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psychologist vol 27 no 3
Voices of the vulnerable Broadcaster, journalist and psychology student Sian Williams reports from the frontline on the responsibilities of broadcasters towards those they interview
Incorporating Psychologist Appointments ÂŁ5 or free to members of The British Psychological Society
letters 138 news 150 careers 194 looking back 210
humanitarian work psychology 160 autism spectrum disorder and ADHD 164 secular ecstasies 168 interview with Henrik Ehrsson 176
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Humanitarian work psychology Stuart C. Carr and Malcolm MacLachlan present a manifesto for tackling global inequalities at work
The times they are a-changin’ Angelica Ronald looks at autism and ADHD
New voices: Is it time for ‘active’ procrastination? 180 Anna Abramowski argues that it is not all bad
© Copyright for all published material is held by The British Psychological Society, unless specifically stated otherwise. Authors, illustrators and photographers may use their own material elsewhere after publication without permission. The Society asks that the following note be included in any such use: ‘First published in The Psychologist, vol. no. and date. Published by The British Psychological Society – see www.thepsychologist.org.uk.’ As the Society is a party to the Copyright Licensing Agency agreement, articles in The Psychologist may be photocopied by licensed institutional libraries for academic/teaching purposes. No permission is required. Permission is required and a reasonable fee charged for commercial use of articles by a third party: please apply in writing. The publishers have endeavoured to trace the copyright holders of all illustrations. If we have unwittingly infringed copyright, we will be pleased, on being satisfied as to the owner’s title, to pay an appropriate fee.
Secular ecstasies 168 Ray McBride investigates the phenomenon and what it could mean for mainstream psychology
February 2014 issue 48,084 dispatched
Cover Sian Williams reporting from Pakistan after earthquake in October 2005 (BBC Photo Library)
Voices of the vulnerable Broadcaster, journalist and psychology student Sian Williams reports from the frontline on the responsibilities of broadcasters towards those they interview
news 150 which scientific ideas are ready for retirement?; APA interrogation decision; the ‘next big thing’ in psychology; HM’s brain; and more society 184 President’s column; Lifetime Achievement; coaching psychology; specialist registers; and more
The Psychologist is the monthly publication of The British Psychological Society. It provides a forum for communication, discussion and controversy among all members of the Society, and aims to fulfil the main object of the Royal Charter, ‘to promote the advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied’.
Managing Editor Jon Sutton Assistant Editor Peter Dillon-Hooper Production Mike Thompson
Staff journalist / Research Digest Christian Jarrett Editorial Assistant Debbie Gordon Occupational Digest Alex Fradera
Associate Editors Articles Michael Burnett, Paul Curran, Harriet Gross, Marc Jones, Rebecca Knibb, Charlie Lewis, Wendy Morgan, Paul Redford, Mark Wetherell, Jill Wilkinson Conferences Alana James History of Psychology Nathalie Chernoff Interviews Gail Kinman, Mark Sergeant Viewpoints Catherine Loveday International panel Vaughan Bell, Uta Frith, Alex Haslam, Elizabeth Loftus
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psychologist vol 27 no 3
the issue ...debates letters 138 the hidden mental pain of men; mental health action plan and IAPT; Julian Rotter; social justice; population pressures; parental alienation; and more
...digests stereotype threat; how happiness changes your personality; and tickling, in the latest from our free Research Digest (see www.researchdigest.org.uk/blog)
...meets interview cognitive neuroscientist Henrik Ehrsson talks to Jon Sutton about the bizarre body illusions he studies and creates
careers 194 we talk to Claire Halsey, Chartered Psychologist, author and broadcaster, about camels, writing and more; Edward Howard tells us about his journey to becoming an assistant psychologist; and Mike Bender on self-publishing one on one with Shira Elqayam, Reader in Cognitive Science and Research Lead for Psychology at De Montfort University
...reviews the usual mix of books and other media reviews, including National Geographic, Inside the Animal Mind; the untold story of Milgram’s shock experiments; Yorkshire Sculpture Park; and a review and special interview with Martyn Ware (pictured) about his ‘3D audioscape and memory’ performance at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 202
I must admit to being something of a fan of Sian Williams, the author of this month’s cover feature. The former BBC broadcaster and journalist has always struck me as a skilful and sensitive interviewer, whether on the BBC Breakfast sofa or out in the field. Williams is now a psychology student to boot, and this month she considers how the media can ‘mine for precious metal’ while also recognising their responsibilities when it comes to vulnerable individuals. When the goal is to open ‘the sluice gates of damned up hurts and dreams’, what is the role of informed consent, and ensuring the interviewee is treated as a person rather than a diagnosis? Also heavily featuring the media in its various forms, across seven pages this month (see p.202), is our ‘Reviews’ section. Have you found this engaging and informative since its expansion in January 2013? Personally, what I like most is that it shows anyone can write for us, and it needn’t take ages: I can seek a reviewer via Twitter (@psychmag) and a few hours later we have a first-time contributor. Now that’s what I call mining for precious metal. Dr Jon Sutton Managing Editor
...looks back Out from the shadows to mark St Patrick’s Day, Tadhg MacIntyre, Aidan Moran and Mark Campbell shed light on the origins of psychology in Ireland
The Psychologist and Digest Editorial Advisory Committee Chair (vacant), Phil Banyard, Nik Chmiel, Olivia Craig, Helen Galliard, Rowena Hill, Jeremy Horwood, Catherine Loveday, Peter Martin, Victoria Mason, Stephen McGlynn, Tony Wainwright, Peter Wright, and Associate Editors
13 years ago Go to www.thepsychologist.org.uk for our archive, including Robert Plomin’s ‘Genetics and behaviour’ target article with peer commentaries (March 2001)
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Big picture centre-page pull-out art in the asylum: a William Kurelek painting, with words from Chartered Psychologist and exhbition curator Victoria Tischler
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Queens under threat from Kings An analysis of girls’ performances in 12 US school chess tournaments has found they tend to underperform when playing against boys. The researchers Hank Rothgerber and Katie Wolsiefer believe this is the first real-life demonstration in children of a phenomenon known as ‘stereotype threat’. This is when a person fears their performance will be used to bolster stereotypes about their social group. This fear then undermines their performance. Most examples of stereotype threat have been demonstrated in social psychology labs. This has led to concerns that the phenomenon may not be so relevant in real life, especially since some studies of real exam grades have failed to reveal any evidence of the effect. Rothgerber and Wolsiefer first surveyed 77 female school chess players and found they were familiar with the stereotype that men are better at chess than women (a stereotype reflected in the fact that there is only one woman, Judit Polgár, in the world's top 100 chess players). Next, the researchers analysed the outcomes of chess matches played by 219 girls (aged 5 to 15) in 12 tournaments rated by the United States Chess Federation. These official tournaments provide a pre-rating for each player based on their past performances, and a post-rating adjusted in line with their tournament performance. For comparison, the outcomes of tournament matches played by 195 boys were analysed. The girls lost more often to boys than they should have done given their and their opponents’ prior skill ratings. Overall, they performed at 83 per cent of their expected success rate when playing boys. ‘Evidence of stereotype threat among young children, then, cannot be dismissed merely as an artefact of, or limited to experimental paradigms’, the researchers said. Girls particularly underperformed (relative to their skill rating) when playing a male opponent with a higher rating than them (in this case they performed at 56 per cent of what was expected of them, on average); and when playing an older boy (managing an average of 73 per cent of their expected success). Younger girls were more susceptible than older girls to underperformance against boys. In contrast, there was no evidence of underperformance among the boys; in fact they often exceeded expectations. ‘This reinforces our interpretation that there is something specific to the interaction between In Group Processes and Intergroup Relations female and male competitors that produced these performance deficits in females,’ said Rothgerber and Wolsiefer. The researchers’ interpretation was supported by their further analysis of the girls’ participation in future tournaments. Those who underperformed more against boys in the initial analysis tended to participate in fewer future tournaments during the ensuing year, consistent with the idea that stereotype threat can encourage people to disengage from an activity when they feel threatened. This argument is made stronger by the fact that for the most part, males who did worse when playing other males did not disengage from chess any more than males whose performance exceeded expectations. Rothgerber and Wolsiefer said their results suggest interventions to combat stereotype threat are needed at an early age. In the context of girls playing chess, they said possible remedies include providing female role models and reframing the game as a problem-solving activity. ‘Whatever the method of intervention, the findings indicate that for females to fully experience the cognitive and emotional benefits of chess, the earlier the intervention, the better’, they concluded.
How being happy changes your personality In the Journal of Personality Outgoing, conscientious, friendly people who are open to new experiences tend to be happier than those who are more shy, unadventurous, neurotic and unfriendly. It's easy to imagine why this might be so. Barely studied before now, however, is the possibility that being happy could also alter your future personality. Christopher Soto has conducted the first thorough study of this question. He analysed personality and wellbeing results for 16,367 Australians surveyed repeatedly between 2005 and 2009. He was curious to see whether personality measures at the study start were associated with particular patterns of wellbeing later on, and vice versa. Soto replicated past findings for the influence of personality on well-being. But more exciting is that he found higher well-being at the study start was associated with various changes to personality. Happy people tended to become more agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable and introverted over time. This last finding – higher well-being leading to more introversion – was opposite to what was expected, given that higher extraversion usually leads to future happiness. Soto isn’t sure of the reason happier people appear to become more introverted, but he speculated it may be because they no longer need to seek out new relationships. Looking at the size of the
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You can’t tickle yourself, even if you swap bodies In Consciousness and Cognition relationships between wellbeing and personality and vice versa over time, Soto said that both were pervasive and important but the influence of personality on well-being was ‘somewhat stronger’. In both cases, the associations were modest, but Soto said we shouldn’t assume they are unimportant. Any observed links are likely to be underestimates and will accumulate over time. ‘Even small changes to an individual's personality traits or subjective well-being can have important consequences for the course of his or her life’, Soto said. The study has some limitations – it relied on participants’ reports of their own personality and well-being (this included measures of life satisfaction; positive and negative affect). Despite the longitudinal design, it’s also possible that unknown factors played a causal role, and that the mutual links between personality and well-being are correlational rather than causal. Assuming that wellbeing really does cause changes in personality, future research is needed to explore what the underlying mechanisms might be. ‘These findings challenge the common assumption that associations of personality traits with subjective well-being are entirely, or almost entirely, due to trait influences on wellbeing’ said Soto. ‘They support the alternative hypothesis that personality traits and wellbeing aspects reciprocally influence each other over time.’
A popular, long-standing theory to explain the simple fact that we can't tickle ourselves is that it results from the way the brain cancels out sensations caused by its own movements. To do this, the theory states, the brain uses the motor command underlying a given action to make a prediction of the likely sensory consequences of that action. When incoming sensory information matches the prediction, it’s recognised as self-generated and cancelled. If this explanation is true, then any situations that confuse the brain’s ability to predict the sensory consequences of its own actions should scupper the sensory cancellation process, thereby making self-tickling a possibility. George Van Doorn and his colleagues put this principle to the test. They measured the potential for selftickling in 23 participants who underwent a body-swap illusion. The experimental setup involved each participant sitting opposite the experimenter. The participant wore a pair of goggles that displayed a video feed from a camera that was either placed forward-facing on the participant's own head or forward-facing on the experimenter's head, the latter giving a view from the experimenter's perspective and provoking a body-swap illusion. During both of these camera arrangements, the participant and experimenter each held one end of a wooden rod with foam at each end. The participant either moved the rod with their right hand, causing the foam to rub against their own left palm
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(potentially causing selftickling), and the experimenter’s left palm. Or, the experimenter moved the rod, causing the foam to rub against’s participant’s left palm (i.e. potential for tickling by another person) and his own left palm. During the body-swap illusion, the participants said they felt the sensation of the foam, not where their real hand was, but at the position of the experimenter’s hand. Given the illusion, they perceived this to be their own hand, even though it looked like someone else’s. Crucially, even in this strange situation, participants were still unable to tickle themselves if they were the ones moving the rod (they felt the foam, but it didn’t tickle). They felt much more of tickling sensation when it was the experimenter moving the rod. The classic theory for why we can’t tickle ourselves is unable to explain why tickling is still not possible in such
contexts when the brain’s ability to predict the sensory outcomes of its actions is thrown into disarray. Moreover, self-tickling was still not experienced even in variations of the experimental setup, in which the body-swap illusion was combined with the ‘rubber hand illusion’ and the movement of the foam was felt in a baseball bat viewed from the experimenter’s perspective! Van Doorn and colleagues said their findings are consistent with an alternative neuroscience theory that’s gaining currency. This ‘active inference’ theory states that self-generated movements cause non-specific suppression of sensory input, regardless of the accuracy of predictions of the consequences of the movements. The researchers concluded: ‘We asked “can you tickle yourself if you swap bodies with someone else?” The short answer is “no”.’ I For more on body illusions, see p.176
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
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Voices of the vulnerable Broadcaster, journalist and psychology student Sian Williams reports from the frontline on the responsibilities of broadcasters towards those they interview
Evans-Lacko, S. et al. (2012). Mass social contact interventions and their effect on mental health-related stigma and intended discrimination. BMC Public Health, 12, 489. Holstein, J.A. & Gubrium, J.F. (2004). The active interview. In D. Silverman (Ed.) Qualitative research (2nd edn, pp143–161). London: Sage Oakley, A. (1993). Essays on women, medicine and health. Edinburgh:
uncomfortable it felt. So, the interview was broadcast, won plaudits and was listed among the best ever broadcast interviews by the Radio Times. Less than a year later PC David Rathband killed himself.
Opening the ‘sluice gates’
The brilliant US broadcaster Studs Terkel says the job of a radio interviewer is to mine for the ‘precious metal’ in an individual, and that questioning should take the form of a casual conversation, but one in which ‘in time, the sluice gates of damned up hurts and dreams (are) open’. The motive is to provide an entertaining, informative broadcast, revealing the life experience ‘He wanted to talk about what had happened to him, to raise of others, so the awareness and funds for a charity he’d set up for other injured audience can better officers, called the Blue Lamp Foundation’ understand what lies behind those ‘hurts and dreams’. enough to give informed consent. What But the mining process sometimes constitutes ‘informed consent’ in the context of someone who has experienced severe trauma, or who has a complex mental health problem, is not, I’d argue, a question asked by every news journalist, Edinburgh University Press. who are sent out to report on a breaking Skehan, J. et al. (2006). Reach, awareness story and quickly gather the thoughts of and uptake of media guidelines for those involved. reporting suicide and mental illness: An Australian perspective. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 8, 4. Teplin, L. et al. (2005). Crime victimisation in adults with severe mental illness. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 911–921.
Interviewing objectives In nearly 30 years at the BBC, I’ve interviewed many people at violent or traumatic events, from the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, to the Paddington rail
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hree years ago I interviewed PC David Rathband, who as an unarmed policeman sitting in his car had been shot and wounded by the gunman Raoul Moat. He was blinded permanently by the attack and some of the shotgun pellets were still embedded in his face. He wanted to talk about what had happened to him, to raise awareness and funds for a charity he’d set up for other injured officers, called the Blue Lamp Foundation. He was in training for the London Marathon and doing endless runs tethered to a sighted police colleague; but when he ran, he did so in darkness and he loathed it. Raoul Moat, David said, was constantly on his shoulder, no matter how far he went and how hard he pushed himself. During the hour-long interview, David talked about his visions and nightmares. How the picture inside his head was relentlessly dark and ugly. How he felt less of a father and husband because he could do nothing for himself. How his police uniform was hanging in his wardrobe, yet he didn’t know how and when he could put it on again. It was an emotional interview, David cried and often reached for my hand. He couldn’t see my producer and he wasn’t aware of the microphone, all he could hear was my voice. I asked whether he was comfortable that such an intimate and personal conversation was going to be edited to less than a quarter of its length, and broadcast on Radio 4 to more than two million people. He said yes, he wanted his story heard, however
leads journalists like me, to ask questions of our role and responsibilities in interviewing those who are defined, in 2011 guidelines published by Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, as ‘vulnerable people…those with learning difficulties… mental health problems…the bereaved… people who have been traumatized or who are sick or terminally ill’. Both Ofcom and current BBC editorial guidelines stress the importance of providing ‘a voice to people confronting complex challenges’. They warn against using discriminatory language and urge careful reporting of suicide. However, much of the news media tends to focus on whether the contributor is well
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psychologist contacted the team In 1954 Gordon Allport suggested crash, to the Asian tsunami and the afterwards to say that removing the item four factors to help reduce prejudice: Pakistan earthquake. My role involves without warning had caused him distress. equal status, common goals, intergroup getting something on-air fast, and that Those with a mental health problem cooperation and support of authorities. often entails talking to people who are may also believe themselves to be of A recent meta-analysis (Evans-Lacko et still in shock. In longer, recorded lower status, may worry about being al., 2012) showed that if there is social interviews in a studio context, there is judged and could struggle to perform well contact that meets all of Allport's more time to discuss what to ask and how in an interview context. Their story could conditions, it could help reduce stigma to ask it with the editorial team. There’s and discrimination. also the chance to conduct relevant Knowing or meeting research. However, the objective is the someone with a mental same – to get an interview that will “What constitutes ‘informed illness is a powerful way make the audience think. consent’ in the context of someone to improve attitudes In semi-structured interviews who has experienced severe trauma, and behaviours. conducted in a psychological setting, or who has a complex mental health In Australia charities researchers collect information and problem, is not, I’d argue, a question and organisations that interviewees are often seen as ‘passive asked by every news journalist” promote mental health are vessels of answers…repositories of using the ‘social contact’ facts, reflections, opinions’ (Holstein findings to try to bring & Gubrium, 1997). The power in the about attitudinal change dyad in a broadcast interview, as in I Sian Williams is in the final year of an MSc in Psychology and towards people with mental a psychological one, is with the person is a trained Trauma Risk Management assessor health problems, through the asking the questions, but the media. Journalists and journalist is often not trained to talk be reshaped or their contribution dropped broadcasters have been invited to meet to those who are vulnerable and is rarely altogether, potentially affecting how they psychiatrists and people with mental covered by a professional ethics code. see themselves. health problems, with accompanying Also the giving of help is not the purpose educational programmes and joint team of the interview. As Oakley (1993) projects. Research and subsequent remarked: ‘What is good for the guidelines on suicide and mental illness interviewer is not necessarily good for The power and the story received national funding from June interviewees.’ The media typically use medicalised 2002, with briefings and the distribution Jack Douglas’s 1985 book Creative language, reducing an interviewee to of books, quick reference cards and CDInterviewing suggests using ‘strategies a condition or problem. Words like ROMs to media organisations. A study and tactics’, based on ‘friendly feelings ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘depressive’ can create into the effectiveness of this strategy and intimacy’, to optimise ‘cooperative, stereotypes and schemas, which, when found most respondents reported that mutual disclosure’. However, any activated and left unchecked, can create there had been organisational change in disclosure in, or before, a broadcast discrimination or prejudice. attitudes towards mental health, with interview is usually neither mutual nor When the charity, Mind, conducted ‘improved attitudes and confidence cooperative. The broadcaster’s objective a survey in 2000 into how people with among staff about reporting suicide and is not to offer advice, but to produce an mental health problems thought they mental illness and their improved informative, entertaining interview. False were viewed by society, half of the awareness of the key issues to consider’ intimacy may be encouraged by the respondents pointed to media coverage (Skehan et al., 2006). interviewer asking casual as well as as having a negative effect on their mental directed questions, disclosing just enough health. In their submission to the Leveson of themselves to gain trust, and thus Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and provide stimulating radio or television. Ethics of the Press, the Mind and Rethink Protecting the vulnerable The broadcast environment, familiar Mental Illness charities suggested that The value of giving the vulnerable to the interviewer yet unfamiliar to the prejudice develops because of the a voice is clear. It enables people who are interviewee, further strengthens the language used in the media, especially not normally heard on mainstream media, asymmetry. The control lies with the in print. People with mental health issues a chance to explain a lived experience, broadcaster; an interview can be cut from are sometimes described as a victim, or and challenge stereotype and stigma, if an hour to 10 minutes, with unpalatable dangerous, with descriptive words used done with careful attention to the issues or controversial aspects removed, to like ‘psycho’ or ‘crazed killer’. Mind calls and language. Personal and emotive ‘protect’ the interviewee from adverse this the creation of ‘the dangerousness testimony is a powerful way of engaging reactions from the listener, or to shield myth’, pointing to research suggesting an audience and encouraging them to the audience from unacceptable language someone with a mental health problem think differently. What broadcasters need or behaviour. If a taped interview is is actually more likely to be a victim than to be aware of, is how to use that power changed, drastically shortened, or a perpetrator of crime (e.g. Teplin, 2005). carefully. dropped altogether, this may heighten Even though studies highlight In the UK, there have been an already vulnerable person’s anxiety print media as being most responsible improvements in the way much of the through ‘confirmation bias’ – the human for creating the ‘dangerousness myth’, media covers mental health issues over tendency to focus on evidence that other media can perpetuate it. In a 2011 the past few years, with many sensitive supports existing beliefs. One broadcast survey for Mind, only a third of over documentaries and news articles. journalist told me of a recorded interview two thousand adults with a previous or Guidelines for broadcasters on reporting with someone recovering from a brain existing mental health problem said they mental health and suicide were published injury, which was removed from the thought the media as a whole portrayed in 2008 by the Department of Health in programme at the last minute. His clinical mental health in a sensitive way. the form of a media handbook called
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‘What’s the Story?’. It urged journalists to report fairly and accurately, to use quotes from people with mental health issues and to give out numbers of helplines like the Samaritans. The journalists’ union, the NUJ, has issued something similar. However, much more can be done. Broadcast organisations would do well to create their own training schemes and provide instant resources. Guidelines for news reporters and producers could emphasise the importance of the use of language in mental health issues, including suggestions on how to help the participant create and shape the interview and information on the potential pitfalls, arising from the editing process. Recently, the BBC agreed to make a video for its training website, highlighting the most common errors. I’d urge media companies to do similar and go further. Increased education and scientific literacy, with training in mental health matters and instant access to the tools and resources needed to understand problems and conditions, can reduce stigma, as the Australian model shows. The interviewer could discuss the structure and tone of the conversation with the interviewee before the recording, to clarify how best to allow them to tell their experience. Transparency is vital if the interviewee is to feel comfortable and represent themselves as effectively as possible. During the research process, broadcasters could speak to charities that represent those considered vulnerable; to make sure the right language is used. In its 2013 guidelines for documentary producers, Mind suggests meeting mental health groups, listening to different voices and reading blogs by those with mental health problems. Mind also recommends giving the contributor clear ideas of question areas, reminding them they can withdraw at any time, telling them honestly about the editing process, and, if their contribution is dropped, explaining why. Even if guidance has been given, training taken and all ethical practises considered, there’s another vulnerable voice that many journalists need to consider and protect – their own. Sometimes, news crew run to a story with a tape recorder or camera, but are ill prepared for what they experience when they arrive. Whether it’s a war zone, disaster area or reporting from a court case with graphic and upsetting evidence,
Journalists’ checklist I Can the guest give informed consent and do they fully understand the interview process? I Is their support team aware of their contribution? I Have you contacted charities or organisations to get help and information about the issue under discussion? I Have you asked the guest what they would like or expect from the interview? I Have you reassured them about content, duration and publication date? I Have you ensured they are seen as a person, not a diagnosis? I Are you using the right language and terminology? I Should you provide a helpline number after the interview? I Have you considered your own mental health, and sought support if necessary?
the adrenalin and the pressure of a deadline kick in and any uncomfortable thoughts are pushed to the back of the mind to be dealt with later, if at all.
Vulnerability on both sides After a week reporting from Pakistan from the epicentre of the earthquake in 2005, I remember returning to a comfortable hotel in Islamabad, taking off my boots and frantically scrubbing them, again and again. Even when the detritus had gone, I kept washing them. When I returned home to the warmth of my family, images of devastation and decay, the cries of distress and the sickly smell of disease and death lingered. As always, news crew are witnesses to horrors others live through. We can leave, they can’t. The suffering of those left behind in such events is immeasurably worse than anything reporters can experience, so it feels self-indulgent to acknowledge any difficult emotions. Yet sometimes, you just can’t shake them off. Various research findings suggest that post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in reporters covering traumatic events range from around 6 per cent to 28 per cent, with war correspondents experiencing levels similar to combat veterans. Despite that, some news crew still believe it’s a sign of weakness to seek
help, that there’s a stigma attached to admitting distress. But that attitude may be changing. Broadcast organisations have begun to develop peer support trauma networks – I’m one of a team trained to assess colleagues who have returned from difficult and challenging environments. Other resources, like those offered by the DART Center for Journalism and Trauma (see www.dartcenter.org), provide guidance on how news crew can report on trauma responsibly, while also protecting their own mental health. The challenge is getting that awareness directly into newsrooms and embedding it into the culture. Journalists need to feel they have the skills and training to fairly represent those caught up in challenging events, or those who are experiencing mental health issues, while also feeling confident that they have the understanding and resilience to protect themselves. Perhaps there will always be a conflict between the needs of the broadcaster and those caught up in the news, but the media can be better prepared to make it a rewarding experience for both, and an enlightening and engaging one for the audience. I Sian will be speaking at the Society’s Annual Conference gala dinner, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham, on 8 May. To book, see www.bps.org.uk/ac2014
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Annual Conference 2014 The keynote speakers for the conference are: Professor Sir Simon Wessely best known for his work on unexplained symptoms, syndromes and military health
Ben Shephard a military and medical historian, author and documentary maker
Susan van Scoyoc a psychologist specialising in psychotherapy, has worked within the legal system for over a decade
Professor Marinus van IJzendoorn recipient of awards for his research on attachment and emotion regulation across the life-span
Professor John Aggleton uses anatomical, behavioural and clinical methods to understand how brain regions interact
Registration is open – earlybird rates are available until 27 March Our programme timetable is now available to download
7-9 May 2014 International Convention Centre, Birmingham
www.bps.org.uk/ac2014 ‘big picture’ pull-out www.thepsychologist.org.uk
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‘People have been ignoring the body for a long time’ Our editor Jon Sutton spoke to cognitive neuroscientist and ‘master of illusion’ Henrik Ehrsson at last year’s European Congress of Psychology in Stockholm
ou create and study body illusions, which seem to be the poor relation Y of visual illusions. There are entire conferences and prizes devoted to visual illusions, but you don’t really see the same thing with body illusions. No, they’ve been a bit forgotten. Vision has always been the model system for neuroscientists and psychologists to understand how the mind works, how the brain works. We know more about vision than any other system in the brain. It’s easier to study – it’s easy to present visual stimuli on a computer screen, the response properties of neurons can be categorised quite well, with controlled stimuli. Vision is of course very important, in a large part of the brain, so it has been the system that scientists have used when they want to understand awareness and perception. The body is more forgotten, it’s more complicated, there are more sources of information, from different sensory systems, different sensors, different receptors in the body. Of course the body has been studied in neurology, from a slightly different perspective, in terms of stroke rehabilitation, speech problems, things like that. A lot of clinicians are interested in the body, but more basic scientists and neuroscientists tend to work on vision.
