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School of Psychology University of Kent Newsletter Vol 5 No 2 May 2011

Welcome Dr Emma Alleyne, Dr Caoilte O’Ciardha and John Allen Dr. Emma Alleyne joins the School as a Lecturer in Forensic Psyc h o l o gy. Emma completed her PhD here at the University of Kent in December 2010, however, she is originally from Canada where she completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University. Her doctoral research looked at the social, psychological and behavioural characteristics of youth involved in street gangs. In particular, her research examined the socio-cognitive processes that differentiate gang youth and non-gang youth from similar social/environmental backgrounds. Emma continues to research in the area of gang-related crime, e.g. the characteristics of multiple perpetrator sexual offending (i.e. gang rape) and the group processes inherent in such group crimes. Emma is also working with Dr. Theresa Gannon researching the psychopathology and clinical treatment of firesetters. Caoilte Ó Ciardha joins the School as a Research A s s o c iate in Forensic P syc h o l o g y. He’ll be working with Dr. Theresa Gannon on an ESRC funded project conducting

research on the treatment of firesetters. The project includes an assessment of the treatment needs of adults who deliberately set fires, along with the development, implementation and evaluation of a treatment program for those individuals. Caoilte obtained his Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin in 2010. His doctoral research was on the use of indirect or implicit tasks in the assessment of sexual interest in sexual offenders. Caoilte’s main area of scholarly interest revolves around the role of cognition in various types offending. For example, he is interested in discriminating between so-called cognitive distortions that play and aetiological role in offending from those that don’t. John Allen joined the Psychology Support Staff in May in the role of Experimental Officer. This will entail the development of online questionnaires and experiments among many other things. A warm welcome to all three!

Nine Lecturers Nominated for Kent Union Teaching Awards

The prize is given annually to a mature female student affiliated with Keynes who has taken advantage of the opportunities available to her and whose academic performance is excellent. Present at the ceremony were Professor Richard Crisp, Head of the School of Psychology, Lisa Clark, Student Advisor, Dr Anthony Ward, Master of Keynes College, and Ann Temple, President of the Canterbury Association of Women Graduates.

Special Commendation for 3rd Year Student at BPS Event

Following nomination by the Board of Examiners in June 2010, Adam Sandford attended a British Psychological Society event on Saturday 26th March at the University of Westminster in order to take part in a poster competition. The competition was titled “The contribution of psychology in society by the School at Kent”. Adam’s entry a post on “The impact of psychology on the use of Criminal Identity Parades” was awarded Special Commendation as runner-up in the competition. The President of the BPS presented Adam with a certificate and £100.

In This Issue Welcome New Staff


Prizewinning Students


Part-time Teacher Award


Where Are They Now?




Recent Publications


Virtual Reality Lab


Kent Psychologist in the Media


And much more....

Well Done Joanna

Third year student Joanna Birkett received an award from the Canterbury Association for Women Graduates in March.

If you would like to see this poster, it is on display on the M1 corridor near Keynes Seminar Room 1. Well done Adam! Nicola Abbott, Heather Ferguson, Mike Forrester, Robert Johnston, Sharon Money, Erika Nurmsoo, Robbie Sutton, David Wilkinson and Arnaud Wisman all received nominations from students in the Kent Union Teaching Awards. These Awards recognise and reward those academics who are committed to delivering excellent teaching for their students. Well done everyone!

Part-time Teacher Award

Well done to Michele Birtel who was presented with the Part-time Teacher Award in March 2011. The award was given to Michele because she recieved fantastic ratings in the student evaluations. Well done to Michele and all of our part-time teachers who do a wonderful job and contribute to our students’ outstanding student experience! Michele had this to say about the recognition she received: “I teach statistics and SPSS to second year students and I enjoy it very much. I am very committed to my teaching and my students. I am aware that statistics is not everybody’s favourite subject. Therefore, it is important to me that I am helpful to them, that they feel comfortable to interact with me during the lecture or with other students in the surgery, and that I make statistics less complicated and more interesting.

