Discover Psychology at Lincoln

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1 Discover Psychology at Lincoln College of Social Science School of Psychology Discover your future...

2 Features... Welcome... Welcome Welcome to the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, a friendly and thriving department with a growing reputation for excellence in research and teaching. This brochure showcases some of our ground breaking research and its impact on society and health, our investment in great facilities and the study options available to you. Here at Lincoln, we pride ourselves on the range of choices we offer to our students. Specialist undergraduate programmes in forensic and clinical psychology are complemented by our core BSc (Hons) in Psychology. All our programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society, providing a route to professional chartered status and enhancing your employability. Our graduates go on to succeed in a range of careers and further study. This reflects the importance and impact of psychology across a range of issues facing society, such as personal decisions about physical health and lifestyle, criminal offending, parenting, ageing, dementia and the effects of brain injury. Our staff don t just read text books, they write them, carrying out research of international quality and real-world relevance across four key themes: Perception, Action and Cognition; Forensic and Clinical Psychology; Identity and Community Psychology; and Evolution and Development. Students are taught and supervised to carry out their own research projects by experts in their respective fields. All of this located in the historic city of Lincoln, with its main attractions within a short walk of our city centre campus. Visit us on an open day to find out more about what makes Lincoln a unique place to study and discover your future in psychology. Professor Timothy Hodgson Head of School of Psychology Designed by II School of Psychology 1

3 Student View... Studying at Lincoln Entry Requirements We currently require 320 UCAS points from at least three A Levels (or equivalent) for each of our undergraduate Psychology degrees. Psychology at Lincoln is taught as a science and students should have at least one science-based A Level (or equivalent) such as Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geography or Economics. We do not accept General Studies. Full details of our entry requirements can be found on our website. Career Paths Degrees in psychology prepare you for postgraduate study and professional training in any area of psychology. A programme of Careers in Psychology seminars runs throughout the final year of the course. Students can work with our research-active staff on publishable research. A Psychology degree will also equip you with transferable skills relevant for many types of employment. Students rated the University of Lincoln s Psychology programmes amongst the top 10 in the UK, according to the National Student Survey Students have plenty of opportunity to learn in small groups and to have one-to-one time with a psychology tutor. Laura Edwards with Clinical Psychology I was excited about the rising profile of the School of Psychology at Lincoln and I loved the feel of the city and campus when I visited. I am really enjoying the variety of modules and topics. I love Lincoln and the opportunities here. Lincoln is a great city. The combination of modern and historical architecture is stunning, the city has a lovely feel to it. My ambition is to become a Clinical Psychologist. The School of Psychology is a thriving academic community offering student-centred courses taught in excellent facilities. The School aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a range of careers around the world. Undergraduate Study Our courses are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership (GBC), the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist. Matthew Hoyle Friends who attended the same sixth form came to the University of Lincoln the year before I did and told me that the city was a brilliant place to live and the University was a great place to study. Right now, I am enjoying working on my dissertation as I ve been able to tailor it to my main interest outside of psychology, which is music. In my first year, the Developmental Psychology module was interesting as it helps you understand how we learn to do everyday things. This will help me as I move towards my goal of becoming a teacher. My favourite module from the second year was the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, which involved looking at religion from all angles and demonstrated how religion has been a large part of human existence through the ages. My advice to those thinking about studying at Lincoln would be to work hard, make friends and enjoy the city you re studying in! The degree aims to provide you with the skills and understanding to take psychological problems and issues through a critical and analytical approach as an independent researcher. Core modules allow you to develop a strong foundation of concepts and practices in the subject. Later in the course, you will undertake optional modules focusing on areas of cutting-edge research and specialist applied topics, such as cognitive neuropsychology, vision and attention processing, infant cognition and language, mental health, forensic psychology and life span development. There is a broad range of specialist research areas within the department and you will be fully supported in your personal development as a criticalthinking, independent researcher. with Clinical Psychology The key concepts and