A Level Psychology Conference

Wednesday 17th April 2019

On Monday 25 March, a group of L6 A-level psychology students attended a one-day student conference, at the Emmanuel Conference Centre in London.

Hannah S (L6) kindly gave the following write up of their trip:


“We embarked by coach on our fun and informative trip to the Emmanuel Conference Centre in London. On our arrival, we found our seats in anticipation for the day ahead of us.

Over the course of the day, we listened to five thought-provoking talks about various topics, including: revision, memory, a case study about serial murder and the inhumanity of people.


Our first speaker was Dr Phil Banyard. He spoke about ‘The Blooming Buzzing Confusion’ – at first a slightly ambiguous, but intriguing title. He explained that everything surrounding us is not always what it initially might appear to be. Shapes can be associated with sounds, different combinations of sounds can change the tone of a song and what a baby first sees might be different to what we perceive they are seeing as they have blurred vision. This was a great way to start off the day because it immediately grabbed our attention and presented some fascinating ideas about how humans see the world from a psychological perspective.



After a short break, the second speaker took to the stage. This was Cara Flanagan, who is one of the authors of our A Level Psychology textbook. Her topic was ‘The Psychology of Successful Revision’. During this presentation she gave us some tips about coping with the run up to exams and the assessments themselves.

We found her advice really helpful in preparation for our upcoming end of year exams next term. So, hopefully, some of her suggested techniques will be effectively put into practise over the Easter holidays in order to achieve top grades. For example: she suggested writing songs and learning them to help us to remember information, and also practising answering questions under timed conditions to get used to the exam conditions.



Then, Professor David Wilson of Birmingham City University, an ex-prison governor, spoke to us, after beginning his presentation by showing us videos about his recent work. His focus was about understanding serial murder using the case study of Jack the Ripper.

Although we had not learnt about this subject matter prior to the conference, it was exciting to find out about current prison sentences and how effective they are as methods of punishment for convicted criminals. In addition, it was extraordinary to find out that, despite all the advances in forensic science, no one has been able to establish conclusively who Jack the Ripper was.



After lunch, Professors Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher did a double act informing us about the ‘The Extraordinary Inhumanity of Ordinary People’. They used an experiment which we study for A Level, called Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, to convey to us the concept of the inhumanity of people. Personally, this was my favourite talk of the day because I found it useful as it helped me to consolidate my understanding of the study further.



The day ended with Professor Elizabeth Loftus speaking to us. We were really fortunate to hear her speak, as she had come all the way from America to attend the conference, and she is one of the psychologists whose research we have been studying this year. Her talk was based on the idea that memory matters. She spoke about her experiment relating to misleading information, and some of the current research that she is conducting about false memories. When she had finished talking, a question and answer session was held where we were given the opportunity to ask her some questions.



Following this, we returned to school by coach feeling tired, but enthused by the new knowledge we had gained from our exciting day out, which helped to both broaden our understanding of psychology beyond the A level course curriculum and to consolidate what we have learnt so far this year.”


Thank you so much Hannah for your account of your trip to the A Level Psychology Conference.

We’re glad you found this trip so entertaining and informative.

Good luck to all of our students currently preparing for their upcoming examinations.



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