The Centre holds a regular series of Visiting Speaker research talks. We invite academics and practitioners working at universities and in a variety of practice-based settings around the UK to present their current research and practice.

These talks enable staff, students and members of the public to be kept up-to-date with research and practice in psychology. The talks are free and no booking is required. We also live tweet from these talks using the #StaffsVSS hashtag. All staff, students, and members of the public are welcome to attend!

For further information about the Visiting Speaker Series please contact the Talk host (please note that talks and dates may be subject to change).

2017/2018 Visiting Speaker Series

What can we learn from studying the pathway to intended violence in mass shooters?

Dr Clare Allely, University of Salford

This talk will start by reviewing some studies which have investigated neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in mass shooters and serial killers – providing a case study of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. This talk will then go on to explore the path to intended violence in some contemporary mass shooter cases including: Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut); Elliot Rodger (the Isla Vista shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on May 23, 2014) and Anders Breivik (who committed the 2011 Norway attacks). Identifying the risk factors or indicators in individuals who are on the path to intended violence is crucial for informing the development and implementation of appropriate and timely preventative strategies.

Host: Dr Robert Dempsey (robert.dempsey@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 21st September 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Understanding and enhancing the health and well-being of gay and other men who have sex with men: Contemporary perspectives from psychology and public health.

Dr Iain Williamson, De Montfort University

Dr Iain Williamson is Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at De Montfort University Leicester where he leads the MSc programme in Health Psychology. For the past twenty years, he has researched various aspects of how gender and sexuality influence health cognitions, representations and behaviours and healthcare experiences, primarily using qualitative methods. His most recent research has been funded by Public Health England, MAC AIDS Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support and looks at various elements around well-being promotion and HIV prevention in gay and bisexual men from black and minority ethnic communities, and also at the experiences of LGBT people with various chronic illnesses. Recent associated articles have appeared in Culture, Health and Sexuality, European Journal of Cancer Care and BMC Public Health.

Host: Dr Heather Semper (heather.semper@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm Thursday 5th October 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Symbolic understanding in typical and atypical development:  A focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Professor Melissa Allen, University of Bristol

Melissa Allen, PhD is a Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Bristol. After receiving her PhD at New York University, she completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Yale University, jointly in the Psychology Department and the Developmental Disabilities Clinic. Professor Allen worked at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a Senior Lectureship at Lancaster University. Her research investigates symbolic understanding of pictures and words and language acquisition in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and typically developing children.  Her interests combine theoretical accounts of early symbolic development with an applied focus.

Host: Dr Richard Jolley (r.jolley@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 19th October 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

How thinking and belief interact: Cognition, personality and belief in the Supernatural

Malcolm Schofield, University of Derby

Malcolm is a lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Derby.  His research looks at supernatural belief, this includes religious and paranormal belief. Malcolm’s research is funded by the Bial Foundation. The talk will look at different types of belief, paranormal and religious for example, and look at how they are different and interact with our thought processes and aspects of our personality. The talk will cover my PhD research into cognition and personality and how they interact with belief in the supernatural. This will involve the development of a new scale that measures supernatural belief, and then the further use of this scale to create a new model of supernatural belief based on cognition and personality.

Host: Dr Michael Batashvili (michael.batashvili@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 2nd November 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Tracing the mind behind the picture: A systematic review on children’s and adolescents’ knowledge about the Artist-Picture relation

Dr Romina Vivaldi, National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) & Staffordshire University

I am a postdoctoral fellow from the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET).  I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Rosario in 2009. I then obtained my PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Cordoba. My research focuses on children’s understanding, production and use of drawings. Since June I began working in the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University for 6 months as an academic visitor under the supervision of Dr. Richard Jolley. My principal research during my visit – upon which this talk is based – is a systematic review on how children develop an understanding of the artist attributes (e.g., intention, age and expertise) behind a picture.

