School of Psychological Sciences & HealthPsychology Autumn Seminar Series 2021

The School of Psychological Sciences & Health are delighted to announce their upcoming seminar series for Autumn 2021, beginning on October 20th.

October 20, 1-2PM
Professor Gijsbert Stoet, University of Essex
Intro to online data collection, running online surveys or online cognitive experiments with PsyToolkit.

Abstract: In this presentation, Prof. Stoet will give an overview of the PsyToolkit website. It is a free resource which is used by many 
psychologists to run online surveys or online experiments. It is similar in functionality to common platforms, such as Qualtrics, Inquisit, or Eprime, but it has many more flexible options specially designed for psychology students and researchers alike. PsyToolkit does not cost any money, and you can run studies as long as you need and you can collect data from as many participants as you want. There are practically no limits to this. It is also ideal for demonstrating psychology experiments to students. It has an easy to learn scripting language for setting up experiments. You can set up, for example, a Stroop experiments with just a few lines. It comes with documentation and there are regular courses. This presentation is suitable for anyone interested. The website is

October 27, 1-2PM
Professor Jonathan Delafield-Butt, University of Strathclyde
Disruption to Embodiment in Autism, and its Smart Device Assessment. 

Abstract: This talk examines the early embodied nature of psychological development in infancy, and the role of the neuromotor system as an active generator of conscious experience, made in agentive affective engagement with caring and sensitive social others. The significance of this early embodied agency sheds light on how meaning is co-created between individuals in expressive actions that share a common narrative organisation ubiquitous in the human time-based arts of poetry, music, drama, and literature. It structures human cognition and knowledge, underneath and before verbal language. In autism, new evidence reveals a subtle, but significant disruption to this embodied motor agency in children, from early infancy onwards. It can thwart efficient engagement and lead to autistic symptomatology of emotional dysregulation and social withdrawal. New smart device serious games coupled with artificial intelligence can detect these subtle 'autism motor signatures' before conventional clinical instruments allow, providing new routes to its early identification, and new understanding of affective engagement for sensitive social care and improved lifelong success. 

November 3, 1-2PM
Dr Claudia Von Bastian, University of Sheffield
Working memory training: A quick-fix solution for enhancing cognition?

Abstract: Can cognitive abilities such as reasoning be improved through working memory training? After more than a decade of working memory training research, this question is still highly controversial. Inconsistent findings from prior studies have been discussed to be due to methological issues such as inadequate controls and measures. In this talk, I will present a series of students in which we examined the effectiveness of working memory training interventions in relatively large samples of younger and older adults compared to active controls practising visual research. Bayesian analyses consistently supported the absence of transfer to any other cognitive ability. Based on our findings, we conclude that the repetitive practice of working memory tasks does not improve general cognitive performance.

November 10, 1-2PM
Dr David Pitcher, University of York
A third visual pathway specialised for Visual Perception

Abstract: Existing models propose that primate visual cortex is divided into two function- ally distinct pathways. The ventral pathway computes the identity of an object; the dorsal pathway computes the location of an object, and the actions related to that object. Despite remaining influential, the two visual pathways model requires revision. Both human and non-human primate studies reveal the existence of a third visual pathway on the lateral brain surface. This third pathway projects from early visual cortex, via motion-selective areas, into the superior temporal sulcus (STS). Studies demonstrating that the STS computes the actions of moving faces and bodies (e.g. expressions, eye-gaze, audio visual integration, intention, and mood) show that the third visual pathway is specialized for the dynamic aspects of social perception.

November 17, 1-2PM
Professor Matthew Smith, University of Strathclyde
The First Hyperactive Children: The Emergence of ADHD in Historical Perspective

Abstract: Today, ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder in many countries.  Characterised by impulsive, inattentive and hyperactive behaviour, children - and increasingly adults - with ADHD are believed to struggle academically, socially and vocationally, and are typically prescribed powerful stimulant medication to treat their condition.  Sixty years ago, however, such a disorder did not exist.  So, who was the first hyperactive child and why was his or her behaviour thought to be worthy of medical attention and pharmaceutical intervention? This talk will attempt to answer this question, providing a summary of the many factors that contributed to the emergence of ADHD as a ubiquitous disorder and a powerful hermeneutic for children's behavioural problems.

All events will last for one hour between and all Strathclyde colleagues are welcome. Zoom meeting details will be provided by e-mail. Please contact Aliyah Rehman at for further details.