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.
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.
by 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.
By Nikki Street and Tom Mayers
The SalfordPsych Engagement Team asked if I (Nikki) could write a blog after spotting some photos of me volunteering at TEDxSalford this year. I of course said yes, who wouldn’t want to write a blog (?!) but immediately invited my friend Tom on board. Whilst I can take some credit (and the benefits) for volunteering on the day, Tom has been a part of the TEDxSalford team and blogging for them for over 2 years now. We have written this post together to explore our different experiences and highlights from the day.
Two years ago, we were delegates at TEDxSalford 2012 and found the whole thing so inspirational. We are both Psychology graduates and even though our research interests are pretty different, we both enjoy the TED events. Another similarity between us is that we volunteered for different organizations during our undergraduate Psychology studies. I volunteered and continue to volunteer at the Samaritan’s offering emotional support to people struggling to cope and training for new volunteers. Tom volunteered at the Manchester probation service and is now working for the organisation full time in a job he loves.
You might have heard of TED before, or watched hours of these amazing lectures online. The pretense is to give an 18 minute talk with the aim to inspire. TEDxSalford is a locally organized event bringing people together in Salford to share their work and ideas. Mishal Saeed is the Curator and Licensee for TEDxSalford and also a previous President of the University of Salford Student Union. TEDxSalford is now the largest independent TEDx organization in the UK.
What was our best part of TEDxSalford this year?
Nikki – A noble peace prize-winner, a teenage nuclear scientist and a psychoanalyst walk into the Lowry…I know this sounds like the start to a very strange joke but this is the reason why I loved volunteering for TEDxSalford so much. The event brings together so many different people from different backgrounds. Being part of the team meant I met many of the speakers, which really highlighted how they are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things – their stories show the goodness in the world!
I can’t pick one talk that I enjoyed the most, but my 3 favourite were:
Tom- I am a big fan of Robin Ince. Both Nikki and I have been to see him twice at the Lowry theatre over the years and we both listen to his BBC Radio 4 show with Professor Brian Cox “The Infinite Monkey Cage”. I mithered, badgered and queried until I was allocated as Ince’s speaker liaison for the day. I was responsible for making his TEDxSalford experience as comfortable and as easy as possible. It was great to converse with him on a wide variety of subjects. Even more amazing was that Ince needed to get to Piccadilly station quickly after his talk and the best scenario was for me to take him in my car. Imagine having your hero in the front seat of your car! As amazing as the experience was, it was also one of dread as I didn’t really know how to get to the station! I had to “be cool”, as if this was a normal experience. I had to actively listen to what Ince was saying and respond accordingly, read the road signs, try not to crash and get to the destination in one piece. Needless to say, we did get there, on time and in one piece. Who says men can’t multitask?
What was our take away from the experience?
Nikki- Working on the ticketing team throughout the day, we saw pretty much everyone attending the event. The mix of attendees astounded me with parents, children, students, and all the people in between. TED brings together a range of people and I believe that is the beauty of the event. My main takeaway of the day was how spreading ideas about science in different ways is particularly important (children, art & individual stories). I believe in the power of interdisciplinary collaborations in science and this is where some of the best work happens. Jack Sim a.k.a. ‘Mr. Toilet’ in his 18 min slot reflected on his rationale for trying to make a difference by highlighting the importance of proper sanitation in a society. Jack Sim worked out on average how many days he had to live and wanted to do something useful with the rest of his days. Following this, I found myself working out my average days left in my life. In the UK life expectancy for women is 82.3 years and 78.2 years for men- on this logic I have 20,160 days left to live and the day made me determined to fill them with meeting my own goals and strive to help others.
Tom- Besides taking away the memories of meeting interesting people such as Lucy Hawking, Jack Sim and Robin Ince, one of the positive impacts of being involved with TEDxSalford is the skills that the opportunity develops. Throughout my two year experience as a volunteer, I have developed many skills and experiences such as: writing articles, editing, writing code, marketing, event management, and communicating with high profile individuals to name a few. The above skills and experiences are things that I probably wouldn’t be able to develop in a normal full-time role, perhaps because TEDx isn’t a normal voluntary opportunity. But it is one I would actively encourage someone to get involved with.
