Gangs and Schools Conference 11 July

Identity and Belonging Conference 2018 – Weds 11 July 9.30-16.30 
Gangs, Schools and Community: Psychology, Research and Practice

Gangs and serious youth violence are a growing concern. A recent report by the Children’s Commissioner estimated that more than 45,000 people nationwide between the ages of 10 and 18 are members of a gang, many joining as a result of coercion and exploitation.

This conference will present current research practice on the nature of gangs and the varied and complex reasons why young people get involved. It will explore the practical strategies to support this ‘at risk’ group.

For more information, please go to the School of Psychology’s events calendar.

School of Psychology Taught Masters Scholarships

The School of Psychology offers scholarships of £1,000 to applicants of any tuition fee paying status registering on one of our taught MSc programmes in September 2018.

  • Receive a £1,000 discount on tuition fees
  • Up to seven awards are available for entry in 2018
  • Scholarships are allocated to applicants who meet the general award criteria on a competitive basis, applications will be ranked by a selection panel.*

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2018. To find out about the criteria and how to apply, see the full advertisement page.

*The School of Psychology reserves the right not to allocate the awards if the selection panel identifies no suitable candidates. The Taught Master’s Scholarships 2018 are subject to full terms and conditions which will be provided to successful candidates at the point of award.

Psychologist helps debunk theory of why our brains can predict the next word

When people read or listen to a conversation, their brains sometimes pro-actively predict which words come next.

Research carried out in 2005 suggested that these brain predictions are very detailed and can even include the first sound of an upcoming word. However, these findings have never been replicated since the study was published.

Now a team of scientists, including Dr Heather Ferguson, has demonstrated that the predictive function of the human language system may operate differently than previously thought.

The latest research involved a large-scale brain imaging study, carried out in part at Kent. More than 300 participants read sentences that were presented one word at a time, while electrical brain activity was recorded at the scalp. The findings demonstrated that there is no convincing evidence for the original claim.

Read the full story at the Kent News Centre.

‘Phubbing’ can threaten our basic human needs

Ignoring someone you’re with in a social setting to concentrate on your mobile phone – called ‘phubbing’ – can have a negative effect on relationships by threatening our basic human need to belong.

Kent Psychologists studied the effect on individuals of being phubbed in a one-to-one social situation.

They found that increased phubbing significantly and negatively affected the way the person being phubbed felt about their interaction with the other person.

Researchers Varoth Chotpitayasunondh and Professor Karen Douglas, of Kent’s School of Psychology, considered phubbing a specific form of social exclusion that threatens people’s fundamental human needs: belonging, self-esteem, meaningful existence and control.

To read the full news story, go to Kent’s News Centre page. The study, entitled The effects of ‘phubbing’ on social interaction (Varoth Chotpitayasunondh & Karen M. Douglas) is published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Top 100 worldwide for Psychology

Psychology at Kent is delighted to be ranked in the top 100 universities for Psychology in the world according to QS World University Rankings 2018. 

Head of the School of Psychology, Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, thanks great staff and students engaged in world leading research for this achievement.

For more information about these rankings, please see the QS Top Universities website.

Take a look at our ‘Ten reasons to choose Psychology at Kent’ page and find out what makes our learning community great.

Negative childhood experiences can lead people to believe in conspiracy theories

Belief in conspiracy theories stems – in part – from negative early childhood experiences with caregivers, new research has shown.

In two studies, Ricky Green and Professor Karen Douglas, of the University’s School of Psychology, found that participants with what is termed ‘anxious attachment style’ were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.

An anxious attachment style is formed in childhood when a caregiver is inconsistently available. Once formed, this attachment style perseveres in adulthood, where it colours many aspects of people’s lives such as their friendships and attitudes.

The research found that participants with anxious attachment style not only believed in general notions of conspiracy but also specific established conspiracy theories, such as that Princess Diana was assassinated by the British Secret Service.

Anxious attachment style also explained belief in conspiracy theories whilst taking into account other important factors such as general feelings of mistrust, age, education and religiosity.

Read more at the News Centre page. Read the full paper entitled Anxious attachment and belief in conspiracy theories.

Psychologist helps develop language development tool for bilingual children

A Kent Psychologist has played an important role in a research breakthrough in the assessment of language development for bilingual two-year-olds.

In a study, led by the University of Plymouth, Kent’s Dr Kirsten Abbot-Smith and academics from eight other UK universities demonstrated for the first time that typically-developing bilingual two-year-olds, who are learning a language which has similar sounds and structures to English, know more words than those who are learning a language which is very different to English.

This information allowed the researchers to develop the first toolkit for health professionals to accurately assess how well bilingual pre-school children are learning language.

Read more at the News Centre page.

Join Our Team – 3x Staff Vacancies

The School of Psychology is currently advertising three open-ended and full-time staff vacancies. Please click the links below for more information.

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Social & Organisational Psychology
Deadline for applications Sun 04 Feb 2018 (edited on 26 Jan)

Reader/Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience
Deadline for applications is Sun 04 Feb 2018

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience
Deadline for applications is Weds 04 March 2018

Scholarships for Summer Schools

Immerse yourself in the heart of Europe and develop advanced subject knowledge with our intensive two-week Summer Schools in Brussels, Canterbury and Paris. These specialist Summer School courses are designed for students (or professionals) thinking about studying on a postgraduate degree programme in the UK (Canterbury Courses) or at our specialist postgraduate centres in Paris or Brussels on our European Summer Schools. The final deadline to apply and pay for all of our courses is 28 May 2018.

Stage 2 and 3 undergraduate Kent Psychology students can also apply for two European Summer Schools scholarships to attend the summer school in Paris or Brussels. Scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, accommodation, lunches during the week, travel around Paris or Brussels, entrances and visits as part of the programme and a final dinner. The deadline for scholarship applications from Kent students for the European Summer Schools is 2 March 2018.

Forensic Psychology Evening Course starts 21 February

Study the psychology of crime and criminal behaviour over 10 weeks, taught by expert academics and practitioners. Each 90 minute lecture covers a different topic such as victims of crime, offender profiling, sexual harassment, and treatment and rehabilitation.

The course is an ideal opportunity to get a taste of what Forensic Psychology is all about, whether you have a general interest in why people commit crime or are considering future study in the area.

For more information about our evening course starting on Wednesday 21 February, see our flyer. There are limited places available so book now to avoid disappointment.