Monday, 23 December 2013

Visiting speakers: Heather Castillo & Helen Price

Title: Personality Disorder and Participatory Research Studies with Service Users

Date: Tuesday 14 Jan 2014 

Time: 3:15pm

Venue: C110

The presentation will outline two research studies carried out with people who have attracted a diagnosis of personality disorder and it will examine fifteen years of co-production with service users.  Research endeavours first set out to highlight the plight of people with a personality disorder diagnosis.  The second study has aimed to investigate the process of recovery for this client group who suffer significant social exclusion known to impact on demand for health and other public services.  It has aimed to examine efforts which attempt to reverse this social exclusion as an aspect of the recovery process. Findings offer contributions to knowledge in terms of the service design and how to effectively carry out research with service users as equal partners, and it proposes a new model of recovery in personality disorder.

The Haven project website:

Research at The Haven Project:

Monday, 16 December 2013

The deadly genius of drug cartels by Rodrigo Canales

This TED talk is of interest to organizational and social psychologists, as well as concerned citizens of the world:

CATS relaunch at the House of Lords

4 December 2013 saw the relaunch of the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS). The event was held at the House of Lords and featured experts from a range of backgrounds coming together to discuss 'Key Child Protection Challenges in the Real and Digital Worlds: Implications for Research, Policy & Practice'.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Waqar Ahmed, opened the event and he highlighted how CATS joining Middlesex has been integral to the knowledge exchange activity that is buzzing within the university at present.

CATS directors, Professor Antonia Bifulco and Professor Julia Davidson began by reflecting on their wealth of research findings to highlight key challenges that still remain in the area of child protection. CATS current and recent projects include online safety, online abuse, cyber-bullying and how to achieve best evidence within police investigative practice. Following this, HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary, Commander Peter Spindler went on to examine the impact, outcomes and learning from the police investigation of Jimmy Savile; Operation Yewtree. Professor of Social Policy at LSE, Eileen Munro, then spoke of improving child protection practice, bringing to light issues of managing uncertainty, creating a fair culture for staff and embedding a better understanding of the nature of expertise.

These presentations set the scene for a subsequent expert panel discussion. The panel was comprised of academics, practitioners and policy-makers, all for whom have child protection at the heart of their work. The debate and discussion, which carried over well into the lunchtime close of the day, was centred on the following key questions:

1. Is it possible to increase children’s voice and to ensure that  views are reflected in practice?

2. How can we collaborate to ensure that vulnerable children are identified, enabled and protected online?

3. How to empower & skill services & increase interagency collaboration (knowledge base, morale, political status)

4. How can children’s exposure to online adult content be addressed? What steps should be taken?

5. How to increase impact of university/knowledge-base contribution (Closing the gap between research and policy and practice) 


BPS 'Psychology4Students' London event

Andrea Oskis spoke about attachment, parenting and stress to 860 teenagers at this year's BPS 'Psychology4Students' London Lectures at Kensington Town Hall.

Double symposium success for 2014 BPS annual conference

Next May's BPS annual conference in Birmingham will feature two symposia from the Psychology Department. Toni Bifulco has convened ' Parenting in vulnerable groups: implications for clinical health, social care and criminal justice agencies' and Andrea Oskis has convened 'diverse parenting: theory, practice and policy'.  These symposia will feature presentations from several staff in the Department, including Tom Dickins, Olga van den Akker, Anthony Murphy and Catherine Jacobs.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Visiting speaker: Jörg Fachner

Title: Music, drugs and emotion - "... make me go to the rehab."?

Date: Tuesday 10 December 2013
Time: 4pm
Venue: Hatchcroft (HG09)

Reviewing the scarce literature on the interaction of drug use and music appreciation indicate a lack of research on this cultural practice and its relation to addiction and mood regulation strategies. For some, but not for all, drug use may result in disorderly conduct and addictive behaviour. Some rehabilitation centres do not allow music listening, as certain music experiences made under the influence may become a cue for drug craving. For rehabilitative means music therapy offers retraining of cued music experiences and state-depended recall of drug induced strong emotions in music. Researching intense emotions has lead to brain investigations stressing the comparable activation of reward processes during pleasurable music experiences and drug action.
Today, drug use and a referential sound design in genres of popular music are part of popular culture encoding the embodiment of outlaw identity templates for peer-groups in favour. Drugs and music as a neuro-chemical amalgamation of social bonding for adolescents, as known from indigenous cultures' initiation rites and rites of passage, may resemble in modern party culture. This presentation will discuss how internal emotion regulation is externally sought and calibrated during adolescent's risk seeking behaviour in strong emotions amplified by drug use and music appreciation.

Jörg Fachner (DMSc, MS Ed.) is Professor for Music, Health and the Brain at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge; he did research on music and consciousness states and music therapy treatment research on depression and stroke.