psychologist vol 25 no 9
On the road A special issue on traffic and transport psychology
Incorporating Psychologist Appointments ÂŁ5 or free to members of The British Psychological Society
letters 642 news 652 big picture centre careers 710
becoming immortal as a psychologist 688 methods: multilevel modelling 690 my grandmother and Mick Hucknall 720 looking back: carnival of Kingsley Hall 722
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Associate Editors Articles Michael Burnett, Paul Curran, Harriet Gross, Marc Jones, Rebecca Knibb, Charlie Lewis, Wendy Morgan, Paul Redford, Mark Wetherell, Monica Whitty, Jill Wilkinson Conferences Alana James History of Psychology Nathalie Chernoff Interviews Gail Kinman, Mark Sergeant Media Lucy Maddox Viewpoints Catherine Loveday International panel Vaughan Bell, Uta Frith, Alex Haslam, Elizabeth Loftus
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vol 25 no 9
psychologist vol 25 no 9
news, digest and media 652 polygraph; well-being; fraud; report from the PsyPAG conference; nuggets from the Society’s Research Digest; Jennifer Wild on responding to mass shootings; Jon Sutton on the mental health debate; and more
Let me begin by extending a warm welcome to the thousands of new psychology undergraduates receiving this issue free as an introduction to the British Psychological Society. With the niceties out of the way, I ask them: If you are going to die in the next few months, what is going to kill you? The uncomfortable answer is a road accident. A July report by the Transport Select Committee highlighted the fact that these are the main killer among 16- to 24year-olds. Following the first increase in road deaths for nearly a decade, the Committee called for more help to keep young drivers and cyclists safe and to improve the design of roads. As with so many areas of life, psychology has a big role to play here. This month’s special issue, starting on p.662, introduces you to traffic and transport psychology. To return to all those new undergrads: I would like to offer the Society’s support in guiding you safely along your road to psychology. See www.bps.org.uk/join for more. You can also get onboard using all the websites and social media you will find on the opposite page. Dr Jon Sutton
letters 642 the soul; stigma; international assistance; in praise of cheap research; and more
Psychology on the road John Groeger introduces a special issue Drive safely with neuroergonomics Charles Spence on promoting safe driving When to give up driving? Pat McKenna gives a personal perspective Young driver challenges Frank P. McKenna on psychology’s contribution The psychology of sustainable transport Birgitta Gatersleben moves on from the car, with help from Niamh Murtagh
Vulnerable road users Jon Sutton interviews Ian Walker Becoming immortal: Genes, memes and dreams Robert J. Sternberg has some encouraging words
Murder, muddled thinking and multilevel modelling Martin Cartwright, Emma Traviss and Andrew Blance deal with hierarchies
book reviews 694 the self-illusion; father–daughter relationships; hearing voices; business psychology; and more society
President’s column; Lifetime Achievement Award; Presidents’ Award; Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme; and more
careers and psychologist appointments finding the employability edge in your studies: S. Ian Robertson, Isabella McMurray and Pat Roberts have some practical advice; plus featured job, the latest vacancies and how to advertise
new voices my grandmother, Mick Hucknall and me: Fiona Glen with the latest in our series for budding writers
looking back 722 the carnival of Kingsley Hall: Alison Torn on the colourful case of Mary Barnes one on one …with Hugo Spiers
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Throwing the soul out with the bathwater? In his article ‘Neuroscience for the soul’ (July 2012), Craig AaenStockdale provides a balanced critique of claims that activity in specific brain regions correlates with spiritual experience. As he argues, these claims are at best misguided, resting as they do on poor empirical foundations. The more fundamental question is whether a neuroscience for the soul is anything other than a straw man, with the consequence that a serious consideration of what the soul represents in psychological terms becomes lost in an avalanche of neuromania (Tallis, 2011). All scholarly disciplines are founded on agreement regarding (i) the subject area of inquiry, (ii) the methodological approaches deemed legitimate to that inquiry, and (iii) the explanatory structures through which the knowledge base is advanced. In the case of the ‘soul’ the second and third criteria completely rule out neuroscience as being of relevance. The soul is known (if at all) through methods of contemplation and meditation; and is ‘explained’ through explanatory structures having little, if any, relation to physicalism. Given that the methodology and explanatory framework of neuroscience are totally bound to physicalism, there can be no neuroscience for the soul. Were this all there was to the matter, we could happily leave soul-speak to priests and theologians. Confusion arises, however, on account of the first criterion; according to traditional conceptions, the soul clearly has some connection with the mind, and it therefore sits within the discourse of psychology. Most religious traditions, for example, identify intellectual functions with the soul. Indeed, whatever its spiritual connotations, the term ‘soul’ should be understood as referring to aspects of the psyche that are not addressable by the methods of neuroscience. Whether such aspects are ontologically separate from the physical realm or simply inaccessible by contemporary methods is a question on which endless
speculation may ensue. But the issue for psychology is more pragmatic: should the discipline include these aspects of the psyche in its discourse? Is it psychologically useful to explore the ‘soul’? As a transpersonal psychologist, I answer ‘yes’ to this question for reasons such as the inadequacy of physicalist theories of consciousness; the value for human well-being of practices and systems of thought associated with religion; and insights from spiritual and mystical traditions concerning transformation to more fulfilling states of being, etc. Whether or not we can provide any physical evidence for the existence of the soul should not dictate our recognition as psychologists of the term’s value. The real culprit here is overemphasis on anomalous experience as the core element of religion. Of course, in a trivial sense all religious activity involves experience of one kind or another. But, contra Aaen-Stockdale, it is not the exceptional experiences of religious leaders that matters. The experiences of the initiators of religions are often lost in the twists and turns of polemical writings and commentary; it is their insights into the human condition that inspires their disciples, and offers a legitimate subject for psychological study. Brian L. Lancaster Chair, BPS Transpersonal Psychology Section Emeritus Professor of Transpersonal Psychology Liverpool John Moores University Reference Tallis, R. (2011). Aping mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the misrepresentation of humanity. Durham: Acumen.
The stigma of ill health
When studying the relationship between society and health, it can be concluded that social integration and cohesion can influence mortality (Durkheim, 1897/1951). Indeed, it is now widely recognised that social relationships and affiliations can impact upon the physical health, cognitive and emotional states of patients.
disorder of haemoglobin, has burdensome clinical symptoms and treatment and therefore challenges the individual on a psychosocial level, especially in the adolescence stage when the teenager is confronted with various difficulties like identity formation, developing intimate relationships and entering the
working world (Khurana et al., 2006). Accepting and integrating thalassaemia into one’s identity becomes a difficult task. For many years the presence of thalassaemia was identified with, and often still is considered a stigma, a source of inferiority (Georganda, 1990). The affected individual is not seen as a person with a physical
These pages are central to The Psychologist’s role as a forum for discussion and debate, and we welcome your contributions.
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The manifestation of β-thalassaemia, a genetic
problem but as a weak, different, inadequate, incapable being for whom we feel sorry and to whom we offer our sympathy. Thus what is incorporated in one’s selfimage is not only the physical illness but also a specific view and a specific attitude towards one’s self: the internalised image of an inferior individual (Georganda, 1990).
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vol 25 no 9
John Rowan’s strongly worded attack (Letters, August 2012) on my article ‘Neuroscience for the soul’ argues that I ‘exhibit considerable ignorance’ or am ‘clearly prejudiced’ regarding matters of the soul, but in it he demonstrates not a little ignorance and prejudice on his own part. For example, he seems to be ignorant of that fact that the argument from personal experience holds little weight in the scientific arena. Giving him the benefit of the doubt for the moment, I will accept his claim that mystical experiences may ‘be very much like a psychedelic trip’ and try to explain why I believe that this doesn’t ‘actually tell us anything about religion’. That something is ‘like’ something else does not mean it is the same or shares the same substrate or causes. A mushroom cloud is ‘like’ a mushroom in form only, not in substance, and certainly not in cause. The second prong of his argument, that drug-induced epiphanies are looked back on favourably months or years after the event, is irrelevant. Why on earth would generations of humans continue to (ab)use various substances if they didn’t produce extraordinary and sometimes moving experiences? What is currently missing from the neurotheological narrative is anything actually linking these drug-induced experiences to religion or spirituality except a surface similarity. This is simply not good enough for a field with scientific pretensions. While I and other researchers are attempting to establish (or disprove) some genuine connection, it would be nice if we weren’t constantly lambasted by those who seem happy to interpret these ‘anecdata’ in accordance with their own prejudice. By the way, it has been pointed out to me that in my original article (at the top of p.522) I wrote ‘millitesla’ when I meant ‘microtesla’. How embarrassing! The comparison with a fridge magnet, etc. and the conclusions I draw are nevertheless still valid. My apologies. Craig Aaen-Stockdale Buskerud University College Kongsberg, Norway
Facial characteristics in thalassaemia occur as a consequence of the expansion of bones, particularly the skull and jawbones, and anaemia and iron overload in these patients often leads to short stature and delayed puberty. Consequently, they are likely to suffer from reduced selfesteem, poor self-image, increased dependence and anxiety over issues such as pain and death. Ratip et al. (1995) stated that the most common cause of death in thalassaemia is psychosocial in nature in Western countries. Clearly, realistic hardships
present themselves to individuals that have a chronic physical illness, including how society views and treats them. Maintaining adequate social support may be problematic for some people with β-thalassaemia due to the stigma associated with the disease among other persons in one’s support network. Stigma was often associated with perceived ‘blemishes of individual character’ (Goffman, 1963). As individuals experience chronic illness there is potential for disruption to their social support system that may inadvertently affect their
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quality of life (Bush et al., 1998). The stigma of having a chronic illness may impact upon an individual’s selfconcept, capacity to adapt to the chronic illness and the quality and quantity of social networks (Millen & Walker, 2001). One may speculate that patients see social support as a mirror image of social stigma, and the quality and quantity of social networks become evidence of social rejection. A lack of social support may thus signify a diminished self-value; and less instrumental cognitive and emotional support from fewer resources in turn lessens patients’ opinion with regard to their ability to cope with the disease (Amir et al., 1999). It is important that healthcare providers understand how patients cope with stigmatising genetic conditions in order to deliver comprehensive care. Resulting discrimination seems to discourage individuals from getting the psychosocial support they need from services to the extent that individuals are at risk of mental illness (Jenerette et al., 2006). In developed countries, the combination of appropriate medical care and the psychosocial support provided to patients has led to greatly enhanced survival and a good level of social integration, social acceptance and favourable self-esteem (Politis et al., 1990). Based upon the issues surrounding the stigmatisation and social integration of β-thalassaemia patients, is there scope to undertake further programmes of research and the role of stigma within the illness? Xenya Kantaris Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences Kingston University
References Amir, M., Roziner, I., Knoll, A. & Neufeld, M.Y. (1999). Self-efficacy and social support as mediators in the relation between disease severity and quality of life in patients with epilepsy. Epilepsia, 40, 216–224. Bush, S., Mandel, F.S. & Giardina, P.J. (1998). Future orientation and life expectations of adolescents and young adults with thalassemia major. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 850, 361–369. Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide: A study in sociology (Trans. J.A. Spaulding & G. Simpson). New York: Free Press. (Original work published 1897) Georganda, E.T. (1990). The impact of thalassemia on body image, selfimage, and self-esteem. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 612, 466–472. Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma. London: Penguin. Jenerette, C., Funk, M. & Murdaugh, C. (2006). Sickle cell disease: A stigmatising condition that may lead to depression. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 26, 1081–1101. Khurana, A., Katyal, S. & Marwaha, R.K. (2006). Psychosocial burden in thalassemia. Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 73, 31–34. Millen, N. & Walker, C. (2001).
Overcoming the stigma of chronic illness: Strategies for normalisation of a ‘spoiled identity’. Health Sociology Review, 10, 89–97. Politis, C., DiPalma, A., Fisfis, M. et al. (1990). Social integration of the older thalassaemic patient. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 65, 984–986. Ratip, S., Skuse, D., Porter, J. et al. (1995). Psychosocial and clinical burden of thalassaemia intermedia and its implications for prenatal diagnosis. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 72(5), 408–412.
International assistance Along with a few other professional volunteers, I am working towards assessing the psychological needs of Syrian children and youth in the refugee camps in Turkey, to ensure their psychological well-being and know the kind of help to make available to them. As you may know, the Syrian refugees in Turkey fled Syria to evade gunfire and bombings, and most of their homes were destroyed; many have lost friends and family and many children have been orphaned. Some of the refugees have been in Turkey for over 12 months; and while the Turkish government, the United Nations and several NGOs have helped facilitate their stay, the experience of traumatic events during their time in Syria, fleeing to Turkey and residing as refugees while conflict is taking place in their homeland is thought to have brought about mental health problems. Limited mental health support has been offered to the Syrian refugees, especially children and youth who may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety as well as other common mental health problems. It is vital to make available psychological support to not only prevent severe mental health problems, but to ensure that young people have the necessary coping skills to deal with their situation during and after their time at the refugee camps; encouraging healthy child and youth development. Contacts have been established in the refugee camps, and
The UK-Sri Lanka Trauma Group (UKSLTG) was founded in 1996 by a group of Sri Lankan expatriate and British mental health professionals concerned at the escalating civil conflict in Sri Lanka and its psychological impact. The group has been responsible for setting up a Sri Lanka-based organisation, SamutthĂŁna, which functions as a resource centre for mental health capacity building and
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three British mental health facilitators (including myself) are volunteering their time to work on this meaningful project, as well two clinical psychologists in Turkey. The Child and War Foundation has extended its support on the project, and has put us in contact with the clinical psychologists in Turkey (one of whom works in the Turkish Red Crescent). The Foundation has validated and translated instruments to measure trauma and other mental health problems and has produced a manual to use in providing coping skills for the children in the refugee camps. It has also offered to provide training on these techniques using the manual for our volunteers. We are still fundraising for the project, and hope to be able to get funds to cover the flights and accommodation for volunteers. More mental health facilitators are needed to volunteer their time to visit the refugee camps to make this project a success; they need to speak Arabic. Whatâ€™s more, expertise on venturing this major project before and after visits to Turkey is much needed (experts do not have to speak Arabic); as well as funding to cover basic expenses for volunteers visiting the refugee camps to offer mental health support like flights and accommodation. The Syrian people are calling for our help I hope we can answer. Please get in touch with me. Masa Al-kurdi email@example.com
facilitates the work of volunteers from within Sri Lanka and overseas who wish to contribute and participate in training. Members of the UKSLTG provide pro bono high-quality training in coping with traumatic events and mental health issues resulting from the 26-year civil war and the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Using a network of trainers (mainly based in the UK but with Sri Lanka heritage or other links), it has responded to a demand for high-quality workshops covering how to work with people traumatised by war, torture, loss of home and community, death of loved ones and imprisonment in displacement camps. In addition the UKSLTG runs a range of workshops on more general topics such as addiction, working with children and families, loss and bereavement, to name but a few. The training and capacity-building activities are run at three levels so that Sri Lankan volunteers, as well as individuals with some training and mental health professionals, can benefit from programmes. With only one psychiatrist for every 120,000 people and only a handful of psychologists, mental health is not yet able to be prioritised to the degree that it might be. That is why SamutthĂŁna is focusing on supporting the development of more holistic and less medicalised
services that promote recovery, and that people can access in the community. The vision is that more people with mental health problems can take part in society and fulfil their potential. The UKSLTG is looking for experienced BPS chartered and HPC registered psychologists who are able to volunteer at least three or four months of their time to working in Sri Lanka. Enquires from people with links to Sri Lanka are encouraged to apply, although this is not essential. Our team based in the UK and Sri Lanka can provide orientation and support in advance of your trip and whilst you are in Sri Lanka. Clinical supervision will also be available via Skype. Volunteers have to be self-funding as the UKSLTG has no funding to cover flights and accommodation, but we are happy to assist with arranging these. If you would like further details please contact us at the e-mail address below. The UKSLTG is also running a seminar series throughout 2012 on renewal and reconciliation in post-war countries. Details can be found on www.uksrilankatrauma.org.uk and our Facebook page. Rachel Tribe University of East London firstname.lastname@example.org
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FORUM SURVIVAL GUIDE
Degree that never was I have just finished my undergraduate degree in psychology at Bournemouth University. When opening my final transcript I was delighted to find that I had attained a first. The feelings of elation were uncontrollable, but at the same time I realised that, by current standards, I shouldn’t be awarded this degree. The 2013 entry requirements for Bournemouth are set at B-B-B. In my A-levels, I managed BC-C-D. This made me question the usefulness A-level grades as a predictor of success at university? Shouldn’t psychology be the discipline to ‘break-the-mould’ on entry requirements? I had this conversation with a senior lecturer at Bournemouth. He revealed that at A-level he was only interested in ‘the two Gs’: the Gym and Girls. I can empathise with this, I lacked motivation and drive for academic pursuits at college. I believe that in this respect, I am not alone. I have other friends who achieved far lower A-level grades than me yet still accomplished upper second class degrees at various institutions and in various disciplines. In light of this, I believe that A-level accomplishments are neither valid nor useful as a measure by which universities should decide who is able to enrol on their courses. Furthermore, how many students are being wrongfully barred from university because of poor performance at college? It is most likely obvious to most, but I did not realise until reaching university how entry requirements were set. For those who don’t know, it is
a calculation based on demand and supply. The more people that apply for a course, the higher the entry requirements are pushed as a method of limiting applications until the desired cohort size is reached. This filtration method, combined with the increasing popularity of psychology as an undergraduate degree, may worsen the current problem. As more people apply for psychology degrees, this will surely push the entry requirements ever further. What is the alternative to A-level grades? The obvious is the infamous IQ test. However, does the IQ tap the demands that will be required in a psychology degree? To succeed in psychology, I would argue that a student requires a basic understanding of mathematics, a critical approach to literature and drive. Surely mathematics and critical thinking can be measured easily enough via a short written assessment, perhaps administered online. The goal of my selfindulgent ramblings is to provoke thought about the way in which universities accept and decline a student’s application. As the aforementioned senior lecturer once said, ‘A-levels reflect the person you were and not the person you are now.’ I’d like to add a little more to this, Alevels do not reflect the person that you can become. This kind of change can only come from psychology, and I feel that we have a responsibility at least to question the current system. Ben Hunt East Meon Hampshire
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The costs of doing different types of psychology vary hugely. If you just want to see how people remember different types of material, for instance, or test children’s understanding of numerosity, this can be done with very little money. In contrast, most kinds of brain imaging require not only expensive equipment, but also a building to house it and staff to maintain it. Furthermore, data analysis can take weeks, or even months, rather than hours. In academic research, money follows money through the QR allocation. This makes sense: an institution that is doing costly research needs funding to support the infrastructure for that research. The problem is that grant income, rather than the research, has become the indicator of success. Hiring committees will scrutinise CVs for evidence of ability to bring in large grants. Universities, after all, have to survive in a tough financial climate, and so we are all exhorted to go after large grants to help shore up our institution’s income. This means that cheap, cost-effective research in traditional psychological areas will be devalued relative to more expensive neuroimaging. I have no quarrel with psychologists doing neuroimaging studies, and it is important that if good science is to be done in this area it should be properly funded. I am uneasy, though, about this unintended consequence of the enthusiasm for neuroscience. I’ve been reading Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, a highly influential book by a psychologist who has the rare distinction of being a Nobel Laureate. I couldn’t help thinking that Kahneman would not fare well in the current academic climate, because his elegant, simple experiments were just too inexpensive. I believe that systems of academic rewards need to be rejigged to take into account not just research income and publication outputs, but the relationship between the two. Of course, some kinds of research require big bucks, but large-scale grants are not always cost-effective. And on the other side of the coin, there are people who do excellent, influential work on a small budget. I thought I’d see if I could get some hard data on how this works in practice. I looked at data for psychology departments from the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). This gives information on grant income, and I also used Web of Science to compute an H-index based on publications for each department. The details can be found on my blog: tinyurl.com/deevybee. Not surprisingly, I found that research income and H-index were predictive of a department’s RAE average score: together they accounted for 80 per cent of the variance. There was, however, a wide spread in H-index for those institutions with the highest levels of grant income. Some were clearly using their substantial income to do influential work, but others seemed to achieve no more than other departments with much less funding. There may be reasonable explanations for this – for instance, a large tranche of funding may have been awarded in the RAE period but not had time to percolate through to publications. But there’s still the worrying possibility that we may be rewarding those who chase big grants without paying sufficient attention to what they do with the funding. It would be nice to see some kind of indicator of costeffectiveness included in ratings of departments alongside the more traditional metrics. In times of financial stringency, it is particularly short-sighted to discount the contribution of researchers who do influential work with relatively scant resources. Dorothy Bishop is Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the University of Oxford. Read the full version of this column at http://deevybee.blogspot.com. This column aims to prompt debate surrounding surviving and thriving in academia and research.
Why environmental psychology is neglected Global climate change and other environmental issues threaten the very existence of the human species. Yet, as Paul Hanna points out (Letters, August 2012), psychologists have failed to deal adequately with these vital problems. However, the root causes why environmental psychology is neglected stem from political and organisational issues. Firstly, psychology in the United Kingdom is compartmentalised by the government, not least through statutory registration, as a health-related profession, with health as the ‘lead’ department. The result has been an over-concentration on subdisciplines such as clinical psychology. The list of Divisions of the American Psychological Association shows a number of areas of psychology, including environmental psychology, that are comparatively neglected by the British Psychological Society. Many years ago, government interest in psychology was led by powerful Departments such as Defence and its predecessors. This led to leading psychologists, including Sir Frederic Bartlett and Donald Broadbent, doing important research on environmental issues, for instance the effects of noise. A second reason why environmental psychology is overlooked arises from the funding policies of Research Councils. In Two letters in The Psychologist segue neatly (August 2012). The first points out that human actions contributing to climate problems are given far too low a priority in psychological research, the second that our survival as psychologists depends on our ability to translate research into action. Indeed, my recent literature search into practical psychological advice towards behaviour changes for the benefit of the climate found theories and research, but thin pickings on what to do about it. I had to dig into earlier work such as Kurt Lewin’s, and the more recent anti-smoking campaign, to show how behaviour can be changed. The ecologists have presented their frightening evidence, but without practicable contributions from our discipline that may all be in vain. And if we can’t do it, who can? Professor Joan Freeman London W1
recent years, British investment for several subdisciplines in psychology has been concentrated on single university departments, such as Sheffield for occupational psychology, Exeter for economic psychology and Surrey for environmental psychology. These departments all have world-class reputations. They need more investment, not less. However, the government funding strategy is inadequate. The amount of research that can be carried out in even a large university department is limited. Academic advance is limited by a lack of diverse institutional perspectives.
And, as Hanna has noticed, the findings of subdisciplines such as environmental psychology fail to reach undergraduates in the many universities that are not research-active in the area. A third problem is that too many subdisciplines have been lost by psychology to more powerful academic subjects. Hanna points out the dominance of market research in relation to consumer behaviour. Economic psychology has become dominated by what economists call behavioural economics. Environmental psychology is overshadowed by disciplines relating to the built environment, particularly architecture. The British Psychology Society needs to reestablish the position of psychology as a basic intellectual subject, not a technical discipline relating to health matters. We then need to lobby for organisational and funding arrangements that will enable psychology to be applied wherever it is relevant to human life. Frederic Stansfield Canterbury
I was very pleased to read Dr Paul Hanna’s letter on psychologists and the environment (‘Engaging with the environmental crisis’, August 2012.) The ethics that I was taught as a student protected the client and other vulnerable people, such as children who may be being abused, and upheld the standing of the profession. They also made reference to wider public interest. The discussions I have heard since then have continued in a similar vein. As clinician, however, I ask myself the sort of questions that were not addressed in my universities
and have only been rarely mentioned since. I would not encourage clients to smoke tobacco because it would be injurious to their health. Should I ever mention the fact that driving a car may be injurious to others by contributing to asthma? If a client were to tell me that he/she is planning a murder or act of terrorism I would take immediate action. But, what if the client takes unnecessary long-haul flights that will affect the earth’s climate and the lives of millions? I would not encourage a client to engage in sex-
tourism. But what if the same client was planning a holiday that will exploit the poor or damage the local environment? Should I ever confront the client with the possible consequences of his/her actions? I do not want psychologists to become social engineers. Nor do I want us to have a code of legalisms, even if they are well intentioned. The environmental crisis however is real and will affect us all. We need ethics, research and a professional ethos to help us meet the challenge. John Steley London E17
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Delivering primary care psychological services We have followed with interest the recent correspondence concerning psychological services and general well-being. Bhupinder Kuwar (Letters, July 2012) raises some important considerations, the most pertinent being ‘Maybe we need to consider further alternatives’. The APA Monitor article (‘Beyond psychotherapy’) to which Kuwar provides a link is indeed an excellent place to start. However, we feel it is worth highlighting that the Glasgow STEPS Team has for several years been implementing a high-volume, well-beingfocused primary care mental health service, offering not just individual psychological therapy but a wide range of matched-care alternatives… and, indeed, was featured in The Psychologist as long ago as October 2008 (‘Stepping up primary care’), including on the cover. If readers are interested in finding out more, we would direct them to White (2010), or get in touch directly via ‘Feedback’ at www.glasgowsteps.com. Simon Stuart Jim White STEPS Team, Glasgow Reference White, J. (2010). The STEPS model. In J. Bennett-Levy et al. (Eds.) The Oxford guide to low intensity CBT interventions (pp.35–52). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
We would like to respond to McClelland’s letter (May 2012) and the subsequent letters by Cairns (June) and Kuwar (July). We agree with much that these authors have written and hope that they pursue their suggestions further. Since the 1980s we have tried to promote an easy-access primary care psychology service for a wide range of everyday problems, and subsequently we wrote two books offering professional help in this field (France & Robson, 1986, 1997). Although a number of workers have revisited this area, there seems to have been a lot of repetition, sometimes, without much in the way of real progress. The following points are, we think, important: I The level of professional expertise required for such a service needs to be quite high. It is an old truism that common problems can often be difficult, sometimes too difficult for the specialist. Currently it appears that much spurious help is offered by the underqualified, the unqualified and even verging on the fraudulent. I Access needs to be immediate and direct. Potential clients are frequently obstructed by waiting lists, unnecessary assessments, rigid weekly one-hour-long sessions and appointments offered for unsuitable or impossible times. Children may need
WORKING ACROSS CULTURES I was disturbed to read Dr Uzma Durrani’s question ‘Can anyone be a BME therapist?’ (Letters, August 2012). The problem with claiming that somehow we have to have some special knowledge or qualification to work with someone of another culture is that it will disqualify every therapist from working with anyone who is not from their own cultural/financial/class/educational background. How do we feel about saying that a therapist who come from an Asian family needs to have special training to work with clients from white English backgrounds? This is the logical corollary of the attitude that special training is required to understand BME clients. I have recently started seeing clients from the investment banking world and I would say that the difference in culture (attitudes to money, lifestyle, relationships, status, achievement etc.) is probably greater than anything I have experienced when working with clients of a different ethnicity. However I am not going to seek special training in working with ‘IB clients’. I just tell my clients that I know very little about their world and ask them to tell me all about it so that I can try to be as helpful as I can. So far, everyone has been happy with this. I would adopt the same approach with anyone who comes from an unfamiliar culture. We can’t possibly be trained in every nuance of cultural difference since there are so many (sexuality, gender, class, financial background, educational level, geographical origin, religious affiliation, ethnicity, politics, moral outlook). People are different – let’s get over ourselves and try to be a bit less precious about it. Dr H. Riley Brighton
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to be seen outside school time and adults outside working hours. Cairns queries how ‘we’ can determine if an individual needs help. In primary care the patient/client will tell you if she/he needs help and can make an initial appointment in the same way as (ideally) in a well-run medical general practice. An initial 15-minute appointment should determine the nature of the problem and allow a mutual decision to be reached as to whether the service can help. Examples might be loss of self-esteem, anxiety-based problems, interpersonal or child-management difficulties, and some types of depression. Interventions would rely heavily on home work assignments and further appointments would be determined by the client, not the ‘system’ or even the clinician. The interval and length could vary and would be agreed with the client. A fixed number of sessions would be undesirable but access to more distant follow-up might be offered. We see no need for a sub-specialty. An experienced clinical psychologist with enthusiasm for working in a primary care team is enough. From our experience the majority of health visitors, practice nurses and GPs are interested, cooperate and communicate well in this setting. There is here the possibility of suitable part-time work for a clinical psychologist, perhaps combined with a post in another setting.
In the 1980s we demonstrated that this type of service can be economical with savings made elsewhere. We ran a service of this kind successfully in a general medical practice for over two years (France, 1987). We realise that much has changed, but similar savings still might be possible even in these cash-strapped days. Unfortunately, some early work, ours and others, which is still relevant, does not even appear on current literature searches. Richard France Yateley, Hampshire Meredith Robson References France, R. (1987). Psychological services to general practice. British Medical Journal, 295, 454–455. France, R. & Robson, M.H. (1986). Behaviour therapy in primary care. London: Chapman and Hall. France, R. & Robson, M.H. (1997). Cognitive behaviour therapy in primary care. London: Jessica Kingsley.
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Getting to grips with learning disability In our article ‘Defining learning disability’ (June 2012) we questioned the accepted definition of learning disability in the hope of instigating a debate on this important subject. The responses we have received, both privately and through the letters column of The Psychologist, suggest that our concerns about the validity and reliability of the existing definition are widely shared. Here we would like to address some of the issues raised by recent correspondents. First, in response to Dougal Hare (Letters, August), let us make it clear that we do see learning/intellectual disability as a neurodevelopmental disorder. What we take issue with is the proposed description of this grouping in DSM-5. We also agree that understanding the biological basis of intellectual disability, and the associated cognitive and functional impairments is of critical importance. This includes, in our opinion, the developmental deficits associated with impairments of parenting, as we are learning from developments in social cognitive neuroscience. One of the main arguments against using IQ scores to represent these complex areas is that they lack ecological validity. We are therefore interested in Janet Carr’s research (using the Leiter rather than the WAIS), which reports a significant association between IQ scores aged 11 years and self-help skills aged 45 and 47 years (Letters, August). We would be very interested to look into this further. Liz Marlow and Vicky Lauté (Letters, August) make the following points:
I I I
that our suggested alternative definition of learning disability is over-inclusive; that we imply that a diagnosis of learning disability is universally beneficial; that services for Sophie (the case example we used) could be provided by others, possibly with advice from the learning disability team; and that we question the utility of IQ scores in parenting cases.
To take these points individually: I The risk of over-inclusiveness is to some extent met by our reference to cognitive function in our proposed definition. Moreover, we feel that in our current state of knowledge learning disability is not a condition that can have a precise definition. In terms of human attributes it is more like beauty than height. I We did not mean to imply that a diagnosis of learning disability is always beneficial. We are fully aware that there is a lot of stigma associated with a learning disability diagnosis. We are however, concerned that those who are entitled to a diagnosis and would benefit from one are given one. I We question the assertion that, at least in the current state of affairs, services for parents with learning disability could be provided through generic child and family services. In our experience these are wholly inadequate to meet the needs of parents with learning disability. We
JOHN GILES/PA WIRE/PRESS ASSOCIATION IMAGES
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agree that child and learning disability services can usefully work together to provide support, as indeed has since happened in Sophie’s case. However, this has had to go far beyond simply giving recommendations and advice. The utility of IQ tests in parenting cases (as in other clinical cases) depends on the validity and reliability of the scores. With regard to the latter, there is evidence that IQ tests only measure to an accuracy of 13 points either side of the measured IQ. Moreover, one of the gold standard tests, the WISC-IV, may well systematically under score the other gold standard test, the WAIS-IV, by 10 points. This lack of accuracy affects both prediction of functional abilities and validity of diagnosis.
Having presented our thoughts on these issues, we would also like to add that there are no simple answers. The outcome we seek is an open-minded debate, within which the issues can be seriously addressed, in the context of the existing state of research and clinical experience rather than the straitjacket of the diagnostic manuals. Perhaps this could begin in the form of a BPS conference? The thinking from this could then feed into the guidelines on learning disability assessment, which we understand are currently in the process of revision. Jenny Webb Sussex Partnership NHS Trust Simon Whitaker University of Huddersfield
NHS and the Olympics – great British inspirations On 27 July I enjoyed the privilege of performing in the Olympic Opening Ceremony to an audience of almost 27 million British viewers. My journey had started some nine months earlier when, as an employee of University College London Hospital I jumped at the chance to audition for the NHS segment of the show. About 180 hours of rehearsals in a combination of film studios, a disused car park near the Ford car plant in Dagenham and the Olympic stadium in all weathers, come rain or shine, followed. Danny Boyle was present at almost every rehearsal, inspiring feelings of national pride, involvement and a sense of ownership of the show. Not only did he achieve this with volunteers but also with the audience. Initial puzzlement at the pastoral scene of a bucolic Britain quickly gave way to a spine-tingling drum call and feelings of awe and amazement as history was bought to life
in a dramatic tearing up of the land with the start of the Industrial Revolution. As the five Olympic rings were forged, the pyrotechnics to simulate the flow of molten iron and the smell of ore synchronously and emotively played to the audience senses. National sentiment was further engaged as Danny wanted to ‘celebrate the NHS’. Such homage was well placed, not only with the year 1948 being the common denominator of the birth of the NHS and the last British hosting of the Olympics but also in showcasing our achievement in developing an institution that at least believes in equality for all. This segment cued my role as a 1950s nurse, in which I, with the other 799 cast members of nurses, doctors and other health professionals, felt proud to take our part in dancing and fine tuning the spell-out NHS in the centre of the stadium. Feelings of community and team spirit were strong and re-ignited a passion for our jobs and the NHS. I couldn’t help but think about what we could achieve if we could bring that culture into our daily jobs as I fought off Voldemort with the help of Mary Poppins! The end message was that Britain is Great – a nation full of innovation, achievement and success. After all, not only did we invent the World Wide Web, we have also pioneered treatment of epilepsy, cancer, infectious diseases and diabetes. We created the smallpox vaccine and discovered DNA. So, perhaps in Jungian terms we have alchemically transformed ourselves in a kind of ‘national’ quest for individuation, dramatically symbolised in Boyle’s industrial forging of the rings, moulding them into the gold medals of health care and technology.