I try to create a pleasant atmosphere and to encourage and motivate my students to participate and practice. I do this by giving them opportunities to ask questions (either in front of everyone or after the lecture for those who feel more comfortable on a one-to-one basis), by creating interesting and informative slides which they can use after the sessions to practice, and by giving practical examples how to apply statistics. I try to combine statistical theory, SPSS practice and student interaction in a balanced way.”

Your Prospects

A Psychology degree from Kent leads to great graduate prospects as reflected in our ongoing top 5 position in the UK league tables. In addition to the superb transferable skills our students gain as part of their degree course, our School offers various schemes and resources to further enhance their employability, For inspirational alumni stories, statistics and information on ways to improve your career prospects check out our Graduate Prospects pages on our homepage: graduateprospects/index.html



Where Are They Now?

The School of Psychology is proud of its graduates and regularly hears great things about what they go on to do after study. Psychology graduate Lisa Tallis now works at the University of Kent, here is what she had to say about her success: “Whilst studying for my degree I was never 100% sure what I wanted to do when I actually finished. After taking my final exam I thought I should begin the hunt for a job and as I’d loved my time at Kent I thought I would see what opportunities were available within the University itself. I applied for a vacancy in the Student Records and Exams Office and was extremely fortunate after interview to be offered this position despite not having great deal of work experience in this area. I feel that my Undergraduate degree in Psychology gave me skills appropriate for this clerical role. I gained experience in data entry and record maintenance both in my final year project and through taking part in the School’s Research Experience Scheme whilst in my second year. Conducting my own research in third year also gave me an awareness and understanding of the principles concerning data security and the Data Protection Act; both of which are essential in my current job role.

Whilst a student, I also acted as a departmental guide on the inductions for new first years which I believe gave me experience with dealing with students faceto-face which again is essential to my job in a student-facing role. I thoroughly enjoyed my Psychology degree at Kent and even though unlike some of the other students I never actually wanted to be a psychologist. Yet I believe the skills I developed during my time studying this subject and the opportunities within the school have been applicable to my new clerical post and truly beneficial to me in gaining my first graduate job. Natalie Seymour is now a part of the Great Britain Hockey Squad and had this to say about Psychology at Kent: I attended Kent from 2005 to 2008 and consider it to be a fundamental contributor to my academic and sporting success. Kent provided a supportive environment for me to continue my sport, alongside gaining an excellent degree in Psychology. Most

importantly, my experience at Kent was enjoyable; I made lifelong friends and I had great fun. The psychology department nurtured my interest in psychology and I have gone on to complete an Msc in Health Psychology. All the staff were passionate about what they taught and the course opened up many avenues of interest. There was plenty of scope for choice, which allowed me to pursue areas that were most relevant to my future aspirations. I am now working as a research associate and hope to complete a doctorate in the future. I have always loved to learn and being at Kent was a fantastic place to continue my learning. Having a balance between sport and education has always been important to me. I am now part of the Great Britain Hockey Squad training towards the London Olympics, a position I do not think I would be in had it not been for the support I received at Kent. I was able to enjoy my hockey at university, but still play at the highest level at Canterbury Hockey club. I was part of the university sports scholarship scheme. This support was crucial, not only financially, but also in the high quality services and facilities that I could access. I was able to train hard, develop my fitness and improve as a hockey player.

University of Kent sport and psychology was the perfect combination for me. Both departments were supportive and allowed me to pursue my hockey and academic careers. University is a chance to develop as a person, learn, and follow things you are passionate about. I feel Kent provided a great environment to do this. I had to be determined and organised, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

£1,000 off PG study

Since 2009, the Graduate School have been offering a £1,000 scholarship to University of Kent 2011 graduates who earn a Bachelors degree with honours and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2011. Find out more about the Masters and Doctorates we offer at: psychology/pg/pg-booklet.pdf. Make your application here: https:// admissions/pg_application.php


Congratulations to Kirsten Abbot-Smith who has been awarded £500 from British Academy to attend the 12th International Congress for the Study of Child Language.

Congratulations to Nic Hooper, Tim Hopthrow and Ulrich Weger who have been awarded £4,856 from the Ideas Factory for a project entitled “Using Mindfulness to Improve Decision Making and Well Being”. Congratulations to David Wilkinson and Heather Ferguson who have been awarded £7,490 from the British Academy for a project entitled “Modulation of the N170 event-related potential during galvanic vestibular stimulation”. Congratulations to Erika Nurmsoo who has been awarded £2,000 by the Experimental Psychology Society for a project entitled “Imitation with and without pedagogical cues”. Congratulations to Richard Crisp and Gosia Goclowska who have been awarded £10,000 from the Ideas Factory for a project entitled “Unlock Your Potential: A New Approach to Creativity and Innovation Training”. Congratulations to Miki Vasiljevic who has been awarded a travel grant amounting to

Professor elected Fellow of the BPS

Prof Richard Crisp has recently been elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society (FBPsS) in recognition of “an outstanding contribution to the advancement or dissemination of psychological knowledge or practice either by his or her own research, teaching, publications or public service, or by organising and developing the work of others”. His Fellowship was welcomed by Professor John Baldock, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, who said: ‘I am pleased that the BPS has recognised Professor Crisp’s invaluable contribution to the psychological and behavioural sciences. He is thoroughly deserving of this Fellowship.’

600 Euros from the European Association of Social Psychology to enable her to attend SISP (Summer Institute in Social Psychology) at Princeton University in July/August 2011. This event is organised by the Society of Personality and Social Psychology and Miki is one of only five European students, so well done Miki! Congratulations to Anna-Lena Majkovic who has been awarded €1,160 Euros by the German Foundation for Peace Research to attend a training seminar about peace and conflict studies in higher education institutions Congratulations to Michèle Birtel who has been awarded £500 by the Experimental Psychology Society in order to attend the 16th General Meeting of the European Association for Social Psychology in Stockholm. Congratulations to Heather Ferguson who has been awarded £1,440 from Nuffield Foundation for an Undergraduate Research Bursary for a second year student - Nayra Martin-Key. The project is entitled “Using eye movements to examine the relationship between proneness to violence, emotional intelligence, empathy and theory of mind”.

Journal Grows in Prestige

The Impact Factor of the Anxiety, Stress, & Coping journal, edited by Dr Joachim Stoeber, Reader in Psychology, has considerably increased over the past three years. It moved from 0.588 in the 2007 JCR® to 1.127 the subsequent year, with a further jump to 1.545 in the recently released 2009 JCR®. This signifies the frequency with which this publication is cited and its position among the competition. The journal provides a forum for scientific, theoretically important, and clinically significant research reports and conceptual contributions. It deals with experimental and field studies on anxiety dimensions and stress and coping processes, but also with related topics such as the antecedents and consequences of stress and emotion.

Learning Support Prize for Dr Ulrich Weger Congratulations to Ulrich Weger who is the winner of this year’s Barbara-Morris Prize for Learning Support (in a team along with Tracy Crowther and Stephanie Barwick from Kent Enterprise).

The prize has been awarded for various initiatives that Ulrich and his co-applicants have developed. These include Ulrich’s “initiative workshops” in which students are given an opportunity to develop a vision for their next step in life. The selection panel noted of Ulrich’s work developing these projects that it was “particularly impressed by the cross-disciplinary and

outward orientation of your projects, and by the imaginative use of resources which they represent. The focus of your work on encouraging students to evaluate their expectations and hopes, and consider their plans beyond their academic programmes, is a useful model for projects elsewhere in the University.” The Barbara Morris Prize for Learning Support is a University-wide prize worth £5,000 (shared between two teams this year) and it will be awarded by the Vice Chancellor at a ceremony on 24th May. Congratulations Ulrich!

Recent Publications

Crisp, R. J. & Husnu, S. (2011). Attributional processes underlying imagined contact effects. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14, 275-287. Crisp, R. J. & Maitner, A. T. (2011). Social categorization theories: From culture to cognition. In D. Chadee (Ed.). Selected Theories in Social Psychology (pp. 232249). Chichester, West Sussex: WileyBlackwell. Crisp, R. J. & Turner, R. N. (2011). Cognitive adaptation to the experience of social and cultural diversity. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 242-266 Hamilton-West, K.E. (2010) Managing the impact of ankylosing spondylitis on the patient and society. International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 5 (5), 537-546. Hamilton-West (2011). Wie kann die Beeinträchtigung der Lebensqualität durch den Morbus Bechterew verringert werden? Morbus Bechterew Journal, 124, 4-7. Piazza, J., Bering, J. M., & Ingram, G. (2011). “Princess Alice is watching you”: Children’s belief in an invisible person inhibits cheating. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 311-320. Stoeber, J., & Luszczynska, A. (2010). Impact factor stories: Anxiety, Stress, & Coping. Editors’ Bulletin, 6, 56-60

Final Year Memento

Each year we give away a memento to our final year students to remind them of their time with us. This year we gave away free commemorative mugs on the deadline day for final year projects. Students also had the chance to celebrate this landmark moment with their project supervisors.

