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Press Centre

The Society’s Press Centre promotes evidence-based psychological research to the media and wider audiences.

Our Press Centre team issues press releases for papers published in our Journals and given at our conferences, maintains the Society’s website and social media accounts, and provides advice and training for members on working with the media.

In addition the team works diligently to put journalists in touch with Society members who have signed up to our media database.
 

Recent press coverage generated by our press releases or featuring the Society and its members.

Working with the media can bring personal benefits for psychologists and benefit the profession as a whole.

Benefits for psychology include promoting the profession, increasing public understanding of psychology and attracting more young people to study the subject.

Personal benefits include:

  • Encouraging public interest in your work
  • Building your reputation as a good researcher or practitioner, and as a good communicator
  • Bringing your work to the notice of other professionals
  • Attracting future funding for your research
  • Obtaining feedback - you can be on the radio in minutes and in print the next day
  • Having fun - interacting with the media can be enjoyable

If you are interested in working with the media and joining our database of media-friendly experts, please contact the Press Centre.

Media ethics

Documentaries about people with various psychological problems have done much to increase public understanding of these conditions.

But working with members of the public – and children in particular – means that production companies must be concerned to safeguard the welfare of those taking part.

The Society’s media ethics group can advise on programme formats and the treatment of participants to help companies bring their idea to the screen.

To access this help please email us or ring 0116 252 9500 and we will put you in touch with the appropriate contact
 

Professional standards

Members of the Society who work with the media or participate in media productions are encouraged to uphold professional standards:

Respecting the dignity and autonomy of contributors and other persons:

  • being open in dealings with production companies and contributors
  • working on a basis of valid consent from contributors
  • promoting fairness and sensitivity in portraying individuals and groups
  • advocating reasonable rights of reply
  • observing best practice standards for privacy, confidentiality and anonymity which are only infringed with the valid consent of the individual(s) concerned or where there is a clear over-riding public interest
  • refraining from public comment on the behaviour or psychology of identifiable individuals where there is any risk of offence, distress or other harms
  • considering potential effects on third parties such as relatives and colleagues of contributors
  • advocating caution in the use of archive or library material involving emotional trauma, illness, death or suffering, or revelations of a personal nature, and in the need for appropriate consent for the re-use of such material or material supplied by third parties
  • advocating for the protection of the rights of persons who are vulnerable or of limited capacity

Supporting high standards of integrity:

  • maintaining high scientific standards of accuracy and evidence
  • advocating respect for academic freedom and integrity
  • advocating coverage of a diverse range of views and fostering debate
  • advocating for engagement with appropriate ethics review
  • avoiding offering comment, opinion or advice beyond one’s professional competence
  • maintaining high standards of professional practice and ensuring appropriate supervision and support from professional peers
  • respecting the duty of confidentiality to one’s clients
  • ensuring that one’s correct professional title is referenced in the production or in the credits, as appropriate

Being socially responsible:

  • recognising that media production exists within the context of human society and has a potential for great influence
  • accordingly, acknowledging a shared collective duty for the welfare of human and non-human beings, both within the societies in which media production takes place, and beyond them
  • considering possible risks and seeking to minimise them while maximising benefits
     

Additional guidelines on working with the media are available from the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations (EFPA).

Psychologists can be involved in television programmes in a number of different ways, both on and off camera.

By using psychologists who are members of the British Psychological Society, production companies can be assured the expert they are utilising has in-depth training and qualifications in psychology and has signed up to a set of Member Conduct Rules.

Our Media Database for journalists gives details on how to get in touch with more than 600 media-friendly psychologists.

Roles on TV for Psychologists

Whatever role the psychologist performs, the key is to involve them early in the process. Production companies who factor in ample time will most probably find the most appropriate psychologist.

Generating ideas

As the expert in their area, psychologists are in a position to offer the very latest insights and ideas. If they are approached early in the process (rather than when a programme has already been commissioned or is in production) they may be able to suggest different angles or inspiration.

It is also important to involve psychologists at the beginning of the process so they can advise production companies whether or not the programme idea is supported by evidence. Psychologists use evidence to underpin everything they do, so problems occur if they are asked to be part of programme that is based on an assumption that the evidence does not support.

Involving a psychologist early in the process also helps to flag up any potential problem areas, including ethical implications, before too much time is invested in a project.

Research and advice

Psychologists can also be involved in more in-depth research, citing studies or theories that may be of use. They can also offer suggestions as to how tasks might be carried out or environments might be changed to make them more accessible or suitable for television.

Selection and screening of participants

Psychologists, and more specifically clinical or counselling psychologists, are able to assess the mental well being of people who could potentially become involved in television programmes. They carry out clinical assessment using methods including psychological tests, interviews and direct observation of behaviour.

Off-camera support

Psychologists can work behind the scenes to ensure the well-being of participants. They can discuss with the participants the implications of taking part and make sure each individual gives informed consent. They can also take responsibility for the mental health of the participants and/or crew while the programme is being made and be a willing and understanding person to speak to once the programme has concluded.

On-camera support

Exactly the same role as above can be filled by the psychologist who appears on-camera as the psychologist who is involved behind the scenes. The on-camera psychologist will ensure the well-being of participants although the on-camera psychologist's actions will of course be filmed. However, there are times when it is necessary to have a separation between what is said to a psychologist in public (on-camera) and what is said in private (off-camera).

Commentary

Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour so it covers more or less everything we do in everyday life. Therefore, psychologists are often able to provide psychological insights into every day behaviours and thought processes. They can analyse footage or be interviewed as a 'talking head' However, psychologists specialise in particular areas of psychology when they undertake their postgraduate qualifications and training so are not qualified to talk in-depth about all areas.

Presenter

While psychologists are respected academics or practitioners they are also very enthusiastic about their subject and so can make great presenters. This is helped by the fact that most are used to presenting psychology in a non-scientific way meaning they can make it accessible to television audiences.

It is unlikely that a psychologist will want to be involved in presenting a programme if they have been involved in selection or are offering support.

Our press team are based at our Head Office in Leicester, and can be contacted by phone, email, or post, at:

The British Psychological Society
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East
Leicester LE1 7DR

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9500 (note: this number is for media enquiries only)

Email: [email protected]

During normal office times you can expect a quick reply, or the next working day for out of hours enquiries.

Please note: the press team are only able to respond to queries from journalists and media researchers.

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