Psychology Christmas lectures

This years Royal Institution Christmas lectures have a Psychology flavour. Professor Bruce Hood presents 3 lectures focusing on the brain entitled:

  • What’s inside your head?
  • Who is in control?
  • Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

These 3 lectures will be televised on BBC Four on the 27th, 28th and 29th December 2011 and available on iPlayer. Viewers are encouraged on their website to get involved on Twitter (#xmaslectures).

There are a few ways to use this to enhance students learning:

  1. Tweets made in relation to the lecture content could be a great source of discussion for the classroom, so are worth having a look at.
  2. Not surprisingly the third lecture in the series focuses on Theory of Mind which is perfect for students who, like mine, are studying Cognition and Development as part of Unit 3 (AQA spec A).
  3. Why not even hold you own “New Year lectures” in school/college (or as a collaboration with students from other nearby schools/colleges), inviting groups of students to devise their own brief program that they think would be of interest to others (including non-Psychologists). Bruce Hood’s behind the scenes commentary on the making of the lectures could be inspiration for students’ own contributions, as he shares his initial thoughts by saying “How do you make the seemingly obvious and familiar both scientifically relevant and engaging?”.   If your students sit a January module in A2, this could be the perfect interlude before starting the unit you have saved for the summer. This could be a task for everyone, or an extension task for your budding undergraduate Psychologists.

You could take this last idea even further by engaging the rest of the Science department in this event. Bruce Hood highlights his annoyance, in an interview in this months edition of The Psychologist (BPS), that Psychology is perceived as a “soft science” as the media portrays it as “common sense”. Your series of 3 lectures could focus on a range of areas of “science”, including Psychology, to promote the discipline and justify its place within science.

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