funny things like if you grab your nose while you vibrate, your hand is still moving and your nose extends: the Pinocchio illusion. These are illusions described by physiologists in the 1970s, and we did a couple of experiments using that illusion to study the sense of limb movement. I thought it was really intriguing, fascinating, especially when you move into these more complex illusions. It seemed to me important to understand how the brain generates this model of your own body. And then I read about the rubber hand illusion, got my own prosthetic hand, tried it, it seemed to work. When I went to the UK for a
So how did you get started in this area? I did my PhD in motor control and then I got introduced to a fascinating body illusion that was more fun than my PhD project! It was tendon vibration: when you put a massager over the tendon and the muscle, the biceps for example, and you ask the person to close their eyes, if you Professor Henrik Ehrsson vibrate at the right frequency – about www.ehrssonlab.se 70Hz – you will start to feel that the arm is moving. Then it goes to an postdoc I was encouraged to work on impossible posture, the hand continues what I thought I wanted to work on: it’s down… it’s very fascinating, you can’t a great British tradition, that postdoc really believe what you’re feeling. You get
freedom! And then I did an experiment on the rubber hand illusion. I was particularly fascinated by the fact that it seemed to change the identity of your body, it was not just like the earlier illusions that I knew about where you sense a limb movement or an elongation, it’s about a change in ownership. The outof-body illusion is fascinating as well – people think they are in a different place from their actual body, and they treat their actual body like it is someone else. So this is more than a cheap magician’s trick, is it saying something quite fundamental about the self? Yes, and about human perception of the body and about the discrimination between self and non-self. I think about them as perception illusions rather than as a mind trick that a stage performer or illusionist would use. Those involve manipulating your attention, your expectations, things like that. We try to control for that by the design of the experiments, for example presenting the same rubber hand but slightly rotated, or just touching the rubber hand and real hand slightly out of sync. These are more sensory manipulations, rather than highlevel manipulations of expectation or attention, the things that magicians are very good at. It’s all so upfront, people can see that there’s a rubber hand, they know what’s coming, but that doesn’t stop the illusion. That’s what they say about perception illusions, they should be cognitively impregnable, you shouldn’t be able to think it away. Same as optical illusions. It’s clear you’ve moved the field away from the extent of the illusion to something that is more about the identity. From that you’ve come to a hypothesis about multisensory neurons, can you explain that? Well, I’m not a psychologist, I’m a former medical student and both my PhD and postdoc supervisors were neuroscientists thinking about brain areas and connections. So it’s natural for me to think about possible brain mechanisms, how it’s implemented in the brain. I was reading the multisensory literature and I thought I could think about the rubber hand illusion and sense of body ownership in a similar way. Maybe the feeling of ownership of a hand is the same thing as a multisensory integration mechanism, from a reductionist
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Ehrsson’s illusions The third hand: The rubber hand illusion was described in 1998 by Matthew Botvinick and Jonathan Cohen (see tinyurl.com/p52gnbq). It convinces people that a fake hand is their own by hiding their real hand under a table, placing a rubber one (or even an inflated rubber glove) in front of them, and stroking/tapping both in the same way at the same time (see tinyurl.com/32vmxsv and tinyurl.com/ycdelxe for it in action). Ehrsson extended this illusion so that a rubber right hand, placed beside the real hand in full view of the participant, was perceived as an extra limb belonging to the participant’s own body. This effect was supported by questionnaire data in conjunction with physiological evidence obtained from skin conductance responses when physically threatening either the rubber hand or the real one. Out of body: You wear goggles displaying the view from a camera pointing at your back. Your chest is tapped with one plastic rod while a second one prods at the camera, in sync. ‘You feel that you are being touched directly in the chest by the experimenter standing in front of you and that a “stranger” is sitting in front of you with their back towards you,’ says Ehrsson. ‘What is really happening – and you still know this – it that you are looking at your back through the googles and the experimenter is standing right behind you.’ Watch the illusion at tinyurl.com/oo5adma.
perspective. Maybe the binding together of all that visual, tactile and proprioception information is the same thing as the conscious experience that ‘this is my hand’. Other people have more complicated models, but I quite like simple models! It might be too simple, but it’s a good starting point. What do other neuroscientists and psychologists think of your work? It’s generally received well. It’s been cited. I’ve been invited to speak to neuroscientists and psychologists. I think it has gone down particularly well with psychologists actually. Excited about the applications, I guess? Yes, I’m very interested in applications, and there are a number of possible directions I can go. I’ve talked about neuroprosthetics, and there’s the possibility of investigating the psychotic brain. Perhaps some of the mechanisms we have studied are impaired in schizophrenics. The problem there is that there are so many cognitive functions that seem to be impaired, it might not only be the body, but they do seem to have a
Body swap (see photo: Ehrsson on left): Head-mounted displays are connected to cameras mounted on a mannequin’s head. The experimenter then uses a short rod to simultaneously stroke your stomach and the mannequin’s. You feel the movement on your own body while seeing the same movement on the artificial stomach. This can lead to the sense of the touch of the rod on your stomach, but more importantly that the mannequin’s body is your own body. Watch it at tinyurl.com/oq7rns5.
disturbed sense of self. Then there’s also eating disorders and all those body image disorders, a lot could be done in clinical psychology in terms of a more hardcore experimental psychology approach. Very important clinical research is going on, but I think there’s also room for some more mechanistic and basic studies in that field. We know very little about the neuroscience of eating disorders and body image disorders. Do these illusions work on everyone? No, the rubber hand illusion works in about 70 per cent of individuals, the outof-body illusion over 80 per cent, the invisible hand around 70 per cent. We don’t know why some people are immune. I have two brothers, one experienced the rubber hand illusion vividly like I do, the other one just looks at it and says ‘what are you talking about?’ I’ve never participated in anything like this, but for some reason I would be surprised if they worked on me. Are the people who it doesn’t work with
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those who say right from the outset ‘it’s not going to work with me’? No, I don’t think so. So many people just don’t believe it. I had this orthopaedic surgeon at the arm prosthesis unit who thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard in his whole life, but then we saw his face, his eyes popped out, he couldn’t believe it! Of course we know in psychology that expectations and placebo can influence people’s reports, but we think that if your multisensory brain is wired up in a certain way you will experience it, whether you want it or not. And there are other indicators that they are experiencing it? Yes, how they will report the position of a hand, localised more towards the rubber hand; if you feel the illusion your skin conductance response will be elevated if I stab the rubber hand; and the stronger you feel the illusion, the stronger your brain activity in the multisensory areas; and the stronger that brain response, the more your pain matrix will light up if we stab the rubber hand. So there’s all this evidence which suggests that it’s there.
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So why are some people immune? Our explanation that we need to test would be that different brains put different weights on vision, touch and proprioception. It’s a conflict, there’s not really anything right or wrong – your vision and touch is contradicting your proprioception. It’s a conflict, and one side will win. Maybe in some brains proprioception is weighted higher, that information is more important, for whatever reason. Why do we have these individual differences? We don’t know, but one possibility would be that if you’re an athlete, or a guitarist, you’re very used to the position of your limbs in space, without looking, you might be better at proprioception and therefore less fooled. This is a testable hypothesis. I would expect academics to be more susceptible than dancers, for example. Of my two brothers, one is an academic like me, the other brother plays the guitar. I don’t know whether that’s why he isn’t fooled…
Being Barbie In this experiment, published with Björn van der Hoort (shown here with Ehrsson lying down), you can experience ownership of a tiny (30cm and 80cm) or a huge (400cm) body. Looking at the artificial body through a set of head-mounted-displays, you see the body from the perspective of the doll with 3-D vision. To induce the illusion of owning the artificial body, the experimenter strokes your body and the doll's body at the same place and at the same time. These synchronous strokes cause the your brain to interpret the felt touches as caused by the rod that you see touching the doll. This makes it seem as if the doll’s body is your body. Next, you see a cube and have to show the size of the cube with your hands. Having the illusion of owning a tiny body causes the world to appear gigantic, and owning a huge body makes the world appear smaller. Watch the illusion at tinyurl.com/hebarbie.