practices of psychology are addressed in this degree, while providing a level of specialisation in clinical psychology. The course is especially suited to those students considering a career in health or social services. A key aim of the course is to provide students with a realistic appreciation of the work of a clinical psychologist. Frequent guest lectures by experienced psychologist practitioners will introduce students to issues in professional practice, while our expert and research-active staff underpin your learning with theory and experience to help you develop your critical and clinical skills. with Forensic Psychology This course provides students with a level of specialisation in forensic psychology, as well as an understanding of key concepts and practices in psychology in general. Students gain a realistic insight into the day-to-day work of a forensic psychologist and an appreciation for the knowledge and skills needed to achieve success in this career path. This is placed in context through regular lectures by experienced, practising psychologists. A number of forensic psychologists, clinicians and practitioners from different forensic services also contribute to the course. Annual Student Conference Conferences are a key tool for the discussion and development of ideas, particularly in the academic world and with research-intensive subjects such as psychology. In recognition of this, the School of Psychology hosts an annual two-day conference to allow our students to present their own research. The whole School contributes to this event and it is a real highlight in our calendar. First-year students attend as conference delegates, while second-year students give presentations in groups. Final-year students present individual posters based on their dissertation, which contribute to their final marks, and academics and postgraduate students give talks on their current research. The event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage with the research process and develop their communications skills. Students must present their research to a varied audience, replicating the way that academics would present their work to the wider public. This vital skill is transferable to a number of careers, not just in psychology and academia, and serves our students well once they enter the workplace. Local A Level students are invited to attend the event, allowing them to gain an insight into the study of psychology at degree level and the exciting career options available, as well as the opportunity to hear about the innovative research taking place at Lincoln. 2 School of Psychology 3

4 Studying Psychology at Lincoln Postgraduate Study MSc Forensic Psychology The MSc Forensic Psychology focuses on the clinical and applied aspects of forensic psychology with an emphasis on working with children, adolescents and mentally disordered offenders. It has a clear emphasis on practice-based topics. Areas covered include the police investigative processes, considerations for courts and sentencing, working with a range of client groups and assessment and treatment of conditions. We draw on the expertise of a range of practitioners working in applied forensic psychology settings to provide specialist input into the programme. This programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Students with BPS Graduate Basis of Chartership (including those who have taken one of our BSc Psychology courses), can use this as Stage 1 training towards becoming a Chartered Forensic Psychologist. DClinPsy Psychology The Trent Programme is a multi-agency collaboration between Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and the Universities of Lincoln and Nottingham. It was one of the first programmes to be designed and accredited entirely on the basis of the core competencies model adopted by the BPS in The Trent Programme is a three-year full-time programme. It is approved by the Health Professions Council (HPC) and accredited by the BPS and leads to a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology (Doctor of Clinical Psychology DClinPsy). We train people from diverse backgrounds to become resourceful clinicians capable of drawing on a broad range of psychological models and theories, including cognitive behavioural therapy, to inform their practice as HPC registered and BPS chartered clinical psychologists. Our graduates have the confidence to perform both as highly effective individual clinicians and in the leadership and consultancy roles expected of the clinical psychologists of the future. All of these qualities are highly marketable in today s competitive healthcare environment. PhD Research Opportunities We welcome applications from those wishing to pursue independent research at PhD level. Research students usually have two internal supervisors with specialist knowledge of their subject areas and have regular meetings with them for advice, monitoring and other support. Where appropriate, additional advisors may also be utilised. Research students contribute to the School s internal seminar series and may also be able to contribute to teaching. The active research base in the School ensures that staff are involved in current debates and that students are made aware of new developments and issues. Each research student has an approved programme of research, supported by a programme of research training. Postgraduate research is an apprenticeship in academic study and an important qualification for research and teaching. Graduates progress to senior roles in practice, research, or academia. We offer a range of studentships and assistantships to help support postgraduate research