Cognitive Psychology Section

The Annual Cognitive Section Conference is the principal means by which the Section serves its membership and this year’s event was held in September at Keele University. The conference was organised by Dr Sue Sherman and attracted around 100 delegates.

The Section was delighted to welcome Professor Ulrike Hahn (Cardiff University) to this conference as the recipient of the 2011 Annual Cognitive Section Prize. This award was presented for an outstanding paper published with Paul Warren in 2009 in Psychological Review entitled 'Perceptions of randomness: Why three heads are better than four'. Professor Hahn delivered a fascinating keynote address based on this paper which many delegates agreed was one of the real highlights of the conference programme. 

The Annual Conference was also privileged to have two further keynote lectures delivered by esteemed colleagues working in the area of human memory. First, Professor Andrew Mayes (University of Manchester) opened the conference by delivering the 2011 Broadbent Lecture entitled 'Medial temporal lobe functional heterogeneity: Recollection, familiarity and kind of information'. Professor Mayes reviewed state-of-the art research combining cognitive neuropsychological lesion studies and functional imagining approaches in understanding the mechanisms underpinning recollection and familiarity effects in human memory.

On the final day of the conference, Professor Andrew Yonelinas (University of California, Davis) delivered a keynote entitled “Recollection and familiarity: From memory to perception”, which nicely complemented the opening address by Prof Mayes. Prof Yonelinas presented an exciting theoretical framework that can integrate and unify an understanding of the recollection and familiarity phenomena that arise within both the memory domain and the perception domain. 

The conference also featured symposia on a wide range of topics, including: Timing; Detection and Recognition; Influences on Cognition; Cognition and Music, and Parkinson’s Disease (sponsored by the Parkinson’s Disease Society). As usual, too, the conference included a stimulating variety of individual papers and posters submitted by established researchers and postgraduate students. Many delegates remarked on the very high quality of the papers and posters that were presented at this year’s event. On behalf of the Cognitive Section Committee and the delegates who participated in the conference I would like to extend my considerable gratitude to Dr Sue Sherman for organising such a successful conference and associated social programme. 

Next year’s Annual Cognitive Section Conference will be held at the Menzies Hotel in Glasgow (29 to 31 August 2012) and is being organised by Dr Allan McNeill (Glasgow Caledonian University). The Cognitive Section is always keen to encourage postgraduate attendance at the Annual Conference, and the way that this is supported is by offering bursaries to contribute to travel and accommodation costs.

Over the past year cognition research presentations also prospered at the BPS’s Annual Conference, which was held at the Marriott Inn, Glasgow in May. The principal keynote address by Professor Elizabeth Loftus (Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine) was extremely well received by delegates, as were two linked symposia organised by Dr Kimberly Wade (University of Warwick) on “Current issues in face identification and eyewitness memory” and “Reducing and detecting false autobiographical memories”. 

As incoming Cognitive Section Chair I would like to offer my thanks to all Officers and Members of the Cognitive Section Committee for their continuing commitment to supporting Section activities and events. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr Catriona Morrison as outgoing Cognitive Section Chair and thank her for her excellent, dedicated service in this position for the past four years. 

Linden J. Ball, Chair