Do your experimental interests influence your personal interests? Yes, there is a link with some of the research we do and contemporary experimental art and performance. The technology used by some artists, when you’re experiencing something that is surreal… you don’t know why you like it, it just feels great to look at. Sometimes these illusions can give you similar, surrealistic experiences. I've been talking to some Swedish some way their own. You want to get the artists, based in the UK actually, called feeling that your body is actually there. Lundahl and Seitl, who have been doing It has to move away from feeling like an art installations that involve looking at advanced computer game. If you want to yourself from outside perspectives, or cure a phobia of spiders, it’s going to be being blindfolded and taken into dark more effective if you actually feel the rooms, listening to earphones that give virtual hand is your own. you instructions. Also, we were collaborating with Don’t mention spiders! So what’s next? a team of virtual-reality researchers in We’re interested in how the brain Europe, with Mel Slater, and we tried distinguishes between an internally to implement some of our illusions in generated signal and signals from the virtual reality. You can do more crazy world. How does the brain know what stuff that might be difficult to do in is a construct of your mind, your real reality! Even in virtual imagination, and what reality, people have been is real sensory data? ignoring the body for a long Now that we’ve shown “You can get these the brain can mix up time, it’s been all about illusion effects which different types of environments. How you model are part imagination external sensory data, the actual body could enhance and part real” and it can have a the experience you have. profound effect on your sense of body, we need to Give me an example. work at a higher cognitive level… do you So say you’re training firefighters, and you have a virtual fire, you’re going to get need to have ownership of your thoughts? more realistic sensations and reactions if We have shown that if you ask people to the sense of body ownership is such that imagine things, for example sound or the person feels the virtual body is in seeing a white flash on the screen, basic
things like that, those imagined stimuli can influence and merge with real stimuli and you can elicit some of the classic multisensory illusions if in one of the sensory modalities the real stimuli have been replaced with imagined stimuli. You can get these illusion effects which are part imagination and part real. So we’re looking not just at ownership of body, but are trying to understand more about ownership of thoughts. Do these effects happen quickly, and if so does this tell us anything about the brain? Around 10 seconds. So there’s still some time there for the brain to reconcile these differences… in brain terms that’s a long time! Of course we don’t know how far you can go with more prolonged exposures… things that we now think don’t work in the rubber hand illusion, like a block of wood for example, what would happen if we had someone exposed to that for days, weeks? How could long-term plasticity and training influence those basic constraints of what your body could look like?
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2014 CPD Workshops Professional development opportunities from your learned Society Psychosis in later life (DCP)
Developing effective, efficient, equitable, acceptable and accessible services for common mental health problems in the age of austerity (DCP / Community Section)
Get productive wheel: Using systemic thinking for supporting best performance, well-being and mental health (SGCP)
The Behaviour Change Wheel Guide to intervention development, evaluation and evidence synthesis (DHP) (Liverpool)
Cognitive analytic therapy in a forensic setting (DFP / DCP)
Cognitive assessments with children and young people in CAMHS and other non-specialist settings: Update your skills (DCP)
The practice of educational psychology in an increasingly diverse society (DCP)
Developing evidence-based approaches to practice in organisational psychology (DOP)
Advanced Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (DHP / DFP / QMiP)
Supervision skills training: Workshop 4 – Ongoing development – Supervision of supervision
Researching your psychology teaching practice: an action research approach (DARTP)
What's the story? Using metaphor and stories in therapy, counselling and coaching (DCP / SGCP)
Exploring terrorism and extremist behaviour (DCP / DFP)
Developing mental strength: Applying positive psychology in sport (DSEP)
Understanding childhood feeding disorders – Causes, diagnosis and interventions (DCP / DECP / Developmental)
Planning and implementing psychological treatment for eating disorders (DCoP / DHP / PoWS / Psychotherapy)
What do meditation and mindfulness have to offer to the 21st Century practitioner? (Transpersonal)
Running groups in schools-based on CBT principles
Leadership and commissioning and current drivers in service development (DCP)
Supporting maternal health and well-being in the perinatal period (DCP)
The creative spark: Fanning the innovative flame in everyone (DOP) (Bristol)
Solution Focused Therapy with children, families and schools (DCoP)
Complex Trauma, structural dissocation and the body (DCP)
Supervision skills training Workshop 2 – Enhancing supervision skills
Essential knowledge of psychometric measures and nueropsychology for practitioner psychologists
Leading culture change (DOP)
Supervision skills training Workshop 2 – Enhancing supervision skills
Ethical Trading: Guidelines and issues for EP Services offering traded services (DECP)
For more information on these CPD events and many more visit www.bps.org.uk/findcpd.
Follow us on Twitter: @BPSLearning #BPScpd
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A geography of the mind Think of National Geographic and you may think of stunning photography of exotic destinations. Perhaps psychology isn’t the first topic that springs to mind. But no location is as exotic and mysterious as the human mind itself, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find much of the February 2014 issue devoted to ‘the new science of the brain’. That striking presentation is to the fore, with pull-out posters featuring the work of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging – helmets dotted with sensors, colourful pathways of 100,000 miles of white matter fibres, dozens of pictures of Jennifer Aniston to illustrate that she has her very own neuron in the brain. It’s a welcome reminder that the subject matter of psychology can be nicely visual, a realisation that led me to introduce The Psychologist’s own ‘Big picture’ format. Indeed, the very first contribution to ‘Big picture’, in January 2011, was from social psychologist Steve Reicher (St Andrews). His work with Nick Hopkins (Dundee) and colleagues such as Clifford Stevenson, Sammyh Khan and a team from Allahabad University led by Narayanan Srinivasan gets the suitably beautiful and expansive treatment here too. Aerial photos illustrate how a temporary mega-city springs up on the banks of the Ganges to accommodate the millions of pilgrims flocking to the Kumbh Mela holy festival. The accompanying article, from the excellent science writer Laura Spinney, talks to Reicher and other psychologists such as Mark Levine in order to understand shared identity in crowds. Another of my science writing heroes, Carl Zimmer, tackles ‘secrets of the brain’: The New Science of the Brain how ‘new technologies are shedding light National Geographic on biology’s greatest unsolved mystery’. Talking to Van Weeden at the Martinos Center, Zimmer is astonished by the grid structure of the brain revealed at high levels of magnification of the pathways. ‘It’s possible that our thoughts run like streetcars along these white matter tracks as signals travel from one region of the brain to another.’ Zimmer does a great job of illustrating the scale of the task facing scientists mapping the brain: virtually re-creating a portion of mouse brain the size of a grain of salt led to a hundred terabytes of data, ‘the amount of data in about 25,000 high definition movies’. Zimmer’s ‘cross-country reporting to chronicle one of the great scientific revolutions of our times’ also illuminates new techniques such as ‘Clarity’: rendering sections of brain transparent in order to ‘untangle the Gordian knot of neural circuits one by one’. ‘It’s pretty badass’, Zimmer hears. Looking to the future, Zimmer says that a paraplegic wearing a brain–machine interface exoskeleton is set to deliver the opening kick at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Its inventor, Duke University’s Miguel Nicolelis, believes that ‘eventually brain implants will become as common as heart implants’. The issue also contains a lavishly illustrated ‘personal geography’ from American author, humorist and radio personality Garrison Keillor. Perhaps the whole issue is best viewed as a reminder that geography can be personal and psychological, and I will certainly be dipping into National Geographic again. I Reviewed by Jon Sutton who is Managing Editor of The Psychologist
Of human bonding Human Bonding: The Science of Affectional Ties Cindy Hazan & Mary I. Campa (Eds.) Cindy Hazan’s name might already be familiar to many. A major name in the field of social psychology, it was Hazan (and her co-author Philip Shaver) who wrote the article ‘Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process’ in 1987, suggesting for the first time that the concepts of attachment theory could be applied not only to infants and their caregivers, but also to the adult world of romantic relationships. For the past 25 years, Hazan has continued to focus her research on the fields of human mating and relationships, and to develop and teach a ‘Human Bonding’ course at Cornell University in the US. This book represents the first time that all of the broad topics from that course and Hazan’s groundbreaking work are compiled and explained in one volume; an anthology of research into attachment and relationships. The book is separated into four main sections. The first section explains the foundations of attachment theory and infant development. The second expands this to adulthood, and focuses on couple relationships, or ‘pair bonds’. The third section focuses on current and future developments in the world of human relationships, including the effects of the internet. And the fourth and final section looks at the impact of relationships on a person’s psychological and physical health, and what tends to constitute a healthy and successful relationship. As a systemic marriage and family therapist myself, I focus on relational and social issues with my clients, and attachment theory is at the heart of this work. As a result, I was already familiar with most of this material. Indeed, anyone who has read Dr John Gottman’s Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, Dr Sue Johnson’s work on emotionally focused therapy, or Helen Fisher’s recent research into ‘the science of love’ will recognise a lot of what is written here. However, for students who are new to the topic, or anyone looking for a good summary of all current attachment theory literature, this is a great resource. I Guilford; 2013; Hb £43.99 Reviewed by Stefan Walters who is a systemic marriage and family therapist
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Psychology and authority Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments Gina Perry Gina Perry has given us a compelling, thought-provoking account of her own relationship to the Milgram experiments. Taking in interviews with Milgram’s colleagues, several participants in the obedience studies as well as their relatives and a thorough analysis of Milgram’s private papers, the work is profoundly unsettling. Though Perry has written unashamedly from a firstperson perspective, she provides an excellent reminder of the periodic and disciplinary context within which Milgram conducted his work. Deception was then commonplace – indeed widespread – and debriefing for participants was far from the standards employed today. Indeed one of the ‘shocks’ in this book is discovering that many of Milgram’s participants left the laboratory still unaware that they had been involved in an elaborate hoax. The full debrief didn’t come until much later. Despite situating Milgram’s work (and its ethics) in historical context, Perry is very harsh on him. I found her attempts to exonerate Milgram’s would-be torturers, whilst pronouncing