students. Our research groups: Evolution and developmental psychology Forensic and clinical psychology Identity and community Perception, action and cognition. Life After Lincoln Here, some of our graduates talk about life after Lincoln. As an alumnus, you will continue to have access to tailored support and careers advice, as well as the opportunity to stay involved with the School. Student Chosen for Coveted Scheme A student who obtained a highly sought after award from the British Psychology Society was invited to attend its national conference. Amy Holloway was awarded a BPS Summer Research Assistantship bursary last year for her study on the role of sleep in the forgetting of emotional words. Amy is the first student from the University to obtain the award, which funds just 10 students nationally. The study comprised two groups, one that slept and one that stayed awake. Participants are shown a list of words with an instruction then to either remember or forget. They are then given a surprise test and asked to recall all of the words. Some of the words were emotionally positive, some negative and some neutral. Amy s study aimed to discover whether it was easier to forget neutral words than emotional words and this changed depending on the participant sleeping between learning and the test. Sleep psychology tends to focus on whether memories can be enhanced and strengthened over sleep. This was the first piece of research examining whether emotional memories could be forgotten. Research like this is important as it suggests that memories can be selectively forgotten over sleep, which could prove useful in therapies for memory disorders. Amy s supervisor Dr Simon Durrant said: Amy is one of the most talented students we have had in recent years, and she was an obvious candidate for the British Psychological Society s Summer scheme. Her findings will help us to refine our model of exactly how sleep interacts with memory. We are proud of Amy s achievement, which highlights the importance and benefit of student involvement in research. Alumni View... Natalie Whitaker-Towell and Criminology I really liked that the University was modern, and that the campus was easily accessible from all of the student accommodation, meaning that I could save money on travel by walking everywhere. The University is excellent for my course of study. We had very experienced lecturers for each topic that we studied, for example in our Human Rights module, we were taught by a human rights activist who injected great enthusiasm into the topic; this was the case for all of my modules. Lincoln is a unique city and I loved its history and traditions, I especially enjoyed living close to the boutiques, castle and the cathedral. The people in Lincoln were very friendly and there is a great sense of community. I also love the countryside and living in Lincoln meant that I could enjoy the city and the rural side of Lincolnshire. I am currently working as a Disability Support Worker at Leeds Metropolitan University. In the future I hope to become a teacher. My course helped me greatly with my career aims by developing my skills. I took part in the Learn Higher Award and attended careers seminars which enabled me to develop team building, reflective practice, presenting and volunteering skills amongst many others. The valuable skills that I developed are just what prospective employers are looking for. The School invites guest speakers, and is involved in some very interesting research. Staff members are always willing to support you through times of great ideas or difficulty. Natalie was awarded the Nicola Ewen Memorial Award at the School of Psychology Prize Giving in September Amy is now studying for a PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience. 4 School of Psychology 5

5 Our Laboratories Investment in New Technology to Advance Understanding of Neurological Disorders The School of Psychology continually invests in the latest equipment. Recent additions to our facilities include equipment that will help us to better understand how the human brain is affected by illnesses such as epilepsy and stroke. The Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Scanner in use. Functional Transcranial Doppler Ultrasonography Scanner Our new Functional Transcranial Doppler Ultrasonography Scanner analyses patterns of blood flow within the brain, enabling researchers to make accurate assessments about which areas of the brain are used in certain cognitive tasks, such as speech, language comprehension and motor control. Cognitive neuroscientists at Lincoln will use the technology to advance their studies into functional lateralisation : how the left and right hemispheres of the brain contribute to different aspects of cognitive function, and how this varies across different groups of people. This research is particularly relevant for people being treated for neurological disorders such as stroke, epilepsy or brain tumours. Hundreds of thousands of people across the UK are affected by these types of illness each year. At present, when clinicians are considering surgery as part of a programme of treatment, they tend to rely on invasive procedures to make pre-surgery assessments about brain function. With further research, the scanner has the potential to offer a non-invasive alternative to these tests, which are crucial to ensuring healthy parts of the brain are not damaged in surgery. Dr John Hudson from the School of Psychology says: The uses of the Transcranial Doppler are well-established in clinical practice, where one of its main applications is the detection of abnormal blood circulation in those at risk of strokes. However, it