Society

President’s column; Lifetime Achievment Award; Strategic Plan consultation; Psychology Education Award; forensic psychology awards; work–life balance; and more

President’s column
Richard Mallows
Contact Richard Mallows via the Society’s Leicester office,
or e-mail: [email protected]

The internationalism I referred to in my August column I am now experiencing in good measure.
The European Federation of Psychology Associations (EFPA) Congress held in Stockholm in early July had 1648 participants from 77 countries attending with UK participation fourth behind Sweden, Germany and Japan. Interestingly, 40 per cent of the participants came from outside Europe. The programme for the Congress required nine colour codes to help participants. I found that there were many occasions when sessions I would like to have attended overlapped. As President I was invited to the Arthurian-sounding but with a modern twist Presidents’ Round Table Discussion. Sadly there was no round table and neither was there a discussion. Instead a number of statements were presented. This surreal experience prepared me for the General Assembly which followed the Congress.
The highlight of the EFPA Congress for me was the BPS-sponsored keynote address given by Emily Holmes of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge. Emily, who has a Swedish background, clearly felt at home as she gave a master class on the use of mental imagery in the treatment of flashbacks, depression and bipolar disorder. Her research programme was underpinned by fundamental values, in particular optimism and that the treatment could be free. I was reminded of the philosophy of Tim Berners-Lee inventor of the World Wide Web.
The General Assembly is a meeting of all the member associations of EFPA and lasts for a day and a half. In the middle of this meeting some 18 committees present their reports, the executive council comments, the assembly votes and then claps. The unusual voting procedure asks firstly and discouragingly for those against. This applied psychology was reminiscent of certain regimes. I was also reminded of a Malcolm Bradbury novel when one representative having already attended these meetings for some 16 years was encouraging a vote for long terms of office! Emperor’s new clothes notwithstanding this was a very difficult forum in which to discuss the most serious issue to arise namely finances. I am now trying hard to maintain the positive approach I expressed last month. Our participation in all things European will be discussed in depth at this month’s Trustees’ meeting. Having relinquished the Treasurer’s post after an exciting five years it will now be the turn of the new Honorary Treasurer, Ray Miller, to grapple with this new challenge. As a former President Ray is well placed to advise on this and future challenges.
After Sweden I travelled directly to Reims where I gave the opening keynote at the 16th International Conference on Reversal Theory. This was as different from the EFPA Congress as one could imagine. These reversal theory conferences are intense and intimate with no parallel sessions. Participants attend all sessions such that by the end of the week there is much cross-referencing. This serves the function of developing a community of scholars encouraging and supporting each other in the pursuit of common goals. Reversal theory is an intriguing general approach to psychology, once referred to by Sternberg as psychology’s best-kept secret. British in origin, it is the work of psychologist Michael Apter and psychiatrist Ken Smith. The theory emphasises the variability, inconsistency and even self-contradictions that occur in human personality, and the motivational and emotional patterns that underlie these. It appears better known outside Britain, but I hope this will be rectified in due course. I particularly enjoyed enthusiastic presentations by a group of young Dutch designers who have applied reversal theory in designing environments. Increased patient adherence to a health programme was one successful outcome.
My presentation on the history of the BPS attracted interest and I was asked to present this to UK undergraduate groups. 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Andy Young

