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Posts about: @salfordpsych

SalfordPsych Believe It Or Not?

23 October 2017

At the Manchester Science Festival this year, we joined the #CitizenScience Showcase and Library of Fake news at MediaCityUK, to run a mock ‘Believe it or not?’ psychology investigation, to show how data might be collected to address the question ‘why do people believe the ideas that they come across in daily life?’.

We’re also interested in how beneficial science festivals are, and particularly whether they promote a ‘growth mindset’. To examine this, we used a number of questionnaires that participants completed both before and after the task.

For the task, we presented people with small pieces of evidence, such as videos or screenshots of bits of articles, before asking them whether they would believe in a psychological myth related to the evidence, and why they would, or wouldn’t, believe it. Feedback was provided in the form of the scientific consensus on the topic.

We believe that transparency is important, and that everyone should have the opportunity to judge the evidence for themselves. As such, we’re providing links here to evidence that was used to determine the scientific consensus on the topics we covered. We’ve tried to ensure that some easily accessible information is included for each topic, but unfortunately, some of the sources may not be accessible without cost.

 

Would you believe that…

Carrots help you see in the dark?

 

Vaccines cause autism?

The brains of males and females are physically the same?

 

Swearing can have beneficial effects?

Working as a politician has less of a psychological impact than other jobs?

Drinking water cures a hangover?

You only use 10% of your brain?

Alcohol makes you less inhibited?

We are attracted to people who are our opposites?

Venting your frustrations will only make you angrier?

Criminal profiling is considered a science?

 

 

 

We hope that you enjoyed our little demo, and if you have any feedback or questions we’d love to hear from you.

You can contact us on:

Twitter: @SalfordPsych

Email: w.s.s.royle@salford.ac.uk

Address: L826 Allerton Building, University of Salford, Salford, M6 6PU.

 

Summer Internship: Read about Hanna’s US adventure!

3 June 2015

Our very own Hannah Arhinful has won an International Travel bursary and will be keeping us up to date on her Summer Internship!

Hannah will be spending the summer in Boston, and will be posting regularly to keep us up to date with her US adventure.

Follow Hannah’s updates and get inspired here.

For more information on the International Travel Bursaries see here: http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/funded_opportunity

 

 

Why are internships important? Read some of the reasons why it is important to make time for internships here http://www.whatispsychology.biz/internships-psychology-degree-programs

 

 

John Hudson wins the 2015 BPS poster competition

20 May 2015

Our very own John Hudson, PhD student under the supervision of Dr Ashley Weinberg has won the poster competition at the Annual Conference of the BPS!

His poster looked at factors connected to job-related stress in the public sector. You can find his poster here.

john

Congratulations John!

 

Follow John on Twitter: @brucierooster

The age of celebrity politics

27 April 2015

In an article published in the latest edition of The Psychologist magazine, I explore the contribution Psychology can give to understanding the phenomenon of celebritisation of politics.

http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/may-2015/age-celebrity-politics

 

New media and new perspectives on the crisis in Hong Kong

24 March 2015

by Stephanie Szeto (@StepSzeto)

Stephanie Szeto

 

 

 

 

 

The high penetration of the new mobile technology and social media enables some Hongkongers, who don’t have much prior knowledge of computer, to access internet media and enjoy spontaneous mobile mass communication, such as Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.   In past few decades, only few TV media existed in Hong Kong. Television Broadcasts (TVB) is completely monopolising the media market as Asia Television (ATV) produces limited domestic programmes and is facing major financial problem that has to terminate some news broadcasts.  People are now used to read news from wide variety sources for having different perspectives, for example independent press, rather than from the traditional mass media, such as the two existing free-to-air terrestrial television stations, (TVB) and (ATV). Young people are more accessible and develop critical views to various news angles and discover nested interests of different media stakeholders may affect the political stands or economic positions of various commentaries or social media blogs.