Host: Dr Richard Jolley (r.jolley@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 16th November 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Using psychological theory to inform the development of effective behavioural interventions to promote behaviour change in health contexts

Professor Martin S. Hagger, Curtin University & University of Jyväskylä

Many chronic illnesses and conditions linked to premature death and long-term impairments in functioning and quality of life have behavioural origins. Research has suggested that engaging in a suite of four behaviours (engaging in regular physical activity, following a healthy diet, drinking alcohol only in moderation, and not smoking) is associated with an 11-year delay in all-cause mortality. Behavioural interventions aimed at promoting participation in these behaviours have considerable potential to reduce chronic disease risk. Behavioural scientists and health psychologists have leveraged theories and models from social psychology to identify the antecedents of health behaviour. Evidence from research applying these theories is expected to provide a basis for identifying manipulable factors to target for effective behavioural interventions. Rather than focusing on a single theory, I adopt a comprehensive approach in which variables and processes from theories of motivation, social cognition, volition, and impulsive processes are integrated to model the factors and processes that relate to health behaviour change. I will outline the hypotheses underpinning the integrated model and the psychological factors and processes that impact health behaviour. I will provide the conceptual and empirical bases of the model and demonstrate its utility in driving future research and developing effective interventions to promote engagement in health behaviour. The model incorporates three basic processes: motivational, volitional, and implicit, and incorporates them in a single ‘dual-phase’, ‘dual-process’ model. The motivational process has its origins in theories focusing on the organismic and social cognitive factors involved in the development of motives and intentions to engage in health behaviour. The volitional process originates from dual-phase models of action in which behavioural engagement is dependent on planning processes that enable motives or intentions to be fulfilled. The model also distinguishes between explicit and implicit influences on behaviour. Explicit processes describe how actions are a function of conscious deliberation over the merits and detriments of an action. Implicit processes encompass factors that determine action beyond an individual’s awareness with little cognitive or deliberative. I will outline empirical research that has incorporated these processes to arrive at comprehensive explanations of health behaviour change. I will outline how the model can be used to develop effective evidence-based interventions to change health behaviour by matching intervention content and, in particular the strategies and techniques used, to the factors related to health behaviour. The model advances thinking of the factors and processes that determine health behaviour change and provides a basis for future research and practice on behavioural interventions.

Host: Professor Karen Rodham (karen.rodham@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 30th November 2017

Venue: R002 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Offloading intentions into the external environment: Metacognition, ageing, and development

Dr Sam Gilbert, University College London

Sam Gilbert is a Senior Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. His research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of executive function, memory, and social cognition, using behavioural, functional neuroimaging, and computational modelling approaches. A key theme of recent research is “intention offloading”: how do we decide whether to use our own memory or set external reminders to remember delayed intentions, and how does this process change across the lifespan?

Host: Dr Maria Panagiotidi (maria.panagiotidi@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 25th January 2018

Venue: R001 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

“Girls”, games and identity: Qualitative accounts by women gamers

Dr Jenny Cole, Manchester Metropolitan University

Women who play video games often find that gaming spaces are not particularly  friendly towards women. Women are often targets for gender based harassment in online games, and may find they have to prove themselves to a larger extent than male players before they are granted membership to the category ‘gamer’. In addition, many mainstream games offer narrow and sexually objectified representations of women which may make gaming less appealing to a female audience. This talk aims to explore the female gamer experience through two qualitative studies where women talk about their experiences playing with sexualised female characters (Study 1) and about how they navigate game spaces through their avatar choices (Study 2). Findings suggest that women who game may find the category of ‘gamer’ protective, despite the difficulties associated with this category and are highly strategic in their choice of gaming experiences and of avatar characteristics to navigate an often hostile interaction space.

