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Public engagement event encourages young people to study science

19 July 2017

Both zones sponsored by the Society in last month round of I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here led to lively debate that was valued by the school students and psychologists taking part.

And students taking part in past rounds of I'm a Scientist have reported a most positive attitude to science and said they are more likely to choose a science subject at the next stage of their education when surveyed at the end of the project.

Lisa Morrison-Coulthard, the Society’s lead policy adviser, said:

“We are delighted with the findings of these evaluations. The Society sponsored the Relationships Zone and the Mental Health Zone as part of our work bringing evidence-based psychology to a wider public.”

The two zondes were won by Sam Carr from the University of Bath and Jermaine Ravalier from Bath Spa University respectively.

In each, five psychologists were challenged by school students in live online chats, with the eventual winner being decided by a student vote.

Seventeen A level classes from school around the country took part in the Relationships Zone. The questions were informed and thoughtful, with students asking about the individual psychologists’ research areas as well as engaging in wider discussions about relationships.

One psychologist, Rose Turner from Kingston University, researched and explained the psychology behind the love triangle in the Twilight books.

Sixteen A level classes took part In the Mental Health Zone. Its theme mean that many students drew upon their own experiences of those of friends and family when questioning the psychologists.

And one of the psychologists taking part spoke openly about their own experiences with mental health issues, which helped students understanding of the topic and helped diminished the stigma around it.

Speaking at the end of I’m a Scientist, Sam Carr said:

“In the end, I believe that 'asking questions' is by far the most critical and important part of any science. Your questions have been wonderful – and may you continue to ask interesting, challenging, outlandish, and crazy questions long, long into the future. Science really, really needs that.”

Jermaine Ravalier said:

“I hope that we’ve inspired at least a few students to go on to become a psychologist in your later careers. It’s a subject which has something for everybody, meaning that you can go on to study any area of human behaviour that you might be interested in. I’m going to start working on the project which will allow me to introduce more of you to the actual world of psychological research once the summer is over, so hopefully I will be able to help some of you with this experience.”

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