is relatively underused in neuropsychological imaging research. This is beginning to change, as the advantages of the TCD equipment are starting to be recognised. The equipment is portable and therefore can be used in settings outside of research laboratories, such as homes, schools or clinics, making it ideal for research with children or elderly participants. It is also a non-invasive technology which does not use radiation, meaning it is suitable for all groups of people, including those who would not be eligible for other forms of neuroimaging procedure. The technology works using ultrasonography (high frequency sound waves) to obtain a measurement of the speed and direction of blood flow within the main arteries of the brain. The sound waves, which cannot be heard by the human ear, are emitted from sensors placed at each side of the head, and the time it takes for those waves to be reflected back to the sensors is measured and analysed. The results enable scientists to build a picture of the areas of the brain that were activated during a cognitive task. The Transcranial Doppler equipment has been funded through a grant from the Hessle Epilepsy Society. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method to manipulate neuronal activities in the brain. The manipulation is caused by weak electric currents induced in the brain by rapidly changing magnetic fields (electromagnetic induction). TMS is a powerful tool in research and diagnosis for mapping out how the brain functions. TMS is simply the application of the principle of induction to conduct electrical currents across the insulating tissues of the scalp and skull without discomfort. A coil of wire, encased in plastic, is held to the head and when the coil is energised by the rapid discharge of a large capacitor, a rapidly changing current flows through it. The magnetic field passes unimpeded through the skin and skull, inducing an oppositely directed current in the brain that flows tangentially to the skull. The current induced in the structure of the brain activates nearby neurons in much the same way as currents applied directly to the cortical surface. TMS has a very high level of spatial resolution, so it is possible to pinpoint very specific areas of the cortex for stimulation. This allows investigators to study precisely which areas are needed for particular cognitive tasks, and when exactly these areas are needed. By disrupting brain activity at crucial times and at critical locations, it is possible to discover which brain areas are necessary to perform certain cognitive functions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is being used at Lincoln to collect data that will help establish which parts of the brain are involved in cognitive tasks, such as finding a face in a crowd. We use the BrainVoyager system developed at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands to collect structural brain images of our volunteers and navigate to the brain locations of interest by crossreferencing the skull landmarks on the brain images to the same landmarks on the real head of our volunteers. Facilities Our Psychology laboratory suite houses a range of specialist equipment to cater for a variety of research projects. Some highlights include: A MagPro X100 for the examination of motor pathways in the nervous system An ActiveTwo EEG with BrainVision Analyzer for the recording of electrical activity along the scalp A BIOPAC system for the measurement of skin conductance and heart rate An Eyelink 1000 eye tracking system for high performance video eye tracking. The School houses a state-of-the-art sleep laboratory with full sleep scoring equipment as well as devices that allow remote activity monitoring for cognitive neuroscience research into sleep. Our Baby Lab facility includes equipment for preferential looking, eye tracking, act out and habituation research studies in young children and babies. 6 School of Psychology 7

6 Our Laboratories Language Tool to Decode Baby Talk Although babies and young toddlers know a lot about talking, researchers know very little about how this knowledge develops. A grant to develop the first standardised UK speech and language development tool will allow researchers to establish language development norms for UK children aged eight to eighteen months for the first time. Until now, UK language experts have been forced to rely upon more complicated methods of testing child language development, or on methods designed for American English speakers which can lead to UK babies being misdiagnosed as delayed in language development. The work is a collaboration between the universities of Lincoln, Lancaster and Liverpool and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It will also examine the impact of family income and education on UK children s language development, as well as researching differences between children learning UK English dialects and other language. The UK Communicative Development Inventory (UK-CDI) will be a checklist of children s communication abilities in using and understanding speech and gesture, which can be quickly and easily filled in by parents. Researchers will use the tool to carry out large-scale studies of babies and toddlers in the UK. This wealth of new data will enable parents and professionals to pick up on problems more easily by comparing a child s progress against national averages. Dr Kerstin Meints, from the School of Psychology, says: The first few years of life are the most important when it comes to language acquisition, yet it is difficult to test the language abilities of very young children. In other countries, researchers have been