Lawrence Goldie (1923–2012) Lawrence Goldie, who has died aged 88, was a psychiatrist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. He advocated an approach to medical care based on principles of ‘complementarity’, and brought psychoanalytic principles to the treatment of cancer patients. His book Psychotherapy and the Treatment of Cancer Patients: Bearing Cancer in Mind (2005) has become a widely used teaching text at home and abroad. Lawrence was born in Manchester to Jewish immigrant parents from Russia and Romania. He began reading psychology at Manchester University but then volunteered for the RAF and trained as a pilot. After the war he studied medicine. In 1954 Lawrence moved to London to work as a Registrar in the Maudsley Hospital and trained for the Diploma of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry. He worked with Sir Denis Hill innovating research on patients with petit mal epilepsy that combined physiological observation with psychoanalytic techniques. Whilst at the Maudsley, he began training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Tavistock Square. He was supervised by Hannah Segal and Wilfred Bion. Bion inspired much of his subsequent thinking about the approach to seriously ill patients. This underpinned Lawrence’s later work with patients with organic problems, by taking the principles of psychoanalysis out of the
Claire Willis University College London Hospital
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PSYCHOLOGY AN INTRODUCTION
Send your entry (photocopies accepted) marked ‘prize crossword’, to the Leicester office (see inside front cover) deadline 12 November 2012. Winner of prize crossword no 64 Martin Moloney, Kettering no 64 solution Across 1 Cronbach’s alpha, 9 Order, 10 Necessary, 11 Sentence, 12 Glebe, 14 Yang, 15 Circle, 17 Aim, 18 Awe, 19 Region, 20 Soma, 23 Sated, 25 Attested, 28 Elopement, 29 Learn, 30 The Selfish Gene. Down 1 Chomsky, 2 Ordinance, 3 Burden, 4 Cynic, 5 Sack, 6 Lasagne, 7 Heave, 8 Lyceum, 13 Echo, 16 Iago, 17 About-face, 18 Answer, 19 Redress, 21 Al dente, 22 Wealth, 24 Troth, 26 Tutti, 27 Hell.
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consulting room and into the general hospital. Lawrence became Consultant Psychiatrist at Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children, Carshalton in 1961. He then moved to be Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health at the Hammersmith Hospital. There he established a research department attached to the premature baby unit, recording neurophysiological changes in premature and newborn babies. From the Hammersmith Hospital he went to the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London, where he was appointed as their first Consultant Psychiatrist/Consultant Medical Psychotherapist. The longest phase of Lawrence’s career was at the Royal Marsden Hospital, where he worked from 1971 until 1988 as Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. He was the first to investigate the psychiatric and emotional needs of the terminally ill. This work was the foundation of internationally recognised practices in the care of the patients with cancer, being a founder member of the International Pyscho-Oncology Society. In his wide range of work with patients with critical physical illnesses his interest was in understanding what was the experience in the mind of these seriously ill patients. Later Lawrence became Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Hammersmith Hospital (until 1995). Lawrence is survived by his wife, Silvia Oclander and his two children from his first marriage to Fay Jaffa. Helena Goldie West Hampstead London
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Treatment that’s relatively applicable (6,7) A model rejected by Greek writer (5) Blame therapist to some extent (3) About to supply Arctic when short of time (5) Serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug may be so demanding (9) Eight books about ECT perhaps (5) Pharmacist keeps note in strongbox (7) Assessed sighs heard when rejecting dessert (5,2) Ball topped, for instance, or sent back in players’ direction (7) Affliction unknown in Britain (7) Bar resorting to gin (5) Wire daily (9) Pleasant setting for hospital in bay (5) Bride’s promise in artificial language? (3) Some compile account of portion of the small intestine (5) Turning away from rationalism, go for making superficially beautiful (13)
3 4 5 6 7 8 11
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Exonerate sailor to find the answer (7) Having an effect on little devil’s deputy (9) Tory is involved around king in support of Richard III? (7) Unfortunate mishap lessened to some degree (7) Destroyed, it’s said, old page on the right-hand side (5) Part 26 damaged in gland (7) Relationship may be free on the couch? (11) Post-mortem with it relating to awareness of one's own mind (11) Spirit of the age that could be size, get it? (9) Reasonable to be serving American in bar (7) Expose fibber on hearing statistical anomaly (7) Blowing device roars (7) Cry co-ordinating effort of expulsion? (5-2) Some weather may provide unit of heat (5)
Ralph McGuire (1926–2012) Ralph McGuire was the son of a shipyard electrician, born and brought up in Govan in Glasgow. He was an exceptionally bright pupil, going to Glasgow University at the age of 16, where he gained a degree in physics. While teaching and then working in industry for several years, part-time study led to a degree in education. This made him eligible to join the BPS, enabling him to embark on a career in clinical psychology. His research expertise and interpersonal skills shone through, and by the early 1960s he was director of the clinical psychology training course in Glasgow. In 1964 he went to Leeds University to set up a training course, and seven years later he moved to Edinburgh University to take over the course directorship in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology. (Ralph must be the only person who has directed three clinical psychology training courses.) Under his leadership the Edinburgh team worked productively and harmoniously together, until he retired in 1991. He was an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher, who always found time to help and advise students and colleagues despite extensive teaching and administrative duties. And he continued to see patients. All this was conducted with his customary efficiency, competence and good humour. Many of his former trainees and PhD students have become influential leaders in clinical psychology in the UK and abroad. Ralph’s main academic interest was in statistics. His analytical skills and his ability to explain the intricacies of complex inferential analyses patiently and in straightforward language made him highly valued by psychological and medical colleagues. The research output of many notable researchers would have been much smaller had it not been for Ralph’s generous and unstinting support. Over five decades he published well over 100 papers in prestigious scientific and professional journals, such as The Lancet, the British Medical Journal, Behaviour Research and Therapy, and the British Journal of Clinical Psychology; and he continued to publish high-quality papers into the millennium. The topics of his papers were similarly wide ranging, including child psychiatry, psychopharmacology, psychosis, sexual problems, rehabilitation, cancer and dementia. This was truly applying psychological science to the betterment of human lives, from the cradle to the grave! His expertise was also recognised through his membership of the Research Committee of the Mental Health Foundation. Ralph was also interested in developing psychological theory. Indeed his seminal 1965 paper on a conditioning model of sexual variations is still cited regularly. And his chapter in Eysenck’s Handbook of Abnormal Psychology (1960) on classification and diagnosis is a classic. He also contributed to the rise of clinical psychology as a therapeutic profession, fostering the emergence of behaviour therapy, participating in cognitive therapy research, and evaluating the move to community mental health care. His role in facilitating that professional journey was massive but not widely recognised. He was very unassuming, with no appetite for publicity or selfaggrandisement. He just got on with things. Ralph died in Edinburgh on 3 April 2012 aged 86. Many people will continue to benefit from having known him. His compassion, wisdom, humour, integrity, warmth, generosity and intellect will be sorely missed, especially by his daughters Catriona, Cecilia, Eleanor and Ursula and his son Ralph. His wife Beryl died in 2005, after 54 years of affectionate marriage. Dave Peck Peebles, Scotland
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Proposed mandatory polygraph testing The UK government is proposing a nationwide roll-out of mandatory polygraph testing for convicted sex offenders on licensed release. The move comes after a pilot trial in the Midlands was judged a success. A Downing Street spokesperson told the press: ‘It’s vital that we protect the public from serious sex offenders.’ The polygraph, which measures physiological arousal, is used in some US states as a lie detector test, although it has never been used in an official capacity in that way in the UK. Over the last few decades a large literature has accumulated showing that the measure is unreliable, with a particularly high risk of false positive results. The British Psychological Society’s own review published in 2004 stated (tinyurl.com/77ur7wm): ‘…even in the most favourable circumstances polygraphic lie detection accuracy is not high.’ Professor Aldert Vrij at the University of Plymouth, a contributor to the BPS review, told us the type of polygraph test used to monitor sex offenders is particularly unreliable because it involves the use of vague
DEATH OF A PSYCHOLOGY PIONEER Psychology is mourning the passing of another of its greats, with news that George Armitage Miller has died aged 92. Miller is known to psychology students the world over, thanks to his seminal paper on the limitations of short-term memory, first published in 1956, ‘The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information’. In a New York Times obituary, Miller (an Honorary Fellow of the Society) is credited with helping establish the nascent subdiscipline of cognitive psychology back in the 1960s when he founded Harvard’s Centre for Cognitive Studies with Jerome Bruner. A collaborator with Noam Chomsky, another of his many interests was language processing. Whilst at Princeton in the 1980s, he oversaw the creation of Wordnet, a lexical database that’s been used in artificial intelligence research. Steven Pinker told the New York Times, ‘George Miller, more than anyone else, deserves credit for the existence of the modern science of mind.’ CJ
questioning. ‘Such tests lack support in the scientific polygraph community,’ he said, adding that he believes it would
better for the police to be trained in techniques that aren’t ‘atheoretical and inaccurate’. The new trial, commissioned by the
Ministry of Justice, took place between April 2010 and December 2011, and involved 635 sex offenders on supervised release from prison, 332 of whom completed one or more polygraph tests as a condition of their probation (all bar four were male). The University of Kent research team, led by Chartered Psychologist Theresa Gannon, focused on the number of ‘clinically significant disclosures’ made by the offenders during the period of study (e.g. contacting someone they shouldn’t have). These were reported to the researchers by offender managers during periodic telephone interviews. The central finding was that more disclosures were made by offenders who received polygraph tests compared with offenders who did not (an average of 2.6 versus 1.25). The polygraphed offenders took a total of 606 tests over the course of the trial. They were asked questions about their adherence to supervision and other conditions of their release. Nearly 30 per cent were judged to have lied during
Psychologist tops science popularity poll A postdoctoral psychologist at the University of Bristol has won the ‘I’m a Scientist, in the Zone’ nationwide competition, designed and funded by the Wellcome Trust. Competing against 41 other scientists in an online X-factor-style popularity contest (see http://inthezone.imascientist.org.uk), Pete Etchells took to his computer through the summer to answer live science questions posed by hundreds of school students aged 11 to 19. At the end of the 12-week process, the students voted for their favourite scientist, and Etchells, a specialist in eye-movement research, came out on top (follow him on Twitter @DrPeteEtchells). ‘I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for scientists to get
involved in projects like this’, said Etchells, ‘and would encourage as many other students and postdocs to take part as possible. It’s important to help people understand that scientists aren’t just stereotypical old men in white coats – anyone can be a scientist.’ Etchells writes a science blog ‘CounterBalanced’ at www.scilogs.com/counterbalanced, part of the Nature blogs network, and plans to spend his £500 prize on creating short, engaging psychology videos. Etchells’ success follows the triumph of psychology graduate Suzi Gage and BPS member Helen O’Connor, who won the Brain and Sports Zones, respectively, in last year’s ‘I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here’ version of the contest. CJ
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for sex offenders their first polygraph test and rates of disclosure were particularly high among these offenders (overall, lying and disclosures tailed off with repeated testing). Disclosures in the polygraph group were most often made during the pre-polygraph interview, suggesting it was the threat of the test that was enticing confessions. Offender managers could respond to disclosures by recalling offenders to prison where they felt this was appropriate. Without a disclosure they were not permitted to recall offenders who failed the polygraph, but they could take measures such as increasing their supervision. Offender managers in the polygraph condition more often took action after a disclosure than managers in the comparison condition. Interviews with some of the offender managers and offenders generated largely favourable responses. The managers felt the test helped with their task of managing the offenders: ‘Often we’re just relying on self-disclosures... we can’t always check the validity of what they’re saying... the polygraph gives you that back-up,’ said one. Although offenders said they didn’t trust the test, nearly half said it helped them obey the rules of their release. ‘I’m tempted to say
that it’s a good idea despite the fact that I detest it,’ said one. The researchers acknowledged some of the limitations of their study. For instance, it’s possible that knowing they were in the polygraph condition may have motivated the offender managers to report more disclosures. Also, offender disclosures were not verified, so there’s a risk some could have been false. Nonetheless, lead researcher Dr Gannon said she was pleased that the government is considering adopting mandatory polygraph testing nationwide. ‘The research findings clearly show that the polygraph increases communication between sex offenders and probation staff, which has to be a good thing for the community,’ she said. These latest developments follow the announcement at the start of the year by Hertfordshire police that they had completed a successful polygraph trial involving men arrested for downloading inappropriate images of children. The Association of Chief Police Officers said at the time that they’d established a working group to advise other forces interested in adopting the technology (see News, February 2012). CJ I The evaluation of the mandatory polygraph pilot (pdf): tinyurl.com/crg5rk6
More data malpractice hits social psychology The cloud of scandal hanging over social psychology refuses to pass, with news that yet another social psychologist has left his post amid accusations of malpractice. According to Nature, Lawrence Sanna resigned at the end of May from the University of Michigan where he held a professorship, and has so far retracted four papers – three in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and one in Psychological Science. The last paper ‘Construing collective concerns: Increasing cooperation by broadening construals in social dilemmas’, published in 2009, purported to show that people behave more cooperatively when primed to think abstractly. ‘The data reported in this article are invalid and
should not be considered part of the scientific literature,’ was how the journal said Sanna explained his retraction to them. Concerns about Sanna’s data were first raised by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Uri Simonsohn – the same man who identified anomalies in the data of the Dutch psychologist, Dirk Smeesters, found guilty of research malpractice earlier this year (see News, August 2012). Simonsohn’s statistical techniques for identifying questionable data are explained in a paper that he’s recently submitted for publication in Psychological Science, and which is now also available online at the Social Science Research Network (tinyurl.com/cunez7p), entitled
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CAMBRIDGE DEPARTMENTS MERGE The University of Cambridge has merged its two psychology departments (‘Experimental Psychology’ and ‘Social and Developmental Psychology’) to create a unitary Department of Psychology within the School of Biological Sciences. The new department is headed by BPS Fellow Professor Trevor Robbins and has 19 research groups (Robbins talked about the merger in an interview in our May issue). Psychology at Cambridge has a long history: the university appointed W.H.R. Rivers as a lecturer in Physiological and Experimental Psychology in 1897, and its first proper psychology laboratory opened in 1912.
DEMENTIA REPORT An All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia has investigated why so many people with dementia fail to receive a diagnosis, thus impeding their access to treatment. A common reason is people believing that memory problems are a normal part of ageing. Many surveyed carers and patients complained about GPs being barriers to diagnosis rather than gatekeepers. The provision of memory clinics was also found to vary widely around the country. I Download the report at tinyurl.com/cfsk4t5
ANTIPSYCHOTICS AND PATIENT CHOICE A pair of clinical psychologists, Professor Anthony Morrison and Dr Paul Hutton, together with colleagues, have called for patients with psychosis to be given more choice about whether or not to take antipsychotic medication. In an editorial for the British Journal of Psychiatry, Morrison et al. argue that recent meta-analyses show that the benefits of the drugs have been overestimated whilst their harmful side-effects have been underestimated (http://bjp.rcpsych.org/ content/201/2/83.short). ‘It may be time to reappraise the assumption that antipsychotics must always be the first line of treatment for people with psychosis,’ they wrote.
‘Just post it: The lesson from two cases of fabricated data detected by statistics alone’. Simonsohn says in his paper that he is also aware of a third case of suspected fraud but because of the unavailability of the relevant raw data he is unable to demonstrate this conclusively. ‘[If ] we desire to prevent and detect fraud,’ he concludes, ‘journals should require authors to post the raw data behind the results they report.’ CJ
Rich and rewarding Jon Sutton reports from the annual conference of PsyPAG at the University of Northumbria, 18–20 July These are not easy times to be a postgraduate in psychology. Talking to delegates at my first PsyPAG conference for some 15 years, I was struck by their drive and professionalism in the face of looming career uncertainty and limited opportunities. Perhaps competition is good for the discipline; on the basis of the buzz surrounding this event, the next generation are certainly ones to watch. PsyPAG is a national organisation for all psychology postgraduates based at UK institutions. Funded by the Research Board of the British Psychological Society, PsyPAG is run on a voluntary basis by postgraduates for postgraduates. This excellent conference, hosted by the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, brought together postgraduates from around the country. The three days were led by keynotes from established academics. Before my flying visit, Professor Gerry Altmann (University of York) opened the conference with a talk on the importance of multiple representations of an object for event comprehension. On reading ‘the squirrel will crack the acorn’, we must maintain multiple instantiations of the acorn: before it was cracked, and after. Using a series of fMRI and eye tracking studies, Altmann showed how these ‘before’ and ‘after’ states compete, and the implications of this for sentence processing and the implicit learning of grammatical information.
Also before my arrival (thanks to Cross Country Trains), Professor Pam Briggs (Northumbria University) questioned why we trust online health advice. More than 80 per cent of internet users seek health information online, and Briggs has found that nearly all of those who reject a site as a trusted source do so in the first few minutes, simply on the basis of design factors such as poor layout and use of colour, pop up adverts and poor navigation aids. Beyond that, users are looking for informative, unbiased content, clear simple language, and features such as discussion groups and frequently asked questions. Briggs advises those delivering health information online to make the page visually appealing, avoid overly commercial elements, make the motivations of the site clear, create a likeable character for the website, allow personalised, tailored experience, and include markers of both social identity and expertise. And these characteristics have an impact: creating high- and lowtrust versions of a website describing the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, Briggs was able to demonstrate greater reductions in drinking amongst those who had viewed the high-trust version. She is now working on www.ipexonline.org, a programme examining the role of patients’ experiences as a resource for choice and decision making in health care. On the final day, Professor Ian
CREATIVITY TAKEN TOO FAR Just months after its release, the best-selling popular psychology book Imagine: How Creativity Works has been pulled from the shelves after the author, science writing wunderkind Jonah Lehrer, admitted to fabricating Bob Dylan quotes. The quotes in question were spotted by journalist Michael Moynihan who, late in July, published a detailed account in Tablet (a US Jewish magazine) of what happened when he confronted Lehrer about their provenance. At first Lehrer said the quotes came from an extended, unreleased version of a Bob Dylan interview given to him by Dylan’s manager Jeff Rosen, but Moynihan exposed this as a fabrication. In the wake of the Tablet article, Lehrer resigned his recently inaugurated ‘Frontal Cortex’ column at the New Yorker and issued a statement through his publishers. ‘The lies are over now,’ he said. ‘I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologise to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers… I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed.’ The trouble for Lehrer, who also wrote the best-sellers Proust Was a Neuroscientist and The Decisive Moment, came after he was already in hot water at the New Yorker for recycling some of his old material (see Media, August 2012). CJ
Maynard (Sheffield Hallam University) gave a timely account of 20 years as a sport psychologist with British Olympic sailing. Back in Barcelona 1992, he admitted, ‘We were rubbish. I was probably the most rubbish of the lot. It was a recipe for disaster… underperformance from the sailors and support staff.’ Thankfully many of Maynard’s reflections at the time were adopted for the next Games in Atlanta – a move towards individualised sports science which he described as ‘from G and T – gin and tonic – to G and T – gym and training’. Drawing on psychological constructs such as hardiness, need for achievement, and dependency, Maynard illustrated the numerous tweaks that can make that 0.01 per cent difference between gold and silver. It was fascinating to see the shifts in emphasis over the years, from mental toughness and building the ‘British bubble’ around the team, to a focus on different types of goal – process, performance and outcome. After Athens, a more ‘corporate’ approach was the order of the day, with Maynard emphasising that ‘money wins medals’. With huge honesty, he admitted, ‘I’m still not sure after 30 years in sport psychology whether I’m just a placebo.’ Maynard must have done plenty right though, given the medals haul and the increased sport psychology input over 20 years from a lone sport psychologist on 40 days per year to one full-time and two part-time in 2008. Of course, the keynote speakers were just a small part of the proceedings. Highlights from the postgraduates themselves on the first day included symposia on ‘qualitative research with impact’, forensic psychology, and eating behaviours; followed by talks on topics as diverse as white water rafting accidents (Iain Wilson, Loughborough University), text message shortcuts (Kirsten Bartlett, Sheffield Hallam University), and trauma reaction in police officers (Sajida Naz, University of Huddersfield). On day two I attended an excellent symposium on the importance of psychological factors to physical health and well-being. Alys Griffiths (University of Manchester) had gone into deprived areas of Sheffield and found that feelings of defeat and entrapment predicted later depression, anxiety and a reduction in positive coping strategies. Incoming PsyPAG Chair Fleur-Michelle Coiffait
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(University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian) demonstrated the importance of cognitive factors such as locus of control in the subjective well-being of parents who have children with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities. Rebecca Band (University of Manchester) described her work on the role of significant others in chronic fatigue syndrome. Annegret Schneider (Peninsula Dental School) highlighted the importance of mapping feelings and cognitions over the course of the dental care cycle, in order to reduce the very common dental anxiety. Finally, Amy Cadden (NHS Lothian) revealed a worrying lack of screening for mood disturbances in stroke patients, and outlined the use of a ‘distress thermometer’ measure to remedy this. The rich and rewarding presentations just kept on coming on the final day. I particularly enjoyed Alison Davies (Open University) on how the talk of parents of children with ADHD construct what it means to be a ‘good father’; Hannah Heath (University of Bath) with a study of the impact that self-harm has on friends and friendships; and Nadia Crellin (UCL) on measuring family carer efficacy for managing neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia. The conference also offered a range of workshops. The one I attended, led by trainee occupational psychologists Laura Neale and Nicola Toth (University of Northumbria) aimed to create the resilient psychologists of the future, who could survive ‘the rollercoaster of postgraduate study’. The importance of playing to signature strengths, adopting ‘can do’ thinking and an optimistic explanatory style, and setting SMART goals were all in evidence. Developing and using good social support systems was described as a key way to strengthen well-being and resilience. PsyPAG is one such support system during what can seem like a long and lonely slog. On the basis of this successful conference – for which much credit must go to the organising committee of Sarah Goldie, Amy Fielden, Greg Elder and Laura Neale – I would encourage all postgraduates to get involved. I See www.psypag.co.uk for more details. You can also follow @PsyPAG on Twitter, and there is a PsyPAG Alumni Association for past committee members (see www.psypag.co.uk/committee/alumni).
Honours at the International Congress
One of Britain’s foremost developmental psychologists, Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith CBE of Birkbeck, University of London, was honoured with the prestigious Fondation Mattei Dogan Prize by the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) in July. Established in 2006, the $4000 award recognises ‘a contribution that represents a major advancement in psychology by a scholar or team of scholars of high international reputation’. Karmiloff-Smith, an Honorary Fellow of the Society, was presented with the award in Cape Town, at the 30th International Congress of Psychology. ‘She is an international scholar and scientist who, for the past 30 years, has been working at the intersections between educational and developmental psychology, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, and linguistics,’ said IUPsyS President Rainer Silbereisen. Professor Karmiloff-Smith began her research career in Geneva at the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology run by Jean Piaget. Between then and arriving at Birkbeck, she’s worked at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the MRC Cognitive Development Unit in London and the UCL Institute of Child Health. The latter phase of her career has been focused on atypical development, including the study of conditions like William’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome. Karmiloff-Smith advocates a dynamic ‘neuroconstructivist’ approach that recognises how syndrome-specific abnormalities in basic level processes give rise to problems in particular domains such as with numbers. ‘I am honoured to receive this award’, Karmiloff-Smith said in a
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statement to the BPS, ‘and especially delighted that it recognises the importance of development in psychological research.’ Another award winner in Cape Town was Albert Bandura of Stanford University, the creator of ‘social learning theory’, which was made famous by his Bobo doll experiment published in 1961. Bandura was honoured with the IUPsyS Lifetime Career Award. ‘Bandura’s work inspired us, he really served the humanity,’ said IUPsyS President Silbereisen. Dr Sathasivan (Saths) Cooper, previously Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of DurbanWestville, was honoured with the Achievement Against the Odds Award for ‘a researcher or team…who succeeded in conducting research under extremely difficult circumstances’. Cooper spent nine years in jail for opposing apartheid, including resisting the creation of an ethnic university. He was credited by IUPsyS with helping to restore the reputation of psychology in South Africa and is set to succeed Silbereisen as IUPsyS President. Finally, Naomi Eisenberger at the University of California and William Cunningham at the University of Toronto were honoured with Young Investigator Awards, in recognition of the significant contribution they’ve already made to psychological science. In his closing remarks at the Congress, Rainer Silbereisen said the presentations and discussions at the event were ‘catalysts for better and more relevant basic, applied, and translational research, and for the professional applications of psychology – all working towards improving, developing and enriching society for everyone. Psychology is serving the humanity.’ CJ
Annual Conference 2013 www.bps.org.uk/ac2013
Our keynote speakers are Professor Alex Haslam Dr Karen Kitchener
NRM/SCIENCE & SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY
Professor Robin Dunbar Professor Peter Fonagy Professor Susan Gathercole
Find us on: Twitter @BPSConference Facebook /BPSConferences Call for oral presentations, symposia and workshops is open until 1 October Call for poster presentations is open until 3 December Registration will open 3 September
9â€“11 April 2013 Harrogate International Centre 656
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Bearing in mind that we’d yet to enjoy the tonic of the Olympics, a flurry of reports were published this summer, providing new evidence about the state of the country’s mental well-being. First off, the Office For National Statistics (ONS) published its first annual subjective wellbeing results, showing that three quarters of people aged over 16 rated their overall life satisfaction as 7 or more (considered medium to high) on a scale of 1 to 10. Comparing across regions, the highest proportion of people reporting very low or low life satisfaction lived in England, the lowest proportion in Northern Ireland. The data also revealed the adverse effects of unemployment – across the UK, 45 per cent of the unemployed rated their life satisfaction below 7, twice the proportion of employed people who did so. Fears about the effects of economic austerity were also raised by new data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on prescriptions in England by GPs and other health professionals. Of the 200 drug categories, the largest rise was in antidepressants, with just under 47 million prescriptions made in 2011, an increase of 3.9 million (or 9.1 per cent) compared with 2010 – the continuation of a decades-long trend. Prescription rates were highest in Blackpool, which was also the English
town with the lowest happiness levels in the ONS survey (across the whole UK, the Orkney Islands were the happiest place). The national picture was darkened further by an online survey of 300 UK GPs, over three quarters of whom said they felt there’d been an increase in mental health problems linked to the recession, particularly anxiety in men. The survey was conducted between April and May by the Insight Research Group. If the doctors’ fears are true, the health consequences of increased rates of poor mental health were brought home by a new study published in the BMJ. Tom Russ and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 10 longitudinal studies conducted in England involving over 68,000 people. They found that even mild, subclinical levels of psychological distress were associated with an increased risk of dying sooner, even after lifestyle, social and health factors were taken into account (www.bmj.com/content/345/ bmj.e4933). More severe psychological distress was associated with even greater risk of death. ‘Further research is required to investigate whether treating psychological distress…could have an ameliorating effect on the increased mortality demonstrated here,’ the researchers said. CJ
No need to hide your ‘lying eyes’ A team of psychologists led by Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire has debunked a popular myth about lying (PLoS One; tinyurl.com/74hl4wc). The researchers tested the idea, rooted in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) teachings, that in right-handers, glancing up and to the right is a sign of lying whilst looking up and to the left is a sign that a real memory is being recalled. Wiseman’s team instructed 32 students to lie about where they’d hidden a mobile phone
and then analysed their eye movements. No evidence was found that the students made more up-and-right eye movements when lying compared with when telling the truth. An analysis of real-life videos of people lying at press conferences also failed to turn up any support for the myth. The results provide ‘considerable grounds to be skeptical of the notion that the proposed patterns of eyemovements provide a reliable indicator of lying,’
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the researchers concluded. Since its publication in July, the open-access article has been downloaded over 20,000 times, and numerous NLP practitioners have taken to social media outlets to say that they never made such claims in the first place. Wiseman responded on Twitter: ‘Love the NLP folks saying they never believed the eye movement/ lying claim. Before yesterday we couldn’t find [a single] website that was critical.’ CJ
FUNDING NEWS From the cross–research council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme: Extending working lives: Research Partnership Awards. Available to support collaborations between academics and public/private employers to conduct research promoting health and well-being in the older workforce. Areas of interest include understanding the determinants of working later in life and the relationship between health, work and well-being of older workers. To assist researchers to build collaborative partnership with employers and stakeholders a Partnership Building Workshop will take place on 8–10 October 2012. Deadlines: Workshop 5 September 2012. Outline proposals 4 December 2012. I tinyurl.com/d57ynae Promoting physical activity in older age. Funding for interdisciplinary research into the physiological effects and behaviours associated with physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults, which will inform the future development of effective interventions to motivate and sustain activity in this target population. Proposals should focus on the following: I Effects of activity and sedentary behaviour on older people’s health I Understanding the determinants of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles in later life I Measurement of activity and inactivity in older populations Collaborations with users, service providers, stakeholder organisations and government departments are strongly encouraged. Applications deadline: 18 October 2012. I tinyurl.com/bv8eupz The EPSRC is organising a five-day interactive workshop (sandpit) on Digital Personhood on 26–30 November 2012. This initiative will explore ‘How can digital technologies influence individual expression of “self”?’ The main themes will be: I overcoming barriers to the expression of digital identity I curating personal digital narratives I physical proxies of digital self I multiple digital projections of self for good or bad I understanding how citizens could be empowered by utilising the value of their digital self. Applications deadline: 24 September 2012. I tinyurl.com/cekbs6e
For more, see www.bps.org.uk/funds Funding bodies should e-mail news to Elizabeth Beech on email@example.com for possible inclusion
Licensed to sin We usually think of over-indulgence in terms of a lack of willpower. I scoff the doughnut because I can’t marshal the necessary self-control to resist it. A great deal of psychology research has pursued this particular line, demonstrating, for example, that willpower seems to be a finite resource. Expend it in one situation and you’ll have less left over for another. A new study by Jessie de Witt Huberts and her colleagues at Utrecht University takes a different perspective. They point out that we often over-indulge, not because we can’t help it, but because we reason that it’s okay to do so. After that half-hour run, we tell ourselves, we deserve the doughnut! de Witt Huberts’ team call this self-licensing and they say it’s surprisingly underresearched. Previous studies have shown how self-licensing affects our choices. For example, after working harder, people are more likely to choose a cake over a fruit salad. But before now, no one’s looked to see how self-licensing might affect actual indulgent consumption. Before they got started, de Witt Huberts and her team had to confront a complication with researching this topic – the need to separate out the effects of low energy from self-licensing. If someone’s been working hard, not only might this encourage them to think they deserve a naughty snack, their lack of energy might also deplete their willpower (indeed, studies have suggested that low sugar levels reduce willpower). To get around this problem, de Witt Huberts and her colleagues needed a way to trick people into thinking they’d worked hard (inviting self-licensing) without actually diminishing their willpower levels. They did this by having participants test out what they were told was a new screening tool for dyslexia. It involved looking at 200 words on a computer screen, one at a time, and pressing the key on the keyboard that corresponded to the first letter of each word. Crucially, one group of participants did this for five minutes, and were then told they had to do it all over again for another five minutes to check the reliability of the screening tool. The other participants simply had a oneminute break between two five-minute sessions. In a pilot study with 106 women, the group who thought they’d had to test the screening tool twice, felt like they’d worked harder than the other group, who thought they’d done it just once (even though both groups had worked for the same length of time). Next, both groups completed the Stroop test, a classic measure of self-control that requires In the European Journal of Social people to read colour words (e.g. blue), whilst ignoring the Psychology ink colour they’re written in. This test confirmed that both groups had the same levels of self-control even though one group felt like they’d worked harder than the other. When it came to the study proper, 39 women were split into two groups – one did the dyslexia screening tool in two phases, to make them feel like they’d worked harder, and the other group did it in one bash. Next, ostensibly as part of a separate consumer research study, all the women taste-tested some crisps, M&Ms, wine gums and chocolate chip cookies. The take-home finding? Both groups said their willpower levels felt the same, but the women who thought they’d worked harder tended to eat more of the naughty food. In the 10 minutes available, they consumed an average of 26 grammes more snack food, which equated to 130 more calories. As well as feeling like they’d worked harder, they also said they felt more hungry, but this wasn’t correlated with the amount they ate. The researchers speculated that the feelings of hunger could have been a further form of self-licensing – ‘I’ve worked hard and I’m hungry’. This study is one of the first steps towards uncovering the part that self-licensing plays in giving in to temptation. It’s limited in that the sample only included women and the self-licensing was implicit. The women who thought they’d worked harder were more indulgent, but we don’t know anything about the way they reasoned with themselves, or if the effect was conscious at all. ‘Nevertheless,’ the researchers concluded, ‘although many questions about self-licensing require further investigation, the current studies demonstrate that sometimes people strategically choose to indulge and that gratification of our desires is not inevitably governed by our impulses.’
Not in my gang In Cognitive Development, April to June It’s a fact of life that when kids form friendship groups some would-be members get left out. A lot of psychology research has focused on what it’s like to be rejected. But now a new study has taken a more unusual approach, asking children and adolescents to recall times they left someone out, and to explain their reasons for doing so. Three age-matched groups (7, 11 and 17 years) of 28 children each were interviewed, and a clear difference emerged with age. The younger children rarely described themselves as having any choice when they’d excluded others. They mostly gave practical reasons – ‘We were playing piggy-back wars… another kid wanted to play… we didn’t have any more people for him’ – or peer pressure – ‘We were playing jump roping and somebody else wanted to play with us, but then my friend said no’. Their pleas of innocence contradict behavioural observations that young children often deliberately leave others out. The 17-year-olds, by contrast, most often gave the reason that they disliked the excluded person – ‘We didn’t invite this one girl because she’s not open-minded…’ was a typical comment. Based on the finding with the younger children, Recchia and her team said that social inclusion programmes for youngsters may benefit from encouraging them to take ownership over their actions, ‘given their apparent reluctance or incapacity to do so spontaneously’.
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On a positive note, when asked to evaluate their reasons for excluding others, even the younger participants showed evidence that they were conscious of the ramifications (e.g. the rejected person might not want to be friends with them in the future). It was also clear that the participants sometimes deliberately avoided thinking too much about what they’d done – a strategy that the researchers said ‘was aimed at numbing their awareness of the emotional consequences of leaving others out’. Consistent with this, some participants mentioned feeling guilty when they gave in to peer pressure. Even among the 17-yearolds, who mostly treated disliking another person as a valid reason for excluding them, there was evidence they were aware of the ‘undesirability’ of exclusion. Recchia’s team said this was ‘heartening’ and could provide ‘an initial entree for interventions aimed at helping widely disliked victims of exclusion become reintegrated’. This is the first study to investigate the subjective experience of excluding others across a wide age range of young people. The researchers said a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model fails to capture the complexity of their results. ‘We argue that research on social exclusion could benefit from a fuller recognition of this variability and complexity in young people’s subjective construals of their own experiences,’ they concluded, ‘thus setting the stage for programmes that may help young people to more critically and deliberately weigh their multiple and varying goals and concerns.’