 

In last October 2013, tens of thousands of protesters marched to the government headquarters of the Hong Kong SAR claiming the violated Hong Kong’s core values of freedom as the monopolisation of existing TV public media eventually led to rejection from the government in issuing an additional free-to-air TV licence to the Hong Kong Television Networks (HKTV).  The march originated from a social action organised with the help of a Facebook page claiming to gather ten thousand of HKTV supporters and simultaneously gained nearly five hundred thousand LIKES.  Facebook has become a powerful social media to magnify the tearful speeches of HKTV staff and celebrities that were spreading quickly on the web which explained the underlying nested interests of politicians in rejecting the license application.  Protesters claiming that, despite a 85% of respondents in a public survey conducted by The University of Hong Kong indicated more free-to-air TV choices, the government turned down HKTV’s application as a result of politically decision.  Mr. Ricky Wong Wai-kay, the boss of HKTV, presented that he would create a station that will truly belong to Hongkongers by giving alternative choice, such as ‘dark’ comedy and drama, which allows different political satire may capture the popular sentiment.  Therefore, Hongkongers believed that the government was crushing the city’s core values of freedom and vowed to have social movement against the media monopolisation.  Wong questioned whether Hong Kong was still governed by the rule of law and the HKTV, in the end, resorted to broadcast by over-the-top online platform.

 

With more easy access to online platforms, Hongkongers are now relying less on traditional TV news as they believe it offers more pro-government perspective to the audience.  On the other hand, posts of independent press and internet radio have acquired a higher share of media influence.  This situation is confirmed by the findings of crisis communication research that some people give higher level of credibility to new media than to traditional media in terms of having different perspective of the crisis (Jin, Liu, & Austin, 2014). One would see the new media has become a real battle ground for people to exert their political influence and gaining publicity through the emerging mobile technology.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”

13 March 2015

 

Written by:  Dr Simon Cassidy, 13th March 2015Simon Cassidy

 

 

 

 

The quote in the title (and variations of it) is attributed to Henry Ford, the prolific American pioneer, leader and industrialist. And he could be right according to initial findings of a study conducted here at the University of Salford examining psychological resilience, also referred to as emotional or psychosocial resilience. What the quote suggests is that people’s beliefs about their abilities determine their chances of completing a task successfully (or not).  We—psychologists I mean—refer to these beliefs about ability as self-efficacy. You could call it confidence but that would be too easy for us scientists. In actual fact calling it confidence would be an oversimplification and a little inaccurate. Self-efficacy emerged in the 1970s as a central construct in Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (subsequently Social Cognitive Theory); he defines it as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organise and execute the course of action required to manage prospective situations”. Studies of self-efficacy have been pretty consistent in finding that it is associated with, and in some cases, predictive of, positive outcomes and performance. So our judgements and beliefs about our capabilities are important in real terms. It seems that judging yourself to be capable of success increases your chances of actual success, while judging yourself as not capable of success reduces your chances of actual success. Henry was right!

 

This raises the question of what exactly is it that people who believe that they are capable of success do? We know in general terms that self-efficacious (big unwieldy term I know, but hey I’m a scientist) individuals are more persistent and more motivated, but what we are less clear on is the specific actions that individuals with positive self-efficacy beliefs take that makes them more likely to succeed. Not knowing this makes it difficult to exploit the potential advantages of positive self-efficacy.

 

We know from Bandura that self-efficacy is particularly important when individuals face adversity. Adversity can be defined as difficult, challenging or unpleasant events, situations or circumstances. Faced with adversity, some people have the capacity to bounce back from failure, to beat the odds and do better than might be expected given the circumstances. These people are considered to be resilient and resiliency is considered an asset because of its obvious benefits. One way to explore the specific behaviours associated with self-efficacy is to investigate how it relates to resilience and resilient (or adaptive) responses. Looking at how individuals respond when faced with adversity and how these behaviours are connected to self-efficacy may give us some insight into why self-efficacious (there’s that term again) individuals are more likely to succeed and may help us develop interventions aimed at building resilience.

 

Both self-efficacy and resilience make most sense when studied and measured in specific contexts – it’s difficult to accept that someone has the same belief in their capabilities or responds to adversity in the same way irrespective whether we are talking about relationships, bereavement, learning or health. Because of this and because understanding issues of student achievement and wellbeing is a priority for those of us working in the field of psychology and education, my study focussed on academic self-efficacy and academic resilience in students. Once students’ academic self-efficacy had been measured, they were presented with a case study describing academic adversity and failure and asked to select, from a list of potential behaviours, how they would respond. A second version of the case study described a fellow student who was facing the same academic adversity and students were now asked to select, from the same list, how their colleague should respond.