using a type of standardised test called a Communicative Development Inventory for many years. However, there is currently no standardised CDI for UK English. At the moment, researchers in Britain rely on a range of adapted versions of the CDI for US English which may actually lead to some British children being misdiagnosed as language delayed. This research project will close that gap. Not only will we develop an official CDI for UK English, we will also build a database of language development norms for British children, which we will make freely available worldwide through an online database. This will represent an important new resource for academics, health professionals, and childcare and early education providers. When complete, this will make a substantial contribution to the well-being of children and families in the UK. Insomnia and Sleeping Pills Researchers from the School of Psychology are exploring whether people who take sleeping pills to nod off at night could be more likely to have accidents the following morning. Studies have made a link between taking sleeping tablets and heightened risk of suffering a fall or being involved in a road accident the next day. It is believed this may be due to the effect of the drugs on balance and cognition (thought processes). Visit Us... The best way to learn more about the School of Psychology is to visit us. Dr Simon Durrant, from the School of Psychology, says: Insomnia affects around a third of adults in any one year and one in ten of us will suffer from chronic insomnia, which can have a profound impact on quality of life. Doctors commonly prescribe sleeping pills to sufferers, but like many drugs there are side effects to weigh up alongside the benefits. It has been reported that people who take sleeping pills at night could be at greater risk of suffering falls or being involved in road accidents the following day, but we need to carry out more research to really understand what the dangers might be. This study will help us better understand the risks. Research of this type is important in helping doctors to decide what the most suitable types of treatment are for insomnia. Located on the stunning Brayford waterfront, with views of the magnificent Cathedral, the University of Lincoln s city centre campus has a truly inspirational setting. We hold Open Days throughout the year, where you can experience our fantastic facilities, meet our friendly staff and students, and ask any questions you may have. Come and find out why students fall in love with Lincoln. Open Day dates are listed on our website at opendays 8 School of Psychology 9

7 Our Research Gender in Families Research by Dr Ruth Gaunt from the School of Psychology is aiming to identify the social psychological mechanisms that account for people s choices regarding work and child care. Barbary Macaque Research in Morocco Academics at the University of Lincoln are shedding new light on the evolution of human social behaviour through research into the cognitive and ecological factors affecting the behaviour of our closest relatives. The collaboration between Lincoln s Dr Bonaventura Majolo and Professor Mohamed Qarro of the Ecole Nationale Forestière d Ingénieurs, Salé, Morocco aims to understand the socio-ecology of the Barbary macaque in order to shed light on the ecological and social factors affecting primate social behaviour. This is important not only to deepen our understanding of this species, but also to compare data on the Barbary macaque with that of the other macaque species differing in dominance style, geographic distribution and group composition. The ultimate goal is to clarify the importance of the ecological and social factors shaping social evolution and behavioural diversity. Dr Majolo says: Barbary macaques are fascinating creatures and an incredibly important species for academics from a range of disciplines. As the last primate species besides humans left in Africa, they give us a window into the evolution of all primates, and with it, a better understanding of human evolution. Sadly, their numbers have plunged dramatically during the last 30 years and they are classed as an IUCN Red List Threatened Species. This work is helping to improve understanding of the ecological threats these animals face and raise awareness of their significance. Our field site is based near the Moroccan city of Azrou, and provides a unique platform for an international team of researchers to study the ecology and behaviour of Barbary macaques in their native habitat. Academics and students are researching a variety of areas, including ecology and food competition, social relationships and cooperation, conflict management, reproductive tactics and stress hormones, between-group competition, parasite infection and human-wildlife interactions. Liz Campbell (pictured right), who works on the project in Morocco, is studying how conflict between groups of wild Barbary macaques influences social behaviour. Liz says: I am investigating how social status and sex relate to an individual s participation in between-group encounters, and whether these encounters affect subsequent social interactions with other group members. The latest paper from the team has been published in the journal Animal Behaviour. It looks at anxiety following grooming in wild Barbary macaques. This paper is the first to assess post-grooming anxiety in the donor and recipient of the same grooming interactions in a wild non-human primate species. You can read the paper online at This research played a leading role in BBC One s Africa, presented by Sir David Attenborough, for which a documentary film crew visited the field