #StaffsVSS series of visiting speaker talks are open to everyone (no need to book; just turn up) and take place throughout the academic year. For details of the other talks in the 2018-19 Visiting Speaker Series please visit our Centre webpages:
The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines
For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).