A co-author of the British Journal of Psychology’s most cited paper has won the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge for 2013. Andy Young, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of York, is best known for his work on the neuropsychology and experimental psychology of face perception. He is listed by ISI HighlyCited.com as one of the most-cited scientists in Psychology and Psychiatry.
His interest in face perception dates from 1974, when he took
up his first academic position teaching developmental psychology at the University of Aberdeen. There Hadyn Ellis, Graham Davies, John Shepherd and Jan Deregowski were engaged in pioneering work on theoretical and practical aspects of face recognition. Andy’s two years in Aberdeen were crucial to his development as a psychologist, because they showed him the value of experiments directly addressed to a ‘real-life’ question and the benefits of an integrated programme approaching a common set of issues from convergent perspectives. Equally importantly, the late Hadyn Ellis weaned him off Piaget and pointed him towards the neuropsychology of face recognition.
In 1976 Andy Young moved to the University of Lancaster, where he began to work with Andy Ellis and Dennis Hay on the similarities and differences between face, object and word recognition and on
the roles of the two cerebral hemispheres.
It was the realisation that questions about cerebral asymmetry could not be answered satisfactorily without a better understanding of cognitive mechanisms that led to his interest in using the cognitive neuropsychological approach to develop a model of face perception. This was an exciting period for face-perception research In the UK and, with Vicki Bruce, Andy Young organised a series of ESRC-sponsored workshops at Grange-over-Sands in the 1980s that brought together virtually everyone in the field to share findings and ideas.
One outcome of these events was a position paper by Bruce and Young – ‘Understanding face recognition’ – that was published in the British Journal of Psychology in 1986. It presented an attempt to identify both the component processes involved in recognising familiar faces and the ways in which recognition of identity relates to other characteristics we so readily perceive in faces (age, sex, expression). It both redefined central questions and stimulated a great deal of research in perception, cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology. The BJP celebrated the silver jubilee of the article with a special issue in 2011.
Andy left Lancaster for a chair at Durham University in 1989
and moved in 1993 to the MRC Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge, then in 1997 to the University of York. In the 1990s he began researching facial expressions and emotion more generally, and was involved in some of the first neuroimaging studies of the roles of different brain regions in the perception of emotion. He complemented this work with converging neuropsychological studies and showed that  responses to emotion are often multimodal in nature, driven by auditory information as well as faces. His recent work has used magnetoencephalography to probe the time course of this multimodal neural response.
As well as being an influential researcher who has had the privilege of working with many distinguished psychologists and other valued collaborators, Andy has been President of the Experimental Psychology Society, the British Neuropsychological Society and the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of the BPS, and won the BPS Presidents’ Award in 1995. Away from psychology, he enjoys his family’s small collection of jukeboxes and wallboxes from the rock ‘n’ roll era and is the butt of many jokes for his anorak-level knowledge of old pop music and steam trains.
Andy Young has continued his collaboration with Vicki Bruce through books and exhibitions on face perception – their In the Eye
of the Beholder was based on a science–art exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and won the BPS Book Award for 2001. Their most recent overview – 2012’s succinctly titled Face Perception – offers an integrative account of what has become a major field of research.

Have your say in the Society’s future

As part of the Society’s consultation process, we are now inviting individual members to give us feedback about the future direction of the Society. This will help inform the Board of Trustees development of a new strategic plan to guide the Society’s work for 2015 to 2020.
The Objects of the Society as set out in its Royal Charter are to ‘promote the advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied and especially to promote the efficiency and usefulness of Members of the Society by setting up a high standard of professional education and knowledge’. 
These Objects provide the framework for all the activities we undertake. Within this broad framework our Strategic Plan sets out our priorities for development over each period of five years.
To inform the planning process for 2015–2020 we are focusing on the following questions:
I    What should the Society aim to achieve in the future?
I    What are the major areas of work the Society needs to undertake and with whom?
I    What are the key challenges and opportunities in achieving these
aims?
I    What sort of organisation does the BPS need to be to achieve these aims?

The deadline for submissions of individual responses is 30 September 2013. To take part, visit www.bps.org.uk/strategicplan2015-2020
If you would like to request a hard copy of the questionnaire please
e-mail [email protected]
or call 0116 254 9568.

Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Education Award

Phil Banyard, who is Reader in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, has won the Psychology Education Board’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Education for this year.
An important area of work for Phil has been the development of A-level Psychology in the school sector and its impact on the character of the subject. Phil wrote the first University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) GCSE in Psychology. He carefully designed a course that teachers would find as enjoyable to teach as students would to study. He was subsequently asked to write an A-level course and, over a period of 14 years, has held chief examiner roles at both GCSE and A-level.
The A-level syllabus he wrote took a radical approach by focusing on key studies in published research. This allowed students to get a feel for how psychology is conducted as well as learning about its findings and impact on society.
Phil led the project to pull together a major meeting of pre-tertiary psychology education stakeholders at the Royal Society’s Chicheley Hall in June 2012, and edited and helped write the resulting report, The Future of A-level Psychology. With his co-authors he launched the report at the 2013 Society Annual Conference in Harrogate, where it
was notably well received.
Phil’s own research activity focuses on education. For the last 10 years he has been a leading member of projects studying the impact of digital technologies in schools. This work attracted grants in excess of £1,000,000 from government agencies and the European Commission. He continues to publish on the topic. Over the past 30 years Phil has organised and presented at hundreds of INSET events for teachers of psychology and spoken at more student conferences than he can count. He is currently editor of Psychology Review, a magazine aimed at A-level students.
His other research activity includes publications on health information and the promotion of healthy behaviours, and also the benefits of narrative in training programmes.
    Jonathan Calder