site of the Barbary Macaque Project in the Atlas Mountains of northern Morocco as part of the making of the programme. The footage they took, showing Barbary macaques sheltering in a snowstorm, formed the basis of the stunning opening scene of the fifth episode of the series. The episode focuses on the diversity of species living in and around the Sahara desert in North Africa. Students studying Psychology at Lincoln are able to gain an insight into our work in Morocco and take part in visits to Monkey Forest to observe the behaviour of primates for themselves. Most people in today s Western societies believe that parents should share bread-winning and child care. So how come most husbands are the primary breadwinners and most wives are the primary caregivers? What explains this gap between explicit egalitarian attitudes and actual behaviour? Dr Gaunt says: The pressing question is, what are the barriers to greater equality in the division of family labour? Why is an egalitarian division of labour extremely infrequent in spite of prevailing egalitarian gender ideologies? My work in this field has been dedicated to unravelling the complex processes that inhibit or facilitate greater gender equality in the home. Applying a social psychological approach to the study of involvement in child care, the research aims to shift the focus from constraints to choices. The series of studies seeks to reveal how socio-demographic backgrounds (e.g. work hours, education, income) interact with parents social-psychological characteristics (e.g. their value priorities, identities, ideologies) to produce patterns of division of work and child care. This research is supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship from The European Union (FP-7) and was previously supported by research grants from Israel Council for Higher Education and the Ford Foundation. 10 School of Psychology 11

8 Our Research onlineprotect: Who Are the Offenders? A University of Lincoln academic is part of a team conducting research to safeguard young people in online and offline environments, by targeting offenders who use the internet to abuse children. The onlineprotect (Pathways of Risk and Offender Typologies in the Exploitation of Children through Technology) research and development programme is being led by the School of Psychology s Dr Hannah Merdian, Professor Derek Perkins of the University of Surrey, and West London Mental Health NHS Trust. The programme focuses specifically on those who view and produce child exploitation material (CSEM) and aims to gain insight into who the offenders are, examining the possible causes that led them to offend in the first place. The team also evaluate the risk of their re-offending or committing a contact sex offence, and the effectiveness of various treatment programmes. Dr Merdian explains: Initially, online offenders of this type were considered similar to contact sex offenders when it came to their sentencing or treatment, but current research shows that a more specialised approach is needed. The team is working with a range of leading figures from professional services that work with sex offenders on a day-today basis, such as the police and probation services, and subject related researchers. The project aims to develop a comprehensive assessment package for CSEM users, including validated markers for the risk assessment of re-offending and escalation, suggestions for treatment programmes based on the identified risks and needs of CSEM users in comparison to other populations, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of suggested prevention methods. Dr Merdian is also working with victim organisations to help them understand what child sexual abuse on the internet comprises, how children are targeted and how offenders are currently assessed and treated. She says: This is very challenging work as sexual abuse is an area that can be very difficult to understand. This training can assist professionals working with victims of pornography and other sex offences, as we can explain what we know about offenders typologies and suggest ways to help. onlineprotect recently featured at the National Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers training day, where Dr Merdian gave the keynote address, as well as leading a round-table workshop on the topic. Several students from the MSc Forensic Psychology course have been involved in the research to date and have been able to present their work at conferences. Findings from this research have the potential to make a real difference to the community through collaborative work with the police and probation services to strengthen the safeguards that protect children. Perception of Movement Study to Decode Psychological Processes An innovative series of experiments could help to unlock the mysteries of how the brain makes sense of the hustle and bustle of human activity we see around us every day. Very little is known about the psychological processes that enable us to pick out a potential mugger from a busy street or to spot an old friend approaching us across a crowded room. Such judgements of social intention, which we make countless times each day, enable us to respond in appropriate ways to the dynamic and complex world around us. George Mather, Professor of Vision Science from the School of Psychology, is leading a new research project investigating the mechanisms behind this crucial ability to perceive and interpret the intentions of other people from the way they move. Professor Mather says: Many experiments have explored the way we use visual signals to extract meaning from our environment, but most have been based on static