The pitfalls of moving away from hierarchy In Human Relations What’s the best way to organise groups of people? Some organisations have explored the use of ‘autonomous workgroups’, where teams are led from within rather than by a supervisor. Providing workers with more autonomy is well known to promote motivation. But is the relative rarity of such approaches merely down to inertia within the world of work, or are there some challenges that need consideration? Jonas Ingvaldsen and Monica Rolfsen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology present a case study detailing ‘Tools’, a Norwegian company that decided to move from a hierarchical situation to a flatter structure, partly led by an organisational and national culture sympathetic to labour empowerment. The investigators took a qualitative approach, using interviews and focus groups to gather information from team members over 13 years. The new system began with a different team member each week taking on a spokesperson role. At first the workforce was enthusiastic: ‘The flat structure has come to stay. We won’t return to the foreman system, where someone points the finger and tells you what to do.’ Eight years later several issues had emerged. The transient nature of the spokesperson role made it possible to skimp on more onerous and seemingly less essential activities like information-sharing. Moreover, because the spokesperson role was crafted around team needs,
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when tensions between teams or functions emerged, there were few formal mechanisms to resolve disputes. Spokespeople were unable to enforce decisions that were individually unpopular but better for the larger system: ‘selfmanagement ends up with what is optimal for each individual, and that is comfort’ – the team’s production schedule may be efficient for the team but harmful for inventory management. Tools then introduced a new system involving distributed leadership, where managerial responsibilities were unbundled and allocated to different team members. In this ‘5-M’ model, one person would look after Man (i.e. staffing), another Machine, and so on. While this appears to have had some powerful benefits – Milieu specialists can get together in their M-meeting, and discuss how to improve air quality across the organisation – real-
life problems don’t always fall neatly into boxes. The interviews revealed concerns that nonessential issues often got kicked from one M to another without resolution. Concrete and immediate problems did tend to get resolved rapidly and effectively, but anything bigpicture called on coordination that no one was equipped for. This case study captures some of the benefits and challenges of non-hierarchical methods within large, complex organisations. Are all members dispositionally suited to taking on leadership duties over their existing work? How can they develop mastery of these duties when only practised one week in six? Are the domains that we carve the world into sufficiently legible to those who have to operate with them? Worthwhile questions to help us toward a 21st-century approach to the workplace. I Written by Alex Fradera, for www.occdigest.org.uk
The material in this section is taken from the Society’s Research Digest blog at www.researchdigest.org.uk/blog, and is written by its editor Dr Christian Jarrett. Visit the blog for full coverage including references and links, additional current reports, an archive, comment and more. Subscribe by RSS or e-mail at www.researchdigest.org.uk/blog Become a fan at www.facebook.com/researchdigest Follow the Digest editor at www.twitter.com/researchdigest
Science over speculation Jennifer Wild on if and how psychologists should respond following mass shootings n 20 July 2012, a young man walked O into the premiere of the latest Batman movie in Denver, Colorado and opened fire, killing 12 people, and injuring 58. These murders occurred a year after Anders Brevik massacred 72 people in Norway. While CNN, the BBC, Sky and several other international broadcast corporations were on the scene immediately, reporting the facts of the case, the overriding and unanswered question was ‘Why?’ Was James Holmes mentally disturbed? CNN, Sky, and BBC World News contacted trauma specialists, including me, to ask questions about what James Holmes may be suffering from. What tipped him over the edge? Having never met or assessed James Holmes, it’s impossible to diagnose him. But what then can psychologists offer the media following tragic events, such as the Denver shootings or the Norway massacre, which take place at the hands of others? James Holmes was apparently an ordinary young man who had recently dropped out of a doctoral programme in neuroscience. We can speculate on his recent life experiences, such as failing at graduate school, and a possible link between feeling like a failure and the
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drive to immortalise his story. But these links are tenuous, especially without having met or assessed the man. When interviewed, I certainly stressed the importance of assessing James Holmes before drawing any firm conclusions. This raises the question whether or not psychologists should be asked to comment on the mental health of suspects in the aftermath of trauma. What, if anything, can psychologists say? Rather than speculating about the motives of killers in the early days after mass trauma, psychologists have a pivotal role to communicate what can help the shattered community. We can raise awareness about effective early interventions that are based on science and that will offer the most support. We can offer insights into established facts, if any, about the suspect’s background and we can raise awareness about psychology as a clinical discipline, such as how psychologists make diagnoses, how reliable these are, and how symptoms may influence someone’s behaviour. Psychologists can comment on the psychiatric disorders that are linked to increased violence, such as antisocial or paranoid personality disorder. We can also talk about the factors that increase vulnerability to paranoia and antisocial behaviour, such as past violence in the home or chronic sleep deprivation. We can highlight established facts about violence, what we have learned over the years about violence in the media and subsequent copycat killings. We have the opportunity to relay
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findings and facts that may actually influence people’s behaviour positively. For example, speaking to the BPS for the website, Professor Ken Browne explained that teenagers and young adults from violent homes are more likely to act out violent scenes that they see in the media and incorporate what they see into their violent acts. There’s a direct link between exposure to past violence, seeing violence in films and games, and acting it out. Knowing these facts may inspire people to avoid over-exposure to violence in media entertainment. Psychologists inspire behavioural change with their clients every day. Conveying science accurately and sensibly may inspire change on a wider scale if we communicate sensibly with the media. The problem arises when we venture beyond our area of expertise and make comments based on feelings rather than fact. Whilst our speculations provide provocative soundbites, commenting on the fly about a topic we’re unfamiliar with gives the message that we will comment on anything. Instead of reducing future contact with the media because we’ve failed to deliver science, psychologists may find they’re being called upon even more and asked to comment on topics weakly linked to their area of expertise. The solution is one of responsibility to the profession, the media and to viewers and readers. Journalists work under enormous pressure to meet daily deadlines. They write or produce programmes on a wide range of topics they know little about. They rely on us to clearly communicate our expertise, to know where our limits lie and to be willing to recommend someone else when we’re asked to comment on a topic outside our area. Then it’s a win-win situation. We help the media find their expert. In so doing, they’re more likely to convey science over speculation and viewers are more likely to gain accurate information that may help rather than just entertain. Whilst black-and-white answers about why people kill grab attention, mass killings rarely have black-and-white answers. With this in mind, psychologists can portray the many shades of grey surrounding these tragic events and focus on what shattered communities can do to get through their trauma.
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The mental health debate – what next? In June, Conservative MP Charles Walker done? Walker says he had ‘little twinges’ stood up in the House of Commons, in when he saw the headline in his local front of TV cameras and Hansard scribes, newspaper – ‘“Fruitcake” MP praised and announced: ‘I am delighted to say for bravery’ – but says he had no regrets that I have been a practising fruitcake for about using the word. ‘I have been 31 years. On occasions it is manageable involved in mental health for the best and on occasions it becomes quite part of seven years – part of the problem difficult. It takes one to some quite dark is people are terrified of it and they places.’ Walker was speaking as part of a shouldn’t be. That’s why I thought it was debate on mental health, tabled and led important to show a lightness of touch. by Conservative MP Nicky Since it’s talking about my Morgan, which ended up own condition, I can talk lasting four-and-a-half hours about it how I like. If we – you can (at the time of didn’t laugh in my own home writing) still watch it at about my own particular tinyurl.com/mhdebate. manic phases, life would be Other MPs also spoke so much more difficult.’ up: former Labour Defence Jones admitted initial Minister Kevan Jones regret, ‘but the response revealed his history of afterwards shows it was the depression; Conservative MP right thing to do’. Jowit Sarah Wollaston shared her writes that ‘a week after the experience of postnatal debate, the four MPs between depression and severe them have had more than Nicky Morgan MP anxiety attacks; and fellow 1,000 emails, letters and Tory Andrea Leadsom said phone calls. Many colleagues the Commons session had have thanked them.’ been ‘part debate and part group therapy’ Most of the responses, though, have as she recounted her experience of been from ordinary people: MPs see many postnatal depression. On Twitter, who are struggling with mental health #mentalhealthdebate trended. The problems at their weekly surgeries. Jones response seemed uniformly positive. told Jowit about a woman he met in his Sue Baker, director of Time to Change, North Durham constituency. ‘In her late England’s biggest mental health anti50s to early 60s, a middle-class lady came stigma programme, said: ‘This will go up to me and said she’d had depression down in the history books as we have for 10 years, and was an alcoholic for never before seen our political leaders and seven. She said: “What you have said has parliamentarians feel able to discuss their given me strength.” If I’d passed her, I’d mental health problems openly without never have guessed. If you walk down the fear of discrimination. We want people street, you can’t tell who has mental from all walks of life to be able to do the health issues.’ same, and it’s great to see politicians Jowit goes on to discuss research by making a stand.’ Conservative MP Robert Time to Change, a charity tackling the Buckland said: ‘I think the word historic stigma surrounding mental illnesses, is not an overstatement today.’ finding that 35 per cent of respondents But what happened next? said stigma had ‘made them give up on Writing in The Guardian at the end of their ambitions, hopes and dreams for July, political correspondent Juliette Jowit, their life’. ‘By speaking out,’ she writes, met Walker and Jones to find out. Did ‘the MPs all hope to help others by these MPs wake up full of regret the next showing the world that most – not all, morning? How did their family, they stress, but many – people with colleagues, friends and constituents react? mental health experiences can lead ‘Whether it affects how people view me, interesting and fulfilling lives when they I do not know,’ Jones said. ‘And frankly have had help controlling and dealing I do not care because if it helps other with their issues.’ people who have depression or who have Commenting for a news piece on the suffered from it in the past, then good.’ Society’s own website, psychologist Ashley Walker and Jones both told Jowit of Weinberg said: ‘If our elected guilt driving them to speak out, and of representatives – who make such key feeling like frauds if they did not. Once decisions affecting our lives – can be the emotional high of the debate had encouraged to keep up open debate and subsided, did they regret what they had have appropriate psychological help
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where it is needed, we stand a much better chance of getting the support and quality of life, both inside and outside of work.’ According to Society Vice President Carole Allan, ‘The debate will be most remembered for the insightful contributions by MPs who have talked very movingly of their own mental health history. Certainly amongst those who listened to the speeches, they seem to have struck a chord of appreciation that at last mental well-being is something that touches people through all walks of life and therefore must be more widely understood. Our Society, in partnership with other organisations will continue to work to help improve attitudes to mental health and wellbeing.’ The debate raised important issues to take forward, such as MP Gavin Barwell’s private bill, with cross-party support, to remove laws that institutionally discriminate against people who have had serious mental health problems – for example, barring them from being jurors. But as Jowit noted in her piece, ‘if the afternoon has any lasting impact on those with mental health concerns, it will be because of the unsentimental but unsparing personal stories of those four MPs’. For more personal testimony on mental health issues, it is well worth also watching the TED@London ‘talent search’ talk from Eleanor Longden. ‘At 17, she had a promising future ahead of her; then she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After a lifelong battle with the voices in her head, today she has a Masters in psychology and a second chance.’ As one viewer comments underneath: ‘A brilliant, moving and insightful talk’. Watch it at tinyurl.com/elongden. JS
MEDIA PRIME CUTS Locked-In Syndrome: Rare Survivor Recounts His Ordeal http://t.co/uvYLZKlo The birth of experimental psychology, by @mkonnikova http://t.co/rnO5M8bD Psychologist on slaying the climate change ‘dragons of inaction’ http://t.co/1mxZHirp How not to cover a mass murder http://t.co/4v1TpR1x Congenital analgesia: The agony of feeling no pain http://t.co/zWNyvG0j Social media and the cognitive scientist (PDF) https://t.co/hFEspJW0
Psychology on the road John A. Groeger introduces a special issue with a look at how to manage the menaces and maximise the merits of mass motoring
Psychological perspectives on drivers and driving have been with us for since before the advent of mass motoring. The car’s unique potential to afford freedom and compromise safety has been a focus of formal psychological study for almost as long. This has resulted in a canon of excellent research, the shaping of interventions and legislation, and the saving and enhancement of lives. In seeking to prevent collisions, it has had quite an impact! This collection of articles looks at a range of topics, including the use of neuroergonomics to improve driver safety warnings; the particular psychological issues with both younger and older drivers; how we can protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians; and the psychology of sustainable transport. At what point might someone be too disabled or too elderly to drive? Do psychologists know enough about driving and traffic psychology to make this decision?
www.iaapsy.org/division13 Porter, B.E. (Ed.) (2011). Handbook of traffic psychology. New York: Academic Press.
How do humans do something as complicated as driving, while appearing to devote so little attention to it?
Gazeley, I.S. & Newell, A.T. (2007). Poverty in Britain in 1904: An early social survey rediscovered. Retrieved 30 May 2012 from tinyurl.com/bpypuy4 Groeger, J.A. (2000). Understanding driving: Applying cognitive psychology to a complex everyday task. Hove: Psychology Press. Möser, K. (2003). The dark side of ‘automobilism’, 1900–30. Journal of Transport History, 24(2), 238–258.
and driver assessment are not only recurring themes in driver behaviour research, but of immense societal importance. The environmental impact of so many vehicles being driven and the need to re-balance the health impacts of the remarkable mobility and freedom the car has provided us with is a far newer, but no less important concern for researchers and policy makers. Psychologists make a vital and highly valued contribution to these debates. However, driving research can also be of far more importance to our discipline beyond providing yet more evidence of the practical importance of psychology and its relevance to society. Several examples of the range of applications of psychological knowledge are provided in the articles that follow. Frank McKenna provides an excellent overview of what has long been termed the ‘young driver problem’, and I am glad the area has begun to shed the shackles of needing to problematise and stigmatise. At the other end of the age continuum, Pat McKenna reflects on a career involvement with the clinical assessment of fitness to drive. Both McKennas, unrelated incidentally, have done more than any other psychologists to shape the way Britain assesses younger and older drivers. Charles Spence’s focus is on how an understanding of the neuroscience underpinning the quintessentially intersensory driving task can affect vehicle design, and the infrastructural context in which the task is performed. The social context of the driving task, or more particularly how the different
ass motoring is arguably one of the crowning achievements of the 20th century. Never have so many been able to move so rapidly towards destinations particular to their wants or needs. In 1903 the Motor Act resulted in the licensing of UK drivers and vehicles for the first time. At the time, Gazeley & Newell (2007) report that some 75 per cent of workers earned between £1 and £2 per week. Licensing a vehicle cost £1, a driver’s licence a quarter of this. Initial licensing of approximately 5000 licensed drivers, suggests that considerably less than 0.5 per cent of the adult population could drive. Now the UK has about 34 million licensed drivers among a population of 62 million. Of this 62 million about 25 per cent are too young to be legally licensed. In just over a century, then, driving has gone from a very unusual activity, performed by the few, to one in which 75 per cent of UK adults engage. Although there are no statistics to support the claim, it seems reasonable to assume that a century ago, when the age of legal licensing was also 17, there were few if any drivers younger than 20 years of age, and none in their eighties or older. At present, the UK has about 750,000 licensed teenage drivers, and 3,500,000 aged 70 years and over. When the distance motorists in these age groups drive is taken into account, the risk of death and serious injury both to themselves and other road users is far higher than for motorists in any other age group, and is remarkably similar in both the younger and older groups. Because of this, discussions regarding Understanding the psychological underpinning of the driving driver training, task constitutes a profound theoretical challenge for psychology restrictions on driving,
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later to 20mph, and the range of most vehicles would have restricted them to relatively short trips. As a species, before 1900, humans had no opportunity to control self-motion beyond a few miles per hour; nowadays being able to do so at a rate 10 times higher is a daily requirement for the vast majority of adults. The range of decision making required, the immediacy of the action driving demands, together with the continuous multitasking that is inherent to the task, make driving among the most complex and dangerous activities we perform. Understanding the psychological underpinning of the driving task constitutes a profound theoretical challenge for psychology (Groeger, 2000). Motoring has, since it began, been viewed with a mixture of suspicion, fear, excitement and promise, as the following quote from a German text early in the last century shows: The ﬁghts with his machine often lead a motorist to bitter anger and sorrow. But the good side is that this creates precious qualities like patience, skill, inventiveness and courage. Our motorist will therefore accept all adversities of the road without despair but with laughter: for the automobile bestows strength of will. (in Allgemeines über den Automobilismus, Stein der Weisen, XXVII, 1901, cited by Möser, 2003).
As the anger and irritation evident during any snails-paced trip through congested rush-hour traffic will readily confirm, it is far from clear that driving has delivered the bonanza for the character of humanity that this quote anticipated. What it has done, however, is to provide yet another example of the remarkable adaptability of our species. The tragedy and trauma associated with mass motoring can sometimes make driving seem among the more regrettable developments over the last century, but we need to set against the almost inestimable contribution mass motoring has made to wealth creation, independent mobility and personal freedom. I also wonder whether the cognitive skills we have developed and honed in order to meet the previously unknown challenges driving has posed for us has benefited us in other areas of human endeavour. CALLUM GROEGER
vulnerabilities of traffic participants shape, or should shape, our behaviour is the focus of the interview with Ian Walker. Finally, the perspective widens still further with Brigitta Gatersleben’s contribution, which focuses on the challenges and potential benefits of having us use our cars less. The span of these contributions illustrates some of the diverse ways in which psychologists have studied transportation, focusing on perception, action, cognition, neuroscience, identity, social interaction, development, and disability. Other issues investigated by psychologists, though not represented in the articles that follow, include the problems posed when driving interacts with trauma, personality, fatigue, sleep loss, alcohol, and licit and illicit drug use. Psychologists have also made substantial contributions to understanding and addressing the challenges that are part and parcel of other modes of transport, including train driving and railway operation, shipping, aviation, and indeed space flight. Some have argued that such breadth is best recognised by identifying ‘traffic psychology’ or ‘traffic and transportation psychology’ as distinct areas of psychology. As someone who co-founded the International Association of Applied Psychology’s Division of Traffic and Transportation Psychology (see Resources link opposite) and the primary peerreviewed journal in the area, Transportation Research: Traffic Psychology & Behaviour, it might seem that I am a fervent advocate of this. In fact, I am not. For me, the purposes of labels for areas of application are purely promotional, to provide a focal point around which disparate activity can be coalesced and to recognise a sustained body of contributions in order, as it were, to stake psychology’s claim. The particular admixture of aspects of psychology that have been found to be useful may be different for driving. However, in my view no unique theory or method has developed from within this particular focus of the application of psychology, and without this the claim to subdisciplinary status, is weak. Traffic psychology is not alone in this. Psychology’s contribution to the area is a canon of excellent research, a unique perspective on the problems and potential solutions, a sustained influence on the design of associated products and interventions and as well as the shaping of legislative and societal frameworks. Thankfully, traffic psychology is not unique in this respect either! Back where this article began, in 1903 the speed limit in built-up areas was 14mph, although it increased a few years
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John A. Groeger was Professor of Psychology at University College Cork until 31 August 2012 and is now Professor of Psychology at the University of Hull email@example.com
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GET ON BOARD FOR A SPECIAL ISSUE Could you be the driving force behind a special issue of The Psychologist? We are always happy to hear your ideas for collections of pieces that draw together diverse areas of psychology under a unifying theme or question. Issues should aim to engage and inform, on a personal as well as a professional level. Specials can range from three articles to a complete theme encompassing our regular formats (e.g. ‘Big picture’, ‘Looking back’, ‘One on one’). To discuss your idea, contact the Managing Editor, Dr Jon Sutton, on firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a great way to reach 50,000 members of the Society, and more online, while showcasing the quality and diversity of our discipline.
Drive safely with neuroergonomics Charles Spence on promoting safe driving through neuroscience-inspired design
The last few years have seen a rapid growth of interest in a new area of research known as ‘neuroergonomics’. How can the latest insights from psychology and cognitive neuroscience be applied to the design of multisensory warning signals, with the aim of making driving safer?
Why is driving so dangerous? To what extent is attention (or rather a lack of it) responsible for road accidents? Will the range of new technologies make driving safer? Or more dangerous? Where is the best place in a car to place a warning signal?
Crossmodal Research Laboratory: http://psyweb.psy.ox.ac.uk/xmodal/def ault.htm The Multisensory Driver: http://tinyurl.com/c8avppz C. Castro & L. Hartley (Eds.) (2008). Human factors of visual performance in driving. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Do multisensory cues really capture driver attention more effectively than unimodal cues?
Ashley, S. (2001). Driving the info highway. Scientific American, 285(4), 44–50. Atchley, P. & Chan, M. (2011). Potential benefits and cost of concurrent task engagement to maintain vigilance: A driving simulator investigation. Human Factors, 53, 3–12. Baddeley, A.D. (1968). A 3 minute reasoning test based on grammatical transformation. Psychonomic Science,
n the current climate, when the corridors of many an academic institution echo with talk of ‘impact’, and how to get it (or at the very least to get more of it), the much-maligned field of applied psychology is experiencing something of a revival. One area of applied research that has a longer history than most relates to the study of driving, and to the lapses of attention that lead to so many of the accidents on our roads. In fact, according to most large-scale studies, inattention (including distraction and, for some, falling asleep at the wheel) is the primary cause of vehicular accidents, accounting for anywhere between 26–56 per cent of all road traffic accidents (Ashley, 2001; Ho & Spence, 2008). The figures are, quite frankly, frightening: Take, for example, the young women in my psychology lectures here at Oxford University. Statistically speaking, the most likely way for them to die while at university is at the metaphorical hands of their boyfriend, while he is at the wheel. The good news, though, is that accident rates have been in steady decline since the late 1960s, as one new safety device/intervention has followed another into the marketplace – everything from breath tests through the enforced wearing of seat belts to the ban on using hand-held mobile phones during driving. Hence, while driving is still one of the most dangerous things we do, it is, at the same time, far less dangerous than it used to be. The not-so-good news is that many of the latest in-car technologies seem designed specifically to compete for the driver’s limited pool of attentional resources:
10, 341–343. Becic, E., Dell, G.S., Bock, K. et al. (2010). Driving impairs talking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 15–21. Brown, I.D., Tickner, A.H. & Simmonds, D.C.V. (1969). Interference between concurrent tasks of driving and telephoning. Journal of Applied Psychology, 53, 419–424. Evans, W.N. & Graham, J.D. (1991). Risk reduction or risk compensation? The
everything from the mobile phone to the satnav, and from in-car web-browsing through to the ever-more convoluted entertainment systems now available (see Ashley, 2001; Ho & Spence, 2008). Fortunately, though, the car companies are now in a position whereby the latest technologies can be used to help reduce accidents still further. By simultaneously monitoring the conditions on the road (is the road wet, is visibility low?), as well as, increasingly, the state of the driver (are they sleepy, or else driving too aggressively?), many of today’s new cars actually have a much better idea of when a crash is likely to occur than the driver. One solution here to making driving safer would simply be for the cars of the future to take over control from the driver. This has actually been possible technically for some decades, and the state of Nevada recently legalised the first fully automated cars, or unmanned ground vehicles, manufactured by Google, for use on the public highway (Markoff, 2011). However, few drivers seem psychologically prepared for such life-and-death decisions to be taken completely out of their own hands just yet (see also Young & Stanton, 2001). Rather than taking control away from the driver, many companies have instead started to introduce a variety of new warning signals into their cars in order to alert the driver to potential dangers. At present, though, many of these innovations only appear in high-end models, and typically only as an optional extra. The primary function of many in-car warning signals is to try and direct a distracted driver’s attention back to the road, when the car ‘thinks’ that the driver’s concentration is focused elsewhere, and when they appear to be in danger of leaving it too late to brake. It turns out that front-to-rear-end collisions are by far the most common problem, accounting for around 25 per cent of all road traffic accidents (Spence & Ho, 2008b). Consequently, much of the interest in warning signal design in recent years has focused on trying to help reduce just this kind of accident.
case of mandatory safety-belt use laws. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 4, 61–73. Ferris, T.K. & Sarter, N.B. (2008). Crossmodal links among vision, audition, and touch in complex environments. Human Factors, 50, 17–26. Fitch, G.M., Kiefer, R.J., Hankey, J.M. & Kleiner, B.M. (2007). Toward developing an approach for alerting drivers to the direction of a crash
threat. Human Factors, 49, 710–720. Gibson, J.J. & Crooks, L.E. (1938). A theoretical field-analysis of automobile-driving. American Journal of Psychology, 51, 453–471. Gray, R. (2011). Looming auditory collision warnings for driving. Human Factors, 53, 63–74. Graziano, M.S.A., Gross, C.G., Taylor, C.S.R. & Moore, T. (2004). A system of multimodal areas in the primate
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The engineers working at the car companies have come up with a variety of innovative warning signal designs, everything from throbbing red lights on the dashboard through to sudden auditory warning beeps. Some have even considered vibrating the driver’s seat. All of these have been tried by car companies, with varying degrees of success, not to mention driver acceptance. And while the idea of vibrating the driver’s derrière might sound rather futuristic, it is worth noting that the world’s largest maker of car parts (Denso Corporation, based in Japan) is banking on the fact that all new vehicles will have tactile warning/information signals fitted as standard by the year 2020! Indeed, several cars already vibrate one or other side of the driver’s seat in order to deliver a lane departure warning signal (when, for example, the driver crosses a lane boundary too slowly; Spence & Ho, 2008c). As the car companies increasingly start to think about making their warning signals more effective, the likelihood is that they will want to stimulate a wider range of the driver’s senses than ever before. The question that emerges, at least amongst those companies with an eye on broader
developments in science and technology, is whether the emerging field of cognitive neuroscience can provide any useful insights in terms of the design of more effective (not to mention ‘intuitive’) warning signals for tomorrow’s drivers. As the executives from Toyota put it to me a few years back: ‘Can understanding the driver’s brain really facilitate the design of more effective warning signals than those that today’s most intelligent car engineers can come up with?’ Showing that the introduction of a warning signal can make driving safer is easy enough; demonstrating that neuroscience can deliver a competitive advantage over the engineer who has dedicated their life to making driving safer constitutes a far tougher challenge. Nevertheless, recent developments in brain science mean that the impact-minded cognitive neuroscientist now really does have some insights up his/her sleeve with which to help make our roads safer.
One has to go back to 1930s to find the first study in which a psychologist worked together with an engineer to try to make driving safer (Gibson & Crooks, 1938). At the time, an astonishing one in every 20 drivers was involved in an accident every 12 months. However, not much happened in terms of psychologically inspired driving research for the next few decades, until, that is, researchers at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit (as it was called back then) in Cambridge started to conduct experiments on the impact of the newly invented in-car speakerphone (Brown et al., 1969). Front-to-rear-end collisions are by far the most common These devices bore little problem, accounting for around 25 per cent of all road resemblance to the mobile traffic accidents phones of today – being
brain. In C. Spence & J. Driver (Eds.) Crossmodal space and crossmodal attention (pp.51–67). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Haigney, D. & Westerman, S.J. (2001). Mobile (cellular) phone use and driving: A critical review of research methodology. Ergonomics, 44, 132–143. Ho, C., Reed, N. & Spence, C. (2007). Multisensory in-car warning signals
for collision avoidance. Human Factors, 49, 1107–1114. Ho, C. & Spence, C. (2005). Assessing the effectiveness of various auditory cues in capturing a driver’s visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11, 157–174. Ho, C. & Spence, C. (2008). The multisensory driver: Implications for ergonomic car interface design. Aldershot: Ashgate.
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about the size of a brick, and not much lighter! In the study itself, the auditory messages were relayed via a loudspeaker mounted in front of the subject, while they responded via a telephonist’s headset. Nevertheless, Brown’s experiments were, in many ways, ahead of their time. For while many of today’s psychological studies of driving are rightly criticised in the press for their use of undergraduates (read ‘inexperienced drivers’) performing artificial driving tasks (or video games) in a laboratory setting, Brown had his participants sitting at the wheel of an Austin A40 estate car swerving down a test track between a series of variablyspaced traffic cones. Simultaneously, the drivers had to try and answer a string of logic problems presented over the speaker-phone. Risk-taking judgements and decision making were impaired by the concurrent auditory task, whereas the more automated aspects of driving, such as steering, were not. However, while the driving task was highly realistic, the auditory task was like something you might find in an undergraduate philosophy class, with drivers having to say true or false to statements of the form ‘A follows B; BA’ (based on Baddeley’s three-minute verbal reasoning test: Baddeley, 1968) – definitely not your typical mobile phone conversation. More recently, though, researchers have started to do a much better job in terms of engaging participants in driving research in more ‘naturalistic’ (albeit often scripted) conversations (Atchley & Chan, 2011; Becic et al., 2010).
Neuroscience-inspired warning signal design Here at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory in Oxford we have been investigating the potential benefits associated with the use of spatialised warning signals to capture the attention of the distracted driver. This research, conducted both in the psychology laboratory with undergraduates and with more experienced drivers in the driving
Ho, C. & Spence, C. (2009). Using peripersonal warning signals to orient a driver’s gaze. Human Factors, 51, 539–556. Markoff, L. (2011, 10 May). Google lobbies Nevada to allow self-driving cars. New York Times, p.A18. Available at tinyurl.com/5th8yvv McKeown, J.D. & Isherwood, S. (2007). Mapping candidate within-vehicle auditory displays to their referents.
Human Factors, 49, 417–428. Mohebbi, R., Gray, R. & Tan, H.Z. (2009). Driver reaction time to tactile and auditory rear-end collision warnings while talking on a cell phone. Human Factors, 51, 102–110. Occelli, V., Spence, C. & Zampini, M. (2011). Audiotactile interactions in front and rear space. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 589–598. Oskarsson, P-A., Eriksson, L. &
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matter what else we might be doing at the time (Spence, 2010). In research conducted at the national driving simulator To those who might want to question why we tend to at Crowthorne, experienced conduct the study on-road rather than in a simulator, drivers reacted over 600ms it is worth noting that it has been argued that it may be faster to the sudden braking unethical (not to mention very expensive) for of the car in front, when given psychologists to conduct on-road driving research an audiotactile spatial warning (Haigney & Westerman, 2001). Who would be responsible signal (vs. no signal baseline) should the participant crash the vehicle when trying to at the time that the lead car do a difficult subtraction task, say? Fanciful though this braked (see Ho et al., 2007; Ho sounds, this is precisely what happened in my first & Spence, 2008). Putting the research job working on a fuel-efficient driving project potential savings in terms of for BMW back in the early 1990s. The car in which we road safety into perspective, it were conducting the study was a write-off, though has been estimated that a saving fortunately no one was seriously hurt. The manufacturer of just 500ms would result in a also kindly provided us with a brand new car to continue 60 per cent reduction in frontour on-road testing. Nevertheless, the point remains that to-rear-end collisions (Suetomi things could have turned out very differently. & Kido, 1997). However, this It is also interesting to note that the standards by depends on the traffic setting which psychologists (and the academic peer-review and density, and we must be process) tend to judge psychological research insights cautious about extrapolating (such as innovations in multisensory warning signal from an experimental study design) is in terms of whether or not the result is to circumstances in which significant as assessed by means of some standard repeated braking is not statistical tests. By contrast, the press, rightly or required. wrongly, seems to think that no result regarding driving Where, relative to one is meaningful unless it has been tested/proven with a another, should the warning very large group of participants numbering the hundreds signals be presented? Engineers (or possibly thousands). have started to investigate the benefits of multisensory cuing in driving contexts, not to mention in aviation and military simulator, has shown that auditory icons, applications (Ferris & Sarter, 2008; Sarter, such as the sound of a car horn, work 2000), but they rarely consider better than pure tones, and that spatial positioning. By contrast, cognitive cues (providing information about the neuroscience research shows that the solikely direction of the imminent danger) called automatic breakthrough of work better than non-spatialised auditory multisensory warning signals only occurs cues in terms of capturing and redirecting when the different cues are presented from a driver’s attention (Ho & Spence, 2005, the same spatial position, or at least from 2008). Non-visual warning signals have the same direction relative to the driver also proved their effectiveness under (Spence, 2010). Under such conditions, conditions where drivers are distracted by the brain appears to treat the various a mobile phone conversation (Mohebbi et signals as if they are coming from the same al., 2009). Multisensory cues (e.g. an external event. Time and time again, the audiotactile signal) work better than engineers investigating multisensory unisensory cues (an auditory or a tactile versus unisensory signalling, get signal). That is, they appear to break disappointing results (e.g. Fitch et al., through and capture our attention no 2007). Yet, in pretty much every case, all it
Carlander, O. (2012). Enhanced perception and performance by multimodal threat cueing in simulated combat vehicle. Human Factors, 54, 122–137. Peltzman, S. (1975). The effects of automobile safety regulation. Journal of Political Economy, 83, 677–725. Sarter, N.B. (2000). The need for multisensory interfaces in support of effective attention allocation in highly
dynamic event-driven domains: The case of cockpit automation. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 10, 231–245. Spence, C. (2010). Crossmodal spatial attention. Annals of the New York Academy of Science (The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience), 1191, 182–200. Spence, C. & Driver, J. (1999). A new approach to the design of
takes is a quick glance at the Methods section to see that the warning stimuli were not spatially co-located. (See also Oskarsson et al., 2012.) A second important potential neuroscience insight that is perhaps not intuitive to the engineers relates to the relative timing of multisensory signals. If one is thinking about activating specific brain structures in order to elicit a particular behavioural response from the driver, then one needs to think about stimulus timing. It has been argued that humans are ‘designed’ to respond to audiovisual stimuli at a distance of 10 metres. Any further away and the sound lags the light; any closer and the visual stimulus arrives after the sound due to the physics of the situation and differences in transduction latencies (Spence & Squire, 2003). This means that inside the car, all multisensory warning signals are, in some sense, going to be presented sub-optimally (i.e. from too close to the driver), at least as far as the multisensory brain of the driver is concerned. Hence, one active line of research for a number of car companies is to see whether they can introduce a slight temporal asynchrony between the auditory and visual or auditory and tactile signals. By so doing, these car companies hope to ensure that the various unisensory elements of the multisensory warning signal reach the appropriate parts of the driver’s brain (presumably those controlling orienting or response selection) at the right time. Once again, the idea that delaying one of the components of a multisensory signal might actually lead to faster behavioural responses is certainly not something that most engineers find intuitive (Spence & Driver, 1999). That said, we are still waiting on robust empirical data to support this particular approach to enhancing warning signals design. A third example demonstrating the potential benefits of a neuroscience approach comes from work inspired by the single-cell neurophysiology of Michael Graziano and his colleagues at Princeton (e.g. Graziano et al., 2004). Back in the
multimodal warning signals. In D. Harris (Ed.) Engineering psychology and cognitive ergonomics, Vol. 4: Job design, product design and humancomputer interaction (pp.455–461). Aldershot: Ashgate. Spence, C. & Ho, C. (2008a). Multisensory driver interface design: Past, present, and future. Ergonomics, 51, 65–70. Spence, C. & Ho, C. (2008b). Multisensory
warning signals for event perception and safe driving. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 9, 523–554. Spence, C. & Ho, C. (2008c). Tactile and multisensory spatial warning signals for drivers. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 1, 121–129. Spence, C. & Squire, S.B. (2003). Multisensory integration: Maintaining the perception of synchrony. Current Biology, 13, R519–R521.
