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WELCOME Hello and Welcome to the fourth edition of the InPsych Newsletter! We’ve got lots of updates from the Psychology Department, including celebrations at the “Staffs Awards” Graduation ceremonies, the recent coverage of our research on BBC One Television, BBC Radio stations and the local press, as well as some fantastic student satisfaction results from this year’s National Student Survey! It’s an exciting time for everyone connected with Staffordshire University. As you may have already seen, our Stoke-on-Trent City Campus is currently undergoing a £40 million development. This investment includes brand new buildings for teaching, further landscaping of our campus, renovations to our existing teaching spaces to include more state-of-the-art learning technology, and a £1.25 million investment in the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre located on our Leek Road campus. We’re sure that you’ll love our fantastic facilities and will look forward to using them yourself in the future. Do visit the University’s “Inspiration in Progress” website for regular updates on this exciting work (

The summer always brings excitement here at Staffordshire University. We’ve recently celebrated our students’ successes at the Staffs Awards Graduation ceremonies held at the beautiful Trentham Estate, a few miles away from our Stoke-on-Trent campus. It was great to see our graduating Class of 2015 celebrating their hard work with their friends and loved ones. We always enjoy celebrating our students’ successes and all of the Academic staff at the Psychology Department are immensely proud of our students’ achievements and would like to wish everyone all the best for their future careers! We’ve also been very busy with our research and have some developments to announce. Firstly, you may have seen our Dr Sarah Rose on BBC One’s Midlands Today talking about her exciting research into the effect of TV on Children’s creativity (see Page 3) or read Dr Amy Burton’s analysis of the benefits of dieting with a partner in the Sentinel newspaper (Page 4). Second, we have appointed some fantastic new lecturers over the summer – it is a pleasure to welcome Nikki Street, Dr Daniel

Jolley and Dr Gemma Hurst to our team! We’re also pleased to be launching a new Masters by Applied Research for 2015/16 – do visit our website or speak to a member of staff if you would like any information about this exciting new Masters or any of our courses. Finally, we are very pleased to be offering four fully funded PhD Studentships starting in the 2015/16 year and we look forward to further growing our reputation for research excellence. Last, but not least, we’re pleased to announce that the Stoke Psychology in the Pub series returns in October 2015 and will feature more talks from our Psychology team (see Page 4). This has been a great series of inspiring and thought-provoking talks all given in the cosy and friendly atmosphere of the Glebe Pub in Stoke-onTrent. We hope to see you there at one of these talks! Judy David - Academic Group Lead (Undergraduate Psychology) Dr Emily Buckley - Academic Group Lead (Psychology Postgraduate and Partnerships)


Psychology Students are Highly Satisfied at Staffordshire University! Undergraduate Psychology students at Staffordshire University have given some of the highest ever satisfaction ratings for their degree courses as part of the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS).

The NSS is an annual survey completed by all final year students studying degrees at UK Universities, and gives an insight into students’ experiences at university. Some of Staffordshire University’s flagship Psychology degrees gained extremely high satisfaction ratings on the NSS placing them at the top of the league tables in the UK for student satisfaction. For example, the BSc Psychology and Child Development degree received a fantastic


satisfaction score and our BSc Psychology degree scored a satisfaction rating of


Judy David, Academic Group Lead for Undergraduate Psychology, comments: “I am delighted our students are highly satisfied with their experience here. We have some exceptional Psychology courses at Staffordshire, designed to give students fascinating insights into Psychology as well as prepare them well for their future. Our academic staff team is well known for being

friendly, approachable and supportive and many of our staff are involved in world leading research. So we really can offer our students one of the best experiences possible, and it is lovely to have that recognised in a national survey.” Head of School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise Dr Peter Jones comments “These results are even better than last year and clearly show at Staffordshire University we have some of the best Psychology degrees not only the heart of England but in the whole of the UK. I think this is not just because we have great facilities but because our academic, technical and support teams are brilliant at creating a great student experience. We pride ourselves on developing people and transforming their lives.” Supporting these excellent NSS results were recent comments from our independent External Examiners who said: “What strikes me most about the course is the high-quality support that is provided to students. It is evident in the student feedback and course processes that there is a very high level of commitment to providing high-quality positive student experiences.”

Judy David Academic Group Lead (Undergraduate Psychology)

Dr Emily Buckley Academic Group Lead (Psychology Postgraduate and Partnerships)

Dr Peter Jones Head of the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise

Staffordshire University hosts 40th Annual Conference of the Association of Technical Staff in Psychology (ATSiP) The three day conference, hosted by Technical Skills Specialists Sarah Higgins and Paul Gallimore, obtained record numbers of attendance and was well received by the delegates. There were a range of talks throughout the conference from; gesture recognition using the Microsoft Kinect to eyetracking equipment and the evolving role of the Psychology Technician. ‘It has been a privilege to host the 40th annual conference. We are so grateful for the sharing of best practices and the valuable feedback in relation

to the technical provision we currently provide.’ Sarah Higgins The delegates also had the opportunity to tour around the Psychology facilities within the Science Centre, which left many in admiration: ‘The feedback we received from delegates was amazing, everyone was impressed with the laboratories and equipment we had to offer and how they were integrated within student learning.’ Paul Gallimore - Technical Skills Specialist


Staffordshire research into the effect of Children’s TV on creativity featured on BBC One

Dr Sarah Rose’s ongoing research into the effects of watching television on children’s creativity was featured on a number of local and regional media sources in July 2015, including BBC One’s Midlands Today programme, BBC Radio Stoke, BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, BBC Radio Shropshire, the Stoke Sentinel Newspaper and Nursery World Magazine. Sarah’s research is investigating whether young children’s viewing of television affects their creativity, whether for good or bad! Sarah and one of our recent graduates, Sian Foulkes, recruited three groups of 3 year old children to take part in their study. Participating children were given an ‘unusual box’ (see the picture below) and some unusual objects to play with.

To determine the effect of watching the TV episode, all the children were then set a number of action and movement tasks designed to assess their creativity. These included exploring how many different ways they can get from one side of a room to another and different ways of getting a paper cup into a bucket. Similar to the activity with the ‘unusual box’, the different movements are recorded and scored for creativity. The assessment of creativity is of course complex and the tasks required the children to use divergent thinking but did not require them to verbalise their thoughts. This is a particularly appropriate way to measure creativity in 3-year-old children who may or may not feel like talking to researchers when they visit the lab! Sarah commented that “it is exciting to be welcoming local children and their parents to the children’s lab to take part in ground breaking research and being able to provide hands on research experience for our students is very important too”.

Sarah has recently established the Children’s Lab at Staffordshire University – for more information about Sarah’s research please visit the lab’s website at childrenslab/. The researchers recorded how creatively the children play with this ‘unusual box’. Following this, the children either watched an old ‘slowpaced’ episode of Postman Pat from the 1990s, a recent more ‘fast-paced’ episode or looked at picture books and completed jigsaws.

You can also watch the clip of Sarah talking about her research on the BBC One’s West Midlands Today Facebook page via


GRADUATING CLASS OF 2015! The Psychology team at Staffordshire University pass on their congratulations to our graduating students who completed their studies in 2015! The “Staffs Awards” Graduation ceremonies were held in the grounds of the Trentham Estate, a country park estate and hall located to the south of the University in Stoke-onTrent. The students, their friends and families, and staff from the Psychology Department had a fantastic day celebrating the students’ achievements in the beautiful gardens of the Trentham Estate.


Dr Sarah Krähenbühl, Lecturer in Psychology and Forensic Psychology researcher at Staffordshire University, discusses her new research published in the Psychiatry, Psychology and Law journal exploring the use of “ground rules” by police officers and social workers when interviewing children: This study examined over 50 transcripts of investigative interviews conducted with children who were either witnesses to, or victims of, different forms of abuse. The particular focus was when, how and if ground rules were used by the interviewing officers (generally a Police Officer but a Social Worker may take this role) and then to establish the likely impact of this on the child’s understanding and the remainder of the interview. Ground rules refer to explanations such as ‘say if you don’t know’, ‘tell me if I get something wrong’ and an agreement to tell the truth. The interviewing protocol (known as ‘Achieving Best Evidence’ 2011) states that ground rules should be included in all interviews with children. The study took a mixed methodological approach with numerical assessment of what ground rules were included, when this happened, were there any subsequent repetitions of the rules, and a qualitative approach as to the wording used and implications of this. The results showed that there was a lack of consistency in ground rule implementation despite clear interviewing protocol guidance. Of greater concern was that when the ground rules were implemented the child’s understanding of these rules was not established and the relevance of the rules to the interview was rarely established. So, this study has relevance not only to interviewing officers and legal professionals but also has implications in relation to assessments of child credibility when giving evidence.

Greater health benefits when dieting with a partner The Sentinel Newspaper recently printed a story highlighting the benefits of dieting with a partner. Evidence suggests that when we diet or increase our exercise behaviour in partnership with someone else we are more likely to successfully lose weight. Dieting is an important area of interest for Health Psychology and Dr Amy Burton (Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology) was contacted by the Sentinel for comment. Dr Burton explained: “One theory that can help to explain the success of couples dieting together is Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour which was developed in the 1980s. This theory proposes that our intentions to

engage in healthy behaviours (such as diet or exercise) are dependent on three factors: our attitudes towards the behaviour, our perceptions of the resources available to us for completing the behaviour, and how we think others around us are behaving or expecting us to behave. When we work with another person the importance of those around us becomes more salient meaning our attitudes towards diet and exercise will be more positive, we will perceive that we have support from those around us to continue with the behaviour, and we are more likely to follow through with our plans to diet or exercise to ensure we don’t disappoint our partner.

Stoke Psychology in the Pub continues The Stoke Psychology in the Pub series of talks restarts on 7th October 2015 in the Glebe Pub, Stoke-on-Trent. These are a series of free talks by psychologists from Staffordshire University and the surrounding area which are open to everyone! Visit for directions and the talk schedule, and join in the conversation using the #PitPStoke Twitter Hashtag. We hope to see you there!


We are always looking to share news from the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise from students and staff. If you have a story you would like to share please email:

Join the conversation The Psychology Department has its own Twitter Feed. This is a place for you to hear about all the news, exciting research and events taking place in the department. Whether you’re considering coming to study Psychology at Staffordshire University, already a proud enrolled student or just want to keep in the loop about our latest research and events, follow @StaffsPsych

Talks to be held in Autumn 2015 (subject to change) include: 7th October 2015 David Parkes, Staffordshire University “Psychogeography” 4th November 2015 Alexandra Lamont, Keele University “Music, emotion and wellbeing” 2nd December 2015 Colin Preece, Staffordshire University “Sherlock Holmes and Psychology”

OPEN DAY DATES Open Days are a great way to find out more about the courses you are interested in and to see what university life will be like. Come and see us at one of our next open days:

Saturday 19th September 2015 Saturday 10th October 2015 Saturday 14th November 2015 Saturday 5th December 2015


New research explores how Officers conduct investigative interviews with children

INPSYCH - issue 4  

News, Stories and Events from the Psychology department at Staffordshire University

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