Dragons’ Den is part of the final-year ‘Reflections and Future Directions’ module on the Psychology programmes taught by Professor Geoff Beattie at Edge Hill University. Now entering its 4th year, its aim is to encourage students to acknowledge and reflect on skills they have gained at each level of their programme and to support students in developing ideas in preparation for possible future employment and study in applied areas of psychology or outside the subject. Students work in groups to develop a ‘commercial pitch’ in any area of the subject in a Dragons’ Den format to a panel of outside experts, with their peers as audience, using their broad knowledge of psychology, and offers a unique opportunity to test their employability skills.
The Dragons this year were Fran Cassidy, Manus Wynne and Geoff Beattie. Fran has had over twenty-five years experience in the media sector. She was Marketing Director of Carlton Television, part of the ITV network, one of the largest commercial broadcasting companies in Europe. She has also been Board Director of the Marketing Society. She runs an independent marketing consultancy specialising in on-line and off line media, marketing services and entertainment sectors both in the UK and internationally. Manus is an established Producer/Director with twenty years experience working in television. His work has been broadcast on all five major UK channels as well as many of the major American networks.
This year’s initiatives covered a very diverse range, and included such things as an app for those suffering from eating disorders, the design of a device for combatting night terrors, a travel app for people with autism, the design of a new test for concussion in sport and an app designed for improving men’s mental health, amongst many others. All were extremely creative. The winning group, comprising Abbie Webb, Acacia Bonsu, Jennifer Darcy, Rheanna Hinds and Ellie Lamedica (as pictured), designed a set of interactive balls for children with different special needs to encourage play in the classroom.
Manus Wynne added that: ‘It always amazes me the amount of work the students put into the day. And this year surpassed all the previous high standard years. The students just get better and better!’
Fran Cassidy commented: ‘The presentations from this year’s students stood out in three ways – the confidence in the way they were presented, the creativity of the ideas and the real focus on the robust application of psychology to real world challenges that society and organisations face today. The final vote was exceptionally close. However, I have no doubt that very many of the students will be winners when they finally choose to apply this knowledge in their chosen careers. Thank you for an inspiring and challenging day.’
Edge Hill students and alumni who strive to stand out in their chosen careers were recently celebrated at an Employability Awards evening on campus.
The awards event, organised by the careers team, also recognised employers and organisations who work in partnership with the University, providing opportunities and helping students develop their skills.
Among the winners was our final year BSc (Hons) Psychology student Lydia Suffling, who was awarded the “Student Placement” award for “exceeding expectations” during her 15 month Sandwich Placement with IBM. Find out more about her experiences here.
In addition, final year BSc (Hons) Psychology student, Bethany Smith came second in the Student Employee of the Year “On-campus” category.
Find out more about the event and the winners here.
Professor Geoff Beattie took part in an episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation, on a story about how one person’s waste can be another person’s treasure. It was an exploration of the circular economy, how it might work, new innovations that might facilitate it, and the possible barriers. The programme explored how to reprogramme ourselves not to be disgusted by waste, how to extract metals and minerals leftover in mining industry waste – using the power of plants, and how the stuff we buy needs to be redesigned so that it can either last a lot longer, or be biodegradable – even our mobile phones. Professor Beattie talked about his research conducted at Edge Hill on sustainability which shows that when it comes to making sustainable choices when we go shopping, we’re all just a little bit lazy. So if we want the world to reduce, reuse and recycle more, we all have to work at it. The podcast can be accessed here.
The Department of Psychology recently hosted a competition for its students to ask them; “What do you love most about being a Psychology student at Edge Hill University?” The lucky competition winner of the £100 prize was final year Psychology student Tayler Wells.
The competition asked students to select some of their photographs which they felt represented the “best bits” of their experience at Edge Hill. They were asked to enter these into the competition, as well as some accompanying text to explain why these images were important to their experience at Edge Hill.