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1990s, these researchers first reported evidence supporting what appeared to be a specialised neural circuit in the brain of monkeys whose activation led to rapid defensive reactions. Subsequent neuropsychological and psychophysical research in brain-damaged and normal healthy participants, respectively, has demonstrated the reality of this representation of near-rear peripersonal space in humans as well (Occelli et al., 2011). Inspired by the ‘Don't keep blinking. The car thinks you’re nodding off.’ neuroscience, we recently demonstrated that auditory warning signals, especially warning signals that are visual alerts that the driver potentially has designed to make the driver rapidly turn to deal with. their head, are best placed just behind Second, the warning signals in much of their head (Ho & Spence, 2009). Imagine the research just mentioned were typically for a moment loudspeakers embedded in presented far more frequently than would the headrest. Once again, the space just be the case in the real world, where you behind the head is something that are likely to be involved in a front-to-rearengineers (not to mention psychologists) end collision only once every 25 years or rarely think about. so (Ho & Spence, 2008; Spence & Ho, 2008b). While it is only natural for a Challenges on the road ahead scientist to try and collect as much data as Given the three examples just mentioned, possible, the danger is that a participant in I hope to have convinced you that a typical driving experiment may come to contemporary cognitive neuroscience ‘expect’ the delivery of such unusual really can provide insights to help the warning signals in a way that they don’t in open-minded engineer to design warning a real driving situation. This matters signals that have a realistic chance of because a driver who isn’t expecting their improving road safety. However, the buttocks to be vibrated is obviously more neuroergonomists can’t rest on their likely to exhibit a shock (or surprise) laurels just yet. Why? Well, for one thing reaction than someone who is. the car of the future will likely deliver Researchers have, though, started to a range of different warning signals, address this issue. Rob Gray and and not just a single solitary collision colleagues at the University of Birmingham avoidance signal (McKeown & are currently assessing the effectiveness of Isherwood, 2007). More research is a variety of new non-visual ‘looming therefore needed in order to determine signals’ – that is, signals that start out how the effectiveness of auditory and quietly (or weakly, in the case of multisensory warning signals changes as vibrotactile warnings) and whose intensity a function of the number of different nonrapidly increases as a function of the urgency of the behavioural response that is required (Gray, 2011). The hope is that such gradual-onset warning signals may serve to alert the driver to the dangers that Spiers, H.J. & Maguire, E.A. (2007). Neural lie ahead, without necessarily making substrates of driving behavior. them jump out of their seat (with shock NeuroImage, 36, 245–255. or surprise). Suetomi, T. & Kido, K. (1997). Driver behavior Finally, it is important to note that under a collision warning system. SAE Technical Publication, 970279, 1242, 75–81. while many safety interventions have led Wilde, G.J.S. (1982). The theory of risk to temporary drops in the incidence of homeostasis: Implications for safety and accidents, only a few have led to long-term health. Risk Analysis, 2, 209–225. gains in road safety. Why? Well, Young, M.S. & Stanton, N.A. (2001). Out of researchers believe that many drivers may control. New Scientist, 2315, 44–47. engage in ‘risk compensation’ (Wilde,
read discuss contribute at www.thepsychologist.org.uk
1982). The idea here is that people are happy to accept a certain level of risk while driving. Hence, if you lower the perceived (and/or actual) risk by introducing some new safety intervention or other, the danger is that a subset of drivers will simply drive more dangerously to maintain the perceived level of risk (Evans & Graham, 1991; Peltzman, 1975). Of course, if you pursue this argument to its natural conclusion then the best safety intervention might be to put a metal spike on the steering wheel. By increasing the perceived risk in this way, or so the logic goes, the drivers should engage in safer driving. While pointed steering wheels aren’t likely to make it to the car showrooms any time soon, the point (if you’ll excuse the pun) remains that until any new safety device has been introduced into the marketplace it can be hard to predict what the longterm effects on accident rates are likely to be.
Conclusions Recent developments are now opening the way for a cognitive neuroscienceinspired approach to the design of warning signals for distracted drivers (Spiers & Maguire, 2007). Rather than ergonomics, or design based on the physical capabilities of the human operator, we are increasingly seeing a shift toward neuroergonomics, or design based on neural limitations in information processing instead. Innovations based around multisensory spatial coincidence, the possible temporal desynchronisation of multisensory warning signals, and the use of warning signals from just behind the driver’s head, all have the potential to make driving safer, especially for the growing number of older drivers (see Spence & Ho, 2008a). Hence, for those psychologists worried about the societal impact of their research in the wider community, driving research may be one place where neuroscience insights can be utilised in order to translate into tangible gains for society at large. Just don’t expect the press to give you an easy ride if you fail to consider the ecological validity of your experimental design.
Charles Spence is Professor at Crossmodal Research Laboratory, University of Oxford email@example.com
When to give up driving? Pat McKenna gives a personal perspective from 20+ years of assessing fitness to drive n 1989, when I first began assessing fitness to drive at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff, I was a 41-year-old clinical neuropsychologist with a cutting-edge knowledge of brain organisation, honed from intensive clinical and research application at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London under the expert tutelage of Elizabeth Warrington. The task in hand was clear – map those neuropsychological functions essential to driving and use a battery of tests of those functions to determine whether a person’s driving ability had been affected, then compare the results with actual performance on-road carried out by a qualified driving instructor. The result was the publication of the Rookwood Driving Battery in 2009.
Driving mostly relies on complex neuropsychological processes way below conscious awareness or control. These processes become impaired in normal ageing and neuropathology, compromising fitness to drive. The reduction in skill usually goes undetected by drivers who, nonetheless, have responsibility to inform the DVLA of any change in their status. Neuropsychological testing alongside on-road assessment is now routinely requested by the DVLA in determining fitness to drive for those cases brought to their attention. However, there are now more than a million drivers aged over 80, and 66,000 aged over 90. The idea of age-related driving impairment meets with various forms of cultural denial, precluding any objective discussion of how and when retirement from driving could or should become normal.
Are there adequate safeguards for determining whether a driver is still safe to drive?
Rees, J., McKenna, P., Bell, V. et al. (2008). The Rookwood Driving Battery: Normative older adult performance. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47(2), 139–151. Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive: http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/medical/ ataglance.aspx
Developing the Rookwood Driving Battery
James, L. (2002). Dealing with stress and pressure in the vehicle. Taxonomy of driving behaviour: Affective, cognitive, sensorimotor. In J.P. Rothe (Ed.) Driving lessons: Exploring systems that make traffic safer. Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta Press. McKenna, F.P. (1993). Changing driver behaviour? It won’t happen to me: Unrealistic optimism or the illusion of control. British Journal of Psychology.
The process of development was far more difficult than I had envisaged, mostly because there is no objective criterion for determining fitness to drive. At root, it is a medical opinion – the opinion of a doctor at the DVLA who mostly relies on the opinion of a GP or consultant, or, for more difficult decision making, a referral to a driving assessment centre or the Driving Standards Agency for an on-road test. To help guide this process, the DVLA’s booklet on medical criteria for fitness to drive grows increasingly complex each year (52 pages long now) as doctors struggle to give a satisfactory framework for determining whether a named condition impacts on driving
84, 39–50. McKenna. P. (2009) The Rookwood Driving Battery. London: Pearson Education. McKenna P.K. & Bell V. (2007). Fitness to drive following cerebral pathology: The Rookwood Driving Battery as a tool for predicting on-road driving performance. British Journal of Neuropsychology 1, 1–17. McKenna P., Jeffries, L., Dobson, A. & Frude, N. (2004). The use of a
safety. This is too often a thankless task because a medical condition cannot per se dictate whether a person is able to drive or not. Using the gold standard on-road performance criterion is just as difficult, because there is no agreed cut-off in the very wide grey area of compromised ability beyond the opinion of the assessor. Instructors are not trained in the rigours of scientific objectivity and differ in their interpretation and tolerance of perceived risk. Even within our tight practice at Rookwood, there was a mild but significant difference over three phases within the six-year period in scores onroad, but no difference in scores on cognitive tests or age of clients. This fluctuation was detecting mild swings in degrees of leniency in that grey area of decision making. Forum, the association of driving assessment centres throughout Britain, is still in the process of attempting to standardise assessment practice in driving centres and establish training in recognising neuropsychological deficits that impact on driving skill. Within our own centre, it had already taken a year of intensive teamwork in and out of the car before I was happy that the on-road test was standardised, with criteria established to back ‘opinion’ so we could begin collecting data. By the end, I knew that the cognitive battery was a more reliable instrument than the on-road assessment. I also knew that although the on-road test gave the battery the highly desired ‘ecological validity’, this gold standard test was far from cast-iron. No amount of objectivity can allow for the vagaries of the traffic to reveal the risk an individual presents on-road, and the wider input of family and healthcare team can sometimes be crucial in weighing risk in this multifactorial process of decision making. One such example is the driver with an acquired brain injury who is recklessly disinhibited with anger management issues on-road but behaves impeccably within the structured direction an assessor provides. There were three main categories of
cognitive battery to predict who will fail an on-road driving test. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 43, 325–336. Rees, J., McKenna, P., Bell, V. et al. (2008). The Rookwood Driving Battery: Normative older adult performance. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47(2), 139–151.
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brain pathology in our 543 drivers presenting for assessment: in descending order, stroke (right hemisphere group larger than the left); dementia; and acquired brain injury. But this still did not account for over 40 per cent of our clients. Diagnosis was not always precise, radiological evidence was often lacking, and a label was not a good guide to degree and locality of damage to brain systems. A stroke might be a slightly larger incident within a vascular dementia, and cooccurrence of pathologies is not uncommon in older age. Tests within the battery targeted crucial skills needed to drive in visual analysis (shape and space perception, and visual attention); in praxis skills (carrying out hand movements and rule-bound action) and in executive function (self-monitoring and correction, vigilance, dividing and switching attention) – all at simple levels that present little difficulty for the intact brain. Though many of these tests had some existing normative data, I thought it important to gather a large sample of control data on the battery as a whole and essential to collect norms for the increasingly older adult population, many of whom still drive. So, as well as 195 adult volunteer drivers aged 20–69 with a mean age of 42 (McKenna et al., 2004), cognitive data was also collected on 202 older adults aged 70–96 with a mean age of 81 (Rees et al., 2008). Neurological pathology reduces driving skill far more than doctors think. Our group of drivers with neurological pathology who passed the on-road assessment and were allowed to continue driving were still functioning significantly below the control group, not just on the cognitive battery, but also on-road (McKenna & Bell, 2007). So they were
poorer drivers than normal, but still considered safe to drive. ‘Safe/unsafe’ drivers do not, in the real world, fall into discrete categories – they lie along a continuum. The correlation between the on-road driving scores and the Rookwood battery score was .67, which is remarkably high for data comparing two diverse sets of complex human behaviours (desk top activities with driving a car in traffic). Driving behaviour also changes with age, which was found to be a significant factor independent of pathology in our onroad results, and older drivers failed more frequently than younger. On the basis of our experience, we eventually changed the route for drivers over 70 (with the DVLA’s blessing) so that very complex urban layouts were avoided. In reality many older adults increasingly tend to drive in localities they know well, to their local supermarket and in daylight and in quiet periods. Compared to the assessment of an on-road drive, the assessment of cognitive impairment is a much easier and more objective exercise, with the weight of a huge evidence base from clinical tests and neuropsychological research. Using simple, relatively IQ-free tests of basic functions, it was possible to articulate a degree of impairment in individual functions and overall cognitive resource, which spoke directly to someone’s safety on-road. In some cases, the results would stand alone in deciding whether someone could drive safely and, in others, where the result of an on-road drive was ambivalent, they proved to be the decisive factor.
Insight into driving behaviour
Without the use of tools such as the Rookwood Driving Battery, we are left with ‘common sense’ as the mainstay of decision making – the common sense of the driver who is actually the person legally responsible to inform DVLA of any reason why they may be unsafe to drive. We would hear the mantra ‘I would be the first to say if I were not safe to drive’ most weeks, when in reality most of us will be the last to know when we are unsafe to drive. This is perhaps particularly the case with men. Within our volunteer control group, We have poor insight into our own and others’ driving one third of our older women behaviour had never driven, another third
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still drove, and the remaining third gave up voluntarily. Nearly all the men were still driving. In our assessment centre, many men would voice the sentiment ‘if you take away my driving, you take away my life’. Driving means a lot to men, perhaps more than to women although evidence is lacking. What other sources could we rely on? The common sense of the GP or consultant who is an ally of the patient and shares sympathy for the role of driving in identity and independence? Or the cultural common sense of us all as drivers? The reality is that we have poor insight into our own and others’ driving behaviour. The psychoanalytic model proposed by Leon James (2002) is instructive here. Most of us start driving at 17 years of age when we have admirable reflexes, sharp eyesight and hearing and excellent proprioception. At this stage, many of us feel invincible and drive, according to the psychoanalytic model, with the developmental ego of a toddler, cutting people up, speeding and taking risks as we relish our skill and competence. Later this oppositional stage progresses to the defensive stage, when we are proud of our tempered and honed skill and ability but very aware of the shortcomings of other drivers. Frank McKenna (1993) reports in a survey of 20,000 drivers caught for speeding, all bar 4 per cent thought they were better-than-average drivers. Finally, for the few, a realistic and mature stage of supportive driving ability is achieved when the penny drops that this activity is actually a group activity – we are all driving together in tolerant harmony, with sympathy and understanding replacing criticism and assuming the worst. The ‘idiot’ is someone who has made a mistake, maybe in a hurry, distracted or distressed – whatever the need, the approach is to work with and complement rather than oppose.
The effects of ageing ‘Ageing’ is not something that happens after 60. We are all ageing every day – the changes can be measured decade by decade in speed of processing and flexibility in responding. We also lack insight into our waning senses and speed of processing as we age. The cumulative effects of ageing on driving are now beginning to be recognised as a safety issue, given our increasing longevity. With age comes reduced visual and hearing acuity, reduced range of movement and muscle power as well as reduced reaction times and cognitive processing speed. There is also
on the road
an increased risk of pathologies that affect the brain and sense organs – macular degeneration, small vessel disease, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, parkinsonianism, etc. Some of the measurement of this process in cognitive function is captured in the comparatively new medical diagnosis of MCI – mild cognitive impairment – and the jury is still out if this is a precursor to dementia. Capturing a bit of the ageing continuum with a label seems more like a cultural form of denial to try and contain it. So what of my own new status as an older driver retired from professional life? ‘Don’t drink and drive’ becomes ‘Don’t think and drive’ – I must concentrate far more on monitoring what I am doing than on my internal stream of thoughts now. Concerned offspring gently insinuate the driving position when we are off somewhere together and chastise me for not looking in my mirror(s) on approaching multi-lane roundabouts when I know that I cannot constantly scan them and look ahead at the whirlwind speed they do. I am wryly amused when my contemporaries rely on the front passenger to monitor traffic from the left when turning right at a junction as if this adds an extra safety measure to the exercise (and chuckle at the indignation of younger drivers when their older passengers proffer the same service). Older friends, a generation or two ahead, slow to snail’s pace around unknown complex road and roundabout layouts to work within the parameters of their information processing capacity, then complain at the impatience of other drivers. I note the growing complexity of road layouts and traffic control systems, the ever-increasing volume of traffic and the greater power and size of cars. All this becomes far more challenging when travelling abroad. Working at the European level as the BPS member of the Standing Committee on Traffic Psychology within EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations), I learned of the added risk cross-boundary driving produced as various nationalities drive in each other countries – one of the reasons why Spain, Germany, Austria, etc. have ‘driving psychology’ as a recognised branch within the profession. Our comparatively safer statistics my colleagues put down to Britain being an island. Our isolation though is disappearing – encapsulated for me in a drive to Heathrow just after dawn on the North Circular with a taxi driver from Montenegro so incensed by what he assumed was a ‘drunk’ truck driver who was in the outside (yes) lane weaving back into the middle, that he attempted to drive
Older friends, a generation or two ahead, slow to snail’s pace around unknown complex road and roundabout layouts
through the arrowhead between trucks until we, the passengers, shouted at him to pull back. So we have a real problem in finding the balance between the rights of the driver and the imperative to maximise safety. The actual number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by ‘the older driver’ is not as large as the other category of concern, ‘the younger driver’, but only because they don’t travel as far. The total is still much larger than the rest of the driving population and is highly likely to increase as the population increasingly bulges in these later years. We could be proactive and nest a solution within other imperative needs for a greener and less materialistic society, or we could just wait until the damage is done and correct when it is politically safe to do so. In the former, we could work towards incentives to use (a much improved and cheaper) public transport system, as in Denmark; start changing the message about cars (so they are a bind rather than a status symbol); and that come 65, 70 or 80 years of age (I am still out on what the boundary should be but older than me, of course) a person has earned the right to be chauffeur-driven (much like the very rich or very powerful). If we do manage to accept the concept of retiring from driving at a certain age, this should be with the proviso that if you wish to continue, then you just undergo an assessment to check you are still competent to do so. This test
would be fit for purpose and not the same as that for young novice drivers. Driving is a crazy privilege: we control a huge vehicle at speeds the human body is not designed for, relying on senses that can only ‘best guess’ what is actually out there, a version of reality that is continually being reconstructed from vision, hearing and proprioception. Come nightfall, we lose most of our primary visual sense and on motorways and in rural areas must rely on single beams of glary, artificial light, often blinded by those from oncoming traffic and following cars reflected in the rearview mirror; add the radio, phone and passengers, and our ability to hear and attend to traffic is compromised. Most of the time, we relegate the act of driving to centres in the brain that we don’t, can’t even, control consciously while we attend to our internal stream of thoughts. So – driving is an awesome affair and how we assess fitness to drive in terms of acquired brain pathology and degeneration is far from finished business.
Pat McKenna is a Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist (retired) patmckenna2010@hotmail. com
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Young driver challenges Frank P. McKenna on psychology’s contribution to evidence-based approaches to reducing crash risk n starting one of my lectures I often pose the charming question ‘If you are going to die in the next few months, what is going to kill you?’ The uncomfortable answer is road accidents. Below the age of 40, road accidents kill more people than any other factor (WHO, 2004). While the casualties are decreasing in high-income countries it is forecast that worldwide traffic deaths will increase substantially (Kopits & Cropper, 2003). It is common knowledge that young drivers are at high risk. In considering the issues surrounding the vulnerability of young people to road accidents we will consider some developmental processes that may be implicated in the high risk of young people; we will consider how low levels of experience affect crash risk; and finally we will consider remedial measures.
It is clear that young people have the highest crash involvement of any group. What are the direct and indirect factors associated with these high crash rates? How do biological, personality, fatigue and experiential factors affect risky driving behaviours? And what potential countermeasures can be deployed?
Why are young people more vulnerable to risky situations?”
Shinar, D. (2007). Traffic safety and human behaviour. Oxford: Elsevier. The public health benefits of road safety education for teenagers: www.road-safety.org.uk/research/ completed-research/think-piece-byfrank-mckenna/ Education in road safety: Are we getting it right? www.racfoundation.org/research/ safety/education-in-road-safety
Allik, J., Laidra, K., Realo, A. & Pullman, H. (2004). Personality development from 12 to 18 years of age. European Journal of Personality, 18, 445–462. Braitman, K.A., Kirley, B.B., McCartt, A.T. & Chaudhary, N.K. (2008). Crashes of novice teenage drivers. Characteristics and contributing factors. Journal of Safety Research, 39, 47–54. Brown, I.D., Groeger, J.A. & Biehl, B.
Developmental Around the world the age at which young people have been licensed to drive has varied between 14 and 18, with most countries opting for a period in later adolescence between age 16 and 18. Adolescence is a period in which there is a wide range of biological and social changes, some of which may be relevant to the risks that young people take or the risk to which they are exposed. We know, for example, that the dopamine system is changing across adolescence. Ernst and Spear (2009) have hypothesised that changes in the dopamine system may mean adolescents become very sensitive to potentially rewarding stimuli. It is clear that sensation
(1987). Is driver training contributing enough towards road safety? In J.A. Rothengatter & R.A. de Bruin (Eds.) Road users and traffic safety. Assen: Van Gorcum. Carskadon, M., Acebo, C. & Jenni, O.G. (2004). Regulation of adolescent sleep. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021, 276–291. Cepeda, N.J., Pashler, H., Vul, E. et al. (2006). Distributed practice in verbal
seeking peaks in adolescence (Waylen & McKenna, 2008) and is associated with risky behaviour (Roberti, 2004). There are other personality factors that may be relevant to risky behaviour. For example, one of the big five factors of personality, Agreeableness, declines across adolescence (Allik et al., 2004). This may be important for a number of reasons. First, we know that low levels of Agreeableness are associated with both occupational and traffic accidents (Clarke & Robertson, 2005). Second, during adolescence there is an obvious reduction in adult supervision, which in turn means that the opportunity for Agreeableness to be expressed may be changing dramatically. For example, in the UK the opportunity to express levels of Agreeableness through use of a vehicle changes radically as a function of the legal age for driver licensing. We might speculate on the mechanism by which low levels of Agreeableness are associated with crash involvement. One plausible route is through antisocial behaviour in general and driving violations in particular. Driving violations have a long history of association with accidents. For example, Gerbers and Peck (2003) found that those drivers who have a traffic violation have a higher subsequent accident rate. In the 1990s a group of Manchester psychologists attempted to show how violations might differ from other forms of human error. They showed that errors, lapses and violations were separate factors (Reason et al., 1990). Their focus has been on the violation factor, which they have shown to be related to crash involvement (Parker et al., 1995). A range of violations, such as drink driving, are clearly important. Young people have a greater crash risk at all blood alcohol levels (Mayhew et al., 1986). The usual explanation for this is that young people are inexperienced in drinking, inexperienced in driving and inexperienced in drinking and driving. Antisocial tendencies in general have been shown to be related to crash involvement (West et al., 1993). A fairly
recall tasks. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 354–380. Chen, L.H., Baker, S.P. & Li, G. (2006). Graduated licensing programs and fatal crashes of 16 year old drivers. Pediatrics, 118, 56–62. Christie, R. (2001). The effectiveness of driver training as a road safety measure: A review of the literature (No. 01/03). Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, Australia.
Clarke, S. & Robertson, I.T. (2005). A meta-analytic review of the Big Five personality factors and accident involvement in occupational and nonoccupational settings. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, 355–376. Ernst, M. & Spear, L. (2009). Reward systems. In M. de Haan & M. Gunnar (Eds.) Handbook of developmental social neuroscience (pp.324–341).
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crude but important measure of antisocial tendencies is criminal involvement, which peaks about age 17 (Moffit, 1993). This, of course, just happens to be the age at which we allow young people unsupervised access to cars. One final personality factor worth considering is impulsivity. While we might consider that there may be substantial overlap between impulsivity and sensation seeking, a number of authors note not only that they are conceptually different but also that they have different developmental trajectories. For example, it has been proposed and observed that while sensation seeking increases across adolescence, reaches a peak and then decreases, the pattern for impulsivity is quite different, starting high and decreasing into early adulthood (Steinberg et al., 2008). High levels of impulsivity have been shown to be associated with accident involvement (Freeman, 2008). Another factor that changes across adolescence is sleep patterns. There is
regulatory factors underlying sleep may be involved. Two factors are generally regarded as important in sleep regulation – a homeostatic and a circadian mechanism. The homeostatic mechanism responds to sleep need such that as wakefulness is prolonged there is an increase in sleep need and as sleep is prolonged there is a decrease in sleep need. The circadian rhythm is a biological process of roughly 24 hours duration that operates largely independent of the prior number of hours of sleep and wakefulness. The expressed concern is that while there is a delay in sleep onset there is, for a variety of social constraints, no delay in sleep offset, so young people may have insufficient sleep (Carskadon et al., 2004). At the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre they have been investigating the relationship between sleep and performance in general and accident involvement in particular. They find that about 16 per cent of all accidents are sleep-related and that a substantial proportion of sleep-related accidents involve people under the age of 30 (Horne & Reyner, 1995). The agerelated effect may in part be due to an exposure effect, since a significant proportion of young people may be driving at a point when their biological clocks are telling them they should be asleep. There is also some evidence that young people may be more susceptible to performance decrements following sleep disruption (Philip et al., 2004), with the latest research finding that young male and female Young male and female participants struggled more than participants struggled more older participants to maintain safe driving performance in than older participants to the simulator after a short five-hour sleep maintain safe driving performance in the simulator after a short fivea reliable delay in the onset of sleep hour sleep (Filtness et al., 2012). across adolescence. Both changes in the From a developmental perspective the psychosocial environment and in the high crash risk of young people emerges
New York: Guilford Press. Filtness, A., Reyner, L. & Horne, J. (2012). Driver sleepiness. Biological Psychology, 89(3), 580–583. Freeman, R. (2008). The role of impulsivity and new-driver restrictions on driver risk. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Reading. Gerbers, M.A. & Peck, R.C. (2003). Using traffic conviction correlates to identify high accident-risk drivers. Accident
Analysis and Prevention, 35, 903–912. Gregersen, N.P., Berg, H.Y., Engstrom, I., et al. (2000). Sixteen years age limit for learner drivers in Sweden – An evaluation of safety effects. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 32, 25–35. Heathcote, A., Brown, S. & Mewhort, D.J.K. (2000). The power law repealed. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 7, 185–207. Horne, J. & Reyner, L. (1995). Sleep-
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from a combination of an increase in reward sensitivity, combined with low impulse control, higher levels of antisocial tendencies and exposure to sleep challenge. The one factor that I would add is the dramatic change in social controls across adolescence. The amount of adult supervision and relevance of adult social norms changes dramatically across adolescence. Changes in factors such as sensation seeking may produce a change in the drive for risk taking, and changes in the social controls may change the opportunity and exposure to high-risk situations.
Experience issues It is quite clear that new drivers by definition lack experience. It is also quite clear that as drivers gain experience the crash rate decreases. Indeed, it has been shown that the decrease in crash rate is rapid in the first few months of driving. The fact that there is such a rapid change in crash risk across the first few months of driving for both younger and older drivers suggests that while slowly changing factors such as personality may have an important role to play they are unlikely to account for the whole picture. Indeed, when age-related factors are compared to experience-related factors, the general conclusion has been that, while both make an independent contribution, experience may have a larger role (McCartt et al., 2008). Herein lies a paradox: we need experience to reduce crash risk yet in the process we are exposed to high crash risk. We will see later that there are ways out of this paradox. In examining the blameworthiness of young drivers it has been found that 75 per cent of young drivers were at fault in the accidents that they experienced (Braitman et al., 2008). The types of accidents were largely run off the road, rear end, and right-of-way violations. The factors involved in these accidents were found to be failures of detection, speeding and loss of control. Although the term ‘experience’ has
related vehicle accidents. British Medical Journal, 310, 565–567. Ker, K., Roberts, I.G., Collier, T. et al. (2005). Post licence driver education for the prevention of road traffic crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 37, 305–312. Kopits, E. & Cropper, M. (2003). Traffic fatalities and economic growth. Policy Working Paper, no 3035. Washington DC: World Bank.
Mayhew, D.R. (2007). Driver education and graduated licensing in North America. Journal of Safety Research, 38, 229–235. Mayhew, D.R., Donelson, A.C., Beirness D.J. & H.M. Simpson (1986). Youth, alcohol and relative risk of crash involvement. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 18, 273–287. Mayhew, D.R. & Simpson, H.M. (2002). The safety value of driver education
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been used here, this term may be too passive for the process that is involved. We are not good at learning from passive experience: see the classic example of poor retention for frequently experienced common objects such as coins, demonstrated by Nickerson and Adams (1979). Young people may have very considerable experience of traffic as passengers, but this does not leave them safe. Is control of the vehicle the key factor? There are reasons to doubt this explanation. For example, younger people are more efficient at learning the control skills to pass the driving test but less effective at subsequently staying alive. A key issue for researchers is to identify the factors responsible for the rapid reduction in crash risk in the first few months of driving. In examining one line of thought at the University of Reading we have developed methods of measuring drivers’ ability to detect hazards, showing that new drivers are relatively slow to detect hazards but improvements come with training and experience (McKenna & Crick, 1994, 1997). This work became the basis for the Hazard Perception Test which is now used as part of driver licensing.
Countermeasures While there has been a great deal of research outlining the nature of the challenges faced by young drivers, there has been less research work devoted to reducing the crash risk of young drivers. There has been no shortage of interventions, but a very small percentage have two key features: being based on research and evaluated. Driver training\education One commonsense countermeasure is the introduction of driver training and education. The commonsense nature of this countermeasure might be indexed by the proliferation of these interventions and the fact that they command public support (Mayhew, 2007). Driver training and education are there to ensure that young drivers are prepared for the risks
and training. Injury Prevention, 8, 3–8. Mayhew, D.R., Simpson, H.M., Williams, A.F. & Ferguson, S.A. (1998). Effectiveness and role of driver education and training in a graduated licensing system. Journal of Public Health Policy, 19, 51–67. McCartt, A.T., Mayhew, D.R., Braitman, K.A. et al. (2008). Effects of age and experience on young driver crashes. Arlington, VA: Insurance Institute for
Young drivers are susceptible to all the major risk factors, such as speeding, drink driving and night-time driving
that they face. If they were successful then there would be no increased risk for young drivers. Against that criterion, driver training and education universally fail. What is profoundly problematic is that for decades numerous researchers have found no evidence to support these interventions (e.g. Brown et al., 1987; Christie, 2001; Ker et al., 2005; Mayhew et al., 1998; Mayhew & Simpson, 2002). Indeed there has been some suggestion that some of these interventions may in fact increase the crash risk (Roberts & Kwan, 2001; Williams, 2006). There may be a number of reasons why driver training\education has no obvious benefits. For the present purposes the following points are worth noting: I Despite their popularity there is little evidence to support driver training\education.
Highway Safety. McKenna, F.P. & Crick, J. (1994). Hazard perception in drivers: A methodology for testing and training. TRL Report 313. Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory. McKenna, F.P. & Crick, J. (1997). Developments in hazard perception. TRL Report 297. Crowthorne: Transport Research Laboratory. Moffitt. T.E. (1993). Life-course-persistent
In the past the absence of evidence appears to have had no impact on the number of subsequent interventions. The design of the interventions (even when evaluated) are often based neither on evidence nor formal knowledge.
It might be hoped that the changing culture surrounding the importance of evidence may produce some changes in the future. Graduated licensing The key idea behind graduated licensing is that learning should proceed following a few simple principles. For example, learning should proceed from simple to complex and should progress from lowrisk conditions to high-risk conditions. In the same way that a pilot may graduate from flying a small plane to flying a
and adolescence-limited antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100, 674–701. Moskowitz, H. & Fiorentino, D. (2000). A review of the literature on the effects of low doses of alcohol on driving related skills. DOT HS 809 028. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nickerson, R.S. & Adams, M.J. (1979). Long term memory for a common
object. Cognitive Psychology, 11, 287–307. Parker, D., Reason, J.T., Manstead, A.S.R. & Stradling, S.G. (1995). Driving errors, driving violations and accident involvement. Ergonomics, 38, 1036–1048. Philip, P., Taillard, J., Sagaspe, P. et al. (2004). Age performance and sleep deprivation. Journal of Sleep Research, 13, 105–110.
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jumbo jet, so the young driver would proceed through graduated steps. Does driver licensing in the UK violate these simple proposals by having too much of a step change between safe supervised driving and unsafe unsupervised driving? The key risk conditions that have been identified are night-time driving and driving with young passengers. It has been shown that when graduated licensing is introduced and new drivers graduate from driving in daylight conditions with no peer passengers to driving at night with peer passengers, then there is a significant reduction in crash risk (Chen et al., 2006). Driver experience The challenge for interventions based on experience is, as noted before, that while we need experience to reduce crash risk the process itself exposes us to high crash risk. What is needed to solve this problem is a method of gaining experience at low risk. Swedish researchers have examined one such method. They noted that while young drivers were being supervised, they were at low risk. What parameters of practice might we manipulate? The first obvious factor is the amount of practice. We know that learning proceeds as a nonlinear function of practice, being rapid at first and decreasing as practice continues. Whether the precise function is a power or exponential function has been a matter of debate (Heathcote et al., 2000). The other parameter that might be worth considering is ‘massed’ versus ‘distributed’ practice. When practice is continuous with no or few separate learning episodes it is considered to be massed, and when there are many separate learning episodes then it is said to be distributed. The advantages of distributed practice has been known for
Reason, J.T., Manstead, A.S.R., Stradling, S.G. et al. (1990). Errors and violations on the road. Ergonomics, 33, 1315–1332. Roberti, J.W. (2004). A review of behavioural and biological correlates of sensation seeking. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 256–279. Roberts, I. & Kwan, I. (2001). Schoolbased driver education for the prevention of traffic crashes.
some time (Cepeda et al., 2006). From these two parameters an intervention should increase the amount of practice and do so in separate learning episodes over an extended period of time. An intervention in Sweden appears to have these characteristics. By retaining their licensing age of 18 and extending the learning period, their goal was to increase the amount of safe supervised experience over an extended period of time. It was shown that this intervention could produce a 40 per cent accident reduction (Gregersen et al., 2000). Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) Given that loss of control is a feature of young driver crash involvement, it would be predicted that any factor that aids control would be a benefit. By checking the consistency of the steering input with the direction of travel, ESP detects discrepancies and by applying braking individually to the wheels and in some cases controlling engine power ESP is designed explicitly to regain control. While it has been shown that this intervention reduces crash risk (Scully & Newstead, 2008) one clear, but as yet untested, prediction is that this measure should differentially benefit young drivers. General countermeasures Given that young drivers are susceptible to all the major risk factors, such as speeding, drink driving and night-time driving, then it follows that young drivers should benefit from countermeasures designed to affect any of these measures. For example, speed-control measures either implemented in the vehicle or externally via automated speed cameras should produce a benefit. The main interventions for alcohol involve deterrence. One important challenge for many countries is not just to invest in sufficient resources to deter drink driving but also to determine what level of alcohol should be defined as illegal. What criteria should be used to determine a legal limit? Two criteria present
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2001, Issue 3. Scully, J. & Newstead, S. (2008). Evaluation of electronic stability control in Australasia. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 40, 2050–2057. Steinberg, L., Albert, D., Cauffman, E. et al. (2008). Age differences in sensation seeking and impulsivity as indexed by behavior and self-report. Developmental Psychology Copyright,
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themselves. The first is an elevated crash risk. On this basis one might choose a level of 0.05 per cent since it is known that crash risk begins to increase beyond this level (Zador et al., 2000). An alternative criterion might be .02 per cent since it is known that at this level performance is affected (Moskowitz & Fiorentino, 2000). We might note that there is no rational defence of the current UK legal limit of 0.08 per cent. As the crashworthiness of vehicles improves we would expect young drivers to benefit but to benefit to a lesser extent than older drivers, because safety innovations start with new vehicles that young drivers cannot afford. Those who are in greatest need are least likely to benefit. That said, within a given budget, advice might be provided on those vehicles with superior crashworthiness.
Conclusion The crash rate of young drivers presents many challenges. For society, it is a significant public health challenge. For researchers, the challenge is to provide a more detailed understanding of the rapid reduction in crash risk that happens in the first few months of driving and how to instil this knowledge into effective interventions. For psychologists there is also a professional challenge. To what extent should we take a lead in trying to stop the proliferation of road safety interventions that are based neither on theory nor formal knowledge and remain unevaluated? To what extent is it our responsibility to encourage authorities to implement only interventions that are based on sound theory and evidence?
