PSYCHOLOGY: Students put love under the microscope

SIXTH form psychology students attended a revealing conference on the mind, brain and behaviour at York University, where three of our students won an award for their work. OSCAR SMITH explains how the event brought science to life, with hands-on experiments and the chance to meet researchers 

HAVING researched a wide range of topics, from investigating how make-up affects how professional women are perceived to how mental wellbeing is affected by the relative creativity of a job, 15 RGS psychologists got the chance to showcase our work at York University.

One of the highlights of this exciting one-day event was an incredibly inspirational lecture by Alan Baddeley, one of the UK’s leading cognitive psychologists, who developed the widely recognised working memory model which he is still working on to this day.

He stressed the importance of rigorous research skills and fuelled many students’ desires to conduct more research in the future and consider psychology as a worthwhile career.

Following this, we had to explain our own research to experts, answering a wide range of questions and justifying our choices. Then we split into groups to attend various workshops including one on virtual reality, another on the role of smell within psychology and, my personal favourite, an experiment testing how people were affected by having their vision corrected 30 degrees to the left, which was extremely enjoyable and very informative about how easy it is to affect perception.

We finished with two more lectures by psychologists conducting research at the forefront of their respective fields. One talk considered the effect of sleep on memory while the other was on communication between primates, both of which fuelled interest in areas of psychology that many of us had never considered before.

Eventually, the results of the competition were announced. Unfortunately, the judge's choice was not one of our projects, but the ‘people's choice’ award, voted on by students, was won by Ripon Grammar School’s Hattie Render, Genevieve Ashton and Ellie Irwin with their project: ‘The effect of personality type on love experiences in young people.’

Overall the event was both successful and highly informative, really fuelling our desire to go on to learn more about the field of psychology and, in particular, research.