The School of Psychology is pleased to announce the following scholarships that are available for International (non EU) students applying for undergraduate and postgraduate study commencing in September 2009:
Two Psychology Scholarships for 50% of fees.
There is one 50% undergraduate bursary and one 50% masters bursary. These will be awarded on a merit basis to the applicant (max 1 per year per level) who has completed a bursary statement and who is deemed to have outstanding qualifications for their chosen programme of study.
Two £2000 Undergraduate Psychology Scholarships.
Three £2000 Masters Psychology Scholarships.
All International students: International students may alternatively apply for an International Student Scholarship from the University International Office.
To apply for one of the Psychology Scholarships, candidates must submit a 500-1000 word statement in support of their application, which answers the following question: Why have you chosen to apply to study Psychology at Bangor? Deadline for Scholarhsip applications: Friday 19th, June 2009. This should be submitted with a short covering letter to:
Admissions and Marketing Administrator
Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2AS
e-mail: Admissions Administrator telephone + 44 (0) 1248 382629 fax + 44 (0) 1248 382599
Experts in virtual reality at Bangor University are all set to contribute to an exciting large-scale project to develop what they term a 'real-virtuality' simulator. Showcased recently at a UK 'Pioneers 09' event at London's Olympia Conference Centre, the 'real-virtuality' simulator project network has identified experts within the UK who could turn the simulator concept into a reality.
They aim to develop a 'virtual cocoon' that will not only recreate sights and sounds but also smell, feel and even taste, to create a fully immersive perceptual experience. As well as the obvious entertainment value of such an experience, the developers also see potential for use in education and other applications such as business and virtual tourism. Such applications could help protect the environment by reducing the need to travel.
Vision scientist Simon Watt at the School of Psychology will work on the visual element of the display technology. He studies how the human visual system works and will be ensuring that the display system is designed to best suit how our brain re-creates the sense of three dimensional objects from the signals sent by our visual system.
Currently in early 'proof of concept' phase, the research network, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, has established that the know-how to make the prototype a reality exists within the UK. The next phase would see the network gaining major funding from one of the UK government funded research councils to develop the project over a number of years.
Advances in cognitive neuroscience (the science of how the brain works when we think) have shown that what our eyes see and what our brain interprets are two different things.
Professor Guillaume Thierry, Dr Panos Athanasopoulos and colleagues report in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that our language causes our brains to perceive colours differently. Dr Athanasopoulos explains: “Our language forces us to cut up the world in different ways. Greek speakers systematically use two different terms to refer to blue: the sky is ghalazio (light blue), never ble (dark blue), and a blue pen is ble but can never be ghalazio. English speakers would have no problem calling both the sky and a pen blue in an instant.”
To see whether language shapes our biological and physiological processes of colour perception, the researchers used a technique called event related brain potentials (ERPs). This technique tracks activity in the brain millisecond by millisecond. Professor Thierry explains: “We know that the visual system in our brain begins processing stimuli like colour a few tens of milliseconds after light has hit the retina of the eye. We also know that language consciously invades our thinking about 200 milliseconds later. Using ERPs, we are able to look at very early stages of visual analysis, well before conscious language information is accessed.”
The researchers found differences in visual processing of light and dark blues between Greek and English speakers as early as 100 milliseconds, suggesting that indeed, speakers of different languages literally have differently structured minds.
New discoveries about how the brain processes facial expressions could lead to improved ways of educating and training for people with a rare genetic neurodevelopmental condition called Williams Syndrome. Reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience (28.2.09), Dr Debra Mills, a Reader at Bangor University's School of Psychology, reports that, as a result of their research, the team have learnt more about exactly when and where the brain processes positive and negative emotional expressions. Her research using a combined electrophysiological and brain imaging (fMRI) approach was conducted jointly with colleagues at Stanford University and the Salk Institute in the US. They discovered that a part of the brain that responds to fearful expressions in most people, is actually more active as a result of happy faces in people with this disorder.