images, such as photos of different facial expressions. Other studies have relied on very simple animated scenes, like moving patterns of regularly-spaced lines or random dots. But these are devoid of the richness and nuances of scenes from the real world. Perception of movement is fundamental to many of our everyday social interactions. But simply judging speed is in itself a very complex task. When you see somebody walking across your field of view, how do you know how fast they are going? That information can be very useful because it might tell you something about their intentions, but it s surprisingly difficult to make an accurate judgement. A basic problem is that the further away a moving object is, the slower it moves in the image received by the eye. We don t really understand at the moment how the human visual system is able to compensate for different viewing conditions. The study, which has received funding from the Economic & Social Research Council, will involve the use of specialist equipment to film and manipulate busy street scenes. Ultimately, this research will shed new light on the process by which the human visual system identifies and decodes dynamic cues of social intention, thus expanding our knowledge of how the brain works. 12 School of Psychology 13

9 Our Impact Psychology, Gardening and Twitter at the Chelsea Flower Show A unique digital garden created by the University of Lincoln won Gold in the Best Fresh Garden: Scape Design category at this year s Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show. Titled Digital Capabilities, the garden responded to live Twitter activity, enabling the public to directly influence how the garden appeared at any one time. The project was a cross-disciplinary collaboration between academics and students from the University of Lincoln s Schools of Psychology, Computer Science and Architecture, and designers Harfleet & Harfleet. Harriet Gross, Professor of Psychology at Lincoln, says: We are absolutely thrilled and the students involved are ecstatic. It is a real testament to what can be achieved when such a talented team comes together to work in collaboration. The plot was divided diagonally by an electronic panelled screen that separated the planting into two distinct areas, one visible and one concealed. The visible area was a tapestry of familiar plants, including soft green shades and creamy-coloured flowers with a touch of pink and a zing of citrus. Foliage added texture and movement. The partially obscured planting beyond the panelled screen offered a dramatic contrast, with less familiar, stout-stemmed plants and large, rich green leaves creating a dark and exotic effect. When tweets discussing the RHS Chelsea Flower Show or Digital Capabilities were detected, the panelled screen activated, permitting selected views of the concealed garden. The planting represented the world of the internet, moderated and revealed by our desire for knowledge and interaction. The garden highlighted the contrasts between analogue and digital, material and immaterial, familiar and unfamiliar, and global and local. Professor Gross has been researching the significance of gardens and gardening on people s sense of self and their well-being at different times in their lives, since She is also interested in notions of expertise and problem solving. The idea of creating a social media garden for Chelsea started as an online discussion with colleagues at Lincoln, and was an exciting opportunity to combine these two interests in a collaborative design project. The final product can help us understand how gardens are perceived by individuals and how the power of collaboration through design and through social media can generate different and novel views and outcomes. Computer Game Could Improve Sight of Visually Impaired Children Visually impaired children could benefit from a revolutionary new computer game being developed by a team of neuroscientists and game designers at Lincoln. There are around 25,000 children in Britain equating to two children per 1,000 with a visual impairment of such severity they require specialist education support. The causes of blindness in children are extremely varied, but cerebral visual impairment (damage to areas of the brain associated with vision, rather than damage to the eye itself) is among the most common. Researchers from the Schools of Psychology and Computer Science are working with staff and children from the WESC Foundation specialist centre for visual impairment education based in Exeter. The game will use principles derived from existing programmes used with adults, whereby patients have to search for hard-to-find objects on a computer screen (a visual search task), but the game will be modified to make the task more stimulating and fun for children and structured to maximise the efficiency of learning. Timothy Hodgson, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of the School of Psychology, will lead the project. He says: Previous research has shown that visual search training can lead to significant recovery of sight following damage to visual centres of the brain in adults. The problem is these training programmes are just too boring to use with children. Our game will be a fun computer-based tool which will benefit children with visual field loss-holes in their vision due to damage to the brain s visual pathways. This is an exciting research project which brings together expertise from diverse disciplines and puts this knowledge into practice in a way that could make a real difference to the quality of life of visually impaired children. Working alongside Professor Hodgson is Dr Conor Linehan, a specialist in computer game development based in the School of Computer Science. And Dr Jonathan Waddington, an experienced computational neuroscientist, who will be based at WESC for the duration of the two-year project. Financial support for the project is provided by the Technology Strategy Board and the UK s Medical Research Council. Tracy de Bernhardt Dunkin, Principal and CEO at the WESC Foundation, says: This is a tremendously exciting development for WESC and the culmination of five years work to introduce learning and research around neurological visual impairment. We are delighted to be employing our first visual neuroscientist, supervised by the University of Lincoln. Screen shots from the proposed game. 14 School of Psychology 15