him guilty of effectively promoting torture, as inconsistent and disturbing. Perry is of course right that numerous personal pathways led people to flick the switches on the shock machine. But if truth be told this is also the case for the Eichmanns, Stangls and concentration camp guards of this world. Milgram elected, rightly in my view, to concentrate on what people did. This, as Christian Bale’s Batman figure remarked, is what defines us. If we humanise and forgive Milgram’s participants – we must do the same for the perpetrators of all mass crimes. Perry cannot bring herself to consider this and studiously avoids any wider discussion of the political and historical implications of the obedience experiments. She challenges Milgram’s interpretation of his results by asserting that his participants often sought to do what they believed was good e.g. supporting scientific endeavour. In this she is no doubt right, but history is not short of examples whereby evil is enacted in the
name of good – in fact that is the usual case. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pol Pot, Mao, Milosevic, etc. all sincerely claimed that what they were doing was for the greater good. That must never be seen as a viable excuse. Perry’s work is at its strongest when she considers how participation would have affected those participants who were Jewish. This led me to think what the effects on black
and ethnic minority students must be of having mainstream psychological texts put before them continuously asserting the ‘truth’ of racial differences in intelligence – a topic which to my knowledge has never been researched. So Perry has put Milgram in the dock – but perhaps the profession should be there with him. We continue to ignore a multitude of questions about obedience – not least the obedience of the discipline to the mores of capitalism and militarism. Psychology’s contribution to the security state – the enhanced efficiency of torture and state-sanctioned killing, not to mention the profits of Big Pharma, leave Milgram’s sins trailing in their wake. Despite my misgivings about Perry’s views, she has provided an intensely human, readable and riveting account. Fifty years after the obedience experiments that is no mean feat. It is a must-read for all in the discipline. I Scribe; 2013; Hb £14.99 Reviewed by Ron Roberts who is at Kingston University
Talking about the experiences of daily life with chronic anxiety Woman’s Hour BBC Radio 4 Anxiety disorders do not get the attention they deserve – according to Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. A short segment of the programme aired on 28 January attempted to redress the balance by highlighting the reality of living with an anxiety disorder. Public attitudes towards depression have changed markedly in recent times. A veritable juggernaut of advocacy, publicity and high-profile sufferers has worked hard to bring the ‘black dog’ out into the public arena, and yet anxiety disorders have been slightly trampled under its wheels, not helped by under-diagnosis and public misperception of what crippling anxiety really ‘is’. On this programme, Claire, a long-time sufferer, talked about her experiences of daily life with chronic anxiety.
Professor David Clark, Chair of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and National Clinical Director for IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), offered professional insight into aetiology, prevalence, treatment options and relapse rates. Claire has suffered from anxiety since her teens, when the ‘normal’ feelings of teenage insecurity became something else altogether. She explained how troubling somatic and psychological symptoms build up over time and also how inadequate the terminology is in explaining severe anxiety to someone who has never felt it, in the same way that feeling ’sad’ has nothing to do with feeling depressed. Both speakers highlighted the fact that extreme anxiety is
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easier to mask than many other psychological disorders, whose marked change in functioning make them easier both to spot and diagnose. Whilst the programme was well intentioned, it missed the opportunity to really illustrate the true nature of the range of pathological anxiety disorders and the high personal and social burden they impose. As a result, presenter Jane Garvey – who was undoubtedly sympathetic – sounded, ultimately, unconvinced. You can listen to the programme at http://bbc.in/1dQfDNF I Reviewed by Nikki Newhouse who is a researcher with the Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford
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Peeking behind the sport psychology curtain Becoming a Sport Psychologist Paul McCarthy & Marc Jones (Eds.) Sport psychology is gaining increased currency in the world of sport and amongst the wider public. Alongside growing research interest into the psychological mechanisms underpinning elite sport, increasing numbers of professionals are now working with athletes and coaches to enhance and improve performance. Becoming a Sport Psychologist offers experienced and neophyte practitioners a unique insight into the pathways to practice taken by a range of sport psychologists representing the entire spectrum of the discipline. The editors rightly describe the routes to becoming a sport psychologist as ‘idiosyncratic’, and though their categorisation of contributions into six parts highlights areas of similarity amongst professionals’ stories the diversity within these stories shines through. Most of the challenges illustrated by experienced practitioners will resonate with neophytes, from difficulties gaining access to clients, to developing philosophies for practice; from navigating professional developmental pathways, to the importance of reflective practice. Given the experience of the contributors, the text will also provide practitioners a resource to continuously consult when new and unusual applied challenges present themselves. Each chapter of the text provides unique access to the thoughts and actions of wellknown sport psychologists, allowing us to peek behind the
Life After Brain Injury: Survivors’ Stories Barbara Wilson, Jill Winegardner & Fiona Ashworth This book gives a voice to brain injury sufferers, their friends and family, and the professionals who work with them through the rehabilitation process. From assessment to outcome we get to know 17 fascinating individuals. Each chapter presents not simply a case study but a lived account of brain injury and its impact on life. Accompanied by the therapists’ account, each ‘story’ gives insight into the meaning of brain injury rehabilitation. The book illustrates practical approaches used to help individuals achieve self-directed goals. The authors reflect on factors that may contribute to successful rehabilitation and demonstrate the need for holistic care packages for people with brain injury. From the standpoint of the importance of a therapeutic partnership and person-centred care, Wilson, Winegardner and Ashworth promote the idea that the individual is the expert of their experience – which is reflected in the format of giving personal accounts alongside those of the therapists. A captivating read, Life After Brain Injury: Survivors’ Stories would be of particular interest to clinicians and those who are dealing with a brain injury themselves. I found each story inspirational and believe that this book would bring great hope to other survivors.
curtain and learn about those whose contribution to research and applied literature guides and informs current practice. Such insight helps us better contextualise much of our own reading and applied work, with each chapter challenging us to better reflect on and understand our own practice. Paul McCarthy and Marc Jones as editors have provided a fantastic resource for current and future sport psychology practitioners. Their passion for the continued development of the profession is clear from the introduction and afterword, and yet it would have been of great interest to read about their own journeys. Perhaps that will feature in a future edition! I Routledge; 2014; Pb £24.99 Reviewed by Bryan McCann who is Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at Robert Gordon University, and a trainee sport and exercise psychologist
MORE REVIEWS ONLINE See www.thepsychologist.org.uk for this month’s web-only reviews
I Psychology Press; 2013; Pb £28.99 Reviewed by Grace Johnstone who is a Clinical Health Worker with Curocare in London
Sculpting black and white encounters Tom Price Solo Exhibition Yorkshire Sculpture Park Sculpture is not necessarily an art form you associate with the psychological. Mind and behaviour tends to require a more dynamic representative form, I would suggest. So pulling off the M1 near Wakefield I was expecting a wander in the 500 acres of parkland followed by a nice cake, rather than any insight into the psyche. Tom Price’s exhibition was a welcome surprise. Price, a British sculptor who lives and works in London, has noted that bronze statues often represent and commemorate people of significance, predominantly white men. This exhibition represents his dual enquiry into his own white British and black Jamaican heritage as well as the identity of the black male in sculpture and
cultural history. Price’s subjects are anonymous, often composite portraits of men in the street or in magazines and newspapers. Cast in bronze and elevated on a plinth, Price raises their status and subverts the tradition of sculpture and the hierarchies of power it reflects. Yet their size and posture suggests vulnerability rather than dominance. Ultimately it is the psychological encounter which fascinates Price. ‘Ultimately people are my biggest inspiration, or perhaps strangers is a better word’, he says. ‘The psychological and emotional aspects of our first encounters with them and how we construct the truth of what is presented to us in those first moments. How
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The emotion of affection
Bullying in the Workplace, Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies John Lipinski & Laura M. Crothers Bullying in the workplace, a concept first introduced by Swiss psychologist Hein Leymann in the 1980s, and in the 1990s in North America by Gary and Ruth Namie, has continued to receive the attention of practitioners, researchers and organisations. Lipinski and Crothers’ Bullying in the Workplace, an up-to-date book on the subject matter can be considered as an expansion of the ideas in earlier works, including Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice (2003) edited by Ståle Einarsen, Helge Hoel, Dieter Zapf and Cary L. Cooper. Contributions to this book are from experts specialising in the areas of industrial organisational, counselling and educational psychology, management consulting, business management, communications and marketing, and law. This has opened up a wide spectrum of insights and research not seen in previous works. For example, the discussion on modern forms of workplace bullying such as
CBT to Help Young People with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to Understand and Express Affection Tony Attwood & Michelle Garnett
cyber bullying, how organisations need to create strategies and policies to protect victims and prevent perpetrators from bullying, and the use of selection techniques to identify potential bullies before they step into the workplace. All these allow the reader to see and understand bullying behaviour through a kaleidoscope of varied insights. Although, this book is insightful, it is ultimately very America-centric. Should the editors decide to print a second edition, they might want to incorporate research done outside the United States. This book will benefit students who want to know more about bullying in the workplace, as well as those who wish to research this topic and practitioners who help organisations and individuals deal with it.
This book is a complete resource guide focusing on the emotion of affection, which is one of the key areas that people with ASD find challenging. The book includes not only worksheets but also baseline measures; hence it is an excellent resource for conducting group programmes and is also an easy read for professionals who have limited experience of ASD. The strategies in this book focus more on the feeling and behaviour component of CBT, which is reasonable considering that people with ASD have difficulties with social imagination. The book also includes information about other significant approaches to work with ASD, such as social stories and comic strip conversations. The authors have included quotes from clients and carers, making the writing style engaging and helping the reader to relate to the information better. The book focuses on younger population however; the strategies recommended can be adapted for other age groups.
I Routledge; 2014; Pb £43.99 Reviewed by Austin Tay who is Founder and Principal Consultant, OmniPsi Consulting
I Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 2013; Pb £19.99 Reviewed by Priya Kalyankar who is an assistant psychologist working in learning disability services in London
some “truths” seem universal and how others vary from person to person has always fascinated me.’ This is explored further in stopmotion animations, made when Price was at university. These revealed to him the different responses people had to black and white subjects: the subconscious and conscious judgements we form on first meeting someone. The response of the subject themselves is also explored, in a nine-foot tall figure by the lakeside who is engrossed in his mobile phone rather than those around him. As sculpture develops as an art form, Price shows here that it is possible to use the oldest of materials in a way that still speaks to important contemporary issues, and to the mysteries of the mind. I Reviewed by Jon Sutton who is Managing Editor of The Psychologist. The exhibition runs until 27 April. See www.ysp.co.uk for more information.
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From illustrious beginnings… Catherine Loveday (University of Westminster) spoke to Martyn Ware, composer and performer of ‘Recapture’, after the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival
New adventures in hi-fi The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival Martyn Ware (‘Recapture’) and Alexis Kirke and Doreen Abbott (‘Remember a Day’) The Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival has often explored the relationship between music and memory, with a strong emphasis on using computer music, interactive technology and algorithmic composition. Whilst this year’s theme focused on ‘Thinking Music’, rather than memory per se, the first concert of the programme continued this exploration with two new compositions by Martyn Ware (‘Recapture’) and Alexis Kirke and Doreen Abbott (‘Remember a Day’). Performed in the upper reaches of the Sherwell Building (a converted 18th-century Gothic-style church) and using a quadraphonic sound set-up, ‘Recapture’ used Ware’s 3d audioscape software (see picture above, and the interview which follows) to explore the ‘notion of how we reminisce’ and our ‘fondness for memories’. Musical tracks were scrambled, recombined and reconfigured such that fragments of song, phrases and repeated motifs drifted in and out of a bed of woozy sounds and white noise, much like tuning an analogue radio, picking up voices and music from the ether. The piece really captured the fleeting nature of remembrances, and their sometimes obscure triggers. However, given the low volume levels (no doubt out of Ware’s control) and the starkness of the venue it was hard to immerse oneself fully into the experience. The chosen songs also gave the performance an air of sentimentality rather than one of affectionate nostalgia, with a 20s jazz singer, a barber-shop quartet and even the band Air all singing songs of remembrance. Perhaps Ware designed the piece to be deliberately accessible to older members of the general public, but I would have preferred to hear a musical odyssey of tunes that had a more personal significance to him, rather than a selection of tracks that referenced memory in their title or lyrics. So, whilst we were promised, and received, a gentle performance, I would have preferred something louder, more obscure and frankly a little odder. ‘Remember a Day’ grew out of research that composer Alexis Kirke conducted on using catchy, simple melodies as a rote-learning tool. Working with Doreen Abbott, who has earlystage Alzheimer’s, he produced simple compositions to help Doreen learn her daily to-do list and developed algorithms that mapped phone numbers to mobile phone ringtones and melodies to medication regimes. These compositions formed the basis of the evening’s performance, with soloist Alison Kettlewell (accompanied by Jane Pirie on cello and conducted by Simon Ible) singing phrases such as ‘take a shower’, ‘walk the dog’, to a simple refrain reminiscent of the nursery rhyme ‘London’s burning’, and ending with a performance between singer, cellist and mobile phone. The music was necessarily simplistic in nature and pleasant to the ear, nevertheless there was something unsettling in witnessing an art performance that highlighted Doreen Abbott’s daily effort to remember the most mundane of tasks that we all take for granted… take a shower, clean your teeth. Everyone uses pitch and rhythm as an aid to remembering, which is what makes music such a wonderful medium for exploring memory. This concert provided an occasion to really see the potential of art–science collaborations, where both creative output and research are central to a project, not merely an add-on, and the reason why this festival is always worth visiting. I Reviewed by Lucy Davies who is from the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University
How did you move from being an 80s pop star, a founding member of bands like The Human League and Heaven 17, to creating a project for people with dementia? In the late 90s I started getting interested in surround sound. It was getting popular and people were wanting more immersive experiences. At the time I was doing lots of third-party production but the quality was getting worse: lots of boy bands and rubbish pop. And I just thought, you know what, I’d rather re-invent myself and do something that I’m really passionate about. I wanted to rediscover why I was interested in being in the music industry in the first place. So, together with Vince Clarke [Erasure], I formed a company called Illustrious. At about the same time I did some work at the University of York with people who were experimenting with ambisonics. We co-designed a piece of software, now called 3D audioscape, and created a 15minute experience, which sounded fantastic. So Vince and I decided it would be a good idea to make a whole album of this stuff, and that was when we really realised that this could be the future! Your work seems to be heavily based on interdisciplinary collaborations. How have these evolved? The starting point for Illustrious was very much about a combination of art and science and not really believing in the artificial distinction between the two. We started off working with fine artists like Cathy de Monchaux, but we also got some commercial commissions from people like Sony PlayStation, which were very important to us. The last 14 years has very much been about balancing commercial applications with art and research. And not just purely making it sound art, but in how what we do interlocks with different disciplines. There was no masterplan; this has all emerged just through meeting the people we want to collaborate with and having an open mind. What have you gained from working with people from different disciplines? Oh, everything. It informs all of my work. Even just talking to these people, let alone working with them, informs the way you consider what you do.
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So tell me about the piece you did at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, relating to dementia? Alexis Kirke was doing a piece about sonic mnemonics, helping people with Alzheimer’s to remember their medication for instance, or phone numbers. And he asked me if I would be interested in writing something to be performed on the same night around a similar theme, so I said yes. A large part of what we do has been involved with triggering remembrance anyway. I decided I wanted to take songs that might have an emotional resonance and scramble them around, put them in a blender and see if people could still recognise the DNA. So I started with that idea but it didn’t quite work, so we included some longer fragments and used a whole range of processing techniques – fragmentations, blendings, reverbs, stutters – and pulled things in and out of focus so that there were recogniseable staging points. I wanted there to be little oases of calm and understanding and rationality in the midst of this confusion because that’s the way that Alzheimer’s sufferers are. Sometimes they’re at peace with themselves and they can make sense of their environment.
they’re more interested in positive soundscaping. And that is all about acknowledging the sounds around us and finding ways to acoustically beautify the environment. So I got a phone call from Lisa asking if I’d be interested in doing something for the White Nights festival in Brighton. They wanted to locate us on West Street, which is the main street where all the night clubs are. It’s madness, it’s like a war zone on Friday and Saturday nights – people getting arrested all the time, throwing bottles at each other, fighting. Chaos. They wanted
So I guess you’re working with the idea that in many dementia sufferers their thoughts and own narratives become a bit fragmented and deconstructed? Exactly. I spent four years with my mother-in-law with dementia so I’ve seen it firsthand. I know it. I know the horror of it.
Street, big PA speakers, two layers,100 metres long, and we designed a six-hour soundscape, composed of a lot of pieces we had used previously but also altered versions of songs that people would know. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life, but it was also a complete total success. It was meant to go on till 2am but at midnight the police decided to redeploy their four vans and dogs elsewhere because, in their words, there was no prospect of any trouble. And at 1 o’clock, they said we could switch it off because everyone was completely calm. Calm but not hypnotised. No one could believe it. Do you think working in this way and on these projects has changed you as a musician? Oh totally! I’m unrecognisable. The analogy I use is that working in stereo is trying to squeeze all this music through two toothpaste tubes. When you’ve been working in three dimensional surround sound for a long while you don’t concern yourself with the balance of things in terms of volume and you don’t have to process things much. You can leave things pretty much raw. You can leave the original dynamic and spectral content. I always say that its like using organic ingredients for cooking rather than processing it all. The great thing about ambisonics, and our system in particular, is that it sounds very real. It triggers a very lucid sense of reality.