Everybody has his/her own TED talk- what would you say?
Nikki- I don’t think anyone has seen or been to a TED event and not considered what they would say in 18 minutes to inspire. My research based in empirical aesthetics has ties with many areas of psychology including perception, cognition and environmental psychology. Whilst investigating the power of art and beauty was once a main domain of psychologists but has fallen out of favour partly because of the associated experimental difficulty. I believe the Arts and Science should be reunited to engage and inspire others and change the stuffy perception of science into the more accessible field of Art. I am particularly interested in using art as science communication to make research accessible to everyone.
Tom-Of course, if something disastrous happened within TEDxSalford and as a matter of last resort the curators said to me “Tom, you’re going to have to talk for 10 minutes, we’re desperate!”. There is a lot I could probably talk about, although, I am very passionate about education and the concept of intelligence. As a psychology student at university, I became interested and passionate about the concept of intelligence, especially in relation to how creativity plays a role. Personally, I believe that creativity is equally important to the role of intelligence as academic abilities like mathematics. Without creativity, our knowledge is useless as we would not know how to use it constructively or think in abstract ways. Behind every great human achievement whether it is the wheel, pyramids, medicine or technology, creativity worked hand in hand with classical characteristics associated with intelligence. At university, I was attracted to reading around Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences and believe that creativity has a seat at the table of intelligence. This interest also helped shape my first ever article for TEDxSalford which can be found here.
Driving home pumped and full of inspiration, we can’t highlight enough the enjoyment of our day volunteering at TEDxSalford. It really was a festival of the mind and trying to turn off that inspiration to get to sleep was a challenge. Volunteering at TEDxSalford certainly fits the brief and spirit of the event “ideas worth spreading”.
If you think volunteering at TEDxSalford is something you might be interested in, keep an eye on the website or follow on twitter (@TEDxSalford) for updates. If you are thinking about volunteering in any area we would urge you to go for it! The benefits and experiences gained in volunteering such as meeting people you would never encounter, building your confidence and career prospects in the future can’t be underestimated!
Our twitter names…
One of our psychology lecturers, Michael Richards, was awarded a public engagement grant from the British Psychological Society in 2013. In collaboration with All FM radio station and Manchester Metropolitan University, Michael will use this grant to produce 8 radio shows that embrace different psychologies including forensic, health and clinical psychology. Michael will collaborate with a group of men labelled with learning difficulties from Manchester, to help connect the community with psychology. The shows will bring psychology to a wider audience in an accessible and fun way. The shows will contain music, interviews and discussions about the main issues, positives and negatives that accompany the range of psychologies we learn on BPS courses. Below are the dates of the shows, which will take place every two weeks at 2pm and will be broadcast on All FM.
29.01.14 – 2pm – Show 1 – What is Psychology?
12.02.14 – 2pm – Show 2 – Neuropsychology
26.02.14 – 2pm – Show 3 – Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology
12.03.14 – 2pm – Show 4 – Health Psychology and Sport/Exercise Psychology
26.03.14 – 2pm – Show 5 – Forensic Psychology
09.04.14 – 2pm – Show 6 – Developmental Psychology
23.04.14 – 2pm – Show 7 – Community and Critical Psychology
07.05.14 – 2pm – Show 8 – The way forward for psychology – the Big Society and learning difficulties
By Jenna Condie
In the final year of our undergraduate programmes (BSc Hons Psychology, BSc Hons Psychology and Counselling, BSc Hons Psychology and Criminology), one of the option modules that students can chose to take is Educational Psychology. Educational Psychology can be “…loosely defined here as the application of psychological theories, research and techniques to the educational development of young people in the context of the home, school and community” Holliman (2013, p. xxii). More broadly, educational psychology also considers how people can learn better, how teaching and learning practice can be improved, whether different people should be taught differently, and how learning can transform the person and impact upon their lives.