Forensic psychology awards

The winners of the 2013 Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Awards have been announced at this year’s annual conference held in Belfast. The awards co-sponsored by Pearson Assessment, were presented at a ceremony that took place during the 22nd gala dinner at Titanic Belfast.
Dr Jo Bailey was awarded the 2013 Senior Award for Distinguished Contribution in Forensic Psychology. This award recognises an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to forensic psychology in the UK, and confers life membership of the Division.
On receiving the award, Dr Bailey, Lead Psychologist, and Directorate of Public Sector Prisons, NOMS HQ commented: ‘I am honoured… I have always worked hard to provide the best service I am able to, both within my organisational role, as Head of the Psychology Profession for the National Offender Management Service, and in my work over the years with the BPS through the DFP and the Qualifications Committee.
Dr Bailey has worked within HM Prison Service and NOMS since 1992 when she joined as a Psychological Assistant. ‘Throughout my career I have endeavoured to continually improve my own practice and those aspects of forensic psychology which I have been able to influence. I was particularly touched by my nomination from a variety of organisational managers and psychologists who focused on aspects of support, integrity and pushing for improvement and change.’
Professor Leam Craig, Consultant Clinical Forensic Psychologist, was presented with the Senior Academic Award from the Division of Forensic Psychology, which looks to acknowledge an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to academic knowledge in forensic psychology. Professor Craig said: ‘I am fortunate to share the intellectual companionship of a number of world-renowned practitioners and researchers in the field of violent and sexual offender assessment, treatment and research both in the UK and overseas. These research collaborations have shaped and guided my thinking and understanding of sexual violence, which has been a focus of my research at the University of Birmingham. It is hoped my research into the application of actuarial risk instruments and the assessment of clinical factors associated with sexual recidivism has practical value to forensic practitioners in the field.’
The 2013 Junior Award in Forensic Psychology was then awarded to Dr Ruth Tully, Forensic Psychologist. Dr Tully commented: ‘To be recognised for notable contribution to forensic psychology relatively early in my career has further inspired me to really make a difference within the field through the work and enthusiasm that I put into it.’

 

European coaching

The 4th European Coaching Psychology Conference, hosted
by the Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology (SGCP), takes place on 12–13 December 2013 at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
The theme of the conference is ‘Enhancing performance and well-being through coaching psychology’. Across both days,
there will be master classes, skills workshops and scientific papers. This year, the Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology also has
a ‘stream’ within the conference to consider performance and well-being needs specifically from the work perspective.
Professor Sarah Corrie (SGCP Chair) and Dr Dasha Grajfoner (SGCP Conference Chair) said: ‘This is a very exciting time in the field of coaching psychology. As we head towards the 10th anniversary of the Special Group, the 4th European Conference is an opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved, discover where we are headed and learn more about the difference that coaching psychology can make in all areas of life and work – as well as sharing knowledge and expertise for a unique educational experience.
I    The submission deadline is Tuesday 10 September:
see www.sgcp.org.uk and www.sgcp.eu

The Work–Life Balance Working Group of the DOP – What are we up to?
Roxane L. Gervais

The Work–Life Balance Working Group of the DOP aims to raise the profile of work–life balance. It does this using several media, including its newsletter  available in the BPS Shop (www.bpsshop.org.uk/DOP-Work-Life-Balance-Working-Group-Newsletter-Vol-3-Winter-2012-P2715.aspx), with the next edition available in the late summer. Please get in touch if you wish to contribute.
The working group has organised two seminars on 23 September 2013 at the BPS’s London office, in recognition of the start of the UK’s Work–Life Week. The morning seminar promotes recent research examining the resilience and potential benefits of work–life balance initiatives in public sector organisations. Findings from a qualitative study involving HR professionals identified a shifting emphasis from a fairness-led focus and mutual flexibility to a more explicit employer- and efficiency-led focus. Concerns were expressed about some pockets of management resistance and long-term sustainability, while acknowledging that continuing use of work–life policies can help avoid redundancies. Judy Greevy, Deputy Director of Engagement and Diversity at HMRC will discuss best practice and ongoing challenges in the shifting understanding and management of the work–life debate. Attendees will participate in small group sessions to discuss the findings and to identify key implications for practice and how to progress policies to meet employee need and service delivery as we move out of the recession.
The afternoon event focuses on the use of individual profiling to enhance organisational practice, employee well-being and performance. This format allows two leading researchers in the field to showcase their online assessment tools that were developed to support a more individual and efficient approach to work–life balance with clear benefits for organisations and employees. Dr. Christine Grant from Coventry University will demonstrate her work–life tool and discuss the importance of identifying key skills and behaviours that make a competent e-worker. While Professor Ellen Ernst Kossek at Purdue University, whose research led to the development
of the Work–Life Indicator, will connect via a video link. The Indicator assesses an individual’s approach to managing the boundaries between work and family and provides her/him with an integrated individual report and development planning guide.
The day will allow an extension of the knowledge and skills that underpin existing approaches to managing work–life balance. The seminars are equally appropriate for those wishing to improve their own balance, those involved in managing or coaching others, those responsible for their organisation’s work–life balance policies, as well as to those interested in uncovering future trends in this critical debate.
I    Find more information about the seminars at http://bit.ly/1cR5dOh

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber