‘Psychology: The Future’ Conference

7 October 2021

Written by Aisling, Year 13

On Tuesday 5th October, Year 12 and 13 gathered in the lecture theatre along with 90 other schools across the country (virtually) to hear from leading academics specialising in psychology and experts working in fields related to psychology. The conference was titled ‘Psychology: The Future’ and it aimed to give students an understanding of the future of psychology and inspire them to consider a future career in the field. 

Our first speaker of the day was OHS alumna Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore who delivered a fascinating talk on the human brain, sharing with us her ground-breaking research on the topic. Taking the risk to follow this field of study, having previously researched Schizophrenia, both her story and her work was an inspiration to many. 

This was followed by Dr Bishop’s talk on placebo effects which highlighted the interaction between medicine and psychology which intrigued many viewers. 

Professor Goodwin was next and shared his global research on COVID-19 and the effect of crises on individuals while also suggesting ways that governments can ensure accurate messages are understood and followed by all. In the era of COVID, his talk was both applicable and poignant.

Next in the day was Professor Ann Blandford who talked about the psychology behind health technologies showing the interdisciplinary nature of psychology with computer science along with the future potential of psychology to impact many different areas of study. Her unconventional career path was also inspirational and extremely enlightening. 

Dr Kate Woodcock continued the day’s discussion by providing insights into the use of psychology research in helping create strategies to help children suffering from behaviour issues, particularly those struggling with neurodevelopmental issues. The effect that research can have on the day-to-day lives of individuals was evident throughout her talk and extremely interesting to see first-hand. 

Dr Kutlaca, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Durham University gave a fascinating talk on Allyship as the next speaker for the day. Particularly in the wake of social movements such as Black Lives Matter, learning about the motivations of particular social groups within social movements and the factors that help them succeed was extremely valuable. 

We then moved on to a talk by Ms Keelie Perham about her role as a forensic psychologist in a prison which was extremely interesting allowing us to learn about this career path and the practical uses of a degree in psychology. She gave us some brilliant insights into why people commit the crimes they do and the importance of rehabilitation for the criminals and for society. 

Professor Arjun Sen, Head of the Oxford Epilepsy Research Group, gave a talk next on ‘How seizures affect thinking’ allowing us to learn about the effects of epilepsy and the impact of research on people who suffer from this illness. He also showed us the increase in antiepileptic drugs which overall gave us an idea of the importance of treatment and how it correlates to thinking.

We ended the day with an amazing talk by Dr Jelbert from the University of Bristol, on the science of happiness. She spoke to us about the teaching of this subject which will hopefully be seen in many universities in the future. 

Thank you so much again to all the speakers for all their help and support in making the day such a success. This day would not have been possible without the help of our psychology teacher, Ms Dass and Mr Hay for managing and running the technical side of the conference. We were also delighted to have such a wide range of schools attending us and hope that they enjoyed the day as much as we did!

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