 

OK, what did the study find? Well initial results were presented at the BPS Division of Educational and Child Psychology Annual Conference in Durham in January, although detailed analysis is still underway. So far findings show that academic self-efficacy is a strong predictor of academic resilience. Positive self-efficacy beliefs predict increased resilience in students when faced with academic adversity. This finding is important but was anticipated, so no surprises there. What is valuable is that the study measured resilience by asking students to select specific responses to adversity that were either more or less resilient and compared the responses of low and high self-efficacy students.  Further analysis of this will provide, I hope, some of the details we are missing about how students who believe in their academic capability behave in different ways to those students who doubt their capability. When responses to personal adversity and adversity faced by a fellow student were compared, students showed greater resilience for their colleague. That is, students selected more resilient responses for colleagues than they did for themselves. This is an important finding for two reasons. Firstly it suggests that students are aware of what are the most adaptive responses to academic adversity, but don’t necessarily select them. Secondly, students are likely to be a good source of resilience for colleagues who are facing challenging situations, which is encouraging for peer assisted learning and mentoring schemes.

 

What I’m working on at the moment is extracting the detailed information about differences in specific responses to adversity of believers and non-believers (in the self-efficacy sense). The goal is to use this as a device to instil greater resilience in students. It’s tough out there and applying our knowledge and skills as psychologists can help. For now though the message is clear “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”

 

That should have been the end of the piece but as I’m writing about resilience I couldn’t resist adding another of Henry Ford’s quotes (and in doing so ruining the dramatic end to the post): “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”. I think the quote captures a lot of what there is to capture about resilience. Thank you Henry for your contribution to psychology and to this post.

 

 

Five ideas for maximising your summer as a psychology student

1 July 2013

By Jenna Condie

To say I spent the summer months during my undergraduate psychology degree sleeping and watching daytime TV is not quite true.  I did work a variety of psychology-relevant jobs and pick up the odd book or two.  However, I am now aware that I didn’t really make the best use of those breaks to develop my psychological knowledge and skills and ready myself for the graduate job market.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing! On that note, here are five ideas for making the most of your summer as a psychology undergraduate.  These ideas are inspired by recent opportunities I have noticed or stories I have been told…mostly via Twitter (hint hint!).

1.  Volunteering

Most psychology students I speak to are already volunteering for various organisations.  A local opportunity I spotted recently (call still open at the time of writing) was for the British Red Cross as a Bridge Group Project Volunteer in Manchester on Wednesday afternoons.  The Bridge Group aims to help male refugees and asylum seekers cope with and adapt to a new city and culture.  Activities include IT taster courses, tours of the city centre, first aid training and football tournaments.  Due to the nature of the work, the volunteering positions are available to males only.  Based on my graduate experience of working with ‘hard to reach’ and marginalised communities such as Gypsies and Travellers, I cannot emphasise the value of such experiences for developing communication skills and deepening your understanding of other cultures.  At the same time, you could be reading up on psychological theory and research around migration and the processes people go through when adapting to a new place.

Another local opportunity that cropped up in my Twitter newsfeed today was for Mind Manchester, a voluntary organisation that works to improve the lives of people with mental health needs. @ManchesterMind particularly want young people (18-25) and people from ethnic minority backgrounds as these groups are currently underrepresented on their boards.

 

2.  Season work

Get away! Literally! Being a season worker or ‘seasonaire’ can be great fun.  To make the most of it, there are a number of ways this experience can be relevant to psychology.  For example, companies such as PGL Travel and Esprit Sun have positions that provide relevant work experience for those considering a future career with children and young people.  Further afield, there’s also the ever popular Camp America.   It could be a bit late for this summer, but next summer maybe?