I’ve read that you managed to So, do you think 3D tame the wild party-goers in immersive sound is Brighton. How did you a gimmick and a fad? manage that?! Oh it’s not a fad, no. It’s not Ah yes! I’ve been talking to Martyn Ware – see www.illustriouscompany.co.uk and follow like 3D film was in the 50s. Lisa Lavia, managing director him on Twitter @martynware There are lots of people of the Noise Abatement Society experimenting with immersive sound to see whether we would have an impact for a couple of years and she’s quite now. I’m certain it will become more on the aggressiveness of the situation. a forward-looking woman. She believes popular but it takes time. People just I went and did a reccy and to be quite that cities aren’t going to get any quieter need to experience it. The experience whatever you say or do. But what we’re all honest it didn’t seem that appealing! is everything. And I’m definitely very But I said I would do it on one looking for is a more pleasant experience interested in collaborating with scientists condition – that I was in a very secure to live in, particularly in urban areas. The and researchers about finding applications portacabin with a fence round it and Noise Abatement Society has historically for this, so if you have any ideas let me guards. And they agreed. So we put in been trying to make everyone quieter and know! a 3D sound system at one end of West that's not working any more, so now
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Scientific and fun Inside the Animal Mind BBC Two delayed gratification got its usual outing, infamous Rupert Sheldrake ‘pet telepathy’ accompanied by suitably ‘Kids eh? What study. This suggested that the ability are they like?’ music. reported by many owners of their dog But if a crow comes up with a good ‘knowing’ when they set off for home may idea, can it pass it on? It seems the New be explained by the level of their particular Caledonian crow can, even showing the scent dropping to a certain level: in other ‘ratchet effect’: an increasing sophistication words, dogs are using their senses to gain of technology use with some representation successive generations that may of an abstract concept be unique to humans and crows. such as time. They appear to be a cut above In episode two, we even the smartest of other birds: discovered that bees I wish they all could be New doing the ‘waggle Caledonian. dance’ are acting on In the third episode, looking instinct, with ‘no real at social animals, Packham understanding of what asked whether there is something they’re doing;’ (much about navigating the hurly burly of like me on the Something to crow about complex social relationships that dancefloor). Not that can make the minds of some animals impressive then. So a cut above the rest. The main focus was stealing the show were the New Caledonian dolphins, who Packham admitted are easy to crows, in particular one known as ‘007’ who romanticise (who doesn’t want to parachute solved an eight-stage problem to get food. with dolphins before they die?). So we heard Nobody likes a show off. Giving the lie to the about bizarre anthropomorphic attempts to term ‘bird-brained’, the crows were joined teach dolphins human skills, including by Clayton’s own jays, some lock-picking 1960s California neuroscientist John Lilly, cockatoos, and American corvids and their who flooded the ground floor of a house and food caching. Birds’ large brains, relative to had his research assistant Margaret share their body size, can apparently imagine the her life with a dolphin, Peter. Unfortunately, future to plan ahead (see ‘Imagining the Peter became highly sexually aroused by future: A bird’s eye view’ in our June 2013 Margaret. Packham informed us, using issue). It’s a skill that takes humans a while rather euphemistic air quotes, that Margaret to master: to demonstrate this, Walter had to ‘calm him down’ before they could Mischel’s famous marshmallow study of proceed with their 2.5 hours a day of English lessons. We also heard that dolphins are One for the athlete’s kitbag extremely rare amongst animals in recognising themselves as individuals Fitness Behaviour – Carol Dweck in a mirror. They are even fascinated by Bevan James Eyles (blog podcast) watching themselves in a mirror while copulating. By this point, I was starting to Few podcast interviews with world-renowned psychologists finish with the word ‘awesome’. think that if dolphins weren’t such randy Carol Dweck not only takes it in her stride but throughout the interview explains her research buggers they might have slipped these and findings accessibly, contextualising her points into the fitness environment for the athletic earthly bonds, much like in Douglas Adams’ audience. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. Focusing on Dweck’s mindset theory the podcast runs through the limitations of having Frivolity aside, the episode included a fixed mindset (focusing on self-esteem, self-judgement and demoralisation after setbacks) more fascinating demonstrations of selfcontrasting with those holding a growth mindset. She describes these people as taking awareness, empathy and deception, with energy from setbacks and learning from mistakes. She admits an individual’s self-esteem will Packham concluding that the most take a hit when they fail – but they repair it by using it as a cue to do something constructive successful animals may be natural-born in the future. liars. Dweck is clear that it is common to have a fixed mindset in some areas and a growth one At one point in the final episode, an in others. To develop a growth mindset she suggests questioning your reactions to expert asked: ‘Am I wearing my science challenges, engaging with your mind, creating a plan for when you come across your triggers hat or my “I’m having fun” hat?' Thankfully and using self-talk to develop more growth-centred skills and habits. And she explains it so there was room in this series for both, persuasively it is easy to believe her psychology will now be making its way into the kitbag of and I was left sharing Packham’s own many athletes. conclusion: ‘It’s made me happy.’ I See tinyurl.com/njbo7ny I Reviewed by Jon Sutton Managing Editor Reviewed by Josephine Perry who is an MSc student at Kingston University of The Psychologist ‘I would give anything to be another animal for just five minutes’, admits presenter Chris Packham. We have all wondered what it’s like being an animal, and this fascinating three-parter went hunting for answers with a wonderful array of demonstrations. Under the watchful and creative eye of series consultant Nicola Clayton, Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, the first episode aimed to find out how animals experience the world in sensory terms. Animal senses define how they think: they are the gateway to the animal mind. Whatever kind of animal you are, you experience the same physical properties of the world. Our five senses are shared with the vast majority of animal species, yet they can be used in some species in ways that are totally foreign to the human mind (e.g. dolphins who can imitate with their eyes covered, using echolocation). In the course of an extremely engaging hour we met Fern, a ‘Sprocker’ dog trained to find bodies on the bottom of lakes. In a less gruesome challenge, Fern found a container containing pork meat under 20 feet of water (with a metre of mud thrown in for good measure). We learned that in dogs, each nostril can be controlled separately, and the flow of air is split in order to smell and breathe at the same time. The sense of smell may also have been at work in a new (for me) take on the
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Beurs van Berlage | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
APS announces a major new initiative: the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science
CollĂ¨ge de France and INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, France
Department of Linguistics and Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Terrie E. Moffitt Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University, USA
Three features make ICPS unique: Integrative Science Symposia: Solutions to our most pressing scientific questions come from crosscutting efforts in which investigators deploy diverse research methods and attack problems at multiple levels of analysis. ICPS will showcase these efforts in thematic Integrative Science Symposia featuring leading investigators from not only psychological science, but also neuroscience, genetics, sociology, linguistics, and related fields. Skill-Building Workshops: At a scientific convention, you not only can learn about othersâ€™ novel research findings, but you also can learn how to execute the cutting-edge research methods that produced them. At ICPS, Cutting-Edge Methodological Workshops will provide scientific skill-building opportunities for all conference attendees. International Scope: ICPS is the first-of-its-kind international conference dedicated to scientific advances in all areas of psychology and related disciplines. Share ideas with colleagues from around the globe at this mustattend gathering of the psychological science community.
In addition to the invited programs, scholars will have presentation opportunities across psychological science and related disciplines.
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Art in the asylum ‘I spit on life’ (1953/54) by William Kurelek, courtesy of the Adamson Collection London (copyright estate of William Kurelek and Wynick/Tuck Gallery Toronto). Words by Victoria Tischler, Chartered Psychologist and curator of ‘Art in the Asylum’. Send your ideas for ‘Big picture’ to email@example.com.
‘I spit on life’ by William Kurelek was painted at a time when the artist was profoundly depressed. Kurelek was a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage who sought psychiatric treatment in the UK. He was treated at the Bethlem Royal Hospital and later at the Netherne Hospital in Surrey, where he worked with Edward Adamson, a pioneering
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artist who established art workshops for patients there in 1946. Adamson, often referred to as ‘the father of art therapy’, was an early advocate for the use of art as a form of recovery from mental illness. The artwork, one of several masterpieces Kurelek created whilst a patient at Netherne, featured in the 2013 exhibition ‘Art in the Asylum’
at the Djanogly gallery in Nottingham. ‘I spit on life’ is a complex and majestic piece which powerfully illustrates significant events in Kurelek’s life related to his mental illness. It will be shown as part of the Adamson Festival (February–July 2014) where Adamson’s life and work will be celebrated with a variety of events
including the premiere of a feature film about Kurelek, ‘The Maze’ and an exhibition of art work created by patients who were treated at the Netherne Hospital. See www.slam.nhs.uk/adamson for information and events, including a discussion about the neuroscience and neuroaesthetics of Adamson’s work.
This is a preview of the March 2014 issue of The Psychologist, published by the British Psychological Society. To download a full PDF or to...