Your Brain Connected: Kent Youth Summit

It was totally dope-amine at our recent youth summit, hosting 100 children from local schools, from years 9 to 11, investigating the social brain and how psychological research can tell us more about our brain in a social world.

This week the School of Psychology welcomed over 100 local school students for ‘Your Brain Connected’, an interactive workshop designed to teach young people about the psychology of human connection, and how we research this important question in psychology. Young people took part in live demonstrations of cutting edge psychological techniques, including virtual reality, eye-tracking, EEG and 3D scanning, as demonstrated by our Psychology undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academic staff.

‘The pupils were inspiring and their enthusiasm was contagious.’ (Hugo Bowles, Psychology MSc student)

During the Youth Summit, school pupils visited different labs that were demonstrating EEG processes, virtual reality, eye tracking and a talk about psychology at uni. This helped the students see how certain psychological procedures work and how useful they are in diagnosis of health conditions, and studying human interactions.

‘I enjoyed showing off the virtual reality lab.’ Hugo Bowles told us ‘I loved hearing pupil’s ideas on how VR could be utilised in future studies and interventions; from pooper scooper concepts to investigating the competency of drivers behind the wheel, pupils were inventive in the way they saw VR having a positive impact on research in the future.’

‘This experience allowed me to see how psychological research techniques worked and also gave me an insight to the different courses and opportunities the university provides for undergraduate students and masters students. Simisola Peters, Psychology Placement student told us.

Rebecca Dole and Kirsty Gravestock (Psychology PhD Students) shared their own experiences of what it’s like to study psychology, from how work is assessed, to different societies at Kent, and campus life.

‘I personally really enjoyed sharing my passion for psychology with the future generation of potential students and providing an awareness earlier on about what psychology is. The opportunity for students to come to the University was invaluable, as they were able to see first hand what type of cool research can be done and how it works.’ (Kirsty Gravestock, Psychology PhD student)

‘I didn’t ever have an opportunity for anything like this myself, in fact the first real taster of psychology and what university was like was the first day of my psychology undergraduate degree (not something I recommend!).’

Professor Markus Bindemann provided a fascinating demonstration of 3D scanning, a technique he uses to create avatars in his research on facial recognition. Meanwhile Professor Heather Ferguson and placement student Jessica Moore demonstrated eye-tracking glasses, and explained how these could be used to study interactions.

A huge thank you to all involved including Dr Lindsey CameronDr Lazaros Gonidis, Hugo Bowles, Jessica Moore, Simisola Peters, Molly Wardell, Rebecca Dole, Kirsty Gravestock, Professor Markus Bindemann, Dr Wesley Pyke, and Professor Heather Ferguson, Dr Laura Smith.