To combine ideas 1 (volunteering) and 2 (season work), check out organisations that arrange volunteering work in developing countries.   SL Volunteers is an organisation that recently grabbed my attention as it is led by students and graduates.  Their work is based in Sri Lanka where they run various projects such as The Children’s Home Project.  They also have a clinical psychology placement scheme.  There are often costs associated with these volunteering schemes but the organisations involved try to keep costs as low as possible.  Perhaps you could be enterprising (see below!) and generate some sponsors and/or apply for funding opportunities

3.  Enterprise

The organisation mentioned above, SL Volunteers, was established in 2010 by graduates from the University of Manchester and one of the founders, Lucy Nightingale, studied psychology!  Maybe you’ve noticed a gap in services for university students – start talking to people across campus who might be interested in your idea.

By enterprising, I don’t necessarily mean starting a business.  I mean create something, start something, bring people together with a common goal.  If you don’t like the ways things are, change it.  You might have an idea to start a group or a Facebook page or a blog for example.  There is nothing wrong with starting small but thinking big.  Perhaps there are opportunities for you to be ‘intrapreneurial’ (being entrepreneurial within an organisation) within the companies and organisations you are already working for or associated with.

Having the status of ‘student’ attached to you can be a massive advantage for starting an enterprise.  If you are at Salford, check out the Careers and Employability Service’s enterprise page: http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/enterprise.

4.  Events

There are lots of events and conferences going on throughout the summer, some of which are free.  An interesting event I spotted today (Twitter again!) is a talk by the poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE called ‘GOOGLE ME’ – A talk on identity from someone finding theirs, organised by the University of Huddersfield (10th July 2013, 6-7.30pm).  This is a fantastic opportunity to hear Lemn speak.  Here’s a previous talk he gave for TED:

Attending events can give your ideas for dissertations, develop your critical thinking, and provide opportunities for networking.  If there is a cost to attend an event, one option is to offer to help out so you can attend for free or at least get a reduced fee (enterprising again!) whilst gaining more work experience.   Another option is to offer to write a review or a blog post about the conference or event…this has worked for me in the past and leads nicely onto the final idea for summer.

5. Developing your online presence

Last but not least, you could invest some of your summer into your online presence.  Your professional online identity is now crucial for job (and potentially university) applications.  Don’t believe me? Just Google ‘Paris Brown’ or ‘EmmaWay20’!  A nice starting point for developing your professional self is to create a profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn.  Because it’s the most professional of the major social networks, it can help you position yourself differently to how you might do on personal networks such as Facebook for example.  We have set up a group on LinkedIn called SPNet to provide a network of students and staff to support each other on this platform and to start making connections with one another.

Another place which I have already mentioned is Twitter.  This is the network where I get most of my up-to-date news and information about the latest opportunities…as this blog post demonstrates!  For ideas about what to tweet and how to construct a professional self on Twitter, check out the @salfordpsych twitter archive and previous blog posts from current students about using Twitter for professional and learning purposes.

If you fancy going one step further…start your own blog like other Salford Psychology students such as Hannah Smith and Scott Robertson.  You can also write guest posts for collaborative blogs.  For example, this morning the BPS Social Psychology Section posted a call for blog posts on…you guessed it…Twitter (see below)!

Again, if you are at Salford, the Careers team can help with this and are available during the summer.  There’s some drop in sessions too: http://www.careers.salford.ac.uk/page/jobsandcareers

A Psychological Summer

If you are already having a psychological summer, great.  Maybe there’s one or two ideas here that you want to follow up or even better, this post has sparked some ideas of your own.  I expect the ideas in this post are just the tip of the iceberg…further ideas or suggestions are much appreciated, please leave them in the comments box below.  We’d also be really interested to hear about your work experiences over the summer…you can even guest blog about them here!

Contact details: Jenna Condie, Lecturer in Psychology, E: j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk or Twitter: @jennacondie

Q&A: Catherine Thomas on Curating @salfordpsych

8 April 2013

Our @salfordpsych Twitter account has been up and running for a month now.  Last week, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology student Catherine Thomas (a.k.a. @kitty_cat86) took us to a whole new level. She inspired a presentations expert (@viperblueuk) to write a blog post with advice on poster presentations to help Level 5 students with their Social Psychology assignments.  Below, Catherine reflects on what she gained from curating @salfordpsych and how Twitter can be a useful resource for university students.  If you would like to read Catherine’s tweets from the week, they have been archived here on Storify.

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How did you find your week curating the @salfordpsych account?

I loved it – have to admit I was really dreading it at first, mainly because I was worried that if I didn’t do it right I would look like a ‘bad psychology student’. I felt like the spotlight would be on me and didn’t want to look stupid in front of peers and professionals at uni. This was not the case – I was encouraged throughout and loved every minute.

Did previous curator’s tweets shape your approach to tweeting as @salfordpsych?

They gave me an idea of how/what to tweet and reading through their tweets was very encouraging. I think if I had been the first to curate I would have been much more reserved in what I tweeted.

What motivated you to be a part of the initiative?

I was asked to do it, accepted and then the dread arrived 🙂 I knew that anything related to my degree could help me in my studies, and of course I love psychology so that helped.

What did you enjoy about it?

Networking; speaking with other students and professionals. It really helps when you speak with someone who has ‘been there done that’. Up to date studies that were tweeted were great. They help with your studies as well as just being an interesting read.

What surprised me is that in doing this you highlight what areas of psychology you are interested in by what catches your eye and what makes you want to ‘re-tweet’. In my case, looking through my tweets, I tweeted a lot in regards to clinical psychology. It wasn’t until I noticed this that I realised that it must be something that I am really interested in. This made me think further about career paths and further education.

Was there anything you didn’t enjoy?

Honestly, not really. I very much enjoyed the whole week and was gutted when the week was over.

Favourite twitter moment of the week?

When I got responses to questions regarding my assignment, people were so helpful.

Least favourite twitter moment of the week?

None

Which accounts would you recommend to other students?

Anything psychology related really – a lot of accounts tweet up to date studies and such which can really help with your own studies.

How can social media play a role in learning?

It can massively play a role in learning. If nothing else, it brings people together with shared interests who can encourage each other to learn together; people who you would not normally come into contact with.

How can we strengthen a sense of community at Psychology at Salford?

This has been a great tool to strengthen the Psychology community at Salford. Doing this has made me realise just how important it is to speak with other students in different levels of study.

Why do you use Twitter?

I signed up to twitter out of curiosity but now I love it. It’s great as it can enhance all things that we encounter in our lives outside of social networking.

Would you recommend being a curator to other students?

Absolutely. I have already 🙂

Any tips for future curators?

Don’t panic (like I did) about making sure you sound like the perfect psychology student. If you are stuck with something, ask while you are the curator, everyone is happy to help.

What role do you think social media will play in your future?

A huge one. It’s going to get bigger and bigger, and I can’t wait.

What would you like to see @salfordpsych do next?

Continue to encourage students to actively participate in the department. It really helps!
Top tweet of the week


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If you would like to curate @salfordpsych for a week, please get in touch with Jenna Condie on j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk or @jennacondie.

Five Reasons to use Twitter

29 March 2013

By Hannah Smith a.k.a. @hannahbubble on Twitter

I loved curating the @salfordpsych account last week. I wanted to take part as I think there needs to be a greater sense of community within the Psychology department at Salford, and I want to contribute to that. Anyone who is thinking about curating should definitely have a go, using the @salfordpsych account instead of my own for a week really made me focus on ensuring my tweets were personal yet suitable for a professional audience. I do believe that Twitter is a great tool for networking, not just within the Psychology department but outside of it as well. One thing I think @salfordpsych could do next would be to collaborate on a magazine type publication, similar to The Looking Glass from the Institute of Psychiatry which I tweeted about. This could give us an opportunity to reach people who aren’t on social media, as well as reaching a wider audience within the university e.g. other programmes.

 

If you aren’t on Twitter yet, why not?! Here are my top five reasons why I think you should be.

  1. Twitter is a great place to continue discussion which may have been raised in lectures, for example using a hash tag such as #devpsy for a module on developmental psychology.
  2. Following on from this, it is also a good place to ask your fellow students questions, or even your lecturers!
  3. If you present yourself as professionally-minded and emphasise your interest in psychology, Twitter is a useful tool for developing connections with people working in the industry.
  4. You might even get work experience or a job offer from this! For example @sophcoulson tweeted last week about her wish to gain a post as a research assistant, which will hopefully lead to an offer of some work.
  5. Finally, follow any interesting accounts that you find. I follow lots of psychology-related Twitter accounts and have found research I can use in essays, inspiration for my dissertation and also some ideas for my career path.

If I haven’t managed to convince you, check out the @salfordpsych account and have a look for yourself at the sorts of things you can find on Twitter.

Top Tweet of the Week:

 

 

Tweeting as @salfordpsych: Q&A with Sophie Coulson

20 March 2013

Last week we launched our collaborative Twitter account @salfordpsych.  Every week, a different person tweets for the department – students, lecturers and researchers.  Sophie Coulson, a second year BSc (Hons) Psychology undergraduate, was first up as @salfordpsych and had the account off to a flying start.  Below she reflects on her week and what she hopes @salfordpsych can do for the psychology community at Salford and beyond.  An archive of Sophie’s week as @salfordpsych can be viewed here.

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Q.        How did you find your week curating the @salfordpsych account?

sophcoulsonA.        At first I was a bit intimidated but after the first few hours I absolutely loved my week of tweeting as @salfordpsych. There was so much support and enthusiasm from everyone involved and it was such a buzz to see people retweeting or favouriting something that I had posted.

Q.        What motivated you to be a part of the initiative?

A.        Encouragement from our lecturer, Jenna Condie, but also my belief that we need to communicate more within the university and with others in the world of psychology.  The idea of having someone different tweeting each week is a fantastic one. It brings so many perspectives and promotes input from those who might not usually have a wide or diverse audience.

Q.        What did you enjoy about it?

A.        The part I most enjoyed was researching online to find articles or links that might be interesting to others. I came across such a lot of fascinating information that I wouldn’t usually make the effort to find.

Q.        Was there anything you didn’t enjoy?

A.        I should probably lie about this to avoid sounding incredibly sad but I got a bit addicted, so the least enjoyable times were those when I couldn’t get online.

Q.        Favourite twitter moment(s) of the week?

A.        Every time someone retweeted something I had posted I felt irrationally pleased! Knowing that someone out there liked or valued the information was very rewarding.

Q.        Least favourite twitter moment of the week?

A.        I followed a few people who I thought would like to be involved but they didn’t follow back. That was a bit disheartening.

Q.        How can social media play a role in learning?

A.        I believe social media opens up so many possibilities. It’s a way of discovering things that may not have even occurred to you before. Questions can be asked and immediate responses received from people who never would have been accessible before social media. It removes or at least lowers the boundaries of location, education, class and age.

Q.        Why do you use Twitter?

A.        I haven’t personally tweeted much because, to be honest, I don’t feel anyone would be interested. However, in my part time work with the university’s Student Life service, I tweet a lot, mainly to provide others with information. I suppose I see it as a more professional than sociable way of communicating.

Q.        Would you recommend being a curator to other students?

A.        Definitely!! Apart from the obvious benefit of social media management looking good on your CV, it’s fun! It’s also a bit of a self-confidence boost and is a great way of discovering aspects of psychology that you may not usually give priority to.

Q.        Any tips for future curators?

A.        I know it’s a cliché but just be yourself.  That’s the whole idea. Different personalities, perspectives, styles and interests are what this is about. I’m really looking forward to reading tweets of all future curators.

Q.        What would you like to see @salfordpsych do next?

A.        I would love to see @salfordpsych grow and inspire other university groups to create similar accounts. I particularly like the idea of researchers, lecturers and students working and communicating together. Often they are so remote from each other and divided by position. I think @salfordpsych could also be used to build more links with the Salford community, creating opportunities for students, staff and residents.

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Thank you Sophie for an excellent first week on Twitter. Sophie passed the tweet-baton to Hannah Smith, who is currently tweeting as @salfordpsych about what it is like to be the final year of her BSc (Hons) Psychology and Counselling.  Check it out here.

If you would like to curate the @salfordpsych account, please get in touch with Jenna Condie on j.m.condie@salford.ac.uk.  A rota of upcoming weeks is available here.  Also, there is more information about our Twitter collaboration on the ‘we are all @salfordpsych’ page.