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Psychology Taster Event 2013 Reviewed

mary seacole

By Jenna Condie

Last week, we welcomed applicants who currently hold an offer to study one of our psychology undergraduate courses (starting September 2013) to a Psychology Taster Event.  The idea of the day was to help applicants make their decisions about which university to go to and which course to embark on.  Hopefully our Taster Event gave applicants a better insight into the areas of psychology that they would cover at degree level and our interactive approach to teaching psychology here at Salford.

Attendees were welcomed in our main lecture theatre by Anne Pearson, our Admissions Tutor for all Salford Psychology undergraduate courses.  Next up was a taster lecture with Dr Ashley Weinberg who introduced attendees to the area of emotional intelligence, an area of psychology we specialise in at Salford.  Tweets from the University’s press office relating to Ashley’s talk are below.

tweets EI

After the taster lecture, attendees were invited to a number of demonstrations in the Psychology department.  Ruth Laidler, a psychology tutor and PhD researcher, introduced attendees to Developmental Psychology and child development with a video demonstration.  She introduced attendees to Jean Piaget’s work and a Piagetian style task called Conservation.  Students were informed that they would study developmental psychology in their first and second years as it is a core area specified by the BPS accreditation. Also, should they want to do so, students can take an option module in Educational Psychology in the final year of their study.

Lecturers Dr Lynne Marrow and Janine Crosbie had a number of Biological Psychology demonstrations for attendees to try out.  Our guests participated in a number of activities from measuring their Galvanic Skin Response to examining visual illusions.  The handout Lynne and Janine created for the event is below.

Introducing biological psychology handout from SalfordPsych

In our psychology computer suite Dr Adam Galpin introduced students to Cognitive Psychology. Adam first demonstrated how little of the world people pay attention to by showing how we can miss things changing in front of our eyes (“change blindness”). He then described one of the projects our students get stuck into to test their own hypotheses about change blindness. The applicants also came up with great ideas for further experiments, so we’ll look forward to testing them when they arrive!

There was a mental health talk with Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall and a final year student Ashley Carrick, which provided the opportunity for interesting and important debates around mental health and well-being.  Attendees also participated in a true or false quiz on mental health.  Here’s one of the questions:

Among teenagers, the rates of depression have increased by how much over the past 25 years? 

  • 18%
  • 35%
  • 70%

What do you think? (the correct answer is at the end of this post).

Dr Ashley Weinberg returned to demonstrate the kinds of social psychological experiments that are possible in our observation suite which has a two-way mirror.  In CSI style, our guests observed two people and tried to work out whether they were telling the truth by interpreting their non-verbal communication.  This demonstration highlighted some of the challenges of understanding people and social behaviour.

tweets observation

The day closed with refreshments and the opportunity for attendees to get to know one another and ask staff and current students any questions.  We would like to thank our students – Sophie Coulson, Hannah Smith, Ashley Carrick, Rhona Robinson and Nicol Herta – for welcoming prospective students to Psychology at Salford.  We would also like to thank attendees who completed our feedback form too.  It is great to know that they enjoyed the day and the welcoming atmosphere. We now know that attendees would have liked a little more time in each of the demonstrations.  We will definitely make sure that happens in future Taster Events.

On that note, we will be organising more Psychology Taster Events in the future. In the meantime, we also have an Open Lecture Series starting this week on the 5th March 2013.  The open lectures are all first year psychology lectures where you can attend with current Salford psychology students and experience university study and campus life.

If you have any questions, would like to attend one of our events, or would like information about our courses, please contact Anne Pearson (Admissions Tutor) on a.pearson1@salford.ac.uk

Answer: 70% – Source: Time to Change

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learning Level 6 mental health PGCap psychosis reflection schizophrenia teaching

Labels Hurt!

This post is from Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, a Lecturer in Psychology at Salford.  Linda is a clinical and counselling psychologist (HCPC Registered) and a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist.  Below she reflects on teaching Level 6 (Year 3) undergraduates who are taking a module called The Psychology of Mental Health.  The session was on Psychosis and Schizophrenia.  If you participated in the session, Linda would really like your feedback.

“My goal in contributing to the teaching of The Psychology of Mental Health is to help students to develop a personal framework to understand serious mental illness that is humanistic and compassionate. I had previously taught a lecture on “Mood Disorders” where I showed a DVD in which Stephen Fry interviewed several well-known people with mood disorders.  The students seemed to appreciate the DVD as it extended their understanding of the facts about mood disorders to a more personal appreciation of what it is like for someone to live with a mood disorder. I took that feedback on board in planning my lecture on ”Psychosis and Schizophrenia”, and decided that even better than a DVD would be to bring in a service user and carer for part of the session, which I did.

Also, as part of my participation in the PGCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice) programme, I participated in a mixed-reality game with the other PGCap students to explore teaching and learning directly linked to our practice.  The goal was to come up with innovative ideas to enhance a specific teaching and learning situation. I worked with a partner, Robert Purvis, who really helped me to develop my idea of using plasters to have people experience the painful experience of having a sticky label.  Robert gave me the idea to write specific diagnoses on the plasters. Robert and I won the prize for the best collaborative ideas – the web page about the competition is available here.  

On the 5th of November, I piloted this idea by trying it at the beginning of my lecture on “Psychosis and “Schizophrenia”. I noticed that the class had already been divided into learning sets, so I asked them to try an experiential learning exercise in these groups. I asked them to pick a plaster from the envelope and put it on their wrist, read the diagnosis, and reflect on what their life might be like if they had been given that diagnosis.  They could consider it from the viewpoint that it was a new diagnosis that they just found out about and didn’t even understand, or something that they had for awhile. They were then to introduce themselves to their learning set as follows: “Hi, my name is  ____, I am a ____, and let me tell you a little bit about my life…” I asked them to reflect on the experience, share with each other, and have a representative give a brief report to the larger group, leading to a group reflection.  One of the things which I found interesting was that the learning sets had been communicating with each other via email and did not necessarily even know what the people in their learning set looked like.  I enjoyed everyone’s participation and feedback.  One person put the label on their clothing because it would hurt to put it on their skin – part of my point about labels hurting. People felt confused by their diagnoses and did not know what they meant.  Some people felt very shy because they suddenly had this label and did not want to talk about it.  The paranoid people did not feel they trusted the group in order to talk about it, demonstrating that they were really getting into the role.

I would very much appreciate feedback from students in general about the plaster exercise, and especially from those students who participated.  I would also be grateful for feedback about incorporating service users and carers into the lecture.  My PGCAP tutor recorded part of this exercise, and if students want to give their permission for their recordings to be put on the blog, please email l.dubrow-marshall@salford.ac.uk to give permission for this.”

You can also listen to Linda and Robert pitch their collaborative ideas for teaching and learning below.