Hosts: Dr Daniel Jolley (daniel.jolley@staffs.ac.uk) & Dr Erica Lucas (E.Lucas@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 8th February 2018

Venue: R001 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Qualitative Discourse Analysis and Psychology

Professor Dariusz Galasinski, University of Wolverhampton

Dariusz Galasiński is Professor in Discourse and Cultural Studies at the  University of Wolverhampton. He is a linguist working in areas traditionally occupied by psychology, and more recently, suicidology. His recent books include Men’s Discourses of Depression and Fathers, Fatherhood and Mental Illness. His discourses of Men’s Suicide Notes is due to be published by Bloomsbury in October 2017.

My paper is an exploration of insights into lived experience offered by discourse analysis. My aim is twofold. First, I want to consider possibilities of discourse analytic insights into experiences which are normally labelled ‘psychological’ and as such are positioned outside the realm of discourse analysis.  I want to position discourse analysis as a significant (potentially clinical) counterbalance to the traditional methods of psychological research and assessment. Second, I want to offer a few methodological remarks on how to achieve the most useful discourse analytic approach to ‘psychological experience’. I shall therefore argue for an ‘ecological’ discourse analysis in which data are ‘had’ rather than ‘collected’.

Host: Dr Richard Jolley (r.jolley@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 22nd February 2018

Venue: R001 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Effective Behaviour Change Needs More Than New Technology (CANCELLED)

Professor Chris Armitage, University of Manchester

Professor Christopher J. Armitage is a Health Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Professor of Health Psychology in the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester.  His research uses psychological theory (e.g., Rubicon model, self-affirmation theory, transtheoretical model) to develop effective behaviour change interventions and to understand psychological reactions to healthcare/illness (e.g., heart failure, end stage renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  He has worked in diverse domains (e.g., telehealth, alcohol consumption, dietary intake) among diverse populations (e.g., children and adolescents, opiate users, patients in weight loss programmes), has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on these topics, and has received funding to support this research from numerous sources, including the Technology Strategy Board, British Renal Society, AERC, CRUK, ESRC, MRC, NIHR, and NICE.

Unfortunately this talk by Prof Chris Armitage has been cancelled – we hope to invite Prof Armitage to speak in a future Visiting Speaker Series.

Children’s drawings of God: How can they depict agency, emotions and interactions?

Gregory Dessart, University of Lausanne & Staffordshire University

Grégory Dessart graduated in psychology from the University of Liège (ULg, Belgium) where he specialized in CBT and clinical neuropsychology. His research interests initially dealt with schizotypal traits in the general population as well as social cognition and negative symptoms in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. He then moved on to studying the symbolization of abstract notions through drawings and is currently carrying out his doctoral research on children’s drawings of God under the supervision of Prof. Pierre-Yves Brandt at the Institute for Social Sciences of Religions (ISSR), University of Lausanne (Switzerland). His work addresses several issues, including how God is graphically sexualized by children and de-anthropomorphization of human-based figures. This talk will cover part of his research conducted at Staffordshire University in collaboration with Dr. Richard Jolley. More specifically the following aspects will be presented: agency, emotions and interactions in children’s drawings of God. His project is part of a bigger project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation whose data is (partially) accessible here: http://ddd.unil.ch.

HostDr Richard Jolley (r.jolley@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 15th March 2018

Venue: R001 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.

Memory illusions: New findings on how they arise, why they matter, and when we spot them

Dr Kimberly Wade, Warwick University

Kim Wade is a Reader in Psychology at the University of Warwick. She is a  cognitive psychologist specialising in autobiographical memory and memory distortions, best known for her research demonstrating the power of doctored images to produce false memories.  Kim is especially interested in the mechanisms that drive the development of false memories, and in refining the theories that explain false memory phenomena. She is an Associate Editor at Legal and Criminological Psychology, Executive Director of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC), and Deputy Director of Warwick’s Centre for Operational Police Research (COPR). Her research is published in many high-impact journals, and appears frequently in the media, in undergraduate texts, and in books for the educated layperson.

Host: Dr Louise Humphreys (l.humphreys@staffs.ac.uk)

Date: 4pm-5pm, Thursday 22nd March 2018

Venue: R001 Science Centre Lecture Theatre (ground floor), Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF.