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Department of Psychology Seminars 2021/22

View the schedule of seminars taking place in the Department of Psychology.

November 2021

All talks will take place via Zoom on Wednesdays, 16:00 - 17:00 GMT, unless otherwise stated. Talks are hosted jointly by the University of Bath and the University of Bristol.


Wednesday 24 November

Differential treatment of animate and inanimate objects often hinges on the attribution of mental states to others. We know that pictures of animate objects can elicit perceptions of mind, albeit at reduced intensity. However, this loss of intensity is assumed to reflect an impoverishment of a rich stimulus, such as the projection of a living being into a static picture plane.

In this talk, Dr Kingstone will present data that overturns this assumption by showing that ‘pure’ abstraction reduces mind perception independent of stimulus richness. People are perceived as more real, and higher in both Agency (the ability to do) and Experience (the ability to feel), when they are presented as pictures than when they were presented as pictures of pictures. Depicting things with minds raises ethical questions that have not been recognised previously. As these questions emerge from representational structure rather than representational content, they are unlikely to be quashed by improvements in image quality.

Thursday 25 November 2021

  • Title: Young people's mental health: have we found a recipe yet?
  • Speaker: Stella Chan, University of Reading
  • Time: 12:30 GMT

Research and clinical innovations for young people's mental health have lagged far behind that in adults. Many researchers and clinicians are searching for the right 'recipe' to help, but the complexity of the issue means that we are unlikely to find a magical recipe.

Dr Chan's research group has a strong focus on identifying bio-psycho-social risk and resilience factors. In addition to conventional research studies, they have been particularly keen to pilot Citizen Science methods involving young people as active co-producers of research rather than passive recipients. Project Soothe has collected over 800 soothing photographs and engaged with citizen scientists from over 40 countries. They have also launched an app feature during COVID lockdown, co-curated a Pioneers in Practice: User Guide with a range of charity organisations, and more recently co-produced wellbeing tools with 9 teams of citizen scientists across schools and other youth groups.

Their experience suggests that citizen science methodology offers an empowering experience for young people. In this talk, Dr Chan will share with you her honest reflection of what works and what does not, and she always values the opportunity to collaborate on research and public engagement work.


December 2021

All talks will take place via Zoom on Wednesdays, 16:00 - 17:00 GMT, unless otherwise stated. Talks are hosted jointly by the University of Bath and the University of Bristol.


Wednesday 1 December

  • Title: Students’ identities as learners and consumers: implications for learning
  • Speaker: Dr Louise Tayler, Oxford Brookes University

The introduction of student tuition fees in England, UK, approximately 20 years ago created a new identity for students in higher education, that of a consumer. This identity seemed to bring with it a set of attitudes and behaviours that contradicted the traditional identity of students as learners, such as the belief that obtaining a degree is an entitlement in exchange for fees. This talk will discuss research on students' identities as learners and consumers, and how these identities impact student learning and academic outcomes. Finally, a teaching resource will be presented that applies the principles of a social identity approach to supporting students to develop identities that will improve their learning and engagement.

Wednesday 8 December

  • Title: to be confirmed
  • Speaker: Dr Sander Los, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Wednesday 15 December


Past seminars

Find details of past events from the Department of Psychology seminar series.


Wednesday 29 September

  • Title: A tale of two inhibitory aftereffects of orienting
  • Speaker: Ray Klein, Dalhousie University

Professor Emeritus Klein discusses his personal experience investigating the phenomenon 'Inhibition of Return'.

Wednesday 6 October

  • Title: Psychological AI: Simplicity and Transparency in Prediction
  • Speaker: Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Professor Gigerenzer studies the promise of psychological AI in making predictions in unstable environments.

Wednesday 13 October

  • Title: Explaining Happiness and Income in the Short- and Long-Run: A Lesson on Happiness.
  • Speaker: Richard Easterlin, University of Southern California

Professor Easterlin plots the relationship between happiness and income.

Wednesday 20 October

  • Title: Does Bilingualism Affect Cognitive and Brain Structures? Facts and Fictions
  • Speaker: Ellen Bialystok, York University, Canada

Dr Bialystok explores the controversy over whether bilingualism leads to reliable changes in cognitive and brain functions.

Wednesday 27 October

  • Title: How do we recognise Paul McCartney?
  • Speaker: Mike Burton, University of York

We recognise friends, family and public figures over a huge range of conditions. How can our recognition systems achieve this?

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