The Audience Response System (ARS) is an electronic voting system similar to that used on the television programme “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” when the contestant wants to “ask the audience”. In the television show, the contestant asks the audience a question, and the members of the audience then enter a response on a personal handset. A computer collates the answers and displays them for the audience to see in an easy to understand format. The ARS is used in the same manner during a lecture. A lecturer can pose a question to the students, and they then enter their responses on a personal handset, with the answers collated and displayed to the class on screen as a graph.
The system is used in conjunction with Powerpoint, with the questions displayed on one slide, and then the answers displayed on the next slide. The responses are almost instantaneous. The system is going to be used with some of the largest lectures at the University to foster interaction between a single lecturer and up to 400 students.
The use of insults at a young age improves social skills and helps children develop a sense of humour according to research by Dr Erin Heerey of the School of Psychology. Her research also found that "play fighting" gives pupils the chance to tell the difference between real and pretend violence and she insists that teasing and nicknames were an "essential part of life" and should not automatically be confused with bullying. Teasing helps children to discover how to use their bodies, voices and faces to communicate nuances of meaning, she added.
Dr Heerey said: "I think it takes a while for kids to gain proficiency. You can watch teenagers queuing up to buy a movie ticket and they banter with one another. They say really horrible things to one but they are all laughing and it's all fun."
Dr Heerey carried out recent research into the role that teasing plays in US college fraternities. It found older students mocked newcomers with crude nicknames about drunkenness and other failings in a way that encouraged them to change their behaviour and helped group bonding. The study - with Dacher Keltner of California University - found that these "playful humiliations" led to people becoming better friends. When the researchers revisited the group two years later, students who had been the butt of jokes were in leadership positions and playing the same role of passing on social norms.
Dr Heerey, originally from Wisconsin, said British people seemed more serious with their teasing than Americans. She said: "People will say something outlandish with a totally straight face. But people in Britain poke fun at themselves a little bit more than Americans. "As an American, you're expecting to see these non-verbal cues that say 'I'm joking' but you don't see them - but they are there and you just have to look a little closer."
Wales' psychology students got together at Bangor University on Friday 4th April to discuss their research at the 37th BPS Welsh Branch Annual Student Conference. Twenty-nine research papers were presented by students from all the Welsh universities teaching psychology, with a particularly strong representation (22) from among Bangor.
The third year undergraduate and Masters' degree students presented their research findings to a mix of students from all levels within the department.The research include assessing different learning and teaching methods, assessing whether improved information improves a patient's satisfaction with healthcare services, assessing how we read faces and social cues and questions such as why people who hear voices do not develop schizophrenia.
"We're delighted both to be hosting the event and that so many of our own students have taken advantage of the opportunity to present their own unique research findings. Presenting their research will be a great learning experience for them. Having their research papers published in the Conference proceedings will also be an excellent addition to their career CVs," said Professor Oliver Turnbull, Head of the School of Psychology at Bangor University.
Professor Bob Woods of Bangor University's School of Psychology is to lead a major new research project investigating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of ‘reminiscence groups’ for helping people with dementia and their carers. The groups, run by professionals and volunteers, use photographs, recordings and other objects to trigger personal memories for people with dementia, and it is thought that this may help to maintain their autobiographical memory and improve their relationships with their carers, but there is little evidence about their effectiveness. The £1.2 million trial is commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme. In the project, researchers will investigate the effectiveness and added value of reminiscence group therapy compared with the usual care that people with dementia are offered.
“The growing number of people with dementia, and the increasing cost of caring for them, provides a major incentive to develop and test methods of supporting them in the community for longer,” says Professor Woods. “Drug treatment has received most attention, but there is increasing evidence that psychological and social interventions may be equally effective, even preferable where medication has negative side-effects. We hope that the results of our study will provide the NHS with important evidence to help inform the care of people with dementia.” View full details about the project.
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