The Big Bang West Midlands Fair returns to Staffordshire University in 2019!

By Dina Grinsted, Schools & Colleges Champion for Psychology

Some of the Department of Psychology in attendance at last year’s Big Bang Fair

In June 2018, Staffordshire University welcomed the Big Bang West Midlands for the first time, celebrating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) subjects. Over 2000 students and teachers visited the campus throughout the day, and enjoyed a wide variety of STEAM activities, including nine psychology stands!

Ahead of the return of the Big Bang Fair to Staffordshire University in 2019, here is a brief review of the Department of Psychology’s presence at the 2018 fair:

Dr Emily Buckley, Judy David, and Masters student Charlotte Stock try on the VR headsets

The ‘Virtual Reality in Psychology’ stand allowed visitors to experience dinosaurs in VR, and learn about how we can use virtual environments in psychology. This was a very popular stand, with many people trying out the dinosaur experience! Guests also had the chance to test their memory, and learnt how to improve it through techniques such as the Method of Loci and mnemonics on our Memory Test stand.

Third year BSc Psychology student Jaime-Lee Cunningham and Dr Andrew Edmonds on the ‘Memory Test’ stand

The event was a great success, with a huge number of visitors taking part and enjoying the activities. Staffordshire University has been confirmed as the home for the 2019 event, which will take place on Tuesday 18th June 2019. Come along to find out about all things STEM, including Psychology activities. Book your free visit here.

On the ‘Detecting Stress Responses’ stand, guests were connected to a BioPac, and had their Galvanic Skin Response tested whilst doing moderately stressful activities. This measures the level of sweat on the fingertips as an indicator of stress, so the aim was to attempt to keep your stress levels down.

One student advocate who helped to run this stand said

“I was particularly happy to see so many young girls expressing enthusiasm and engagement with some of the scientific principles that we were demonstrating to them on the Detecting Stress Responses stand.  Great to see that STEM engagement with girls is improving.”


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. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

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.

Psychology Teacher Forum Event – Free training event for Psychology Teachers

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
  • Teaching Biopsychology
  • 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.

If you would like to book a place on the Psychology Teacher Forum Event please visit the following link and complete the short booking process:  https://psychologyteacherforum19.eventbrite.com

We look forward to welcoming you to the Department of Psychology!


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. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

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

Psychology and Me: Interactive evening of Psychology for the general public!

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.

Psychology and Me will take place at Staffordshire University’s Science Centre, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent, on Wednesday 27th February 6 – 8:30 pm. Click here to view the location of the Science Centre on Staffordshire University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus. Tickets include free parking on site and refreshments.

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.


Reserve your place at Psychology and Me

Reserve your (free) ticket(s) for this year’s Psychology and Me event please visit our Eventbrite page: https://psychologyandme19.eventbrite.co.uk or contact psychologyevents@staffs.ac.uk for more information.


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. The department is home to the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, a large and active group of psychologists, PhD students and researchers conducting work into a variety of psychological disciplines and topic areas.

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

Psychology featured at Staffordshire University’s Big Biology Day 2018!

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 Big Biology Day is an annual event organised as part of the Royal Society of Biology‘s Biology Week (click here for more information about the Royal Society and Biology Week).


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:

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:

Explore With Us 2017: Teaching research methods the fun way

Do you teach Psychology in Further Education?  Want to teach research the fun way?

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University are delighted to have been awarded funding by the ESRC to hold an event for teachers of psychology during the Festival of Social Sciences.

Teachers are being invited to attend Staffordshire University on Wednesday 8th November 2017 to explore with us how teaching research methods can be fun and effective. “Teaching research the fun way” is designed for A-Level Psychology teachers but will be relevant to anyone teaching Psychology in an FE setting.

During the event there will be short talks on maths anxiety, giving effective student feedback and engaging in students with research methods, followed by an opportunity to get involved with some hands-on demos of equipment used by psychology researchers. This will include measuring brainwaves with EEG testing, assessing visual attention with eye tracking and a driving simulator, which tests how good your reactions are behind the wheel. Refreshments, time for networking and questions and answers are also included.

The event is free to attend for FE psychology teachers and each attendee will be able to claim £10 to cover their travel to the event.

For more information about this event, including booking a place please click here.

Queries about the event can be directed to: psychologyevents@staffs.ac.uk


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: