Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Visiting speaker: Mark Gardner, University of Westminster

Title: Spatial perspective-taking, embodiment, and executive functions

Date, time, and venue: Thursday, Nov 6, 4:00pm, room VG02

My talk considers the cognitive processes involved when taking on the spatial-perspective of another person – an ability that might be employed when giving directions or providing a demonstration of how to do a task. Specifically, we will consider whether spatial perspective-taking relies on an embodied mechanism of imagined self-rotation.  Or, alternatively, whether it is mediated by executive processes that are domain general (inhibition of own perspective responses). The results of a series of eight experiments employing a simple test of perspective-taking will be described which appear to indicate that spatial perspective-taking can be both embodied and reliant on executive functions, but that the route to perspective-taking depends upon participant strategy.

Mark Gardner was trained at University College London in the last millennium.  His PhD research examined imitation in animals, while his postdoc assessed the role of attention in normal and abnormal balance system function.  Mark has worked at the University of Westminster since 2000, where he is now Principal Lecturer in Psychology, and course leader for BSc Psychology.  He also serves on the BPS Undergraduate Education Committee.  When he is not doing admin, Mark loves doing research.  As well as spatial perspective-taking, he is also investigating the effects of water consumption on cognitive performance.

Mark's webpage:

Successful joint bid from Forensic Psychological Services and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies

We are delighted to report that a joint bid from Forensic Psychological Services and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies has been successful. The project is for 9 months for 75K and is a quantitative and qualitative examination of the impact of legal pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of children and young people. The Co-Principle Investigators on the project are Miranda Horvath and Elena Martellozzo and the Co-Investigators are Joanna Adler and Julia Davidson.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Visiting Speaker: Maryanne L. Fisher, Saint Mary’s University, Canada

Date and time: Monday, October 27, 5:00pm, room VG02 (Vine Building)

Title: Recent Developments in Women's Competition for Mates

There has been an explosion of research pertaining to women’s intrasexual competition for mates within the past decade. This research spans the areas of eating disorders, fertility, risk-taking, self-perceptions of mate value, fashion preferences, and adolescent friendships, among others. I will briefly review these developments, and then present a series of recent studies that collectively reveal women’s perceptions of potential rivals is generally negative and encompasses numerous characteristics. My findings indicate that women do not necessarily have to interact with rivals for these results to occur; women appear to engage in vicarious competition by witnessing hypothetical competitive situations. I will also present data from a new study, whereby we found evidence of brain activation that indicates women may be anticipating a loss or win when viewing young, attractive female faces versus older, unattractive female faces. I will close with a discussion of potential future research directions.

Maryanne L. Fisher, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. She has recently edited Evolution’s Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women (Oxford, 2013) and the Handbook of Women and Competition (Oxford, forthcoming). Her primary areas of inquiry are sex differences in competition and aggression, within-sex variance in mating strategies, and integrating feminist frameworks with evolutionary psychological perspectives. For more information please see Maryanne's website:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fiona Starr presents at the BPS Children Young People and Families Conference

Fiona Starr (Chartered Clinical Psychologist) was invited to present her research, ‘UK Clinical Psychologists in Independent Practice’, at the BPS CYPF (Children Young People and Families) Conference in Peterborough last month. The presentation described the survey that  Fiona Starr &  Karen Ciclitira conducted with the help of the BPS. The survey examined the working practices of a growing number if BPS psychologists who are not working in the public sector. Although increasing numbers of psychologists are being forced to set up independently, largely due to governmental cuts, there has been no comprehensive survey of ‘who is doing what where and how in the UK’. There have been several similar studies conducted in the USA, Canada and Australia.  A special interest group for independent practitioners has been recently established by the BPS.  Fiona and Karen are now in phase two of the study looking at thematic analysis of clinician’s experiences.

For further details see:

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cognitive Archaeology: The Challenge of Understanding Human Becoming

Yvan Russell and Tom Dickins, from the EMU lab, are both presenting invited papers at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference in Manchester this December:


They are taking part in a symposium entitled:

Cognitive Archaeology: The Challenge of Understanding Human Becoming

The symposium aims state the following:

Cognitive Archaeology tries to understand how ancient peoples thought by systematically interpreting the artefacts they left behind. However, the act of interpretation presupposes the need for answers to fundamental questions: What is cognition (Edelman & Tononi, 2000), and what is the role of materiality in it (Knappett, 2005; Malafouris, 2013)? What are the causes of change in hominin–human cognition over the last two million years? Finally, how does understanding the answers to these questions make a better archaeologist?

Neither Yvan nor Tom propose to deal with the final clause!


Visiting speaker: Lin Norton, Liverpool Hope University

Date and time: Thursday 23rd October, 12:00pm, Room VG02

Title: Researching learning and teaching issues: Reflecting on an action research approach

Abstract: In this seminar, Lin will draw on her book ‘Action Research in Teaching & Learning’ to discuss some of the benefits (as well as how to avoid the pitfalls) of this type of research. Further details can be found on her website: http://www.linnorton.co.uk/pedagogical-action-research  The seminar will be of interest to academic staff who would like to explore the possibilities of such an approach to: i) research some element of their teaching or assessment practice, ii) inform course design and development, iii) enhance their reflective practice or iv) disseminate some innovative learning and teaching initiative. It would also be of interest to students at an undergraduate or postgraduate level who are thinking about developing a pedagogical research study of their own. You can get in touch with Lin by emailing her at nortonl@hope.ac.uk 

Lin Norton is an Emeritus Professor of Pedagogical Research at Liverpool Hope University and a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice. Before retiring in December 2010, Lin developed pedagogical action research as a community of practice within Hope and was the founding editor of the in-house journal, PRIME (Pedagogical Research In Maximising Education) and organiser of three international Pedagogical Research in Higher Education (PRHE) conferences. This work was recognized nationally in 2007, when she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.

Lin is a chartered psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society combining her social science training with her practitioner approach to learning and teaching. She has been a member of the Division for Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology (DARTP) since 1997 and was appointed as vice chair (teachers) from 2002-2004, followed by a period as Editor of the Division’s journal Psychology Teaching Review, from 2004-2008. She also served as an associate editor ofPsychology Learning and Teaching from 2008-2013.

In her ‘retirement’, Lin continues to champion pedagogical action research and is invited to give workshops and seminars in the UK and abroad. She has written extensively on the subject, including a book, and a detailed list of her publications can be found on her website: http://www.linnorton.co.uk/. She is also on the editorial board of the SEDA journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Forensic Psychology Research Group to present in Berlin

The Forensic Psychology Research Group is delighted that some of its members (Miranda Horvath, Jackie Gray, Mackenzie Lambine, Ellouise Long and Aliye Emirali) have had papers accepted at the Aggression Workshop at the Technische Universit├Ąt, Berlin, Germany, which runs from 20th November. The focus of the workshop is on “Social and Media Dimensions of Aggression”.  Ellouise and Jackie will be presenting work that they have been doing around internet trolling, and Miranda, Mackenzie and Aliye will be presenting their work into different aspects of sexual aggression. This will be a great opportunity for the group to mix with some very interesting international researchers, and we look forward to them reporting back on their return.

See the following link for more details of this workshop: