Psychobiology Section 2011

The Psychobiology Section held its Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) at the Low Wood, Windermere, on 5 to 7 September 2011. The event attracted over 40 delegates who enjoyed a mixture of high quality scientific presentations, the beauty of the Lake District, and the excellent facilities of the venue.

Our two guest lecturers were generously sponsored by Cambridge Cognition, and reflected two broad areas of interest shown in the delegates’ papers also. Professor Doug Carroll from Birmingham University spoke on the behavioural, cognitive and health corollaries of blunted stress reactivity, whilst Professor Phil Terry from Kingston University spoke on the associative conditioning of drug effects in people. Both lectures were enthusiastically received by delegates.

Our annual undergraduate project prize was sponsored by Salimeterics Ltd, who have been generous in supporting this prize for a number of years. This prize is for newly graduating students, and this year’s winner was Hannah Collyer from the University of Bath who gave an excellent talk on her dissertation entitled ‘Investigating the default mode interference hypothesis in adult ADHD’. 

There were no changes to the Section’s committee at the AGM which was, as usual held as part of the ASM. The contributions of committee members to the work of the Section were acknowledged. Dr Sarita Robinson and Dr Trudi Edginton had served on the Scientific Subcommittee for the ASM, with Trudi also serving as the Webmaster for the Section and as the organiser of a symposium presented by the Section at the BPS Annual Conference in May 2011.

Dr Richard Stephens had served as the Section’s newsletter editor, Dr Cathy Montgomery as the Secretary, and Dr Anna Scarna as the treasurer of the Section. One innovation at the AGM this year was to have a guest speaker, namely Simon Bowen the Director of Membership Support and Services, based at the BPS head office in Leicester. Simon spoke on the various benefits of membership which the BPS now provides, and outlined the Society’s intentions to develop these in future. 

The symposium at the BPS Annual Conference in Glasgow conference which the Section organised had been entitled ‘Enhancement or Impairment? The effects of what we consume on our cognitive processes’. Five papers were presented which covered the effects of plant metabolites, red wine, caffeine, nicotine, and the drug ‘ecstasy’ (MDMA) on our cognitive processes, with the last of these papers being presented by the chair of the Section. The symposium attracted some national media attention, and our thanks go to Professor David Kennedy, Dr Crystal Haskell, Emma Wightman (all from Northumbria University), and Dr Lynne Dawkins (University of East London) for their presentations.

The 2012 ASM will again be held at the Low Wood, Windermere, taking place from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th September. Our guest lecturers have already been arranged and these are (alphabetically) Prof. John Aggleton from Cardiff University, and Prof. Clemens Kirschbaum from the University of Dresden. We look forward to welcoming them both, and to welcoming a large turn out of our members in September.

Professor Philip Murphy, Chair