Well done to Leanne Edgell our caption competition winner!

We would like to congratulate all of our final year students on all their hard work and wish them all the best in the exam term. Good luck!



New Virtual Reality Suite

The School is proud to announce the acquisition of a state-of-the art Virtual Reality (VR) suite. The suite is a wide-area system that allows users to walk through virtual environments in full scale and experience a sense of presence or ‘immersion’ in the virtual world. The heart of the system is a stereoscopic head-mounted display (HMD), which is worn like a large pair of glasses and connected to a powering unit strapped onto a backpack. With the HMD and the backpack, users can literally wonder around amidst 3D objects and characters.

With this tool, users can see their real environment and virtual components at the same time. So don’t be surprised to see a Mini Cooper parked in the lab next time (a virtual Mini, that is). Anything is possible. An official opening of the VR suite is planned for autumn. For all enquiries, please contact Dr Mario Weick (M.Weick@

The system includes a number of other ‘goodies’, such as a high precision motion tracking system that captures movements in milliseconds. With the build-in eyetracker, researchers can monitor people’s gaze in the virtual world. Especially useful for psychological research is the ability to ‘augment’ the real-world with digital objects.

Undergrads Win Children’s Singing Grant Many congratulations to two of Mike Forrester’s final year project students - Emma Borthwick-Hunter and Jessica Baker! Emma and Jessica have each been awarded $1,000 by AIRS (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing) to travel to St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada to give a poster presentation on young children’s singing abilities. This is an interdisciplinary conference on research into singing and is excellent news as this is a very competitive grant and very few awards are given out across this project (a cross-cultural study). Well done to Jessica and Emma!

Kent Psychologist in the Media...

Need Help/Advice?

If you have any personal or academic issues that may affect your ability to study you can talk to Lisa Clark, Student Advisor for Psychology. Please email her at: There is a range of services available to all Kent students including the following: • •

Careers Advisory Service Disability and Dyslexia Support Service • International Students • Counselling • Chaplaincy • Medical Plus many more... You can find more out about Student Services from the following webpage: In the last issue, we gave our congratulations to Dr David Wilkinson on being awarded one of the largest grants the School has seen. Since then, the news of David’s MRC -funded research has been highlighted by various channels of media as a matter of public interest. On 9th May 2011 Dr Wilkinson appeared on Meridian Regional News and demonstrated his new treatment for stroke sufferers diagnosed with a visual-spatial impairment known as hemi-spatial neglect. Dr Wilkinson, whose research interests revolve around the cognitive and biological bases of visual perception, explained the aim of the project. He said: ‘Advances in acute medical care have increased the number of stroke survivors, yet many are left with debilitating and refractory conditions for which there is little effective treatment. ‘Our new treatment seeks to restore lost function to damaged areas of the visual brain via trans-cranial electrical stimulation, a procedure in which subsensory levels of electrical current are injected through electrodes placed on the overlying scalp.’ If you would like to find out more about this, please see the University’s Research pages: http://www.kent.

Any Suggestions?

If you have any comments or suggestions for the staff in the School of Psychology, then you can feed these back to us by using our suggestions box located outside the Psychology Student Office (Keynes M1.13).

Kent Psychologist The School of Psychology’s Newsletter is for students and staff. We welcome contributions from both staff and students for future issues. If you would like to write an article or have any news you’d like to share, please contact Carly Turnham. School of Psychology, Keynes College University of Kent, CANTERBURY, Kent. CT2 7NP Email: Telephone: 01227 824775

Kent Psychologist May 2011  

News, recent publications plus student and staff contributions