Reconnecting with the Community.

This month we hosted a Community Afternoon to showcase research being conducted within the school and its impact on the Kent community and beyond.

On Saturday 25th June the School of Psychology welcomed over 70 attendees to its Community Afternoon. Representatives from the U3A, Simon Langton Girls’ School, Kent County Council and Kent and Medway NHS Trust were present.

We wanted to showcase research projects within the School and encourage a two-way discussion between community and researchers about where we could go next, as well a identify areas of priority within community groups and set some considerations/areas of interest. We were also able to demonstrate some of the techniques and tasks being used by researchers within the School.

We heard from Professor Heather Ferguson about her research exploring how younger and older adults communicate differently in social contexts. Professor Jane Wood then talked about the forensic research being conducted within the School addressing societal challenges including fire setting and gangs. Dr Laura Smith, who brought the whole day together, closed the first session with a talk about her neuropsychology research conducted with the public and how this has been translated to healthcare settings.

Over lunch people had the chance the explore various different techniques and technologies used by the School within the research. Our researchers demonstrated tools including virtual reality, brain imaging, brain stimulation, 3-D scanning, visual illusions and child-friendly tasks used by developmental psychologists. A variety of research posters were also on display showcasing our latest research findings.

The Community Research Day aimed to reconnect with our local community, following Covid-19, and to demonstrate the real impact of our research.

Dr Tim Hopthrow opened the second session with a talk about his research investigating whether idling behaviour can be reduced at Canterbury level crossings using targeted messaging. Professor Karen Douglas then explored why people might believe in conspiracy theories and whether these can be helpful or harmful. Clinical Psychologist Dr Emma Travers-Hill ended the session with a presentation on brief mental health interventions for the NHS.

We closed the afternoon with some thoughtful comments and questions from the audience. Access to support for mental health was highlighted as an important priority area.

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