44, 1764–1778. Waylen, A. & McKenna, F.P. (2008) Risky attitudes towards road use in predrivers. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 40, 905–911. West, R.J., Elander, J. & French, D. (1993). Mild social deviance, Type-A behaviour pattern and decisionmaking style as predictors of selfreported driving style and traffic accident risk. British Journal of
Frank P. McKenna is Professor of Psychology at the University of Reading firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology, 84, 207–219. WHO (2004). World report on traffic injury prevention. Geneva: WHO. Williams, A.F. (2006). Young driver risk factors. Injury Prevention, 12, 4–8. Zador, P., Krawchuk, S.A. & Voas, R.B. (2000). Relative risk of fatal crash involvement by BAC, age and gender. DOT HS 809 050. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Indeed there is plenty of evidence that people are more likely to be willing to reduce their car use if they feel this is a good thing to do, if they believe that they can and that others will approve of this (e.g. Bamberg et al., 2003). People are also more willing to reduce their car use if they have stronger moral norms. Reducing personal car use can be Birgitta Gatersleben on reducing our dependence on the private car seen as altruistic behaviour, adopted for the sake of others (the community, future generations, the biosphere). There is Cars contribute to local air rivate car use contributes plenty of evidence to support this idea. pollution, traffic danger, congestion significantly to environmental Those who have stronger biospheric and and poor physical health due to problems on a global as well as altruistic values (as opposed to egoistic), lack of exercise. If the final goal a local and those who feel more of sustainable development is to individual level. morally obliged to act sustain or improve the quality of About 18 per cent pro-environmentally life for all, now and into the longof the total energy and those who more term future, the current growth in requirements of strongly believe car private car use is clearly European use contributes to unsustainable. Understanding why households is for environmental most people prefer using a car over transport (Reinders problems, are more other modes of transport for their et al., 2003). What inclined to try to daily travel, and how they can be is behind the love reduce their car use persuaded to use their cars less or affair with the (e.g. Nordlund & even abandon them altogether, is automobile, and Garvill, 2003). therefore an important goal for what can psychology But most people psychology. contribute to the appear to be aware of sustainable transport the costs of private car debate? use, yet do little about What is the best thing about driving a Most research it. In 2008, the car? in environmental average ‘Brit’ spent psychology, as well around 230 hours per Why do so few people cycle to work or as a large number of year in a car and only school in Britain? policy interventions 70 hours walking, Is there anything we can learn from car in this area, are based 10 hours cycling, advertisement in order to promote on attitude models 40 hours on a bus and sustainable transport choices? Somewhere, over the rainbow, can such as the theory of 30 hours on a train Why do so many people use cars even people be persuaded to use their planned behaviour (Department for though they express concern for the cars less? (Ajzen & Fishbein, Transport, 2011). This environmental problems caused by 1977). This model is despite the fact that private car use? suggests that 68 per cent said that intentional behaviours are influenced by they are concerned about the effects of How likely is it that there will be fewer attitudes towards that behaviour, perceived transport on climate change and 70 per cars on the road in the future? subjective norms (what others think) and cent about car exhaust fumes in cities, perceptions of behavioural control. The and that 43 per cent said they could cycle assumption is that travel behaviours are many journeys of less than two miles Gärling, T. & Steg, L. (Eds.) (2007). voluntary, planned behaviours and that rather than make them by car, 35 per cent Threats from car traffic to the quality of providing people with the right kind of said they could just as easily take the bus urban life: Problems, causes, and solutions. Amsterdam: Elsevier. information will allow them to make more and 41 per cent that they could just as informed (i.e. more sustainable) choices. easily walk.
The psychology of sustainable transport
Ajzen, I. & Fishbein, M. (1977). Attitude– behavior relations: Theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological Bulletin, 84(5), 888–918. Bamberg, S., Ajzen, I. & Schmidt, P. (2003). Choice of travel mode in the theory of planned behavior: The roles of past behavior, habit, and reasoned action. Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 25(3), 175.
Department for Transport (2011). 2010 British Social Attitudes survey: Attitudes to transport. London: Author. Dunn, M. & Searle, R. (2010). Effect of manipulated prestige-car ownership on both sex attractiveness ratings. British Journal of Psychology, 101, 69–80. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanston, IL: Row,
Peterson. Fraine, G., Smith, S.G., Zinkiewicz, L. et al. (2007). At home on the road? Can drivers' relationships with their cars be associated with territoriality? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27, 204–214. Fujii, S. & Gärling, T. (2003). Development of script-based travel mode choice after forced change. Transportation Research: Traffic Psychology &
Behaviour, 6, 117–124. Gatersleben, B. (2007). Affective and symbolic aspects of car use: A review. In T. Gärling & L. Steg (Eds.) Threats to the quality of urban life from car traffic: Problems, causes, and solutions (pp.219–234). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Gatersleben, B. (2011). The car as a material possession: Exploring the link between materialism and car
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There is a range of reasons why people may not act upon their attitudes, some of which will be discussed here. I will address the idea that behaviour change is a process, not an event. Changing behaviour, even under ideal circumstances, may require more effort than is often presumed. One factor that plays a significant role is habit. Much of what we do, we do without thinking. Giving people information to make better choices is not going to work if they are not making conscious choices to begin with. Moreover, people may express a positive attitude towards reducing their car use, but when it comes to actually doing something they may well find it easier to change their attitude rather than their behaviour – or cope with the cognitive dissonance! Finally, attitudinal research on sustainable transport often only measures perceptions of the instrumental costs and benefits of driving, in terms of time, money and effort. Yet much of what we do we do because we believe it will make us feel or look good. These affective and symbolic aspects are particularly relevant for private car use.
mode of transport such as cycling calls for different strategies. A study focused on bicycle use (Gatersleben & Appleton, 2007) showed that the majority of people in an English sample had never considered cycling and believed that cycling was simply not for them. They indicated that they would not cycle under any circumstances (pre-contemplation). A substantial number indicated that they would in principle be interested to try it out (contemplation). But only very few ended up participating in a study where they were asked to do so (ready for action). Those who did received significant support (a bicycle, maps, fitness tests) to help them start and continue cycling. Participants’ views of cycling changed over time, and positive experiences encouraged people to continue to cycle. Similar results have been found in other studies. Fujii and Gärling (2003), for instance, found that those who had used a free bus pass during a trial period were more likely to use the bus after the free trial was over. These people had been helped to establish a new travel routine.
Behaviour change is a process The stages of change model (more commonly employed in health psychology), may be useful to help tackle unsustainable transport choices (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984). According to this model change is not an event but a process where people move through different stages from precontemplation, via contemplation (considering change), to ready for action (intending to change), action (trying it out) and maintenance (doing it consistently). Different interventions are needed for people in different stages, and without significant intervention people can move not only towards maintenance but also in the opposite direction. Raising awareness of the environmental costs of driving may help move people from precontemplation to contemplation. In order to get those who are ready for action to actually take up an alternative
ownership and use. In K. Lucas, E. Blumenberg & R. Weinberger (Eds.) Auto motives: Understanding car use behaviours (pp.137–150). Bingley: Emerald. Gatersleben, B. & Appleton, K. (2007). Contemplating cycling to work: Attitudes and perceptions in different stages of change. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 41, 302–312.
Habit Many of the things we do, we do without thinking. When we leave our home in the morning we rarely think about which mode of travel to use to get to work, we simply pick up our keys, walk out of the house, get in the car and drive away. It is not until we cannot find our keys or our car doesn’t start that we (have to) consider alternatives. With repetition and a stable context habits can develop. When behaviour is habitual it takes place without much thinking or conscious planning, and in this case information provision about alternative modes is relatively pointless. The ‘habit discontinuity hypothesis’ suggests that behaviour change interventions may be much more effective when people have gone through a major lifestyle change due to which their habits have been discontinued, e.g. when they
Gatersleben, B. & Uzzell, D. (2007). The journey to work: Exploring commuter mood among driver, cyclists, walkers and users of public transport. Environment and Behavior, 39, 416–431. Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J.M. & Van den Bergh, B. (2010), Going green to be seen: Status, reputation, and conspicuous conservation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98,
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have moved house or job (Verplanken et al., 2008). This new situation makes it necessary for them to reconsider their travel choices. Moreover, in such situations people are more likely to act in line with important values (such as protecting the environment: Verplanken et al., 2008).
Justifications of behaviour If you ask someone why they drive a car, you are likely to receive an answer that refers to the advantages of a car in terms of flexibility, safety, speed and comfort and the disadvantages of other modes in those same terms. However, providing better facilities may not necessarily result in behaviour change. For instance, building more cycle lanes may not increase cycling (see Gatersleben & Appleton, 2007). In fact, such interventions could even backfire. Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that when people are faced with a discrepancy between what they say and what they do they will be motivated to close this gap (Festinger, 1957). But this can be done by changing behaviour as well as by changing attitudes. For example, a Dutch survey with potential users of a carpool lane before and after opening of the lane (in 1993) found that rather than changing behaviour (using the lane) people changed their attitudes. For instance, solo drivers had a more positive attitude towards solo driving after the lane was opened than they did before (Van Vugt et al., 1996). The lane was perceived to be a failure and closed after several months in operation.
Symbolic aspects of car use We don’t just own and use cars because they are easy and convenient modes of getting from A to B: if it were that simple Jeremy Clarkson would be out of a job! As much as they have instrumental value, cars also have affective and symbolic value (Steg et al., 2001). The instrumental value relates to the functional properties of a car, for instance it may get us from
392–404. Murtagh, N., Gatersleben, B. & Uzzell, D. (2012). Self-identity threat and resistance to change: Evidence from regular travel behaviour. Journal of Environmental Behaviour, 32(4), 318–326. Nilsson, M. & Küller, R. (2000). Travel behaviour and environmental concern. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 5,
211–234. Nordlund, A.M. & Garvill, J. (2003). Effects of values, problem awareness, and personal norm on willingness to reduce personal car use. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23, 339–347. Prochaska, J.O. & DiClemente, C.C. (1984). The transtheoretical approach: Crossing traditional boundaries of change. Homewood IL: Dow
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home to work quicker than public transport. But cars also allow us to express to others who we are (or how we would like to be seen: social-symbolic function) and driving fast can be thrilling (affective function: see Gatersleben, 2007). In terms of the social-symbolic aspects, cars are ideal visual material objects that can help us to make judgements about others (impression formation) and can help us to manage other people’s perceptions of ourselves (impression management). If I show you a photograph of a pink VW, a white van and a black BMW and a set of photographs of people, you would probably find it easy (perhaps even fun) to make judgements about which person may be found in which car. Moreover, we know that when women are shown an image of a man in a high status car, they find this man more attractive then when the same man is shown in an average status car (Dunn & Searle, 2010). When people are asked directly, they will not rate the symbolic value of cars as important. However, when the research task is more ambiguous (when people are asked to rate the attractiveness of transport scenarios), symbolic and affective aspects play a significant role in judgements about cars and driving. The scenario rated the most attractive in Steg et al.’s (2001) study was: ‘Finally you bought your dream car, your neighbour watches in admiration when you are testing your new car. It holds the road well.’ The fourth most attractive scenario was: ‘You pick up your son from school. You hear him saying to his friend that your car is much better than and stronger than the car of his father. You decide not to go home right away, but make a short drive first.’ The last scenario may well sound familiar as it featured in a car advertisement on British television a few years ago. Car manufacturers often try to sell their products by highlighting the potential symbolic and affective advantages of their products. Cars are important for identity formation and maintenance (see box). For some, a car is a primary territory – a place
Jones/Irwin. Reinders, A., Vringer, K. & Blok, K. (2003), The direct and indirect energy requirement of households in the European Union, Energy Policy, 31(2), 139–153. Steg, L., Vlek, C. & Slotegraaf, G. (2001). Instrumental-reasoned and symbolic-affective motives for using a motor car. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and
with which they identify, which they personalise and where they feel in control and safe (Fraine et al., 2007); a place of selfexpression (‘My car is dedicated to…’) and communication (‘I suppose it [a sticker] is a way of communicating but it is a way of expressing myself as well’, Fraine et al., 2007, p.210). When your car has become a part of you, invading your car space is like invading your personal space. Those who identify more strongly with their car (e.g. ‘my car is a reflection of me’) are more likely to find it annoying if someone were to touch their car, write in dust on their car, change settings on the dashboard or park too close What does your car say about you? (Watts, 2008). Social-symbolic aspects can form important barriers to reducing car use. The (social and car-related) identity (Murtagh more car drivers derive a sense of personal et al., 2012). identity from driving, the less willing they Of course, there are individual are to reduce their car use (Stradling et al., differences. Some people attach more 1999). And people who are emotionally importance to owning the right type of car attached to their car drive more and then others. Young people and low-income express more negative attitudes towards groups may value affective functions of the travel demand management compared to car more than older people and higherthose who are less attached (Nilsson & income groups, and male drivers tend to Küller, 2000). Moreover, the extent to value symbolic and affective outcomes which people are resistant to changing more than female drivers (Steg et al., their car use under a range of scenarios 2001). Moreover, people with a stronger is related to the extent to which these materialistic value orientation (who believe scenarios are perceived to threaten their that acquiring wealth and material
Behaviour, 4, 151–169. Stradling, S.G., Meadows, M.L. & Beatty, S. (1999). Factors affecting car use choices. Edinburgh: Transport Research Institute, Napier University. Van Vugt, M., Van Lange, P., Meertens, R. & Joireman, J. (1996). How a structural solution to a real-world social dilemma failed: A field experiment on the first carpool lane in Europe. Social Psychology
Quarterly, 59(4), 364–374. Verplanken, B., Walker, I., Davis, A. & Jurasek, M. (2008). Context change and travel mode choice: Combining the habit discontinuity and selfactivation hypotheses, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28 121–127. Watts, L. (2008). An in-depth exploration into the nature of human–car attachment and its implications for
pro-environmental travel behaviour. University of Surrey, Unpublished dissertation. Wener, R. & Evans, G. (2011). Comparing stress of car and train commuters. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 14, 2, 111–116.
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possessions will improve their well-being and status) are more likely to want to buy a car (if they don’t already have one) and drive an expensive car for a day. They are also more likely to believe they can impress others if they drive the right kind of car, that they would feel powerful if they drove an expensive sports car. And they are less willing to reduce their car use or change their mode use for environmental reasons (Gatersleben, 2011).
Affect Driving can be stressful. A recent study in the US demonstrated that car commuters experience more stress and negative mood than train users (Wener & Evans, 2011). However, driving can also be pleasant. Although 23 per cent of participants in an English commuter survey said that their car journey was stressful, 44 per cent said it was relaxing, 60 per cent agreed their commute provided them with privacy, freedom and control. Only 11 per cent found their journey generally unpleasant (Gatersleben & Uzzell, 2007). Beautiful natural scenery is the most important source of a positive experience for all mode users (Gatersleben & Uzzell, 2007). In addition, music is an important source of positive experiences for drivers, and reading for public transport users. Flexibility is important both for car users and cyclists, whereas seeing and communicating with other people is an important source of a pleasant experience on public transport. Only walking and cycling are perceived to be intrinsically motivating activities in their own right. These potential benefits of sustainable travel modes could be highlighted in sustainable travel campaigns in the same way car manufactures highlight the symbolic and affective aspects of their products.
So where to go from here? Individual car use contributes to a wide range of social and environmental problems in modern-day societies. Reducing our dependence on cars is well worth exploring and promoting. But this is not an easy task, as many variables play a role. Often we don’t think about the mode of transport we use or whether we need to make a journey at all. So providing people with information on more sustainable options needs to be well placed and well timed. Interventions are more likely to be effective when car habits have been disrupted first. Moreover, ‘simple’ information campaigns are unlikely to be sufficient to move people
‘When it comes to how I travel… who am I?’ Niamh Murtagh outlines some ongoing research at the University of Surrey Working parents across England were asked how they saw themselves in relation to their regular modes of travel. In response to the question ‘When it comes to how I travel, who am I?’, the 267 participants provided up to 20 responses starting ‘I am…’. Instrumental, affective and symbolic motives emerged. Participants wrote about being dependent on their car, disliking or enjoying driving, being angry with other motorists or ‘not paying over the top for public transport’. In some cases, the symbolic importance of a car was explicit: ‘I am young and sexy in my car’, ‘I am trying to impress with my car’. More generally, a number of responses (39 per cent) noted being ‘good’, ‘patient’, ‘tolerant’ or
‘considerate’, with the same number of responses referring to being a fast or confident driver, ‘a girl racer’, ‘Lewis Hamilton’ or ‘Stirling Moss’. Multiple identities emerged from the participants’ responses. Some identities were transport-related, either directly expressed: ‘I am a car driver’, ‘I am a cyclist’ (or in a qualified form: ‘I am someone who drives because they have to’). A number of social identities also emerged, including spouse, friend, parent, sibling, worker and man/ woman. Directly expressed social identities included ‘I am a dad’, ‘I am female’, with more complex social roles emerging in statements such as: ‘I am the kids’ private taxi’, ‘I am the one
from contemplating an alternative mode of transport to establishing a new, more sustainable habit. More targeted interventions such as company and school travel plans may be useful here as they provide targeted detailed and specific feedback, support and services. When trying to tackle car use, it is important to consider the role of cars in modern-day societies, which extend beyond the simple utility function as a mode of transport. Cars are important symbols of status and success. Cars provide places where people can feel safe and secure. Such functions cannot be provided by any collective mode of transport. The relative importance of these functions and the extent to which they may form barriers for change needs to be understood in much greater detail. But symbolic and affective aspects may not only form barriers for change. A series of experiments with a student population in the US suggests that when people are concerned about their status they may be more likely to choose a hybrid car over a luxury car (Griskevicius et al., 2010), but only when choices are made in public and
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that takes my mum where she wants to go…’. Additional quantitative measures of travel mode were also collected, and small, significant relationships were found between particular identities and car use on regular journeys. The findings provide initial evidence for identities as contributing to travel mode choice. The qualitative data also suggest that how people travel may be part of how they construct some important social identities. Could car use in fact enable management of multiple identities, such as parent and worker? Work is continuing on how identities may relate to travel mode, and on the implications of this relationship for encouraging more sustainable transport.
when the hybrid car is more expensive. More work is needed to verify such findings and explore the actual carbon implications of such findings, but they open up interesting new insights. Environmental psychology has an important role to play in understanding travel choices and helping to develop more sustainable forms of transport. It can provide a better and more in-depth understanding of the real costs and benefits of driving and mode choices. It can help inform transport policy by providing insight into when and how people make transport decisions. But the research field is relatively new, and a great deal more work is needed to fully understand (un)sustainable travel choices.
Birgitta Gatersleben is in the Department of Psychology, University of Surrey email@example.com
Vulnerable road users Jon Sutton interviews Ian Walker about how psychology can assist non-car drivers
rarely drive – I cycle to work, and Iresearch walk a lot. I see a lot of psychological around driver behaviour and safety, but have I been ignored? Yes, I’d say so. I first started to notice this at a traffic psychology conference about eight years ago – 98 per cent of the delegates were in the next room for a session on the driver behaviour questionnaire whereas in the parallel stream on cycling issues there was just me and three Finnish people alone in a room. This is clearly reflected in the research literature. There are key issues surrounding vulnerable road users that have no data. What are the attentional mechanisms underlying drivers hitting cyclists? What are the social mechanisms underpinning aggression towards cyclists? There’s some speculation, but very little data and no real theories. It certainly often seems that cyclists are the poor relation in terms of infrastructure. Yes… I can’t help suspecting (but again, nobody’s really studied this) that one of
Pedestrians ‘If we think cyclists are ignored by researchers, pedestrians have it even worse. Of the little that is published on pedestrians, almost all of it can be construed as supporting the societal status quo in which pedestrians are firmly held as second-class to people in motor vehicles. Analyses tend to look at why pedestrians are so “reckless” as to “jaywalk” away from their designated crossing areas, rather than to study what I would argue are much more fundamental questions about the social, environmental and health consequences of obliging healthy and harmless walkers to yield priority to inactive and polluting drivers. Ian Roberts and Carolyn Coggan looked at this in a 1994 paper (see tinyurl.com/735bl96) – little has changed.’
the problems is that cyclists are neither one thing nor the other: they go faster then pedestrians, and so make pedestrians feel uncomfortable when they get close; but they go slower than cars and drivers don’t like to share space with them either. Given neither of our major road user groups wants to share space with cyclists, what to do? Should town planners treat cyclists as fast pedestrians and accommodate them that way (e.g. put them on pavements, expect them to yield priority at every side road) or should they treat cyclists as slower vehicles and accommodate them that way (e.g. create cycle lanes at the sides of roads)? All these solutions have problems, but most critically, there’s no way that one solution will fit everybody as people cycle for different reasons. Some of the work we’ve done at Bath lately, most notably by my PhD student Gregory Thomas, shows that some people really value fresh air and exercise such that, if they were unable to cycle, they would walk. Others are cycling for speed and, if for some reason had to change mode, would drive. Because people are doing the same behaviour with different motivations, you can’t expect them all to accept the same infrastructure provision – the person who just wants exercise might tolerate stopping at every sidestreet but the person who wants to get to work quickly will not. Maybe it’s those who cycle for speed that prompt the most negative reactions from other road users… cyclists are downright hated in a lot of quarters! A report from the Transport Research Laboratory and University of Strathclyde a few years ago led by Lynn Basford (PDF via tinyurl.com/7qk877b) suggested that there’s some classic social psychology at work here – cyclists represent an outgroup such that the usual outgroup effects are seen, particularly overgeneralisation of negative
behaviour and attributes – ‘They all ride through red lights all the time’. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that something of this sort is going on. However, there has to be more to it than just this. For a long time I wondered if the outgroup status of cyclists was compounded by two other known social psychological factors: norms and majority vs. minority groups. Not only are cyclists an outgroup, they’re also a minority outgroup. Moreover, they are engaging in an activity that is deemed slightly inappropriate in a culture that views driving as normative and desirable and, arguably, views cycling as anticonventional and possibly even infantile. But even adding these factors into the mix does not explain all the anger that cyclists experience. It’s easy to identify other minority outgroups whose behaviour similarly challenges social norms but who do not get verbally and physically attacked like cyclists do: vegetarians, for example. So there’s clearly one or more important variables that we’ve not identified yet. Any social psychologists looking for a challenge are very welcome to wade into this. Does this social status have concrete effects? Yes, the lack of understanding of the cyclist outgroup seems to produce measurable changes in other road users’ behaviour. A few years ago I did a study which showed that changing the appearance of a cyclist led to notable changes in how much space drivers left when passing the bicycle. The specific changes seen make sense given the small body of research on non-cyclists’ stereotypes of cyclists. The two extant studies – the Lynn Basford et al. one, and research by Birgitta Gatersleben and Hebba Haddad, in 2010 – both found that non-cyclists view bicycle helmets as an indicator of an experienced rider, and in my data we saw riskier behaviour from drivers when they passed a cyclist who was wearing a helmet, which fits the idea they saw the rider as more capable. The positive lesson from this, I feel, is that drivers do adjust their behaviour to the perceived needs of the non-drivers they are interacting with. The problem is that they do not always understand how to read these other people and judge their needs. And that’s even worse in white van drivers, right? Ha, perhaps! I did do an analysis on a subset of the data which showed white vans tended to be amongst the worst culprits for getting close when passing
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on the road
cyclists. Interestingly, red vans were much motorcyclists) are found. The way to better behaved. I take my hat off to the test this is incredibly simple: behavioural audience member who, at a public talk, analysis of drivers in, say, Cambridge or put two and two together here and York (where one would expect cyclists at suggested an excellent explanation: most each junction) and Basingstoke (where of the red vans were Post Office vans, and one would not). We expect to see postal delivery people have often cycled different visual search patterns – and as part of their work and so understand fewer conflicts with cyclists – where cyclists. This would cyclists are more totally fit the picture prevalent. I’m developing here Of course, there of how a key problem are also relatively lowis the majority of level visual processes road users not at work in car–bicycle understanding the collisions. David needs and behaviours Shinar in Israel has of a minority with recently been doing whom they have to studies to suggest that share resources; as riders’ smaller physical soon as you take a size plays a role in group of drivers who throwing off drivers’ do know what it is to judgements. Most be in that minority, interesting of all, behaviour improves. he found that the If this long chain visibility of riders of inferences holds depends very heavily together to say that on the background Ian Walker is at the University of cyclists’ problem is they happen to be Bath. firstname.lastname@example.org that other road-users passing at any given don’t know what it is moment: if you’re like to be a cyclist – riding in front of and there are qualitative data to suggest a white house it’s far better to wear black it does – then perhaps we might solve than so-called ‘high-visibility’ gear. To many problems by increasing drivers’ a psychologist, it's pretty obvious that understanding. Compulsory cycling as visual contrast between figure and part of driver training would be an ideal ground, rather than the rider’s clothes per solution. se, is what will matter. But this seems to be a difficult message for wider audiences What is the psychology behind most to swallow – they won't let go of the idea accidents involving bikes? that ‘high-visibility’ clothing is always the If you look at taxonomies of car–bicycle best thing. collisions – or, indeed, car–motorcycle Incidentally, there are other reasons collisions, which tend to be very similar – to be suspicious of high-visibility gear, not you see that the majority of collisions least that it transfers responsibility from happen in just a few circumstances. the driver of the metal box that creates One of the key issues is where the the danger to the victim of that danger. rider is going straight along a main road So is that kind of research considered and are hit by a driver turning right (in ‘traffic psychology’, or ‘transport the UK), either into a side street or out psychology’? What’s the difference? of one. There’s actually a (very) small Traffic psychology is largely about the psychological literature on this, human factors involved in traffic particularly the ‘looked-but-failed-to-see ‘accidents’ and is in many ways applied phenomenon’, which is where the rightcognitive psychology – it’s all about turning driver looks at the rider but does attention, decision making, response not consciously become aware of the selection, etc. hazard. Unfortunately, this literature is Transport psychology is about how so small it doesn’t provide very hard people choose their travel modes – do answers, but it’s likely the problem is they drive, cycle or take public drivers’ expectations, making it a toptransport – and in practice is applied down processing problem. The social psychology, a lot like health and hypothesis is that drivers don’t expect environmental psychology. to encounter cyclists at junctions and so their visual search patterns go to the parts That must be an important link, with of the road where cars and trucks are to health psychology. Active transport is be found, skipping the parts of the road surely one of the best ways for people where cyclists (and, to an extent,
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to get more exercise. These days, I find myself working in transport, environmental and health psychology. What’s fascinating is that the underlying issues and theories are largely the same in all these fields. Whether you’re looking at why people engage in recycling, why they undertake risky health behaviours or why they drive everywhere (which is, ironically, itself a risky health behaviour) you’re looking at the antecedents of a person’s behaviour and how best to influence the behaviourselection process. In practice, this largely consists of wishing there was something obviously better than the theory of planned behaviour – another practice common to all three fields. I like your approach to research. I read in one chapter ‘I once, in an exploratory study with no particular hypothesis’ – I don’t think we see that often enough! I have to confess that that’s often how I start studies: ‘I wonder what people will do if I manipulate X...’. In the back of my mind there’s often some sort of theoretical basis to this, but I’d be lying if I said every study was a direct test of a specific hypothesis derived from theory; often I find the theory afterwards for the writeup. I’m sure this is far more common than people think, but the rigid traditions of academic publishing force people to pretend that every study is a test of a theoretically derived hypothesis. Here’s hoping your approach and research becomes more and more influential – presumably bikes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon? As Katie Melua sang, ‘There are nine million bicycles in Beijing, That’s a fact.’ You mean Melua and Batt (2005)? I question the veracity of their thesis. More seriously, though, the bicycle cannot go anywhere and must form part of our future. At the moment there is an incredible research effort to design better cars for the future. None of these efforts address the fundamental design flaws of the car. Even if somebody came up with a car that runs off angels’ sighs and never crashes, it would still encourage sprawling urban planning, bad land use (especially for parking) and would still encourage its owner to get fat and unhealthy. The population is rising; we don’t have the space to accommodate more and more cars and we have some serious population health issues. More cycling solves a swathe of problems at a stroke, and all it requires is a simple machine that most people already have lying around their home somewhere.
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History & Philosophy of Psychology Section Annual Conference 2013 25-27 March, 2013 University of Surrey, Guildford
AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DOCTORAL RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS TO PSYCHOLOGY 2012 The Research Board invites nominations This annual award recognises outstanding contributions to psychological knowledge by postgraduate research students whilst carrying out research for their doctoral degrees in psychology.*
Criteria: The Award Committee will base its decision on published psychology articles, reporting the research carried out for a doctoral degree.* A maximum of two articles can be submitted, and the following requirements must be met: ● The articles must have been published in refereed journals, or be in press. ● The candidate must be either the sole or senior (first) author of the article(s) concerned. ● The candidate’s doctoral degree supervisor or head of department must sign a statement confirming that the research reported in the article(s), was carried out by the candidate as research for a doctoral degree in psychology that was passed by a university in the UK normally not more than two years before the date of acceptance of the article(s) for publication. Nominations: ●
DSM:The History,Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis Keynote Speaker: Professor Ian Parker 2013 marks the 40-year anniversary of the vote by the members of the American Psychiatric Association to remove ‘homosexuality’ from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). 2013 is also the publication date of the fifth edition of the DSM.
To mark this anniversary and this event, the History and Philosophy Section have themed the 2013 conference 'DSM: The History, Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis.'
Award: A £500 prize and a commemorative certificate. The recipient is also invited to deliver a lecture based on the research at the Society’s Annual Conference. The Award Committee may decide not to make an award in any given year.
Individual papers or symposia in any area dealing with conceptual and historical issues in Psychology, broadly defined, are invited. The conference is open to independent and professional scholars in all relevant fields, not just Section or British Psychological Society members. A limited number of bursaries will be available to students who have had their paper accepted for presentation. All submissions (abstracts of 200 words) should be sent via email to Dr Geoff Bunn: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 14 December 2012. Further information is available on the Section's website: http://www.bps.org.uk/history/events/events_home.cfm
Proposers must send a 500-word nomination statement outlining why the candidate’s work is outstanding and why they should be considered for the award. Proposers must send 10 copies of what they judge to be the candidate’s two most outstanding and significant publications reporting the research carried out for the candidate’s doctoral degree. Proposers must also send 10 copies of the candidate’s current full CV. Nominations should be sent to Liz Beech at the Leicester office by 1 November 2012.
For more information and the full nomination criteria, please contact Liz Beech on 0116 252 9928 or e-mail email@example.com. *A candidate may only be nominated for the award if the doctoral degree was awarded no longer than three years ago (i.e. in 2009).
vol 25 no 9
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Becoming immortal – genes, memes and dreams Robert J. Sternberg has some encouraging words for those who feel they aren’t ‘making a difference’
hen I was 25 and in my first year cited at all. It was almost as though they as an assistant professor, I had had never existed. high hopes of becoming immortal. When I look back on my introductory Obviously, I did not expect to live for ever psychology textbook of 1968 and physically, but I dreamed that I would be compare it to introductory texts of today, one of those psychologists whose work few of the scholars cited then are cited would live on for ever – who would any more; the ones that are, for the most continue to be cited long after I was part, are mentioned only in the context of gone. That was then. At 62, I am not the obligatory brief history of the field in disheartened, but chastened, in my the first or second chapter of the text. thinking. Many of the substantive issues on which In my 30 years of being a professor and then also a center director (in psychology at Yale University), and in my seven years of being an administrator (first as a dean of arts and sciences at Tufts University and now as a provost and senior vice president at Oklahoma State University) as well as a professor, I have come to see things differently. I have seen that, as soon as a faculty member would announce that he or she was retiring, it was almost as though that faculty member had ceased to exist. Oh, people were nice enough, but it was as though the professor’s name had been crossed off the list of ‘people who make a difference to the I Robert J. Sternberg is Provost, Senior Vice President, field’. I then discovered that, Regents Professor of Psychology and Education, and even among the greats, within George Kaiser Family Foundation Professor of Ethical a few years of their Leadership at Oklahoma State University retirements, they were hardly
Beck, A. (1967). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford. Binet, A. & Simon, T. (1916). The development of intelligence in children (E.S. Kite, Trans.). Vineland, NJ: Publications of the Training School at Vineland. (Originally published 1905 in L'Année Psychologique, 12, 191–244.) Ellis, A. (1975). A guide to rational living (3rd edn). Chatsworth, CA: Wilshire
Books. Freud, S. (2011). The interpretation of dreams. New York: Empire. Galton, F. (1869). Hereditary genius. London: Macmillan. Galton, F. (1883). Inquiries into human faculty and its development. London: Macmillan. Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. New York: Basic. Miller, G.A., Galanter, E. & Pribram, K.H.
they did their research are no longer seen as current. Even those investigators who are mentioned in more than historical ways, such as Freud, Piaget and Skinner, are mostly subjects of criticism for their now seemingly outdated approaches to their fields (e.g. Freud, 2011; Piaget, 2001; Skinner, 1976). In my own case, I had hoped to help bring about the day in which conventional standardised tests, which I have argued are exceedingly narrow measures of human potentials and achievements (Sternberg, 1985, 1997), would be laid to rest. I have not yet totally given up hope! Current tests emphasise primarily memory for, and analysis of, knowledge base. Such tests show one’s grasp of that area of achievement. But the kind of academic thinking required on such tests is a narrow base on which to predict later job and life success. I had hoped that conventional tests (in the UK, A-levels, in the US, SATs and ACTs, among others) would be replaced, or at least supplemented by, assessments that are much broader in scope and that measure the important skills of creative, practical, wise and ethical thinking, skills that current tests barely tap. Others, of course, share my hope (e.g. Gardner, 2006; Renzulli & Reis, 1985). Active citizens and leaders need all these skills (Sternberg, 2003; Sternberg et al., 2011). They need creative skills to generate new ideas and to adapt to novel environments (e.g. what will happen if parts of Britain secede, i.e. achieve independence? How can I survive if I fail to get a job or lose the one I currently have?); analytical skills to ascertain whether the ideas are indeed good ones (e.g. is it a good idea for parts of Britain to go their own way? Do I have skills that would enable me to succeed in another occupation if I had to find another kind of work?); practical skills to implement their ideas and to persuade others of their value (e.g. how would a secession of parts of Britain actually occur? How can I persuade an employer to hire me?);
(1986). Plans and the structure of behavior. New York: Adams, Bannister, Cox. Neisser, U. (1967). Cognitive psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Newell, A. & Simon, G.A. (1972). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Piaget, J. (2001). The psychology of intelligence. New York: Routledge.
Renzulli, J. & Reis, S. (1985). The schoolwide enrichment model: A comprehensive plan for educational excellence. Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press. Skinner, B.F. (1976). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage. Spearman, C. (1927). The abilities of man. London: Macmillan. Sternberg, R.J. (1985). Beyond IQ. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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and wisdom-based and ethical skills to ensure that one’s ideas help to achieve a common good, or at least a good that transcends oneself and one’s family and friends (e.g. is it in the best interests of all of the people of Britain for a secession to occur? Am I making the world a better place through my job and home life?) Relatively narrow standardised tests have become more entrenched in both UK and US cultures. In the end, I went into academic administration in large part because I hoped that, through administration, I could change education and the world in a way that I seemed not to be able to do as a professor. I’ve had some, if limited, success. For example, at Tufts we changed the way we admit students to incorporate explicit measures of creative, analytical, practical and wisdom-based skills (Sternberg, 2010). At Oklahoma State we are moving to admit, assess and teach students in ways that reflect their broad potentials to make a positive, meaningful and enduring difference to the world. I suspect that I am one of many aging faculty members and administrators who have come to terms with how hard it is to change the world and how slowly even small changes are to take effect. My undergraduate advisor, Endel Tulving, once warned me that change was slow – I just did not realise how slow. So I offer to those younger than I the three lessons I have learned about how one truly does make a difference, and how one can become immortal. The first – what I somewhat glibly referred to in the title of this essay as ‘genes’ – is through our children. I believe our greatest contribution to the world is through our children because we, or at least our genes, literally live on through them. We have of course come to understand the tremendous effect environment has on children’s development (see Sternberg & Kaufman, 2011), so even adoptive parents can take pride that the environment they provide can interact with someone else’s genes to produce an individual quite distinct from
Sternberg, R.J. (1997). Successful intelligence. New York: Plume. Sternberg, R.J. (2003). Wisdom, intelligence, and creativity synthesized. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R.J. (2010). College admissions for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Sternberg, R.J., Jarvin, L. & Grigorenko, E.L. (2011). Explorations of the nature of giftedness. New York: Cambridge
who that individual would have been if raised by someone else. In our own case, we have triplets among which are two identical twins with identical genes. We have been amazed to discover how different their personalities have come to be in just the year that they have been alive. My two children from a previous marriage have taken remarkably different paths. I know that I will be ‘immortal’ through my children and through their children and their children’s children. The second path to immortality is through memes. I expect that, as for most professors, citations to my work will drop off quickly after I retire, if not before. But the work of all those scholars is not in vain. Fields of knowledge build upon the work of the past, even when they butt up against that past work. Eventually, past work becomes so embedded in current Zeitgeists that it is not even directly cited. One can write about behaviourism without citing John Watson or B.F. Skinner (e.g. Skinner, 1976; Watson, 1997), but one cannot write about behaviourism without having been influenced by their ideas. The same could be said for cognitivist researchers with respect to George Miller, Herbert Simon and Ulric Neisser (e.g. Miller et al., 1986; Neisser, 1967; Newell & Simon, 1972). Cognitive therapists may not think every day about Aaron Beck or Albert Ellis, but their everyday work is inevitably influenced by these early pioneers (e.g. Beck, 1967; Ellis, 1975). In my own field of intelligence, whether or not one cites Alfred Binet, Sir Francis Galton, or Charles Spearman, their work influences almost everything researchers, teachers, and practitioners in the field do (e.g. Binet & Simon, 1916; Galton, 1869; 1883; Spearman, 1927). The greatest compliment to ideas is when their authors no longer need to be cited because those ideas have become so much a part of the way fields look at how people see the world and what they do. So one’s work, however modest, lives on, not necessarily through direct citation, but rather through the contribution of its memes to the current and future
University Press. Sternberg, R.J. & Kaufman, S.B. (Eds.) (2011). Cambridge handbook of intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press. Watson, J.B. (1997). Behaviorism. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
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paradigms through which researchers, practitioners, and teachers work. We further contribute our memes through our teaching, preparing future generations to do the work we have left unfinished. As I’ve said to my students, their job is not to become true believers in current ideas, including my own, but rather to use those ideas as springboards for the ideas that will characterise the progress to be made in the future by their generation. When I teach a class, I often wonder whether I am having any longterm effect at all, and it is always gratifying occasionally to hear from students of many years back and to discover from them, belatedly, just how much influence I had. The third path to immortality is through one’s dreams. If you have great ambitions that are not quite realised, or are not even realised much at all (as in my case), you can be comforted by the fact that change is slow and that there is a reasonable chance that, in the future, what is now a dream to you will be a reality to others, perhaps not yet even born. As a child I used to read the original Tom Swift science-fiction novels. Many of the ideas that then were science fiction are merely ordinary science today. To the extent that we can be happy to know that someday, perhaps in the distant future, our dreams will be realised, even if we do not get full or even any credit for their realisation, then we can find hope in the small contribution we have made to that future. Someday, I’m confident, educators will realise how much more there is to people than scores on narrow standardised tests. They will recognise in their assessments as well as in their teaching that it is essential to develop and reward creative, practical and wisdom-based skills as well as memory and analytical ones. Careers in psychology easily give rise to discouragement. Academics, for example, often receive negative reviews on their articles, books, grant proposals, teaching and talks. Practitioners watch as patients relapse or even occasionally sue their therapists. Administrators often feel that no matter what they do, someone ends up being out of sorts and even angry. At times, I suspect most of us wonder at how different reality has proven to be from the gilded images we had of the positive difference we could make through our work. Yet, the world does change through our work, even if in slow and sometimes imperceptible ways. We can make a positive, meaningful, and lasting difference, and even become immortal, through our genes, memes and dreams.
Murder, muddled thinking and multilevel modelling Martin Cartwright, Gemma Traviss and Andrew Blance on dealing with data hierarchies
n 15 July 2005 Sir Roy Meadow, The most fundamental error in eminent paediatrician, was struck Meadow’s testimony was that he treated off by the General Medical Council the two deaths as occurring (GMC) for the ‘misleading’ evidence he independently and squared the probability gave as an expert witness in the Sally of a single event occurring to reach the Clark case in 1999. Mrs Clark was figure of 1 in 73 million for the cowrongly convicted of killing her two baby occurrence of two events (RSS, 2001). sons and jailed for life. Meadow told the This calculation fails to recognise that jury that the chance of two natural the events occurred in the same context, unexplained cot deaths in the same family in this case the family, and the babies was 1 in 73 million and would only occur therefore shared many influences that once every 100 years in a population the could account for their deaths (e.g. size of England, Wales and Scotland (Hill, genetics, parenting practices). Such shared 2005). The implication of Meadow’s influences mean that the probability of testimony was that the two deaths were a second cot death occurring in a family not natural events, thereby supporting the that has already experienced one is higher prosecution’s contention that the babies than a first cot death in a family that has died at the hands of their mother. not (Hill, 2004; Watkins, 2000). The true Meadow successfully challenged the probability of a second cot death GMC decision in the High Court in 2006, occurring in the same family has been with Mr Justice Collins ruling in Meadow’s favour on the basis that his testimony did not constitute ‘serious professional misconduct’. However, this controversial ruling fully accepted the criticisms of Meadow’s statistical evidence. Yet the errors in Meadow’s testimony conspicuously reflect flaws in statistical thinking across much contemporary research Figure 1a: Relationship between health anxiety and GP visits in medicine and with independence assumed psychology.
Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS (3rd edn). London: Sage. Field, A.P. & Miles, J.M.V. (2010). Discovering statistics using SAS. London: Sage. Field, A.P. & Wright, D.B. (2011). A primer on using multilevel models in clinical and experimental psychopathology research. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 2(2), 271–293. Field, A.P., Miles, J.M.V. & Field, Z.C. (in
press). Discovering statistics using R. London: Sage. Gilthorpe, M.S., Maddick, I.H. & Petrie, A. (2007). Introduction to multilevel modelling in dental research. Community Dental Health, 17, 222–226. Hill, R. (2004). Multiple sudden infant deaths – Coincidence or beyond coincidence? Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 18, 320–326.
estimated to be between 1 in 60 and 1 in 400 but could be as high as 1 in 4 where the genetic influence is strong (Hill, 2005). Most commonly encountered statistical methods can be seen as special cases of a statistical family known as the generalised linear model (GLM). Analysis of variance (t-test, F-test, ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, MANCOVA) and regression techniques (linear, logistic, Poisson) can all be derived from the GLM. The underlying statistical equivalence to the GLM explains why these various techniques make similar assumptions about data. One key assumption shared by all these methods is that the observations or data are independent. In psychology research, data often take the form of observed behaviour or self-report questionnaires. Researchers typically assume the condition of independence has been met if the responses or behaviour of one participant are not observed to directly influence those of another. While this criterion may seem reasonable, it is too narrow for many sampling frames that are encountered in human research and fails to recognise contextual influences on multiple participants that contravene the assumption of independence.
Example: Health anxiety and medical help seeking Consider a study where researchers examine the link between health anxiety and medical help-seeking. Figure 1a presents a scatterplot of self-reported health anxiety against the frequency of GP visits over the previous year. The graph reveals a positive relationship between the variables (i.e. greater anxiety is associated with more visits). The line of best fit is described by a linear regression equation shown on the graph. However, this study was not reporting the association between anxiety and helpseeking for 60 participants but for 15 participants who contributed data on four
Hill, R. (2005). Reflections on the cot death cases. Significance, 2, 13–15. Kreft, I.G.G. & de Leeuw, J. (1998). Introducing multilevel modeling. London: Sage. Robinson, W.S. (1950). Ecological correlations and the behavior of individuals. American Sociological Review, 15(3), 351–357. Royal Statistical Society (2001). Royal Statistical Society concerned by
issues raised in Sally Clark case. www.sallyclark.org.uk/RSS.html (accessed 16 July 2011) Twisk, J.W.R. (2006). Applied multi-level analysis: Practical guides to biostatistics and epidemiology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Watkins, S.J. (2000). Conviction by mathematical error? Doctors and lawyers should get probability theory
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occasions, one year apart (thus teacher(s), classroom(s) and social 60 data points in total). Given environment. It is these contextual that measures taken at one or class-specific influences that lead time point (behaviours, pupils in the same class to be, on cognitions, emotions, health, average, more similar than pupils socio-economic status, etc.) in different classes. Contextual usually predict the same influences may exert influence at measures taken at a later time all levels of a hierarchy. point, data contributed by the It is not only observations same participant on different between individuals that can be occasions (e.g. health anxiety represented as hierarchies but also measured at Year 1 and Year 2) observations nested within are temporally related and individuals. Unlike traditional therefore cannot be truly methods, multilevel modelling (MLM) Figure 1b: Relationships between health anxiety and independent. approaches are appropriate for designs GP visits based on repeated observations from five Figure 1b shows the same that require individuals to be assessed on participants (red, green, pink, blue, orange) on four graph but now links data more than one occasion. Time series occasions points contributed by five designs are particularly common in randomly selected participants psychology and range from experimental within individuals and individuals nested on four occasions. The fit lines and repeated measures laboratory studies within families. This is a three level regression equations for these five (with repeat assessments taken over hierarchical structure but it could have participants demonstrate that there are a period of a few seconds or minutes) been truncated to two levels if the different relationships between health through to longitudinal studies (with research was cross-sectional – individuals anxiety and GP visits and that the pattern repeated measures taken over a period → (nested within) families, or extended of data points is more similar within of many months or years). Much to four levels if the longitudinal study had participants than between participants. experimental psychology employs also collected data about the GPs Thus, by examining observations repeated measures designs in which collected from each participant on participants complete different occasions, we begin to see multiple trials under structure within the data that was different conditions using previously erroneously ignored when the measures such as reaction data were assumed to be independent. times, neural activity Furthermore, participants were (ERP, EEG, fMRI), skin recruited from five family groups, with conductance, eye three participants per family (5 families movements and other x 3 members = 15 participants). Data psychophysiological contributed by participants belonging outcomes. In all time series to the same family are likely to be nondesigns the individual is independent, to the extent that concerns not at the bottom of the about health and medical help-seeking hierarchy, but higher up are affected by social influence. Figure with observations (i.e. 1c highlights all data points contributed repeated assessments) by members of each family. This shows nested within the individual. that patterns of data are more similar for Figure 1c: Relationships between health anxiety and Given that hierarchies are GP visits based on repeated observations from five participants within families than between so pervasive, and assert nonfamilies (red, green, pink, blue, orange) on four families. independence of data, occasions researchers need to carefully consider how to deal with such Dealing with data hierarchies consulted, observations → individuals → circumstances. Several approaches are We have already identified hierarchical families → GPs. available. data structures in Figure 1: observations Once you learn to recognise Disaggregated approach (i.e. measurement occasions) nested hierarchies, you start to see them A common strategy, and the most unwise, everywhere. In the education system, is to simply ignore the data structure. for example, we see pupils → classes → Take the example of a study of academic schools, in psychotherapy we see clients attainment, with 20 classes each having → therapists and in experimental right. British Medical Journal, 320, 2–3. 30 pupils. A naive (single-level) analysis psychology we commonly see time series Wright, D.B. (1998). Modelling clustered would assume 600 independent hierarchies such as repeated measures data in autobiographical memory observations and would fail to take into (e.g. reaction times) → individuals. research: The multilevel approach. account the two-level structure of the There is no limit to the number of Applied Cognitive Psychology, 12, 339–357. data. Consequently, the proportion of the levels a hierarchy can have but in all Wright, D.B. & London, K. (2009). overall variance that should be attributed hierarchies a higher-level unit represents Multilevel modelling: Beyond the to the higher-level units (classes) is a potential contextual influence on all basic applications. British Journal of misattributed to the lower-level units lower-level units. Pupils in the same class, Mathematical and Statistical (pupils), resulting in deflated estimates of for example, will be exposed to similar Psychology, 62, 439–456. standard errors (SEs) and in turn higher influences since they all share the same
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than anticipated Type I error rates (rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true, which in the judicial process could be likened to convicting an innocent man).
substantially different for disaggregated, aggregated and MLM approaches.
Why is MLM important? The most powerful argument in favour of the MLM approach is simply that it is the correct analysis for hierarchical data because it avoids the distortions of GLM methods. While the concepts underlying MLM are far from simple, the approach offers a great deal of flexibility and overcomes weaknesses of standard singlelevel techniques. For example, the assumption of homogeneity (that residuals have a constant variance across all values of each covariate) can be relaxed as MLM can explicitly model this variance, which leads to more accurate estimates of fixed effects and their SEs.
Aggregated approach A somewhat different approach is to aggregate data from lower-level units to higher-level units. Accordingly, classes are attributed variables based on aggregated data that was measured at the pupil level. This reduces the units of analysis from 600 (pupils) to 20 (schools). The aggregated approach acknowledges the hierarchical nature of the data but deals with this by dropping the lower level(s) from the analysis altogether. Although this leads to the loss of all lower-level data, the aggregated method is statistically valid provided the data are balanced and inferences are limited to the level of aggregation (class). In psychology a common example of the aggregated approach occurs when researchers aggregate reaction times (or other psychophysiological measures) over a series of trials and then analyse the data using ANOVA, with each person contributing a mean or median reaction time rather than a series of data. However, whenever the aggregated approach is employed there is always a temptation to draw inferences about MLM has the potential to open doors to new lower-level units leading to ecological insights into the effects of context on fallacy (Robinson, 1950). In addition, individual phenomena such as emotion using the aggregated approach inflates the anticipated rate of Type II errors As outlined above, multilevel approaches (failing to reject the null hypothesis when do not require balanced datasets and are it is false, or setting a guilty man free). particularly good at handling missing Multilevel modelling values in time series data where, in some A more sophisticated approach is an circumstances, they perform better than extension of standard regression known alternative imputation methods. MLM is as multilevel modelling (MLM). MLM especially well suited to psychological exploits the full data structure; therefore research, where many outcomes of no information on the lower level is lost. interest (e.g. mental health, lifestyle Furthermore, as MLM explicitly models behaviours) are a result of both individual the hierarchy, it yields correctly specified (lower-level) and socio-cultural (higherestimates of the SEs and both Type I and level) factors. The partitioning of variance II error rates. MLM also allows between levels of the hierarchy, the considerations of the degree to which accuracy of estimates of fixed effects and lower levels are dependent on higher the modelling of random variation affords MLM the potential to open doors to new levels. insights into the effects of context on The costs of failing to apply individual phenomena (e.g. development, appropriate multilevel analysis to data cognition, emotion, behaviour). with hierarchical structure can result in The commonplace failure of highly spurious results. Twisk (2006) compared disaggregated, aggregated and researchers to apply appropriate analyses MLM approaches to evaluate a health to their data represents the same muddled intervention delivered to patients nested thinking as evidenced by Roy Meadow in within GPs. When the analyses were his expert witness testimony. While the repeated with an unbalanced dataset immediate consequences of such (which is much more likely for real-world statistical illiteracy for most psychology research) the estimates of the treatment researchers may seem more remote than effect, associated SEs and p-values were for expert witnesses, the cumulative costs
for the discipline are profound. Psychological research not only influences practice and policy in a multitude of areas, but also directs the allocation of resources. It is therefore incumbent on all psychologists, whether consumers or producers of research evidence, to become familiar with multilevel approaches and ensure that these methods are applied where appropriate in our own research, and recognise where others have failed to do this. Despite the overwhelming justification for multilevel approaches there remain several barriers to widespread adoption. MLM imposes other criteria that can be onerous and costly (e.g. there must be at least 20, and ideally >50, higher-level units). Sampling frames are often not designed with these criteria in mind; therefore much data collected are not suitable for MLM even though there may be good reason to believe that the data are hierarchically structured. Even when the data are suitable, MLM can be difficult to implement and interpret, especially when analysing random factors. Despite these barriers, MLM is becoming more easily accessible. Commercial (SPSS, STATA, SAS) and free (MLwiN, R) software capable of implementing MLM is now widely available, and there are an increasing number of introductory texts and online resources that describe how to implement MLM (e.g. Field, 2009; Field & Miles, 2010; Field & Wright, 2011; Field et al., in press; Gilthorpe et al., 2007; Kreft & de Leeuw, 1998; Wright, 1998; Wright & London, 2009). For those who prefer more formal learning there are also a growing number of short courses available around the UK (e.g. www.leeds.ac.uk/statistical_thinking and www.bristol.ac.uk/cmm/learning/course. html). With more opportunities to learn about MLM than ever before the time has come for psychology researchers to embrace this flexible approach for exploiting data structure. We should no longer convict the innocent but, instead, ensure we do our research justice! I Martin Cartwright is at Health Services Research, City University Martin.Cartwright.email@example.com I Gemma Traviss is at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds G.Traviss@leeds.ac.uk I Andrew Blance is at the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, University of Leeds A.Blance@leeds.ac.uk
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Fragmented reflections on the self In The Self-Illusion, Bruce Hood alludes to a ‘self-illusion’, and then does something wry with it. The illusion is that we each possess a core self that travels through time and space in a coherent narrative, a singular protagonist experiencing a story of acting on the world and being acted upon by that world. But, really, that experience of a singular entity is a fiction created by the brain. Instead, we are all simply a collection of innumerable microprocesses and experiences crawling over our neurons that have little or nothing to do with one another. The wry twist is that although Hood occasionally refers to this self-illusion, the bulk of the book comprises innumerable short stories about psychological research or phenomena that have little to do with either the self or each other. Thus, if expecting a closely reasoned argument of how an illusory impression of a unified and coherent self arises in each individual out of a million flashings in the brain, this is not the book for you. Instead, if one wants instead a broad survey of psychological ideas and findings that have percolated near or just above public consciousness over the past 50 years, they are almost all here. Hood describes the basic functions of the brain and beginning building blocks of social skills in the child. He covers the interplay between conscious experience and nonconscious brain activity related to it. He discusses quirks in the decision-making process that led people toward systematic irrationality. He recounts how virtual life within the internet may suck people away from life in the flesh-and-blood. The scope of coverage is breathtaking. Golden nuggets such as Harlow’s monkeys, Milgram’s obedient subjects, and Gazzaniga’s split-brain patients make an appearance. And newer topics get their turn on the stage, such as how enmeshed we are in our personal social networks, how mirror The Self-illusion: Why There Is No neurons may provide us with crucial insight into the intentions ‘You’ Inside Your Head of other people, and how ego depletion means that self-control Bruce Hood is a precious resource we can easily exhaust. Each topic gets the equivalent of its own blog entry, noting in brief the central notion making that topic worthwhile. Thus, the book may not be suitable for those already well read in psychological science (except for those who feel so far-removed from their college classes that they want to make sure they have not missed any emerging insights). Such aficionados will already be familiar with the material. Instead, the book may just be the thing for someone new to the science who wants a broad overview of what the field can contribute to intellectual life. The span of topics touched upon is far-ranging, but Hood does a good job identifying the interesting core of each topic he brings up. Readers new to psychology may want to read this book to identify the topics that intrigue them most , and then consult the notes in the back to find further sources that dig into those topics in more detail. Making such a broad and speedy tour of psychological research a delight, the book is accessible and engagingly written. Hood is a good story-teller, never straying far from what makes an episode particularly pertinent. Thus, while naming an illusion and then straying far from any discussion of it, Hood accomplishes something just as useful. This book comprises a good road-map for the types of ideas that psychology can discover or provide. No matter how fragmented, I bet each reader will find one if not more of the stories to be arresting to the self that Hood ultimately suggests we do not have. I Constable; 2012; Pb £12.99 Reviewed by David Dunning who is Professor of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Coming soon: An interview with Bruce Hood
Relatively informed Father–Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues Linda Nielsen The mother–daughter relationship has been researched and discussed endlessly. The father–daughter relationship less so. Following Nielsen’s previous book advising daughters on how to improve their paternal relationship, this effort takes a more objective stance. Compiled of not only a wealth of current research, but also personal stories and questionnaires, the book is a comprehensive summary of the important issues around this topic. These include how mental health problems are related to the quality of these relationships and how daughters influence their fathers’ well-being. The highlight is undoubtedly the questions closing each chapter, which are thoughtprovoking and engaging. They guide the reader through chapters from the importance of the father–daughter relationship, into more unusual relationships and their effects, to a concluding encouragement to apply the findings to their own families or work. The only drawback is that information regarding laws and some ethnic relationships apply more to the USA than the UK. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in their own father–daughter relationship, and to professionals working in family therapy. I Routledge; 2012; Pb £24.95 Reviewed by Elly McGrath who is at the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, Lancaster University
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Working with Parents of a Newly Diagnosed Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder Deb Keen & Sylvia Rodger
Hearing Voices: The Histories, Causes and Meanings of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations Simon McCarthy-Jones
In my experience one of the most significant issues for families following their child being diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition is limited follow-up. When I asked to review this book I was looking forward to how it considered this issue. As it turns out, the authors have provided a good guide for practitioners. The main thrust of the book is about basing intervention work on a family centred model in which the family rather than the child is the point of referral. This allows the authors to cover support for parents and siblings as part of the work. Overall, this seems a sensible way to direct intervention work – particularly as families are usually expected to implement interventions. The text primarily covers helping families with home-based intervention strategies, so that so that appropriate learning needs are addressed. However, the chapters are quite brief and tend to highlight key techniques, rather than cover them in any great depth. This book is a very helpful, interesting and informative resource which would make a relevant addition to practitioners’ bookshelves.
Those who hear voices have over the centuries been celebrated as seers or feared and dismissed as psychiatric patients. Voice-hearing is a complex phenomenon, which this multidisciplinary book attempts to demystify. Critiquing a wide range of topics, from historical writings on voice-hearing and the development of the medical model of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) to the phenomenological experiences of hearing voices and the development of the Hearing Voices Movement, McCarthyJones highlights the limitations of current ‘interventions’, arguing that the meanings of AVH are often lost when antipsychotic medication seeks to minimise the severity and volume of voices. The book also traces the role of traumatic events on the onset of AVH from Freud to the contemporary research. The concluding chapter provides areas for further research and practice development. This is a well-structured book enhanced by the author’s engaging and informative prose. It should prove intriguing and informative for researchers and healthcare professionals, as well as voice-hearers themselves.
I Jessica Kingsley; 2012; Pb £19.99 Reviewed by Mark Wylie who is Clinical Psychologist, Autism Spectrum Team
I Cambridge University Press; 2012; Hb £65.00 Reviewed by Iain McGowan who is a mental health nurse at the University of Ulster, School of Nursing
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A comprehensive core undergraduate text Business Psychology and Organizational Behaviour Eugene McKenna The objective of this book is to introduce the basic concepts and principles of business psychology and organisational behaviour and its applications, without over-popularising the subject. Does McKenna achieve this? The book is structured in a way that makes the subject accessible. Each chapter starts with a statement of learning outcomes, and the main text is enhanced by the use of boxes with case examples, newspaper extracts and quotations from published literature that bring the subject to life. Chapters are rounded off by a list of questions to guide reflection and discussion. McKenna’s writing style is clear and in my view the level of this text would be of interest to undergraduates. The book contains a comprehensive bibliography that could be useful for experienced practitioners
who want to dip into the latest research. The earliest reference I noticed was for an 1899 publication, but there are many references to work carried out in recent years. The content of the book covers all the usual areas of business psychology, and it was useful to see a section on research methodology along with the difficulties of applying the scientific method to people. McKenna’s approach is scholarly, presenting research evidence for and against controversial topics before arriving at wellconsidered conclusions. That McKenna achieves his objective is not surprising, considering that this is the fifth edition. A text such as this will never inspire tabloid headlines, but it earns its place on the bookshelf of psychology undergraduates as a comprehensive core text. I Psychology Press; 2012; Pb £42.99 Reviewed by Anne Kearns who was previously a Chartered Occupational Psychologist in Jobcentre Plus, now retired
MORE REVIEWS ONLINE See www.thepsychologist.org.uk for this month’s web-only reviews
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President’s column Peter Banister
President Dr Peter Banister
Contact Peter Banister via the Society’s Leicester office, or e-mail: email@example.com
President Elect Dr Richard Mallows Vice President Dr Carole Allan Honorary General Secretary Professor Pam Maras Honorary Treasurer Dr Richard Mallows Chair, Membership Standards Board Dr Mark Forshaw Chair, Psychology Education Board Professor Dorothy Miell Chair, Research Board Professor Judi Ellis
Chair, Professional Practice Board David Murphy The Society has offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and London, as well as the main office in Leicester. All enquiries should be addressed to the Leicester office (see inside front cover for address). The British Psychological Society was founded in 1901, and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1965. Its object is ‘to promote the advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied and especially to promote the efficiency and usefulness of Members of the Society by setting up a high standard of professional education and knowledge’. Extract from The Charter
his is the time of the year to welcome the National Student Survey (NSS) is a crucial new undergraduates embarking on their indicator of their satisfaction about courses. journeys into Psychology. It proves to be League tables are certainly concerns of our Vice interesting times, but the evidence to date is Chancellors, but my experience (and I am sure that the radical fees increases in England are not many of our potential students) with the having as great an effect on applications as has website is considerable frustration. If you access been previously feared, although only time will NSS and you want to look at the results you tell as to what the outcomes will eventually turn have to click through to Unistats, and then ask out to be. for ‘psychology’. You then get presented with 37 It certainly is a time of change, and the pages, which have to be scrolled through Society is taking cognisance of the recently individually, containing lists of institutions with published Report on the Future of courses that in Undergraduate Psychology in the some cases have United Kingdom by Annie Trapp only minor and her colleagues (see psychological tinyurl.com/cts7kcl), which opens content. Having up interesting debates about the clicked on one to nature of the psychology look at it more curriculum and the skills that it closely, if you click is endeavouring to develop. The ‘back’ the last page emphasis here may need to be has expired, and less curriculum-oriented and you have to return more on the methods and uses of to NSS and start the disciplines. There is a current again. I suspect drive towards ‘employability’ of that this our graduates, but it should not experience is not be forgotten that the skills that what our computer a psychology degree develops are What future for psychology graduates? knowledgeable ones that are suited for many potential students aspects of living in our society; will find helpful. the emphasis on ‘psychological literacy’ (see, for League tables are also of course of example, Jacquelyn Cranney and Dana Dunn’s considerable concern to those of us who teach 2011 book The Psychologically Literate Citizen) psychology at the secondary level, and amongst is to be applauded. other conferences I have been to and spoken at Other changes include a potential move was the annual Association for the Teaching of towards four-year master’s degrees in psychology Psychology (ATP) conference, which celebrated replacing the conventional undergraduate its 30th birthday this summer. This was a lively degree; how this fits the Bologna process is an and well-attended affair, and I am sure that interesting question. There is also the Higher those who went were suitably inspired for the Education Achievement Record (HEAR) new year. The position of psychology teaching initiative, which is suggesting transcripts to varies throughout Europe, and at a recent record graduate achievement in far more detail international conference on teaching mainly than just finals degree performance. undergraduate psychology I was surprised to For teachers in higher education there is meet a considerable contingent from Germany the very welcome and helpful Higher Education and Austria where psychology is still seen as Academy (which for psychology directly has being a very important part of general teacher been unfortunately reduced in size recently, but training; this is in marked contrast to here, now has the advantage of placing us within a where many dedicated psychology teachers STEM (Science) group). There are a multitude may not be qualified in psychology. of freely available resources here for A result of this is that there can be a undergraduate and other education, often considerable mismatch between the developed and tested out in practice. expectations of our new undergraduates and We are told all the time that students are their university lecturers, so much so in fact that becoming increasingly ‘consumers’ and that the many higher education admissions tutors favour
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Lifetime Achievement Award Professor Alan Baddeley Professor Alan Baddeley (University of York) has won the Research In the late 1960s Baddeley teamed up with Elizabeth Warrington Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2012. The annual award to study memory loss in amnesia. Subsequent contributions to recognises distinctive and exemplary contributions to psychological cognitive neuropsychology include important work with Barbara knowledge. Wilson on the development of tests of memory and studying Across a career spanning more than 50 years, Professor rehabilitation and everyday memory aids. His interest in diving Baddeley has been the world’s leading authority on the cognitive generated a new line of applied research including work on stress, psychology of human memory. In the concept of working memory, cold, nitrogen narcosis and, importantly, context effects in long-term he has established one of the conceptual cornerstones of the field, memory. His 1975 paper with Godden in the British Journal of with lifetime ISI citations >28k placing him among the very most Psychology remains one of the classic studies of context effects in influential scholars of mind and brain. memory. Nominating Professor Baddeley for the award, Philip Quinlan, Between 1974 and 1995 the APU flourished under Alan’s Andy Ellis, Quentin Summerfield and Andy Young said: ‘Professor directorship. Pioneering work was conducted on a wide range Baddeley has been tireless in the application of basic science in of topics from reading and acquired dyslexia through language clinical, educational, personnel and other settings. He is on any processing, face perception and human–computer interaction to grounds a unique figure.’ driving behaviour and the new area of affective Born and educated in Leeds, Alan Baddeley cognition. Alan contributed to the wider work of the obtained a first degree in psychology from UCL Medical Research Council and, during this period, (1956), followed by an MA from Princeton (1957). was President of the Experimental Psychology In 1958 he joined the scientific staff of the MRC Society (1984–1986) and founding President of the Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, where he European Society for Cognitive Psychology (which worked for nine years, being awarded his PhD he was influential in establishing). from the University of Cambridge in 1962. He did His nominators continued: ‘We consider spells at the Universities of Sussex and Stirling ourselves very lucky at York to have had Alan in (1967–1974) before returning to the APU in 1974 our midst since 2003. A glance at Alan’s recent as Director. Since his retirement in 1995, he has publications shows that there has been no been Professor of Psychology at the Universities diminution in quality, quantity, range or interest. of Bristol (1995–2003) and York (2003–present). Alan continues to do guest lectures to our In his early days at the APU, Alan worked undergraduates, as well as contributing to the with Conrad and others on short-term memory supervision of undergraduate projects, master’s and immediate recall. The early conception of projects and PhD students. He is conscientious in Professor Alan Baddeley a passive short-term memory store was attending the weekly talks by PhD students and always transformed when Baddeley and Hitch offers constructive, insightful comments.’ introduced the concept of ‘working memory’ in 1974. Working The BPS has already recognised Alan’s contributions through the memory was conceptualised as an active network of cognitive Myers Lecture in 1980, the Presidents’ Award in 1981, an Honorary components involved in verbal and nonverbal memory, language Fellowship in 1995, and the 2009 BPS Book Award for his Working comprehension, problem solving and many other aspects of Memory, Thought, and Action. ‘It is hard to think of a living cognitive cognition. The framework has since been applied by Baddeley and psychologist – indeed a psychologist of any description – who is many others to understanding cognition in the elderly, dementia better known than Alan Baddeley,’ his nominators continued. ‘Recent patients, frontal brain damage and dysexecutive problems, generations of psychology graduates have all been tutored in the schizophrenia, and much else besides. With Susan Gathercole and work of Alan Baddeley because this is central to the present-day others, Professor Baddeley has analysed the growth of working teaching of human memory. We cannot imagine a more fitting memory in children and the contribution of working memory to the recipient of the Research Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award for development of language and reading. Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge.’
qualifications in biology or other traditional science subjects over those in psychology. There has been considerable disquiet about the suitability for purpose of Alevels in England, which are often driven towards getting good marks, rather than being concerned with the development of skills and knowledge. There is a current Ofqual consultation paper asking for comments on proposed revisions to A-levels (see http://comment.ofqual.gov.uk/ a-level-reform/), which I am sure will open up lively debates. Personally I am currently of the opinion that we should try
to get away from direct competition between examination boards, as this might not be in the best interests in maintaining standards, and that we should adopt the Scottish Highers procedure of just having one board for each specific subject. This would hopefully help more standardisation across the country, and would mean that universities would have a clearer idea as to what to expect. I think we need to also be aware that for many their only exposure to psychology may be as part of their secondary education (primary in some parts of Europe), and again we need to be asking how we can contribute to the
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development of psychologically literate citizens, and realise that education is not just for university entrance. The Society along with ATP has held a retreat recently looking at pre-tertiary education in psychology, and the outcome report is currently being prepared; I look forward to its suggestions with interest. I welcome your thoughts on any of the above; I must say that I have been very surprised by the number of e-mail offers that I constantly receive at the BPS from people allegedly wanting to get enormous sums of money into the Society’s bank accounts. I have resisted the temptation!
Presidents’ Award 2012 Professor Constantine Sedikides is the winner of the Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge 2012. Presented by the Society’s Research Board, the award is a mid-career recognition of the achievements of those currently engaged in psychological research of outstanding quality. Focusing on the topic of self-definition, his research examines how individuals pursue a positive sense of self across cultures, and how mental time travel (for example nostalgic reflection) maintains self-coherence and promotes psychological adjustment.
Upon hearing the announcement, Professor Sedikides of the University of Southampton, said: ‘I am pleased and honoured to accept this award. I would like to take this opportunity to thank – among others – my students, research fellows and collaborating colleagues who merit a share on this award.’ He has been invited to deliver the Presidents’ Award Lecture at the Society’s Annual Conference 2013, which will be held in Harrogate. He will also receive Life Membership of the Society.
BPS COMMUNICATIONS LTD It is highly likely that most Society members have never heard of the above limited company but it plays an important role within the Society. So, a few words of explanation. The sole am of BPS Communications Ltd is to undertake those business activities that are not permitted under charity legislation. It has a Board of Directors and shareholders. All profits made by the company are returned to the Society via the Gift Aid scheme. These profits are chiefly generated by advertising revenue in The Psychologist and the Psychologist Appointments website. The reason this is important information for members is that company surpluses have fallen significantly over the last few years. A combination of much reduced public sector recruitment and the fact that NHS recruitment is now carried out ‘in house’ has practically eliminated public sector job advertising. So, whilst in 2003 this surplus met more than 30 per cent of the budget of the whole Society, it is now significantly smaller. This reduction in income is why the directors are devising new forms of income and reducing costs. They have taken a number of steps over the years to try to increase revenue. One of the changes has been the integration of the Appointments Memorandum and The Psychologist to create a more modern publication. Secondly, it was decided in 2010 to appoint an advertising agency to oversee all aspects of this function. Redactive Media – the agency appointed – has a five-year contract to develop this side of the business, and we are currently seeing some modest gains, particularly in the realm of online advertising. Further changes to the advertising structure of the publication are in the pipeline. This is an area that we are keen to develop and it is hoped that the progress made will continue. Adrian Skinner On behalf of the Directors, BPS Communications Ltd
Professor Sedikides was nominated for the award by Professor Antony Manstead of Cardiff University, who said: ‘Constantine has made – and continues to make – a distinctive, productive and influential contribution to the field. His presence in the department at Southampton has galvanised social and personality psychology research there and, in my view, has contributed to the revival of social psychology in the UK more generally.’ A Chartered Psychologist, Professor Sedikides’ work has been most recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. I A list of previous award winners can be found on the Society’s History of Psychology Centre webpages: http://hopc.bps.org.uk/hopc/histres/ bpshistory/awards/pres.cfm
SOCIETY NOTICES BPS Annual Conference 2013, Harrogate See p.656 History & Philosophy of Psychology Section annual conference See p.684 Award for Outstanding Doctoral Contributions to Psychology 2012 – call for nominations See p.684 Special Group in Coaching Psychology annual conference 2012 See p.i (centre pages) BPS conferences and events See p.703 Learning Centre CPD workshops See p. 704 Spearman Medal 2013 – call for nominations See p.707
Society vacancies Professional Practice Board
Chair, Behavioural Change Policy Advice Unit See advert p.684 Contact Carl Bourton Carl.Bourton@bps.org.uk Closing date 20 September 2012
vol 25 no 9
Society welcomes mental health framework The Society has welcomed the publication of the Mental Health Strategy Implementation Framework. Society President Dr Peter Banister said: ‘The Society very much welcomes the commitment that mental health should be valued equally with physical health. The need for urgent efforts to achieve this ‘parity of esteem’ is illustrated by recent statistics. Among the under-65s, mental health problems account for nearly half of all ill health and are as debilitating as chronic physical health problems. However, only a quarter of those with mental health problems receive treatment compared to the vast majority of those with physical health problems. ‘We particularly welcome the advice that Clinical Commissioning Groups should appoint mental health leads at a senior level to consider the needs of the whole population and oversee commissioning work. This includes
ensuring access to the full range of NICEof mental health problems. The Society’s approved psychological therapies, which Occupational Psychology Health and is still lacking in many areas. We believe Well-being Working Group recently this is absolutely essential to fulfilling the produced guidance for organisations to objectives set out in the framework. The improve psychological health at work. role of Health and Well-being Boards will The Society is keen to support the also be important in ensuring local objectives of the strategy through partnerships to improve psychological continued engagement with the well-being and Department of Health and tackle many of the many other statutory the causes of and third sector mental health organisations who are key problems.’ stakeholders in delivering No h ea The these objectives. Five men ltlth witith o tal h Society also leading mental health ealtlth ut iim mpllee : men welcomed the organisations have been ta o fram n ewo tiio focus on the involved in producing the rk role of schools framework: Centre for and employers Mental Health; Mind; NHS in promoting Confederation Mental well-being and Health Network; Rethink preventing the Mental Illness; and Turning development Point.
Undergraduate Research Assistantships 2012 The British Psychological Society’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme provides up to 10 researchers with the opportunity to give an undergraduate ‘hands-on’ experience of research during the summer vacation. The scheme marks out a student as a future researcher and potential academic: it is hoped that the senior researcher, to whom the award is made, will develop the research assistant’s potential and interest in research. The project must provide real benefits to the student and give them tangible training and career development support. There were 10 recipients of the award this year. All received the maximum individual funding available under this assistantship. Dr Akira O’Connor, from the University of St Andrews, received support to fund an Assistantship for Rachael Millar. The project, Personal memory cues: Can people serve as memory aids?, will explore how people who have viewed film clips with another person then retrieve information from those stimuli in a variety of different social contexts. This has direct applications to professions in which collaborative training is normal, such as law enforcement, and could extend to recommendations for memory rehabilitation.
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Dr Elizabeth Kirk (University of Hertfordshire) was successful in her application to fund an Assistantship for Emily Stears. The project, An exploration of the relationship between symbolic gesture and pretend play, will investigate whether the use of symbolic gestures within mother–infant dyads promotes earlier and more frequent pretend play. Dr Ceri Phelps of Swansea Metropolitan University had her application to Fund Emma Fitzgerald’s Assistantship accepted. Emma will be Exploring the influence of implicit attitudes towards different genetic conditions on mate selection choices. Does knowledge of the severity of a genetic condition (for the potential mate and any potential offspring) influence explicit and implicit attitudes towards health, reproductive decision making and potential mate selection? Dr Simon Durant of the University of Lincoln was successful in his application to fund an Assistantship for Amy Holloway for the project The role of sleep in directed forgetting of emotional words. The study is designed to test a long-standing theory in cognitive sleep research: that sleep enables emotional (and potentially traumatic) memories to be selectively removed.
CONSULTATIONS NEWS Responses submitted in July Sixteen members representing thirteen 13 member network groups were involved in preparing the three consultation responses that were submitted during July; thank you to all those who took part. Key points of the responses are provided below. For full details of the Society’s consultation-related activities, both current and completed, please visit our website: www.bps.org.uk/consult. Liberating the NHS – No Decision Without Me (Department of Health) The Society welcomed the Government’s intention to turn the slogan “’no decision about me without me” ‘ into a lived reality for health service users – however, grave concerns were raised that the proposals will not lead to a culture of true shared decision making, where patients and clinicians pool their expertise in a collaborative partnership at all steps along an intervention path, and not just at ‘key’ decision points along the way. This is of particular importance in mental health settings where the effectiveness of talking therapies are, to a great extent, dependent on a collaborative alliance between therapist and service user. Concerns were expressed that the proposals confuse ‘increased patient choice’ with ‘shared decision- making’ and as such will not lead the reality of “no decision about me without me”. Together for Mental Health (Welsh Government) This consultation concerned the Welsh Government’s cross-government strategy for mental health and well-being in Wales. Specific evidence detailed in the responses includes: I the efficacy of psychological interventions in physical health settings; I the need to look at less diagnostically driven and more trauma trauma-focused models of care; and I the need for practice-based evidence. Standardised Tobacco Packaging (Department of Health) The Society’s response noted that there is a strong scientific and public health case to be made to support the proposal to standardise the packaging of tobacco products. Evidence was provided to show that sophisticated and engaging packaging interferes with efforts to quit smoking by established smokers but also serves to distract novice smokers or occasional smokers from the health warnings that are now mandatory. This is particularly important in ensuring that health warnings gain the full attention of smokers and in reducing the motivational effect of distinctive packaging and logos on those trying to quit. Making an impact: Response outcome It was good to note that NICE have amended their guidance in light of the Society’s recommendations to NICE’s sickle-cell acute painful episodes consultation. The recommendations for nonpharmacological interventions have been reworded to include an example of a coping technique that is not harmful.
This is not only of great theoretical interest, but there is also considerable potential in terms of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and associated conditions, such as depression. Dr Lucy Betts and Ms Rowena Hill of Nottingham Trent University submitted a successful application to fund an Assistantship for Sarah Gardner. The project is entitled Loneliness and social isolation in Silver Surfers and it will collect data to explore if older adults’ loneliness and social isolation can be reduced by the facilitation of social networks and the promotion of social contact through these groups. In particular, the research will examine the extent to which participation in Age UK Cheshire’s Silver Surfers groups develops social networks, predicts loneliness and well-being, and impacts on resilience, personal growth and interdependence as antecedents of older adults’ loneliness. Professor Peter Rogers, from the University of Bristol, will be able to fund an Assistantship for Claire Lancaster for the project Hungry for the taste: Understanding motivational and hedonic influences on food reward and consumption. Professor Glyn Humphreys and Dr Jack Rogers from the University of Oxford will support Daniel Yon’s project, Using TMS to prime feature specific somatotopic representations in motor cortex during speech perception. Dr Rachael E. Jack of the University of Glasgow had her application accepted to fund Rebecca Pratchett’s Assistantship for the project Mapping the cultural landscape of emotions for social interaction. Highlighting knowledge gaps, Rachael’s work raises several questions. Six basic emotions are Western Caucasianspecific, but which emotions are basic in different cultures? Social interactions rely on numerous emotions, e.g. grief, jealousy. How do different cultures represent these emotions as facial expressions? Dr Markus Bindemann of the University of Kent had his application accepted to fund Julien LeBlond’s Assistantship. The project, Can a gaze-contingent eye-tracking paradigm reverse undesirable attention biases in smokers?, seeks to investigate whether smoking-related attention biases can be reversed more effectively when observers generate such behaviours intrinsically, by the smokers themselves, in a gaze-contingent paradigm. Finally, Dr Rebecca Greenaway, from Great Ormond Street Hospital, made a successful application to fund an Assistantship for Julia Fernando entitled Cognitive and behavioural outcomes following multiple subpial transaction in Landau Kleffner syndrome. For an example of the scheme in practice, see an article from the November 2009 ‘Careers’ section of The Psychologist (tinyurl.com/cmq59q5). For future schemes, keep an eye on tinyurl.com/bpsuras.
vol 25 no 9
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CONFERENCE Division of Health Psychology Developmental Section DCP Faculty for Children and Young People North East & North West of England Branches Psychology 4 Students, Nottingham Division of Clinical Psychology Psychology 4 Students, London Special Group in Coaching Psychology
DATE 5–7 September 5–7 September 26–27 September 16 November 21 November 5–7 December 6 December 6–7 December
VENUE Holiday Inn, Liverpool City Centre University of Strathclyde Palace Hotel, Manchester Etihad Stadium, Manchester Nottingham Trent University University of Oxford Kensington Town Hall, London Lakeside Centre, Aston, Birmingham
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CPD Workshops Professional development opportunities from your learned Society EVENT
Masterclass in career coaching: Challenging clients (DOP)
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An experiential introduction to Mindfulness: Compassion, choice and gratitude (DCP & DCoP)
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Uses and abuses of evidence: A conference to promote evidence-based psychological interventions (DCP Scotland)
Introduction to compassion focused therapy (Psychotherapy Section)
Perpetrators of intimate partner abuse: Risk implications from research to practice (DFP)
Qualitative research in an age of austerity (QMiP)
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Applying psychology to education and learning for post 16 to 25 year olds with complex needs (DECP)
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For more information on these CPD events and many more visit www.bps.org.uk/ﬁndcpd.
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The School of Psychotherapy & Counselling Psychology at Regent’s College London offers academic and clinical training in psychotherapy, counselling and counselling psychology at Certiﬁcate, Masters, Professional Doctorate and PhD level. We develop practitioners who think independently, are theoretically well informed and able to skilfully and ethically provide psychological therapy in a variety of clinical settings. PROGRAMMES Certiﬁcate in Psychotherapy & Counselling Foundation Postgraduate course providing a solid grounding in psychotherapy and counselling theory and practice. MA/PGDip in Psychotherapy & Counselling Intermediate pre-professional training including taught, clinical, experiential and self-directed components. Advanced Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy Focused psychotherapy training preparing participants to skilfully apply integrative psychotherapy and counselling expertise leading to UKCP registration. Advanced Diploma in Existential Psychotherapy Specialist psychotherapy training emphasising the application of existential phenomenology philosophy to the therapeutic encounter leading to UKCP registration. MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapy & Counselling Studies In depth research in the ﬁeld of psychotherapy and counselling. Professional Doctorate in Existential Phenomenological Counselling Psychology (DPsych) Training rooted in existential phenomenological philosophy and its application to clinical practice leading to BPS/HPC recognition.
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Finding the employability edge in your studies S. Ian Robertson, Isabella McMurray and Pat Roberts on how graduate skills can be embedded within the psychology curriculum
n the era of credit crunches and high unemployment, any career skills that provide an edge for graduates seeking employment are to be welcomed. Therefore, the issue of what is being taught, why it is being taught and how it can be applied in the future, in whatever career the student embarks on, has become of prime importance. There are some fantastically rewarding destinations on your road into psychology, and you can read about them in an article from The Psychologist archive at tinyurl.com/psychjobs. But we need to be realistic about the fact that in the UK,
www.psychapp.co.uk – the latest jobs www.thepsychologist.org.uk – an archive of ‘Careers’ articles – just search ‘Careers’ www.bps.org.uk/careers – resources from the British Psychological Society www.tinyurl.com/psychjourney – your journey into undergraduate psychology www.tinyurl.com/psychjobs – what do psychologists do?
only about 20 per cent of psychology graduates go on to become psychologists (Lantz, 2011). The good news is that some 50 per cent of employers do not specify a particular degree – they are seeking good degrees and certain skills, so it makes sense to find out what those skills are. Despite various definitions of what is meant by employability (CBI, 2011; Lowden et al., 2011), there appears to be some general agreement around the specific skills, competences and attributes expected of graduates that should stand the psychology student in good stead beyond their degree. There are many sources of such information, summarising the main skills looked for (see, for example, CBI, 2011; McMurray et al., 2011; Robertson et al., 2011). The QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Psychology (2007) emphasises the importance of generic employability skills and lists 11 psychology-specific skills and 10 generic skills that an honours graduate should have. The new Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), to be published by all HE institutions for each student, will include statements about employability (see tinyurl.com/dx3smd2). The Psychology Student Employability Guide from the Higher Education Academy (Lantz, 2011: see tinyurl.com/lantz2011) is another excellent resource. But how can we ensure such skills are embedded within the psychology curriculum? This question has seen employability and the skills assumed to
underpin it emerge as important topics in the teaching of psychology (see, for example, Pegg et al., 2012). Fortunately for us, psychology is almost uniquely placed to embed employability skills within the curriculum. There are many topics in a psychology degree, such as counselling, personality and individual differences, occupational psychology, metacognition, problem solving and thinking, to name but a few, that can be directly related to the student’s personal experience. Others have noted this: in 2009 New Scientist magazine published a short article on how interview skills and strategies can be based on psychological evidence (Bond, 2009). The integration of skills within the normal curriculum is, to us, key. From past experience, stand-alone Personal Development Planning (PDP) modules do not work well as they are seen as divorced from the rest of the course. Similarly, adhoc sessions by a careers adviser or guest speaker do not often attract students to the sessions. Neither of these methods really ‘embeds’ employability – they bolt it on where it can be largely ignored (Akhurst, 2005). We have written elsewhere about how employability was built into the curriculum at our institution, the University of Bedfordshire, and how Research Informed Teaching and Learning is being supported with its own concomitant skill set (McMurray et al., 2011; Robertson et al., 2011). The university’s careers department contributes to the curriculum at each level in a structured way by linking career development to psychology subject matter. Built into the department philosophy is the idea that we are fostering skills to support students’ transitions to employment. Students are therefore aware from early in their first year of study that they will be developing skills relevant to future employment and lifelong learning. We have formalised this by listing the skills to be developed in the module information forms much more
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explicitly and clearly than Where taught/experienced previously, and these are in psychology curriculum Skills & knowledge To be aware of accessible to students. areas The adjacent table Customer and business Reflection on personal presents information of this awareness Social performance should include type: a list of desired graduate Organisational understanding Occupational reflection on impact on others; skills culled from various Interpersonal skills Applied How psychological knowledge sources (left column) with Consumer behaviour Counselling applies to a work context suggested areas of the psychology curriculum where these skills might normally be Communication skills Genre writing; practised or experienced. We Influencing Communication involves have found that employability Report writing Potentially all areas listening and questioning skills can readily be linked to Clear, structured, correct writing skills psychological theory and Oral presentations hence to a variety of tutorial Project management Time management; activities, and we will turn to Research dissertation Planning Multiple influences on project; some examples now. Research methods Organising Degree of autonomy exercised In the field of the psychology of individual Degree of interdependence differences, there are several with others; Teamworking Any topics involving scales and psychometric tests Positive and negative aspects Listening groupwork that can help students reflect of teamworking; Interpersonal sensitivity Counselling/coaching on and gain a realistic Dealing with difficult people; Negotiating understanding of their own Your own impact on others abilities and aptitudes. These, Mainly research methods Processes used in research along with a well-developed Research and analysis Research dissertation irrespective of topic; grasp of their career goals, Data handling (quantitative) Multiple ways of handling data have been found to correlate with higher levels of Critical thinking employability (Eby et al., Understanding All areas â€˜Self-explainâ€™ new concepts 2003). Students in our focus Analysis of different points of view groups had felt that there was a link between personality Problem solving and career choices, and Recognise and avoid biases in Cognitive psychology Recognise biases when you personality traits have been thinking (psychology of thinking, fall prey to them yourself shown to correlate with such Confirmation bias reasoning, decision making) outcomes as job satisfaction, Overgeneralisation job success, salary and selfefficacy (Rode et al., 2008). Professional/personal attributes Studying research (self-management) methods is an obvious area Initiative where students can develop Adaptability Self: How to monitor own useful skills in data analysis Responsibility behaviour and improve on it All areas and ethos of and interpretation. Businesses Time management based on feedback and selfdepartment/institution rely greatly on generating and Resilience reflection analysing data, and research Ethical understanding and skills are useful to them behaviour (Akhurst, 2005). A Appropriate assertiveness background in statistics Numeracy and IT skills Potential uses of software should therefore help make Software familiarity outside psychology; a graduate more employable Data mining All areas Technology and associated than someone without those Applying formulae and identifying techniques change continually skills. outliers Methods are of course a central part of the research Employability skills and where they are most likely to be experienced and practised project, the culmination of a studentâ€™s studies. Yet undergraduates are often unaware that the project constitutes an excellent example of project management. sound proposal, organise a participant psychology or other cognate areas such Apart from research, data gathering pool, book equipment and labs, manage as counselling psychology. For example, and analysis, students have to liaise their time, meet tight deadlines, and so on. traditional theories such as social with others to organise and manage Action planning and goal setting can cognitive theory can be expanded upon their project, produce an ethically be incorporated into topics in social to include examples of how self-efficacy,
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goals and clear outcomes can impact on an individual’s career development. Research methods and social psychology modules are areas where one typically finds assignments built around teamwork, and students can be asked to reflect on that experience and relate it to psychological explanations of group processes, such as social loafing. Indeed, we have found that some students gain insight into their own role in teams and how their behaviour impacts on others both positively and negatively. Under the topic of language, one can look at speech acts and how people convey information in conversation (e.g. Grice’s (1975) maxims). Pitch, pace, tone of voice and the words used in conversation along with body language, posture and appearance all have an impact on others. This can lead to an exercise such as ‘The Elevator Pitch’ where students have to convey their CV and (hopefully positive) aspects of their personality in 30 seconds to a potential employer in an elevator. Cognitive psychology also includes employment-relevant topics such as
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reasoning and argument, the impact of heuristics on decision making, techniques of persuasion, creativity and insight, and so on. These need to be anchored to realworld examples and real-world experience so that students are aware of their applicability outside the lecture room. Last, but very far from least, ethical considerations, including avoiding academic offences and acting within one’s level of competence are naturally embedded in any psychology degree and inculcated in many modules. How to treat others, how to treat sources of information and how to behave professionally with respect, responsibility and integrity ought to be second nature by the time students complete a psychology degree.
A time to reflect These are just a few examples of how employability skills can be embedded into a psychology curriculum, and we are in the process of evaluating how successful we have been so far. Students are not
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always aware of the skills they are learning unless it is pointed out to them, hence the need for students to reflect on what it is they are doing at university so that they become more confident, knowledgeable and in control of their own learning. It is, of course, not unusual for some students to feel undecided about their career choices. Even this can be linked back to the psychology curriculum: in a course on lifespan development, theoretical frameworks that underpin career theories such as Super’s selfconcept development theory (Super, 1990) can be included exploring the vocational tasks and stages of career development; or Erikson’s (1968) characterisation of the adolescent years as a period of ‘identity versus role confusion’ where it is necessary for young people to experiment with different roles, personalities and behaviours in order to discover what gives them essentially a fixed, unique sense of being. Our main message must be that maps are available to plot your journey in psychology, and manuals to ensure you
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vol 25 no 9
are roadworthy. It is never too early to give this some thought, and psychology itself can be of assistance. Building employability into the curriculum involves knowing what to do to enhance career prospects and how to go about doing that. However, psychological theories and practice allow us to add a further dimension in our view – why we are doing it. References Akhurst, J. (2005). Enhancing the employability of psychology graduates. York: Higher Education Academy Psychology Network. Bond, M. (2009). Come-to-work eyes. New Scientist, 204(2731), 6–7. CBI (2011). Working towards your future: Making the most of your time in higher education. London: Author. Eby, L., Butts, M. & Lockwood, A. (2003). Predictors of success in the era of the boundaryless career. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24(6), 689–708. Erikson, E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton. Grice, H.P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J.L. Morgan (Eds.) Syntax and semantics: Vol. 3. Speech acts (pp.41–58). New York, NY: Academic Press. Lantz, C. (2011). Psychology student employability guide.
York: Higher Education Academy Psychology Network. Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D. & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers’ perceptions of the employability of new graduates. London: Edge Foundation. McMurray, I., Roberts, P., Robertson, S.I. & Teoh, K. (2011). An action research project exploring the psychology curriculum and transitions to employment. Psychology Teaching Review, 17(1), 50–63. Pegg, A., Waldock, J., Hendy-Isaac, S. & Lawton, R. (2012). Pedagogy for employability. York: Higher Education Academy. Robertson, S.I., Teoh, K., McMurray, I. et al. (2011).
nc pa i
Research-informed learning in the psychology curriculum: An initial evaluation. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 10(2), 84–94. doi: 10.2304/plat.2011.10.2.84 Rode, J.C., Mooney, C.H., Arthaud-Day, M.L. et al. (2008). Ability and personality as predictors of success in newly employed professionals. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 16(3), 292–299. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2389.2008.00435.x Super, D.E. (1990). A life span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.) Career choice and development (2nd edn). San Francisco: Jossey–Bass.
FEATURED JOB Job Title: Associate Psychologists for Expert Witness work Employer: Carter Brown Associates e’re very inclusive,’ says Lisa Crowther, Carter Brown Associates’ Quality Assurance Manager, when I comment on the friendliness of the company’s staff. ‘We try to create a supportive atmosphere with 20 staff working across four teams, all experts at their jobs.’ The firm is looking for expert psychologists to provide reports and expert testimony in family and criminal law proceedings. ‘We were founded in 2001 and, because of our co-directors’ social work backgrounds, initially focused on this area. We now have 200 experts in the network including psychologists, paediatricians, psychiatrists and independent social workers and, while we’re based in Mansfield, our experts are based nationwide.’ ‘The work comes in from solicitors and local authorities and, occasionally, directly from clients. We then match a case to one of our experts who usually produce their report within four to six weeks, unless it’s a particularly complex assessment. Every expert has a case handler who looks after administrative issues.’ What sort of psychologists are you looking for? ‘Forensic and clinical, with experience in working with either children or adults (or both). Existing experts have worked within the Prison Service, local authorities and the NHS. They must be experienced in their field: they offer expert opinions, so this work doesn’t suit newly qualified psychologists. Experts must be HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) registered. We aim to support people with sound clinical knowledge to help make the transition into medico-legal work. We have a good induction process, mentoring and peer support for people less experienced in expert witness work. Monthly updates keep them up-to-speed on legal developments. Our regular training events are excellent and offered at very reasonable rates.’ So, what sort of personal qualities are you looking for in candidates? ‘People working part-time or in a portfolio way. Once an expert is instructed on a case he or she must schedule client and other appointments, often during the working week. Self-organisation is key, as is motivation – we want to do the best for our clients, and meeting deadlines is critical. There’s increased pressure on hearing cases in a timely manner. Being able to speak and write well is essential. Experts have to examine evidence from many different sources, so they must have highly developed skills in study, argument and critical evaluation. They also have to work cooperatively with other professionals and sympathetically with clients. They must be self-critical and react well to challenges. Credibility is essential – they’re putting across information that affects lives in a fundamental way.’ ‘There’s no doubt that this is challenging but rewarding work. Our team are committed to delivering the highest level of service to both experts and clients. Over the years, we have become experts on experts and the issues they face.’
You can find this job on p.719, and with many others on www.psychapp.co.uk. The site provides a valuable resource to Society members and employers alike.
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Lead Clinical Psychologist
£38,851 - £51,178 Ludlow Street Healthcare is an innovative, rapidly expanding organisation that provides specialist care, education and treatment services for individuals with mental health needs, learning disabilities and other specialist care needs. We are currently recruiting for a Lead Clinical Psychologist to work across our education sites in South Wales, specialising in children and young adults with Autistic Spectrum Condition.You will take a lead role within the MDT through assessment and formulation to treatment and intervention. Our services are recognised as centres of excellence and best practice with an innovative model of education and care supported by an extensive clinical team.The successful candidates will provide clinical leadership support training and consultancy to our staff teams and inform service development. Our organisation places a strong emphasis and value on psychological services and will invest in your ongoing development.You will be part of a large department across our group with clinical, forensic and counselling psychologists offering variety and career progression. To be considered for this post, you must have a passion and commitment to improve people’s lives through the effective use of evidence based psychological skills. You will have experience in working with individuals with a learning disability and either experience or a strong interest in Autistic Spectrum Condition. For further information about our organisation, the services that we provide and this role please go to our website at www.lsheathcare.co.uk We have various sites located across South Wales, each with its own specialist client group. If successful, your appointment will be subject to an enhanced CRB check.
Closing date: Thursday 20th September 2012
vol 25 no 9 september 2012
The University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh is an exciting, vibrant, research led academic community offering opportunities to work with leading international academics whose visions are shaping tomorrow’s world.
(£37,012 - £44,166 UE08) or (£46,846 - £52,706 UE09) The University of Edinburgh has a Market Pay Policy which can take current NHS salaries into account Applications are invited for a full-time, open ended Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology with a particular emphasis on the clinical psychology for children, young people and families (part-time, job-share applications will also be considered). You will be the programme director for the MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People. Contribution to teaching and research supervision will be predominantly to trainees on the MSc for Applied Psychology for Children and Young People. Involvement and development of research will be expected, either in collaboration with members of staff or in the applicant’s own area of interest. The Section of Clinical Psychology has an active research group in the area of applied developmental psychology and co-ordinates the ECAP network fostering Child Psychology Research. You are expected to have a doctorate in clinical psychology with eligibility for HPC registration as practitioner psychologist/clinical psychology. You are expected to have a track record in research and teaching. Apply online, view further details or browse more jobs at our website. Alternatively, telephone the recruitment line on 0131 650 2511. Ref 3016123BPS. Closing date 28 September 2012. Committed to Equality and Diversity The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
WĂƚŚǁĂǇWƐǇĐŚŽůŽŐŝĐĂů^ĞƌǀŝĐĞƐŝƐĂŐƌŽǁŝŶŐŝŶĚĞƉĞŶĚĞŶƚ ƉƐǇĐŚŽůŽŐŝĐĂůƉƌĂĐƟĐĞƚŚĂƚƵŶĚĞƌƚĂŬĞƐǁŽƌŬŶĂƟŽŶĂůůǇĨŽƌĂǀĂƌŝĞƚǇ ŽĨĐůŝĞŶƚƐ͘ tĞƉƌŝĚĞŽƵƌƐĞůǀĞƐŽŶǁŽƌŬŝŶŐƚŽďĞƐƚƉƌĂĐƟĐĞĂŶĚƉƌŽŵŽƚĞƚŚĞ ŚŝŐŚĞƐƚĞƚŚŝĐĂůƐƚĂŶĚĂƌĚƐĂĐƌŽƐƐĂůůĂƌĞĂƐŽĨƚŚĞďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ͘ WĂƚŚǁĂǇWƐǇĐŚŽůŽŐŝĐĂů^ĞƌǀŝĐĞƐƉƌŽǀŝĚĞƐĂƌĂŶŐĞŽĨĞŶŐĂŐĞŵĞŶƚƐ ŝŶĐůƵĚŝŶŐŝŶĚĞƉĞŶĚĞŶƚĞǆƉĞƌƚǁŝƚŶĞƐƐĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚƐĨŽƌĐŽƵƌƚ ƉƌŽĐĞĞĚŝŶŐƐĂŶĚƉĂƌŽůĞďŽĂƌĚŚĞĂƌŝŶŐƐ͕ƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƚŽĐůŝŶŝĐĂůƐĞƐƐŝŽŶ ǁŽƌŬĂŶĚƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂůƚƌĂŝŶŝŶŐ͘ tĞĂƌĞůŽŽŬŝŶŐƚŽĞǆƉĂŶĚŽƵƌĂƐƐŽĐŝĂƚĞďĂƐĞĂŶĚŚĂǀĞŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƟĞƐ ĨŽƌƉƌĂĐƟƟŽŶĞƌƐĂĐƌŽƐƐƚŚĞďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ͕ƉĂƌƟĐƵůĂƌůǇŝŶĨŽƌĞŶƐŝĐƌŝƐŬ ĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĐŽŵƉůĞǆĐĂƐĞǁŽƌŬƐƵĐŚĂƐƉĞƌƐŽŶĂůŝƚǇĚŝƐŽƌĚĞƌ͘ ŽǇŽƵŚĂǀĞĂŚŝŐŚůĞǀĞůŽĨŵŽƟǀĂƟŽŶ͕ĂƌĞĂďůĞƚŽǁŽƌŬƌĞŵŽƚĞůǇ ĂŶĚĂƌĞĐŽŵŵŝƩĞĚƚŽďĞƐƚĐůŝŶŝĐĂůƉƌĂĐƟĐĞǁŝƚŚŚŝŐŚƐƚĂŶĚĂƌĚƐ͍ /ĨƐŽ͕ǁĞǁŽƵůĚďĞŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚĞĚŝŶƚĂůŬŝŶŐƚŽǇŽƵ͘ ƉƉůŝĐĂŶƚƐƐŚŽƵůĚƐƵŝƚĂďůǇƋƵĂůŝĮĞĚ͕,WƌĞŐŝƐƚĞƌĞĚĂŶĚŚĂǀĞĂ ƉƌŽǀĞŶƚƌĂĐŬƌĞĐŽƌĚŝŶƚŚĞĮĞůĚŽĨĨŽƌĞŶƐŝĐŽƌĐůŝŶŝĐĂůƉƌĂĐƟĐĞ͘ WůĞĂƐĞƐĞŶĚĂsŝŶĐůƵĚŝŶŐƋƵĂůŝĮĐĂƟŽŶƐĂŶĚĞǆƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞǁŝƚŚĂ ĐŽǀĞƌŝŶŐůĞƩĞƌƚŽƚŚĞĂĚĚƌĞƐƐŽƌĞͲŵĂŝůďĞůŽǁ͘ ůŽƐŝŶŐĚĂƚĞKĐƚŽďĞƌϭϱƚŚϮϬϭϮ͘
College of Humanities and Social Science School of Health in Social Science Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
SUPPORT CARE EDUCATION
Forensic Psychologist RECOVERY
The successful candidate will ideally have experience in a comprehensive range of psychological therapies, risk assessment, training and supervision. The candidate will also be expected to take a lead in the design and implementation of individual and group psychological treatment programmes. You will need the ability to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. In return we offer a competitive salary, a supportive work environment and CPD opportunities.
How to Apply: To apply for this vacancy please go to www.vacancies.cambiangroup.com and complete the online application form. To ﬁnd out more about us at Cambian visit www.cambiangroup.com Closing date: 30th September 2012
seek and advertise at www.psychapp.co.uk
Southwick Park is a residential special school for young people aged 11-19 whose learning difﬁculties are associated with autistic spectrum disorders, complex needs & challenging behaviour.
Southwick Park in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Grateley House is a residential special school for young people aged 9-19 with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and/or associated disorders.
Grateley House School in Andover, Hampshire
Partnerships in Care (PiC) Ltd is the UK’s largest independent sector provider of secure mental health care. PiC Midlands is looking to appoint an experienced clinical or forensic psychologist for its Women’s Service secure pathway (medium, low, and locked rehab). The post holder will join a well established psychology department. They will ensure GUIDANCE high quality psychology input into the care of patients with complex needs, including those with primary diagnoses of HELP personality disorder and/or mental illness. The post holder will be expected to have a strong presence in the multidisciplinary team and contribute to staff training, supervision and consultancy. Opportunities for input into our Male Learning Disability secure pathway may also be available according to relevant experience and service need.
The Cambian Group is the UK’s largest provider of specialist services in education, mental health rehabilitation and learning disabilities. We are currently recruiting for clinical psychologists at our following schools:
Salary up to £46,915 depending on relevant experience (Full-time; Permanent)
We are particularly interested in individuals who have had prior training and experience in DBT or CAT. Signiﬁcant experience in structured risk assessments and interventions for offending behaviour would also be viewed as an advantage.
For informal enquiries or to arrange a visit, please contact Dr Steve Lilley, Regional Lead Psychologist, PiC Midlands, on 0115 9661500. www.partnershipsincare.co.uk/jobs Closing date: 28th September 2012.
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Senior Clinical/ REHABILITATION
Partnerships in Care is committed to providing equal opportunities for its staff and our patients.
ASSISTANT PSYCHOLOGIST 13 month contract/Salary £14,000 ApplicaƟons are invited for the posiƟon of Assistant Psychologist to work with service users with learning disabiliƟes who present with challenging behaviour and who have a secondary diagnosis of mental illness or have a diagnosis of auƟsƟc spectrum disorder. The successful candidate will join and be part of a well-established friendly and supporƟve mulƟ-disciplinary team. The post holder will be required to rouƟnely collect and present behavioural data, carry out observaƟons, produce reports, conduct staī training, aƩend clinical meeƟngs and provide support to the Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Specialist. Regular supervision will be provided. This role will be of parƟcular relevance to psychology graduates with an interest in future clinical psychology training. Please send C.V to debbie@careopportuniƟes.co.uk Tel: 01256 405460 Closing date for applicaƟons: 21st September.
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I have been very happy with the advert and the quality and quantity of responses. Several people mentioned seeing it online Trevor Butlin, De Montfort University
CONSULTANT CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST Swindon full time or part time: Salary negotiable
Investing further in academic excellence School of Health Sciences
Lectureships City University London is a global University committed to academic excellence with a focus on business and the professions and an enviable central London location. City attracts over 17,000 students (35% at postgraduate level) from more than 150 countries, academic staff from over 50 countries and has embarked on a strategic transformation to strengthen its position as a leading global University. The University is in the top 5% of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011/12 and in the top 30 UK Universities according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2012. It is ranked in the top 12 in the UK for graduate starting salaries (The Sunday Times University Guide 2012R_UWeVV_ `WZeddfS[VTeRcVRdhVcVZUV_eZVU as undertaking world-leading or internationally-excellent research in the last Research Assessment Exercise.
The School of Health Sciences is dedicated to the education and development of health and communitybased professionals and has a strong research culture that supports a wide range of high quality research. It is committed to increasing its research by attracting more external grant income and increasing the volume of publications in high quality research outputs. As part of this development, applications are invited from suitably bfR]ZVUcVdVRcTYViTV]]V_eRTRUV^ZTd in the following disciplines: Maternal and Child Health 1 Lecturer Health Services Research 2 Lecturers City offers a sector-leading salary, USS aV_dZ`_dTYV^VR_USV_VedZ_T]fUZ_X a comprehensive package of staff training and development. Closing date for applications: 30th September 2012.
All interested candidates are asked to submit a cv and cover letter and to identify and attach up to four of their top research publications. These can be submitted via www.city.ac.uk/hr/jobs.
