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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 8 December

  • Title: Prospects of a multiple trace theory of temporal preparation
  • Speaker: Dr Sander Los, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

In this presentation Dr Los will provide two main lines of evidence in support of multiple trace theory of temporal preparation (MTP). First, effects of foreperiods can be found at several time scales (at the trial level, the block level, the session level, and beyond), which finds a natural explanation in MTP but not in classic theories.

Second, the processes driving temporal preparation are fundamentally associative, as demonstrated in studies showing that participants quickly and implicitly learn the contingency between the modality of S1 (auditory or visual) and the distribution of foreperiods, while the learning outcome persists in a transfer phase where the contingency no longer applies.

Wednesday 15 December

  • Title: Disgust, magical contagion, belief in the benevolence of nature and public health
  • Speaker: Professor Paul Rozin, University of Pennsylvania

His scholarly interests included food selection in animals, the acquisition of fundamental reading skills, and the neuropsychology of amnesia. Over the last 35 years, the major focus of his research has been human food choice, considered from biological, psychological and anthropological perspectives. During this period, he has studied the cultural evolution of cuisine, the development of food aversions, the development of food preferences, family influences in preference development, body image, the acquisition of liking for chili pepper, chocolate craving, and attitudes to meat.

He has studied the emotion of disgust and related magical thinking, and how both can be barriers to public acceptance of new technologies or foods (e.g., recycled water, insects as food). He is also working on the meaning of food in different cultures, the entry of food issues (e.g., meat, fat) into the moral domain in modern American culture, differences between the French and American food worlds, attitudes to natural and genetic engineering, and the nature of remembered pleasure.


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?

Wednesday 1 December

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

Dr Taylor discusses research on students' identities as learners and consumers, and how these identities impact student learning and academic outcomes.

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