Psychology Seminar SeriesPsychology seminars: Autumn/Winter 2019

Wednesday 23rd October | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speaker: Assistant Professor Gordon Pennycook

Abstract: The alarming spread of entirely fabricated news stories - "fake news" - during the 2016 US Presidential election is a salient example of how human reasoning often fails.  How do we explain such errors? I will outline two broad perspectives on this question: One argues that humans reason like good lawyers, while the other argues that humans reason like bad philosophers. According to the good lawyer perspective, reasoning is often employed to justify our beliefs and behaviors so that we might convince other people that we are correct. According to the bad philosophers perspective, in contrast, human reasoning facilitates accurate belief formation but sometimes fails or is insufficiently engaged. These accounts produce very different explanations for why people fall for fake news and suggest different types of interventions against political disinformation. In this talk, I will describe my research agenda adjudicating between these two perspectives across a variety of domains, and describe in detail my work on the recent phenomenon of fake news as a particularly interesting test case.

Wednesday 30th October | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speaker: Dr. Martin Taylor-Rowan

Abstract: Psychological problems are common in stroke.  Stroke patients regularly experience issues with cognition and/or mood following a stroke event.  To fully appreciate the nature of post-stroke psychological problems, it is necessary to have an understanding of the pre-stroke state.   Our general understanding of pre-stroke conditions, along with knowledge of how best to assess such conditions, is lacking.  In this talk, I will outline some of the ways in which we have sought to improve our understanding of the pre-stroke state and what insight it can give us into post-stroke psychological problems.   Specifically, I will discuss studies designed to investigate prevalence, risk associations, and optimal assessment methods of a number of pre-stroke conditions.

Wednesday 6th November | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speaker: Professor Zoltan Dienes

Abstract: To get evidence for or against one's theory relative to the null hypothesis, one needs to know what it predicts. The amount of evidence can then be quantified by a Bayes factor.   It is only when one has reasons for specifying a scale of effect that the level of evidence can be specified for no effect (that is, non-significance is not a reason for saying there is no effect). In almost all papers I read people declare absence of an effect while having no rational grounds for doing so.  So we need to specify what scale of effect our theory predicts. Specifying what one's theory predicts may not come naturally, but I show some ways of thinking about the problem.

Wednesday 13th November | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speaker: Dr. Christopher Harvey

Abstract: During adolescence both the physiological and sociological mechanisms governing sleep change. This creates chronic sleep deprivation, the impacts of which are manifold: from short term problems with concentration and attention to potentially increased likelihood of mental ill-health. We looked at the feasibility and efficacy of a sleep education programme, delivered in schools by teachers, at improving sleep. The outcome of such work has implications for the individual and education policy.

Wednesday 20th November | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speaker: Dr. Liza Morton & Dr. Nicola Cogan

Abstract: Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) affects 1% of live births, with similar prevalence worldwide.  This is the most common birth defect and medical and surgical advances mean that 90 per cent of infants with CHD will survive into adulthood compared with just 20% in the 1940s.  There is no cure for complex CHD with lifelong medical monitoring indicated, yet care has often not evolved in time to meet the needs of this growing adult population, arguably leading to a public health problem.  The challenges of living CHD from ‘cradle to grave’ can reach far beyond any physical limitations to include, for example, adverse childhood experiences (ACES), lifelong invasive medical interventions, uncertainty about prognosis, living with implantable devices, discrimination, missing out, missed education, issues having and raising a family, scarring and issues with body image.  CHD presents significantly increased vulnerability to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and to date, these psychological outcomes have been neglected. The bio-psycho-social factors contributing to these difficulties are considered here, drawing on lived experience, clinical practice, research and contemporary neuropsychological theories including the novel application of Porges’ The Polyvagal Theory.  Suggestions for developing psychologically informed medical care to improve mental health outcomes, wellbeing and recovery are discussed.  Including recent research on the impact of hospital clothing on wellbeing and the development of a measure of the ‘Neuroception of Safety’ in collaboration with Prof Porges, Kinsey Institute Traumatic Stress Research Consortium, Indiana University.  Further, advocacy efforts engaging key stakeholders to influence policy and to improve wider understanding, awareness and social inclusion are discussed.

Wednesday 27th November | GH514 | 1pm-2pm
Speakers: 3rd Year UG ERASMUS Placement Students

Abstract: Each year a group of Strathclyde Psychology students take part in the ERASMUS International Research Placement Programme (Course Lead: Dr. Kellyanne Findlay; In this seminar session, we will hear several short talks from each of the 2019 ERASMUS placement students, they will tell us about the research projects that they were involved in, as well as their experience of living and working abroad. This session will be of particular interest to students in their First, Second or Third year of study, who may be interested in taking part in this programme during the summer between their Third and Fourth year.