Dr Linda Kaye, the competition organiser told us; “We wanted to design a competition whereby our students could tell us, in their own words (or photos), about what the best bits of their experience at EHU were.”
The idea for this was based on Dr Kaye’s own research which uses photo elicitation in interviews, to understand more about the student experience. “It made me think that we could extend this opportunity more widely to better understand our own students’ experiences further” said Dr Kaye. “The competition entries we received were really insightful, and from my perspective, tell us something about what is important to our students here at EHU.”
Within her competition entry, Tayler stated; “What do I love about Edge Hill? The views, my lecturers, my friends, and Edge Hill Monopoly of course!” This accompanied a montage of photos which represented each of these.
EHU Psychology academic, Professor Philip Murphy comments on a recent article published in British Medical Journal on the links between cannabis use and intelligence in young people. The recent article claimed that children with moderate to high academic ability at 11 years old, are more likely to use cannabis than those of lower ability.
In his piece for The Conversation, Professor Murphy notes that the study’s findings should be interpreted with caution. Namely, he identifies that some of the results are not statistically significant when comparing certain ability groups in the period of early adolescence, but appear to be more rigorous for the older year groups.
He goes on to question why a link should be expected between these two seemingly unrelated factors. That is, why should those young people who are more intelligent be more likely to smoke cannabis than their less academically-able peers? Maybe one explanation is that low academic ability is related to having less awareness of new experiences through which to explore these behaviours. However, there is still much to speculate on whether this is indeed the case.
Clearly, research on this topic is very important, and the recent research has certainly opened up some new insights to help move forward our understanding of these issues.
We all know that handshakes can make a good first impression. In a recent article in The Conversation, Edge Hill University Psychology Professor Geoff Beattie explains the secrets behind President Trump’s handshakes and what they intend to signal. The full article ‘The psychology behind Trump’s awkward handshake … and how to beat him at his own game’ can be accessed here.
It’s typically understood that the British public is good at queuing, but what is the psychology behind this behaviour? Professor Geoff Beattie joined BBC Breakfast to give some insights. Some recent research from University College London has investigated the social organisation of the queue and the rules that govern people’s satisfaction levels and willingness to wait or leave the queue. Professor Beattie discussed the broader psychological issues about how queues represent the British value of fair play, and how queues for food rations in the Second World War (‘our finest hour’) were important in establishing their role in our society. He also argued that their orderliness are important in British culture because they help us avoid social embarrassment by having to confront those who infringe the social rules of queue jumping. Since the social norms regarding queuing are so widely known, and widely shared, there are fewer infringements to deal with. Finally, within this discussion, Professor Beattie drew on the role of nonverbal communication in dealing with queue infringements and the maintenance of this social order. The full broadcast can be view here (around 1.40).
Professor Geoff Beattie recently did an interview with IAFOR about ‘the divided self’. IAFOR is the international think-tank based in Japan with a significant international audience. Professor Beattie discussed the clash between the operation of more unconscious and automatic processes in human beings, and their more conscious and controlled processes, and how this can lead to particular challenges when it comes to promoting issues like sustainability, and equality and diversity. Human beings sometimes respond in ways that are not desirable because of the operation of these two ‘systems’ of thought. Professor Beattie was also interviewed about ‘Big Brother’, when it was on Channel 4, and why it might have been psychologically informative. Details on this interview are here.
Our resident expert on body language Professor Geoff Beattie has recently published new work on ‘How Donald Trump bullies with his body language‘. This piece focuses on Donald Trump during the second Presidential debate and has appeared in a collected volume on the U.S. election 2016 that features 83 contributions from leading academics around the world. This volume examines the role of the media in the campaign, the campaign itself, the underlying policy considerations, diversity and division in the campaign, the view from overseas, the digital campaign, pop culture and populism, with a final reflective section on the election result and its implications. The editors were D. Lilleker, E. Thorsen, D. Jackson& A. Veneti (Eds.), US Election Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign. Bournemouth: CSJCC.