For the assessment, students taking this module propose a seminar for teachers, selecting a topic from the field of educational psychology that they consider is both current and of practical use in the training of teachers. The emphasis is on the application of theory to teaching practice. Last year, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Counselling student (now graduate!), Jessica Tomes created a seminar for teachers that focused on mental health stigma and how teachers can educate students to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues in the school environment. You can read her work below.
Jessica also presented her work as a poster ‘Reducing Mental Health Stigma Through Educational Seminars’ at the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Conference which took place at The University of Northampton (3-5 July, 2013).
It is fantastic to see how an assignment can be taken further to embrace opportunities such as presenting at conferences and sharing your ideas and work beyond the module.
Recently a number of our psychology students have ventured into the world of blogging. They are writing about psychology in the ‘real world’, their experiences of studying psychology, reviews of events they have attended and films they have seen. Having a blog can help develop a person’s online presence and demonstrate their ability to communicate on public platforms in a professional manner – an essential skill for aspiring psychologists who may work with vulnerable groups in the future.
Scott Robertson, a second year BSc (Hons) Psychology student, has established a blog and podcast network called ‘Psych’d’. Scott has kindly given permission for us to republish his first post ‘Pop Goes Psychology – Misconstrued Misconceptions’ which launched the Psych’d blog (see below). The post was originally published here. Psych’d has already had some local media coverage (see image) and Scott has some interesting plans in the pipeline. To find out more, you can also follow him on twitter @totheendandback.
Pops Goes Psychology: Misconstrued Misconceptions
As this is the first post, I would like to welcome you to the Psych’d Blog.
This week we will be looking at the generally recognised popular ‘pop’ psychology.
The term ‘pop’ psychology refers to concepts and theories about human mental life and behaviours that are predominantly based on psychology paradigms, these attain popularity among the general population. (Tosey & Mathison, 2006)
This phrase is often used in a somewhat dismissive fashion to describe psychological concepts that appear oversimplified, out of date, unproven or misinterpreted. However, the term may also be used to describe professionally produced psychological knowledge, regarded by most experts as valid and effective, that is intended for use by the general public.
The term ‘pop psychologist’ can be used to describe authors, entertainers etc. who are widely perceived as being psychologists. Not because of their academic credentials, but because they have projected that image or have been perceived in that way in response to their work. Pop Psychology can come in many forms, Self-help books; The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, TV, Radio and Print Advice; Dr Phil (America) and Dear Abby and Psychological terminology making its way in to everyday language or Psychobabble; Inner Child, Freudian Slip or as it should be known Parapraxis. (Dilts et al, 1980 and Corballis in Sala, 1999)
Pop Psychology is an essential ingredient of the self-help industry. According to Fried and Schulte’s, criteria for a good self-help book include- “claims made by the author as to the book’s efficacy, the presentation of problem-solving strategies based on scientific evidence and professional experience, the author’s credentials and professional experience, and the inclusion of a bibliography”. (Witkowski, 2010 and Stollznow, 2010)
Some potential dangers of self-help books according to are Lum, (2001) are; People may falsely label themselves as psychologically disturbed, People may also misdiagnose themselves and use material that deals with the wrong problem and People may not be able to evaluate a program and may select an ineffective one.
Psychobabble is described as the misuse and or overuse of technical psychological terms as described earlier. Sometimes Psychological jargon is used to dress up sales pitches, self-help programs, and New Age ideas to lend these endeavours a respectable scientific appearance. Other times, people use psychological terminology to describe every day, normal experiences in a way that musicalises a normal behaviour, such as feeling sad after a loss, by suggesting that unpleasant emotions are a type of Psychopathology, like major depressive disorder.
People may use Psychobabble because they believe that complex, descriptive or special esoteric terms more clearly or more dramatically communicate their experiences of social and personal situations, or because they believe that it makes them sound more educated.
Some of these terms that have an origin in Psychological terminology and are typically misused include co-dependent, dysfunctional, meaningful relationship, narcissistic, and synergy.
Despite the various publications, the general public have a minimal understanding of what Psychologists do and what ‘Psychology’ is all about. Many believe Psychology was “mind reading and spiritualism”, (O’Connor, Joseph & John Seymour, 1993) and that it had no real application in everyday life.
In reality, Psychology is more about studying human behaviours and experiences that have strong applications to everyday life.
Written by SGR
With Thanks to Lorna Paterson and her wonderful inspiration for this blog post
Corballis, MC., “Are we in our right minds?” In Sala, S., (ed.) (1999), Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions About the Mind and Brain Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons. ISBN 0-471-98303-9 (pp. 25–41)
Dilts, R., Grinder, J., Delozier, J., and Bandler, R. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I: The Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications.
Lum.C (2001). Scientific Thinking in Speech and Language Therapy. Psychology Press. pp. 16. ISBN 0-8058-4029-X
O’Connor, Joseph & John Seymour (1993). Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People. London, UK: Thorsons. ISBN 1-85538-344-6.
Stollznow.K (2010). “Not-so Linguistic Programming”. Skeptic 15 (4): 7.
Tosey, P. & Mathison, J., (2006) “Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming Centre for Management Learning & Development, School of Management, University of Surrey.
Witkowski (2010). “Thirty-Five Years of Research on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP Research Data Base. State of the Art or Pseudoscientific Decoration?”. Polish Psychological Bulletin 41 (2): 58–66.
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.
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?
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
— SalfordPsych (@SalfordPsych) April 7, 2013
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.
New magazine The Looking Glass by students at the Institute of Psychiatry: issuu.com/thelookingglas…
— BPS Research Digest (@ResearchDigest) March 20, 2013
If you aren’t on Twitter yet, why not?! Here are my top five reasons why I think you should be.
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:
A paranormal distribution… twitter.com/SalfordPsych/s…
— SalfordPsych (@SalfordPsych) March 20, 2013
By Jenna Condie
CARISMA is a local charity based in inner south Manchester and is one of the three charities officially supported by the University of Salford. CARISMA do amazing work in their aim to create life chances for young people in their communities. Some projects that you might already be familiar with are the radio station Peace FM and the Guns into Goods project (in collaboration with the University of Salford).
CARISMA are developing an educational initiative called FACT: Fathers and Children Together. They would like input from Salford psychology students in the designing of appropriate educational content and social activities for fathers and their children to do together. The aim is to strengthen father-child relationships. The content will be available digitally via the FACT website. How social media can be utilised to build supportive social networks that empower fathers to have a positive impact on their children’s lives will also be explored.
You will work in a creative team supervised by Jenna Condie and Sarah Norgate. The main communication channel for this project will be a Facebook group to support flexible and distance working. Project communication via Facebook also enables CARISMA representatives to consult on the development of the educational content and social activities in ‘real time’.
Are you ready to apply your psychological knowledge to a ‘real-world’ project that really matters? If so, we would love to have you on board. Working on FACT is a great opportunity for those of you considering developmental, educational, and teaching careers pathways. There may also be potential here for the development of suitable topics for your dissertation research.
Dennis Philips from CARISMA will be visiting us on Wednesday 17th April 2013 at 1.30pm to introduce the FACT initiative and invite you to join the team. If you would like to attend, please get in touch with Jenna Condie (Email: email@example.com) who will provide you with the necessary details.
The “newspaper style” report is an assignment that forms part of the Brain and Behaviour module offered to undergraduate Psychology students in their final year. Students are asked to write a report on a current ‘hot’ topic within the field of field of neuroscience, the topic being chosen from a list of options, that is appropriate for publication in a newspaper or online magazine.
The assignment allows students the opportunity to demonstrate literature research skills and their ability to translate a complex set of ideas into a readily understandable form aimed at the non-specialist reader. In addition to providing accurate information, students are encouraged to be creative in their presentation. Below are two great articles written in very different styles and addressing two very different topics:
1. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: the Ladette Legacy? – Joanne Pritchard
2. Are we biologically pre-disposed to believe in God? – Clayton Clough
3. Bankers behaving badly? – Robert Smith
4. The Jewels of Fatherhood
For further information about the Brain and Behaviour module, you can contact Lynne on firstname.lastname@example.org