BPS funded dance films explaining statistical concepts launched online

Four short films that aim to communicate a number of statistical concepts through dance are now available on the British Psychological Society's You Tube channel.

The films are the product of a 2011 BPS Public Engagement Grant project called ‘Communicating psychology to the public through dance’ that was awarded to Dr Carl Senior, Aston University, and Lucy Irving from Middlesex University. Developed in collaboration with Professor Andy Field from the University of Sussex, they aimed to help psychology students get to grips with what is seen by many as the most difficult part of a psychology degree. The films also received funding from IdeasTap. 


Lucy explained: “We hope that representing complicated psychological constructs and statistical procedures in fun and memorable ways will enable more psychology students to understand and engage with them.” 

Over the course of the project Lucy and Andy worked with a professional choreographer and a filmmaker who conceived ways of communicating these concepts on film through dance and movement.


Lucy said: “We worked with the choreographer and experimented with the dancers to find ways of communicating the concepts.  Our hope is that as well as being fun and educational the films will demystify and take some of the fear out of statistics.  Students often report that ‘the stats’ are the most difficult part of their psychology degree and these the films aim to challenge this by demonstrating that thinking about them in new ways may make them easier to comprehend”.

The concepts are: correlation, variance, frequency distributions, sampling and standard error.

The videos are available via the BPS You Tube channel now.

Follow the conversation on Twitter @statsdancer and #dancingstatistics  

The Society runs an annual public engagement grant scheme. Through these grants we aim to help members promote the relevance of evidence-based psychology to wider audiences either through direct work or by organising interesting and relevant communications activities. Find out more.

IdeasTap is an arts charity for young, creative people at the start of their careers. Visit their website for more information.