10 Our Impact Student Views Claire Feeney Emma Scott Marcus Harrington Summer Scientist Summer Scientist is the School of Psychology s largest public engagement activity. Established in Lincoln by Dr Fenja Ziegler, the aim is to introduce what the study of psychology is all about to the public, as well as allow for research data collection. During the summer I worked as a student researcher with Dr Kirsty Miller. I was responsible for the collection of data for a new research project, as part of Summer Scientist. Before the project I prepared by reading up on the interplay of the theories involved, as well as the complex construction of the experimental study. During the week itself, I worked with children and collected data for analysis. This was my first involvement with this type of activity and I found it both enjoyable and interesting. I believe it s a good way for the University to engage with the community and involve people with science and psychology in a positive and constructive way. For me, the chance to work on a real study and to take responsibility for testing and data collection was invaluable. I learnt a great deal about cognitive psychology outside of the curriculum, about staff research interests and a bit more about the working life of an academic. I heard about this event through staff in our department and thought it sounded like a fantastic opportunity. I would like to work with children so the experience was very useful and being involved in the research aspect appealed to me too. My main role was to entertain and play with the children, which was lovely. They were all very excited to be there and enjoyed the fun activities on offer. Taking part in Summer Scientist showed me that the best way to handle a research project is to be organised, allow for plenty of time and, especially when working with children, keep them occupied! The experience also showed me that I am more interested in conducting research than I originally thought. I decided to volunteer for Summer Scientist as it was an opportunity to be involved with real psychological research. My role was to gather data from children using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task. I had to select suitable children for the study, explain the task to them and their parents and then talk them through what was going on while they were doing the task. I enjoyed being part of a group who were all working together on similar research. It felt as though the data I was gathering was useful and I was using my time productively. I am very excited to read the final write up of the study. I learned a lot about gathering data. Some of the children s responses to the task were interesting and their performance on the task often reflected their age and gender. This fascinated me and has led to me taking more interest in the topic of child risk-taking. Each year, we run a week-long programme for children aged three to ten years it is fun and full of play, but at the same time progresses around ten different psychological research projects. Children come with their parents to take part in the experiments, which investigate topics such as the development of altruism, motor control and risk taking. Academic researchers from the School work alongside selected second-year students on data collection throughout the week. It is an opportunity for students to work on real and cutting-edge psychological research that is a step up from their coursebased studies. This offers students a great opportunity to gain dedicated experimentbased experience. Dr Ziegler says: One of our aims in the School of Psychology is to bring the wonder of psychology to the community. Summer Scientist is an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate what psychology is all about, as well as give our academics and students the opportunity to complete research data collection from the 250 participants. Students gain an insight of what it is like to conduct research and work directly with leading academics. It can and does have a lasting impact on their final-year studies and choice of career. In 2013 we welcomed more children than ever before, including some who have attended all three Summer Scientist weeks so far. The next event is already being planned, with ten new academic research projects. 16 School of Psychology 17

11 Get in Touch We are happy to answer any questions you may have. You can get in touch and keep up-to-date with developments in the School in a number of ways: Social Media Facebook Search for Lincoln School of Psychology Call, or Write to Us School of Psychology University of Lincoln Brayford Pool Lincoln LN6 7TS e t w University of Lincoln Brayford Pool Lincoln LN6 7TS Telephone: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) All information correct at time of print. For the latest information, please visit our website.

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