By Ashley Weinberg
Psychology at Salford made its presence felt on the world stage with three colleagues – Sharon Coen, Jo Meredith and Ashley Weinberg – presenting their work in Edinburgh at the 40th anniversary conference of the International Society for Political Psychology (ISPP). The Society celebrated this landmark at the Royal College of Surgeons, with over 900 submissions from 50 countries competing to gain a slot to present at this prestigious event which ran from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July. This meant it was an achievement to be selected and Psychology at Salford’s submissions were also the only symposia featuring Brexit.
Sharon Coen did sterling work to make sure everyone was on form bright and early on the Saturday morning, as she chaired the symposium ‘From Big Ben to Brexit: What makes UK MPs tick?’ submitted by Ashley Weinberg, with co-presenters James Weinberg (University of Sheffield) and Warren Greig (Cranfield University). The symposium focused on their research into national politicians, their political values, personality and mental health in the context of the uncertainty created by Brexit.
Later in the day, Jo Meredith chaired and presented in ‘The Brexit debates: Exploring the discussions around leaving the EU’, a symposium which analysed online political discussion and news coverage. Sharon presented the work she’s been leading on media representations of experts in the EU referendum news coverage (with co-author from Psychology at Salford Ben Short), while Jo’s paper consideredcategorisation of Brexiters and Bremainers in online newspaper threads. Colleagues joining them in the symposium were Mirko Demasi (York St John University) who recently gave an excellent research seminar at Salford, as well as Simon Goodman and Gavin Sullivan (both from Coventry University).
Saturday lunchtime also saw the launch of a new UK collaboration between the British Psychological Society (being led by Psychology at Salford) and the Political Studies Association, to help further understanding of political behaviour. Members of both professional bodies, as well as of the ISPP were present to raise a glass to the new venture and to the progress being made to establish a Political Psychology section within the British Psychological Society. ISPP President Kate Reynolds from the Australian National University, told the organisers she was delighted to host the launch on this international stage and looked forward to showcasing future developments with this collaboration.