This brand new service in purpose-built premises is due to open in the spring of 2013. It will provide an assessment and rehabilitation service for those who have had an acquired brain injury and who present with challenging behaviour. This is an exciting opportunity to lead the clinical team in a new service whilst at the same time being part of the wider network of 13 consultant clinical neuropsychologists across BIRT. The post holder will be a member of the BIRT Clinical Executive which oversees clinical governance and developments. Training and research are actively encouraged and supported. We are looking for an energetic and innovative psychologist to take on this challenge of recruiting, developing and leading the clinical team. For an application pack, please download the documents from the BIRT website. CLOSING DATE: 30th September 2012 Contact Professor Michael Oddy for further information on 01403 799163
www.thedtgroup.org registered charity no: 800797
Disabilities Trust.QPV.indd 1
vol 25 no 9 september 2012
This post is 0.8 of a full Ć&#x;me equivalent post and aĆŠracts a salary of ÂŁ17000 (pro-rata). If interested in this posiĆ&#x;on please email/ post your C.V. with a covering leĆŠer to: firstname.lastname@example.org. (put â€˜Psychological Assistantâ€™ in subject eld) Adult & Child Psychological Assessment Service, 1 Farlands Grove, Great Barr, Birmingham, B43 5PY.
As a Clinical Forensic Psychologist, your responsibilities will include providing assessments and treatment to patients at
The post will ideally appeal to Research/ Forensic Psychology graduates in need of pracĆ&#x;cal experience.
Partnerships in Care are the leading independent provider of specialist mental healthcare in the UK. We provide much needed help to a wide range of vulnerable people. Our forward-looking low secure hospital based in North Essex provides a safe environment for the care and treatment of men and women with learningGUIDANCE disabilities.
a a s /AKTREE -ANOR 4ENDRING %SSEX &ULL 4IME HRS PER WEEK
Ongoing training and conĆ&#x;nuing professional development will be encouraged.
020 7880 7556
Training and support will be provided by Chartered Psychologist.
Clinical Forensic REHABILITATION
HELP our Oaktree Manor facility, and promoting their recovery via a
variety of evidenced based tools. These include HoNOS LD/ Secure, HCR20 in relation to CQUINs, previous reports, documentation, observational data, staff reports and other individual forms of assessment. You will also ensure that effective systems are in place for clinical and professional supervision and support of other psychologists. A valid practicing certiďŹ cate is essential, together with graduate qualiďŹ cation in either accredited clinical psychology or forensic psychology, plus registration with the Health Professional Council.
4O APPLY PLEASE VISIT WWWPARTNERSHIPSINCARECOUKCAREERS OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT +AY !LCOCK ON #LOSING DATE FOR !PPLICATIONS TH 3EPTEMBER
This post will also provide opportuniĆ&#x;es to become involved in: â€˘ administering diÄŤerent psychometric tests â€˘ delivering training to groups of professional and non-professionals â€˘ research and developing informaĆ&#x;on guides â€˘ co-facilitaĆ&#x;ng support groups â€˘ project work (OÄŤenders with Learning DisabiliĆ&#x;es, Young OÄŤenders, ParenĆ&#x;ng, DomesĆ&#x;c Violence).
to advertise please contact:
Well qualied graduate wanted to work with Chartered Psychologists in carrying out a range of Psycho-Legal assessments.
0ARTNERSHIPS IN #ARE IS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ITS STAFF AND OUR PATIENTS
Adult and Child PsychAssist.EighthVertical.indd 14/08/2012 1 17:32
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
Kent Clinical Neuropsychology Service
Head of Kent Clinical Neuropsychology Service
37.5 Hours per week â€“ Band: 8D ÂŁ65,270 - ÂŁ80,810 per annum pro rata A rare and exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist seeking a head of service role. You will be responsible for the strategic development and operational management of the Service, and will bring experience in management and leadership qualities required to deliver high quality services across Kent. The Kent Clinical Neuropsychology Service is one of the largest neuropsychology departments in the country with 20 wte clinical psychology posts. Our service is valued by commissioners and has developed and established its work across a range of settings including community neurorehabilitation, neuropsychiatry and inpatient neurorehabilitation services in Kent. Underpinning the delivery of our services in these diverse settings are shared values which encompass a person centred, integrated and innovative approach. There is a commitment to highest standards of evidence based clinical practice backed by investment in training and continuing professional development. The Clinical Neuropsychology Service forms part of the Specialist Services and Older Adult Service Line which also includes an inpatient neurorehabilitation service, neuropsychiatry, and services for people with physical disabilities, amputees and ME/CFS. Psychological services in the
Trust as a whole consist of about 300 members of staff, and are highly respected by clinicians and managers within the organisation and beyond. There are supportive professional management and supervision structures in place within the specialty and the service line, and active consultant peer supervision group meetings. All our posts offer opportunities for research and strong professional development structures are in place. Excellent academic and training links exist with Salomons, Canterbury Christ Church University College. For an informal discussion please contact Jos Kerkvliet, Assistant Director Neurorehabilitation Services and Lead for Psychological Practice in Specialist Services 01634 833937, or the current Service Head Dr Elizabeth Francis on the same number. Web: www.kmpt.nhs.uk/headforkent If your application is successful, you will be notified by email. Therefore, please ensure that you regularly check your NHS jobs account. Completed applications by: Friday 28th September 2012.
For other job opportunities visit our website
We encourage applicants to apply on-line â€“ go to www.jobs.nhs.uk
Working Towards Equal Opportunities
seek and advertise at www.psychapp.co.uk
Interviews to be held: Wednesday 17th October 2012.
Employment in this post is subject to a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. To deliver an effective service it is essential that you are able to travel between bases in a timely manner.
To check the latest jobs please go to
to advertise please contact: Giorgio Romano, 020 7880 7556, email@example.com
vol 25 no 9 september 2012
Carter Brown Associates is a large multidisciplinary Expert Witness Service, providing reports in Family and Criminal Law Proceedings across the United Kingdom. We provide a rst class service, which includes ongoing support to all of our associates.
We are presently looking to recruit experienced Psychologists to join our team of associates. We pride ourselves on the support we offer to new associates in applying their already highly developed clinical skills to the demanding eld of expert witness work and have a proven track record in doing so. We welcome applicants from across the UK. All successful applicants will be required to attend a mandatory induction/training day as part of our rigorous recruitment process.
We are interested in psychologists who: • Have an in-depth experience of working with adults, children or families in either a forensic or clinical setting • Wish to promote and maintain a reputation for providing high quality and evidence-based assessments • Wish to provide an excellent service to children, young people and adults who have become involved in either family or criminal proceedings • Are able to meet report deadlines • Are HPC registered and adhere to the BPS Code of Conduct • Are able to complete a minimum of 6 reports annually
To request an application form please email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org For further information telephone 01623 661 089 or visit our website www.carterbrownassociates.co.uk
£30,000 - £33,000 per annum, dependent upon experience Based: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
£16,000 per annum Based: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Working as part of a team, you will be responsible for providing psychotherapy interventions to a range of patients within a secure hospital setting. Contributing to patient care, staff support and service development, you will maintain and manage an individual case load with responsibility for keeping comprehensive case notes. Experience of trauma related work is essential and some experience of Narrative therapy would be advantageous. You must be registered with BACP/ UKRCP/BPS/UKCP.
This is an ideal opportunity for those looking to develop a career in forensic or clinical psychology as you will receive appropriate supervision and have the opportunity to gain experience in the application of psychology within a forensic setting. Your main responsibilities will include delivering group work programmes, designing and delivering staff training packages and speciﬁc administration tasks. As the post requires excellent communication and presentation skills candidates will be required to deliver a short presentation as part of the interview process.
In addition to a superb working environment, Cheswold Park offers 25 days annual leave (plus bank holidays), company pension and comprehensive support for personal development. To apply, please download an application pack from www.cheswoldparkhospital.co.uk Alternatively, contact Natalie in HR on 01302 765599 or e-mail email@example.com Closing date: Friday, 28th September 2012. No agencies, please. All appointments are subject to CRB enhanced disclosure. Cheswold Park Hospital is an equal opportunities employer.
Cheswold Park Hospital, Cheswold Lane, Doncaster, South Yorks DN5 8AR.
seek and advertise at www.psychapp.co.uk
My grandmother, Mick Hucknall and me Fiona Glen with the latest in our series for budding writers (see www.bps.org.uk/newvoices for more information)
‘I saw that man from that band over there by the door, you know, the one with the red hair?’ ‘Do you mean Mick Hucknall?!’ ‘Yes, that’s the one! He just appeared for a few seconds, smiled and winked at me and then he was gone!’
o began the first of many conversations with my grandmother about the bizarre ‘visions’ she had been experiencing over the last few years. One could be forgiven for assuming that such a comment made by a woman in her 90s was a sure sign of some mental health issues. But it turns out my grandmother, who has been diagnosed with the eye condition age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is in fact prone to experiencing ‘Charles Bonnet syndrome’ (CBS). This is a side-effect seen in around 10–15 per cent of people with severe visual loss, and it is unrelated to cognitive health (Menon et al., 2003). CBS was first described in the 1700s when the Swiss philosopher Charles Bonnet heard of the experiences of his near-blind grandfather, who commented that he often ‘saw’ bizarre figures, animals and buildings that were not actually present in real life. Charles Bonnet went on to document several similar cases in psychologically healthy people who were experiencing partial or full blindness. Research into CBS has since progressed somewhat, though the exact causes are not yet fully understood. Generally speaking, CBS is thought
Brown, G.C., Brown, M.M. & Sharma, S. (2000). Difference between ophthalmologists' and patients' perceptions of quality of life associated with age-related macular degeneration. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, 35(3), 127–133. Burke, W. (2002). The neural basis of Charles Bonnet hallucinations. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 73(5), 535–541.
to be caused by visual deprivation which encourages the brain to ‘fill in’ missing information with visual images stored in memory (Burke, 2002). Whilst the likelihood of a visually impaired individual experiencing CBS is thought to be linked to some factors of their visual function (for instance, visual acuity of worse than 20/66 in the best eye has been shown to be a risk factor), evidence also suggests a connection with psychological factors such as social isolation, loneliness and shyness, in addition to other factors such as stress and fatigue (Menon et al., 2003). Admittedly the appearance of the lead singer of Simply Red in one’s living room is not amongst the most commonly reported hallucinations experienced by individuals with CBS. Many people with CBS report ‘seeing’ animals, landscapes or misty figures in old-fashioned dress. Whilst my grandmother has, over time, commented on all of these in some form, some of her visual experiences are perhaps less conventional; the ‘leprechaun’ prone to waving at her from her windowsill from time to time being a perfect example of this! The occurrence of such experiences during quiet moments are of course surprising and frightening, but after a few moments of adjustment my grandmother was able to understand that they could not be real. It is this key property; full or partial insight into the unreal nature of the hallucinations, that helps distinguish CBS from the hallucinatory experiences
Crabb, D.P., Smith, N.D., Rauscher, F.G. et al. (2010). Exploring eye movements in patients with glaucoma when viewing a driving scene. PLoS One, 5(3), e9710. Glen, F., Crabb, D. & Garway-Heath, D. (2011). The direction of research into visual disability and quality of life in glaucoma. BMC Ophthalmology, 11(1), 19. Gold, K. & Rabins, P.V. (1989). Isolated
occurring as a result of other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. Other diagnostic criteria for CBS, although not officially defined, are that visual hallucinations must be formed, complex, persistent or repetitive, and be absent in other sensory modalities. In addition, there must not be any other primary or secondary delusions present (Gold & Rabins, 1989). Despite their own realisation that the hallucinations are not real, many individuals with CBS do not actually present their symptoms to a clinician for fear of not being believed and subsequently being misdiagnosed with a mental health condition. These fears are perhaps not unfounded: in one study it was found that of 60 CBS patients, only 16 had spoken to their doctor about their hallucinations, and of these people, only one person was diagnosed correctly with CBS (Teunisse et al., 1996). The alarming account of an elderly woman with CBS who was incorrectly institutionalised (Hart, 1997) further serves to highlight a lack of knowledge and understanding of this condition from the sides both of those with eye disease and of many of those treating them. My grandmother herself revealed she had withheld her experiences from both doctors and family members for a considerable period – it was not until someone happened to point out an article relating to the syndrome that she realised she was not alone. It was this startling revelation that first ignited my interest in vision and in particular the importance of both considering and raising awareness of the experiences of the patient in relation to visual impairment. CBS is, of course, not the only challenge faced by people with chronic eye disease. In addition to problems with glare and lighting, many people affected by vision impairment report considerable difficulties with a number of everyday activities such as reading, driving and mobility, which can cause a detrimental impact on their quality of life (QoL) and affect employment opportunities, self-
visual hallucinations and the Charles Bonnet syndrome. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 30(1), 90–98. Hart, J. (1997). Phantom visions: Real enough to touch. Elder Care, 9(1), 30–32. Menon, G.J., Rahman, I., Menon, S.J. & Dutton, G.N. (2003). Complex visual hallucinations in the visually impaired: The Charles Bonnet syndrome. Survey of Ophthalmology,
48(1), 58–72. Teunisse, R.J., Zitman, F.G., Cruysberg, J.R.M. et al. (1996). Visual hallucinations in psychologically normal people. The Lancet, 347(9004), 794–797. Yardley, L., McDermott, L., Pisarski, S. et al. (2008). Psychosocial consequences of developmental prosopagnosia. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 65(5), 445–451.
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esteem and independence. What is more, it is thought that many clinicians may underestimate the impact of vision loss on the patient’s QoL (Brown et al., 2000). My grandmother herself, a long-time lover of reading, has struggled particularly with the rapid loss of her favourite hobby. By experiencing her difficulties firsthand, it was always fairly clear to me that visual loss cannot simply be characterised by labels, or numbers and outputs from clinical tests; it is vital to look to the experiences of the individual to truly understand the impact of visual impairment and how best to deal with it. At the time when my grandmother’s visual impairment had reached a relatively devastating level, I was coming
al., 2008). In addition, a strong emphasis in our laboratory is on the eye-movement strategies of people with vision loss. Differences in eye movements have been observed in patients with glaucoma and may help explain some of the functional deficits shown by people with visual diseases (Crabb et al., 2010). A systematic review of the literature also revealed that, although research has increased in recent years, investigation into QoL in glaucoma represents only a tiny minority (around 1 per cent) of total research in glaucoma and may lag somewhat behind that of many other chronic conditions (Glen et al, 2011). There is clearly still some way to go in understanding the impact of visual loss on the patient’s life. Hopefully future research will ultimately move towards a more patient-centred emphasis in eye care, with a heightened awareness of the patient’s specific experiences, disabilities and needs when considering their treatment. This should include raising awareness of CBS amongst healthcare professionals and the general public, to help resolve feelings of fear and loneliness that are often experienced by those affected. Whilst I was completing my undergraduate degree, I was relatively unaware of the multidisciplinary My grandmother, who is prone to experiencing opportunities available to those with Charles Bonnet syndrome an interest in psychology. I would advise any current students who are towards the end of my undergraduate struggling to decide the direction of their degree in psychology and, like many of career to ‘think outside the box’ and my peers, was contemplating what next consider other disciplines in which their to do with my life. When I saw a vacancy skills could be used. Despite branching for a studentship in the Department of out into a somewhat different field I have Optometry and Visual Science at City undoubtedly developed many skills across University London, the job description all aspects of the research process, from immediately resonated. The PhD was to ethical applications, to participant focus on the impact of glaucoma (another recruitment and data collection, to data of the world’s leading causes of analysis and manuscript preparation. irreversible blindness) on visual disability I have been fortunate to work within and quality of life. This would involve a talented and diverse group of people linking clinical measurements of visual from a variety of backgrounds, ranging function with what the patient could and through psychology, optometry and could not do, in an attempt to shift the ophthalmology, computing, statistics and emphasis in disease management mathematics, who have helped broaden somewhat away from the eye, and more my confidence and knowledge. And if it towards the person. wasn’t for my grandmother’s fleeting I am now in the final year of said romance with the lead singer of Simply PhD, and after a lengthy period of data Red, it is doubtful whether I would have collection involving glaucomatous and ever headed in this direction! visually healthy participants, I’m analysing and collating a series of new Fiona Glen is a postgraduate findings. Some of this research has student at City University, identified face-recognition difficulties as London an additional challenge for patients with firstname.lastname@example.org loss to central vision. Face recognition is in itself an important visual skill, where the presence and effects of a disability might not be truly appreciated (Yardley et
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Calling out for new voices When someone is making waves in psychology in years to come, we want to be able to say they published their first piece in The Psychologist. Our ’new voices’ section will give space to new talent and original perspectives. We are looking for sole-authored pieces by those who have not had a full article published in The Psychologist before. The only other criteria will be that the articles should engage and inform our large and diverse audience, be written exclusively for The Psychologist, and be no more than 1800 words. The emphasis is on unearthing new writing talent, within and about psychology. The successful authors will reach an audience of 48,000 psychologists in print, and many more online. So get writing! Discuss ideas or submit your work to email@example.com. And if you are one of our more senior readers, perhaps you know of someone who would be ideal for ‘new voices’: do let us know.
The carnival of Kingsley Hall Alison Torn on the colourful case of Mary Barnes
n 1963, Mary Barnes was a nurse working in London. After reading The Divided Self by the radical Scottish psychotherapist R.D. Laing, she wrote to its author and began therapy. Two years later, she became the first resident of Kingsley Hall at Bromley-by-Bow in east London, Laing’s experimental therapeutic community and a refuge for mentally ill people who were seeking an alternative to conventional psychiatric treatment. Barnes lived at Kingsley Hall from 1965 to 1970. Under Laing’s direction, she was encouraged to give in to madness: to regress into a state of helpless infancy and then grow again into sanity. Demonstrating ‘regressive’ behaviours, Barnes was fed with a baby’s bottle, bathed, dressed, carried up to bed, and so on. She was preoccupied with her waste products, defecating and urinating, covering herself in her own faeces, and sculpting and painting with it. Mary screamed, raged, hit and bit. During this period her primary carer was an American psychiatrist, Dr Joseph Berke. Mary left Kingsley Hall when Laing’s lease ran out. However, her relationship with both psychotherapy and Joseph Berke continued through therapy and through her involvement with mental health organisations aligned with Berke. Mary Barnes died in 2001 aged 78. Her book Mary Barnes: Two Accounts of a Journey through Madness, co-authored with Berke, was published in 1971. Barnes’s book is not an easy read for many reasons. It is difficult to empathise
with her as a glutinous, defecating, urinating, regressive being. Moreover, it is hard, in the light of contemporary professional codes of conduct, to relate to the sometimes violent relationship between Barnes and her psychiatrist. Part of the difficulty in understanding Barnes’s experiences lays in the fact that today’s readers encounter it from a different Zeitgeist. The mid-to-late 1960s witnessed a loosening of social mores, a space and time when institutions and ideologies were confronted, and government challenged at both family and political levels, themes reflected in the published works of Laing. Barnes’s narrative therefore needs to be interpreted within both her immediate timespace and the wider, cultural context. Bakhtin (1981, p.253) argues that even when author and reader are centuries apart, they are bound together in a fundamental and meaningful way: Of course these real people, the authors and the listeners or readers, may be (and often are) located in different time-spaces, sometimes separated from each other by centuries and by great spatial distances, but nevertheless they are all located in a real, unitary and as yet incomplete historical world set off by a sharp categorical boundary from the represented world in the text.
As Bakhtin implies in this quotation, there is a genuine dialogical interaction between the author and their reader/listener. Moreover, reading Bakhtin’s writings on ancient literary genres provided a means of engaging with Barnes’s selfBakhtin, M.M. (1981). The dialogical imagination: Four essays consciously stylised (Trans. C. Emerson & M. Holquist). Austin, TX: University of psychodynamic text (Bakhtin, Texas Press. 1984a, 1984b). Approaching her Bakhtin, M.M. (1984a). Rabelais and his world (Trans. H. Iswolsky). narrative as an example of the Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Bakhtin, M.M. (1984b). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics (Trans. medieval carnival genre enabled C. Emerson). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. me to gain a deeper understanding Barnes, M. & Berke, J. (2002). Two accounts of a journey through of how Barnes embraced her madness. New York: Other Press. (Original work published experiences. By doing so she 1971) was able to transcend social Sedgewick, P. (1982). Psycho politics. London: Pluto Press Ltd. and medical definitions and
frameworks of her experiences and engage with new possibilities for being. The carnival genre identified by Bakhtin culminates in the 16th-century novels of Rabelais. The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel tells the amusing, satirical and crude story of the adventures of a giant, grotesque father and son (Bakhtin, 1984a). The carnival is characterised by: I Eccentricity, whereby the carnival permits and encourages the sensuous latent sides of human nature to be expressed. I Profanities, the debasing acts of the carnival seen in its obscenities, blasphemies and parodies (Bakhtin, 1984b). I The suspension of hierarchies and associated social etiquette, so those who were previously separated by such barriers can enter into familiar contact in the carnival arena and new forms of relationship can be negotiated. I A dispersion of this familiarisation, so that everything is brought together – high and low, sacred and profane, wise and stupid – through ridicule, mockery and satire. At the heart of this orgy of physical excess, was a process of rebirth or renewal for the people. What follows in this article is an examination of Barnes’s narrative through these elements, exploring first the eccentricities and profanities within the text and, second, the suspension and inversion of hierarchies. Regarding the carnival’s eccentricities and profanities, an essential feature of the grotesque body is its ability to outgrow itself, seen in the protuberances (nose, ears, breasts, phallus) and the orifices. Bakhtin argues that it is through the orifices that the body transgresses its boundaries, conceiving new bodies, which are, for Barnes, faeces. These are a product of her body, but also a body in their own right, as she sculpts and makes a shrine out of figures of faeces, describing these as her ‘babies’. To self and others, Barnes embodies her madness and therapy through the grotesque. One evening when Joe [Berke] was out with David [Cooper], I put shits from my pot all over myself and in my hair. When Joe came I was frightened to touch him because of my shits. He went up on the roof. I followed him. Joe was not afraid. He bathed me. I dreamt of being in a big sink with all my shits. It was being cleaned off me. (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.164)
Berke’s description of this encounter is a page long and refutes Barnes’s account of
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the incident. He refers to it as the ultimate test of his love: ‘Her account of the incident amuses me because of her blind confidence that her shit could not put me off. I can assure you the reverse was true’ (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.249). For Berke, this episode almost ended their relationship, such was his abhorrence and anger: ‘I stalked away as fast as I could. Fortunately she didn’t try to follow me. I would have belted her’ (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.249). A second feature of the grotesque in Rabelais is that the body is not just characterised by its function, but also by its size. The grotesque is a defecating, feasting, devouring, expelling giant, and often a fractured body with dismembered parts that have a life of their own. Barnes epitomises the grotesque body in not only painting her own body in faeces, but producing paintings of dismembered body parts in faeces. As Barnes describes, these faecal paintings were not private, but part of the carnivalesque public space that was Kingsley Hall. Berke describes her painting of a gigantic pair of breasts painted in excrement: Ah yes, but the breasts she scrawled, dabbed, smeared, and splattered throughout Kingsley Hall were not ordinary breasts. They were black and made of shit, so smelly that people gasped upon entering the room…. These breasts so omnipresently hung about her home were not good and nourishing, they were bad and poisonous. They rode the walls like storm-tossed waves across a demonic sea. They proclaimed the orgy of hate and destruction which lay lightly concealed beneath the pale skin of baby Mary. (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.223–4)
with Berke is central to her story. Whilst Laing is the authoritative father in the Oedipal set-up of Kingsley Hall, coming home from the office for meals in the evenings, the man Mary reveres, Berke, becomes Barnes’s Mother. He bottle-fed her, allowed her to suck his breast, cleaned up her wet, shitty sheets, clothes and body, bathed her, fed her egg, carried her to bed, negotiated between her anger and her desire to please. For both parties, the relationship is one of physical and emotional entanglement. For Berke, this was not a doctor/patient relationship, but an equal relationship between two people, where status was left outside of the house: I, like the others, endeavoured to embody the proposition that once we entered the doors of the place, we functioned simply as equal members of a community. (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.233)
However, as Sedgewick (1982) argues, whilst conventional roles may have been
Detail from one of Mary Barnes’s paintings
Berke captures well the indulgent nature of this act: it was an ‘orgy’ where the carnivalesque profanities, debasement and obscenities are revelled in. For Barnes, as for Rabelais, excrement is ‘gay matter’ (Bakhtin, 1984a, p.335), a bodily product related to regeneration and renewal, where the orifices mark old and new life, death and rebirth, in a cyclical process. In the suspension and inversion of hierarchies, Barnes becomes a pivotal, powerful figure in Kingsley Hall from the first day of her arrival as she describes, ‘In my mind, at this time, I, not Ronnie, was running Kingsley Hall’ (Barnes & Berke, 1971/2002, p.99). She remains central to the Kingsley Hall community, as her behaviour dictates the activities and emotions of others. Barnes’s relationship
dropped, this did not mean that all roles and structures were abandoned. The issue of Berke’s and Barnes’ identities in the house is brought to a head when Berke hits Barnes, making her nose bleed. He was running late for an appointment, she wanted him to stay with her. From the accounts of both parties, this is a violent episode Barnes describes being ‘slashed’, whereas Berke states he ‘hauled off as hard as he could’. Both parties felt extreme anger leading up to the incident, and both experienced the great relief brought about by the punch and the pouring of blood. Forty years on, such episodes are incomprehensible as an interaction between doctor and patient, and read more like an incident of domestic abuse. Mary is blamed, her behaviour provokes Berke, Berke cannot control his
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frustration and rage. He is immediately sorry and shamed, not for his action, but because of what others may think of him as a doctor. He is rescued from his shame by Barnes’s apologetic, subservient response, leaving Berke relieved. Berke’s violence transgressed the boundaries of doctor/patient relationships, highlighting three issues. First, the fragile nature of identity, as Berke slipped from abusive partner to doctor in a split second. Second, whilst Berke and his contemporaries believed they were equal to the residents, they were blind to the power culturally invested in them through medicine. Third, whilst Berke attempted to impose his own timespace on Barnes (he had an appointment to keep), she resisted and in a sense this could be construed as a victory for her timespace (the incident made him miss the appointment). Barnes reduces Berke’s authoritative position by resisting both his medical identity and the power inherent in it. Applying this example to Bakhtin’s carnival, we can see that hierarchical structure is suspended as social barriers are inverted and undermined. The carnival is a place that has the potential to work out ‘a new mode of interrelationship between individuals’ (Bakhtin, 1984b, p.123). This was certainly true for those in Kingsley Hall, where different relationships between doctors and patients were explored and certain barriers, such as formal address, were removed. The positioning of Barnes by both herself and others as a dominant voice in Kingsley Hall culminates in her becoming its star attraction. Her artwork is featured in the national papers, becoming the focus of a BBC documentary. She writes her story with Berke, becoming Laing’s only complete case study. Barnes achieves the notoriety and attention she craved as a child through her painting, and more memorably, as an iconic figure, a heroine of the anti-psychiatry movement. She becomes the star attraction within the psychiatric carnival of Kingsley Hall, just like the staged demonstrations of Charcot a century before. However, carnival time does not last for ever. It is limited, a bounded temporal space when people can throw off the social shackles and rail against authority. Once the carnival is over, the hierarchical structure returns, so that the carnival exists to simultaneously subvert and reinstate these social hierarchies. I Alison Torn is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Trinity University College firstname.lastname@example.org
ONE ON ONE
played with by Christoper Nolan in the film Inception.
…with Hugo Spiers Lecturer in the UCL Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences
One journal article or book that you think all psychologists should read Advice for a Young Investigator by Ramon y Cajal. One moment that changed the course of your career When I decided to switch to learning electrophysiology. I discovered on a Friday that next Monday was the deadline for grant application for a Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellowship. That was a hell of Friday phoning a lab head (Kate Jeffery) and generating ideas and doing costings. It worked out though. Several papers in the pipeline.
One thing that you would change about psychology I’d like to see fewer journals churning out poor-quality research. One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists Don’t ever get put off approaching senior scientists to ask them about their work or opinion.
One cultural recommendation Enter the Void by Gaspar Noe is an amazing film set in Tokyo, dealing with consciousness, death, memory and space. The camera work is very clever. I loved the shots moving in Euclidean lines through space of the city passing unobstructed through people’s bedrooms and intimate worlds. I did have to stop for a triple whisky half way through to recover from one scene. One alternative career path you might have chosen Film maker.
www.ucl.ac.uk/spierslab www.pattern-completion.net – ‘My work with artist Michaela Nettell and sound designer Tom Simmons to create an installation exploring ways in which networks of brain cells recall memories.’
Articles on mirror writing, sexual health education, postnatal depression, an interview with Bruce Hood, and much more... I Send your comments about The Psychologist to the editor, Dr Jon Sutton, on email@example.com, +44 116 252 9573 or to the Leicester office address I To advertise Display: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)20 7880 6244 Jobs and www.psychapp.co.uk: email@example.com, +44 (0)20 7880 7556
One reason I got interested in working with artists I met artist Michaela Nettell (@MichaelaNettell) when she approached UCL Neurology for a scientist to collaborate on
Hugo Spiers firstname.lastname@example.org
One amazing thing about the hippocampus During sleep it can replay its internally mapped journeys through space at 20 times faster than reality: a fact
One celebrity I have MRI scanned Can I be greedy and have two? I’ve scanned Will Self and Karl Pilkington. Will Self we put through our challenging Soho experiment – featured on Channel 4’s Hidden Talent. I was interested to see if Will Self’s detailed thinking about space would emerge in the data. We will release a short film about it at the end of the year. Karl Pilkington I scanned as a favour for his book Karlology. Both were
fascinating to chat to about their personal untested theories about the brain.
One challenge you think psychology faces Keeping up with and
integrating the latest technical advances.
One person who inspired you Steven Rose gave a wonderful lecture on neuroscience at the Edinburgh Science Festival when I was a child. It tipped me towards choosing my field.
One problem that psychology should deal with We need to get people from a greater diversity of backgrounds into psychology. According to research by the Sutton Trust (2010) only 16 per cent of children from deprived backgrounds go on to study at university (compared with 96 per cent of students from independent schools).
a project. Since that initial contact I’ve gone on to have two installations funded by the Wellcome Trust and invited to help act as scientific adviser on a play (Reykjavik).
Think you can do better? Want to see your area of psychology represented more? See the inside front cover for how you can contribute and reach 50,000 colleagues into the bargain, or just e-mail your suggestions to email@example.com
vol 25 no 9
CPD Courses in Paediatric Neuropsychology The UCL clinical paediatric neuropsychology training programme is now in its 6th year and has developed by drawing upon the wealth of neuroscientiﬁc and paediatric expertise within a range of UCL institutions and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. The clinical degree programme is the only BPS professionally accredited programme of its kind. Due to signiﬁcant demand we are now opening up a greater number of the degree modules to external delegates as short 5 day CPD/Taster courses as follows: Introduction to Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Professional Issues for Paediatric Neuropsychologists Development of Sensory, Motor and Cognitive Neural Systems Developmental Disorders and Neuropsychological Proﬁles
Infant and Neurodevelopmental Assessment Assessment of Neuropsychological Disorders and their Functional Implications Developing Clinical Formulations and Interventions Advanced Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Programme Director: Dr. Peter Rankin
For Further Information: visit www.ucl.ac.uk/neuropsych or contact Amanda Kosinski, Telephone +44 (0)20 7905 2119 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The British Psychological Society’s free Research Digest Blog, email, Twitter and Facebook
www.researchdigest.org.uk/blog ‘Easy to access and free, and a mine of useful information for my work: what more could I want? I only wish I’d found this years ago!’ Dr Jennifer Wild, Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry ‘The selection of papers suits my eclectic mind perfectly, and the quality and clarity of the synopses is uniformly excellent.’ Professor Guy Claxton, University of Bristol
SGCP Annual Conference 2012 6-7 December 2012, Lakeside Centre, Aston University, Birmingham
Putting coaching psychology into practice: An evidence based approach SGCP is delighted to invite you to its annual conference. This event is perfectly suited to Coaching psychologists, psychologists who coach, and coaches who apply psychology eager to hear the latest evidence coming from the field of coaching psychology. The conference workshops and presentations will be covering four themes: Academic research, practitioner experience, self knowledge and reflection, and the coaching context and environment.
Stay relevant! Attend the Coaching Psychology Conference! Confirmed Speakers so far: Professor Jack Whitehead, Professor Stephen Palmer, Dr Tatiana Bachkirova, Dr Vicki Vandaveer, Jennifer Liston-Smith & Dr Catherine Steele Poster submission deadline 15th October. Visit the website for submission information. Each attendee will receive an attendance certificate for their CPD Logbooks.
Registration now open!
â€˜big pictureâ€™ pull-out www.thepsychologist.org.uk
At the Meredith Lab (www.rhisearch.com) part of the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research in the Netherlands, Rhiannon Meredith
and colleagues are studying how synaptic transmission and plasticity changes during key periods of brain development. One recent study (see
Image ‘Layers of the mind’ by Rhiannon Meredith. Does your work lend itself to a striking visual image? Get in touch on email@example.com.
The art of neuroscience
tinyurl.com/cmub99h) was driven by the theory that in the brains of people with autism there are more interconnected short-range networks and weaker or fewer connections between networks spread across the brain. ‘We decided to test this directly at the synaptic connections between neurons in “living” brain tissue,’ Meredith tells us. ‘I have a colony of mice with the same genetic impairment as people with fragile X syndrome, a disorder characterised in humans by intellectual disability, cognitive
impairments and also autistic spectrum disorder in around one third of diagnoses.’ Example clusters of recorded neurons are shown in the composite image, filled with a chemical marker and stained. ‘Our findings confirmed the theory proposed by human data that there is hyperconnectivity at short-range connections in medial prefrontal cortex in this genetic mouse model for fragile X syndrome. Further research suggested this was limited to early developmental stages, but we predict that such
neuropathological abnormalities could re-occur again in the adult.’ The image received an ‘Honorable mention’ in the 2012 Art of Neuroscience competition, organised by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. ‘It’s an opportunity to highlight the work we’re doing to an audience that may not be aware of what links can be made between human disorders and genetic mouse models,’ says Meredith. ‘In this case, it highlights what we see as the beauty of the intricate structures from which we record neuronal activity patterns.’
Psychological science observatory Event Organiser: Rob Jenkins Thursday 6 September, 2012 time: 16:00 Time of Event: Start time: 10:00 - End y do some people become Joseph Lister Award Lecture â€“ Wh Essi Viding Thursday 6 September, 2012 time: 13:00 Time of Event: Start time: 12:00 - End
and the mind In the blink of an eye â€“ Attention Organisation: Lancaster University Event organiser: Padraic Monaghan Thursday 6 September, 2012 time: 15:00 Time of Event: Start time: 13:00 - End sciousness Who are you? The psychology of con Psychology Section/MRC CBU Organisation: British Science Association Event organiser: Dr Tom Manly Friday 7 September, 2012 time: 12:00 Time of Event: Start time: 10:00 - End Psychology Section Reception Friday 7 September, 2012 time: 17:30 Time of Event: Start time: 16:30 - End nce of attraction Dating, mating and relating: the scie Organisation: University of Aberdeen Event organiser: Dr Lisa DeBruine Friday 7 September, 2012 time: 20:00 Time of Event: Start time: 18:00 - End Animal mind, human mind s Organisation: University of St Andrew iten Wh rew And or fess Event organiser: Pro 2 201 Saturday 8 September, time: 15:00 Time of Event: Start time: 13:00 - End
vol 25 no 9
Published on Aug 29, 2012
This is a preview of the September issue of The Psychologist, published by the British Psychological Society. The whole issue will be availa...