The Annual Conference - a postgraduate perspective

Sue Huei Leong (Durham University) attended the Society's Annual Conference in Nottingham on a BPS Postdoctoral Conference Bursary.

As an international student on the Master’s program (Developmental Psychopathology), it was truly an honour to be supported by the BPS to present my research on the effects of mobile phone use on the emotional development of children.

I was able to discuss and get feedback on my data indicating that there is a significant relation between mobile phone use in 6- to 7-year-old children and their ability to control their emotions. Research on the use of mobile phones and their impact on psychological development is topical given that increasing numbers of ever-younger children use technology in their daily lives. The new generation of “technology savvy” children will certainly add to insights relating to the fast evolving “digitalized” environment and present new theoretical grounds for psychologists.

The engagement of a professional audience is essential to the refinement of my future studies. A number of students and established academics took a keen interest, reading my poster and taking away copies, as well as giving me constructive feedback. Not only academically but also socially, it was a pleasure to meet a like-minded audience.

I attended several interesting talks and there were many more I could have attended if the schedule had allowed this. The talk in relation to the protection of helping professionals’ wellbeing by Professor Gail Kinman raised awareness of appreciating and acknowledging emotional struggles (e.g., emotion exhaustion, burnout and affective rumination) of helping professionals and the importance of developing emotional resilience (e.g., bounded empathy, coping flexibility, emotional efficacy, reflective ability and self-compassionate). The “Face fallacies” talk by Dame Vicki Bruce brought forth the alarming issue relating to misidentification of innocent prisoners, and presented ideas to help witnesses in better recall of faces of suspects. These included cognitive-type interviewing techniques which improve total accurate information recall; a holistic cognitive interview where witnesses focus on the character of the face; and the exploitation of resemblance through use of EVOFIT, an award-winning system for constructing offenders’ facial composites.

Not only specific talks but also symposia were of interest. For example the symposium relating to impacts and exposure to parental alienation by Whitcombe, Verrocchio and O’ Sullivan provided an interesting look into the backstories of court cases of child custody, examples of how rejection of parent can occur (e.g., explicit verbal negative comments of spouse in children’s presence), behaviours of the alienated child (e.g., adult like responses of children in relation to dissatisfaction of parent) and dynamics of vulnerable family.

In sum, attending this BPS conference provided a valuable opportunity for me to be able to explore and listen to many insightful and memorable talks and posters as well as connecting with other students and academics in the field.

- Find out more about the Postdoctoral Conference Bursary Scheme.

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