‘A Flavour of Psychology’


Ten Year 14 students from St. Dominic’s attended ‘A Flavour of Psychology’ in Queen’s University Belfast on 11th October 2017.  This event was organised by the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Psychological Society.  The students were treated to 6 lectures delivered by top psychologists from all over the UK.  They started with a lecture called ‘Taking Laughter Seriously’ delivered by Professor Sophie Scott from University College London.  This amusing lecture explored the causes and expression of laughter across different cultures.  This was followed by a more serious lecture on ‘What does forensic psychology tell us about terrorism?’ delivered by Dr Jacqueline Bates Gaston who is the former chief forensic psychologist in the NI Prison Service.  Dr Bates Gaston started by talking about the role of the forensic psychologist in the prison service.  She is also an occupational psychologist and outlined the kind of work she has done.  This lecture was so relevant in today’s world, with the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.  The lecture discussed what would lead someone to become involved in such extreme behaviour.  The third lecture was called ‘A mars a day: or three easy steps to build your brain better’, delivered by Dr Roger Hamill from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Dr Hamill is a neuropsychologist who explained how we should be doing three things to improve our brain, ‘Work (Education), Rest (Sleep) and Play (exercise)’. After lunch they heard a lecture on ‘Sport and exercise psychology: what do you think?’ delivered by Dr Noel Brick from Ulster University.  They learnt about the effect of simple things like smiling can have on performance in sport.  Next they heard a lecture called ‘Mindfulness just not my cup of tea’ delivered by Dr Michelle Kavanagh, a clinical psychologist from Sunnyside Clinic, Belfast.  Michelle explained how mindfulness is a combination of religion (Buddhism) and cognitive psychology.  The final lecture of the day was called ‘Selfie-Objectification’: How representations of the body on social media are both influenced by, and subsequently influence, how we think and feel about our own bodies.’ Delivered by Dr Beth Bell from York St John University.