BPS updates

Meet our editor, and our editor meets

A collection of interviews conducted by Jon Sutton, plus the odd feature. Updated occasionally.

17 March 2015

I walked into the BPS offices in Leicester as a 25-year-old, barely out of my PhD and with zero experience in editing or management. The assistant editor, Peter Dillon-Hooper, and production guy Mike Thompson, were there that day and have provided committed, loyal and good-humoured support ever since.

Those early years are a bit of a blur… we got the magazine out every month but the pace of change was much slower than I would have liked. I have to admit I cringe when I look back on some of our output! But The Psychologist was evolving, and there were also some significant shifts such as launching the Research Digest, which has gone on to be so successful.

In the last decade I have finally felt like we are getting there, but we have so much further to go. The months fly by and we are providing more content, to more people, in more places, in more ways, than we ever have. To keep that up, we really do need to hear from you with feedback, suggestions, people or topics you would like to see featured. 

Some people who have been instrumental in any good we have done: in particular, Dr Graham Powell, Dr Paul Redford, Professor David Lavallee and Dr Catherine Loveday as inspirational and supportive chairs of our editorial advisory committee; and the wonderfully talented Dr Christian Jarrett as our Research Digest editor and journalist for several years.

But of course it's also about the Society membership, without whom I would have no hope of filling the pages each month! So I have collected together some of the interviews I have conducted over the years, and the features I have written through talking to so many brilliant people. I hope you enjoy them.

Our editor meets… 

Jim Horne - a cornucopia of sleep research 

Julian Boon - forensic psychologist 

John Wearden - 'time is all you've got'

Andrea Burri - in the heat of the moment

Alison Gopnik - the supreme infant

Emma Donaldson-Feilder - managing to make a difference 

Trevor Robbins - at the interface

James Blair - Chief of the Unit of Affective Cognitive Neuroscience 

Lucy Yardley - the life guide

Susan Greenfield

Tanya Byron - a tearaway success

Dorothy Miell - new Society President

Christina Salmivalli - KiVA - against bullying

Henrik Ehrsson - body illusions

Nicola Yuill - children and technology

Ian Walker - vulnerable road users

Jo Green - expectant mothers

Sean Haldane - neuropsychologist and poet

Allan Hobson - sleep and dreaming

Patrick Devine-Wright - sustainable energy

Tim Radford - science editor of The Guardian

Andreas Roepstorff - an interactive mind

Marinus van IJzendoorn - children and attachment

Gisli Gudjonsson - a thirst for the truth

Craig Knight - taking control of your space

Bruce Hood - 'we are not in control'

Nancy Doyle - the genius within

Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin - the longevity project

Jo Silvester - what makes a good politician

Cordelia Fine - battle of the sex differences

Francesca Happe - a creative, interpersonal scientist 


Update: Some more interviews, published after March 2015

Sophie von Stumm - curiosity and the Hungry Mind Lab

Asifa Majid - the content of minds

Fleur-Michelle Coiffait - 'the families are at the centre of all this'

Douglas Vakoch - what would you say to an alien?

Jonathan Haidt - 'We have to bust up the orthodoxy'

James Pennebaker - 'real things are just endlessly fascinating'

Adrian Owen - at the flimsy border between life and death

Kavita Vedhara - imagine the brave new world

Paul Stenner - the thrilling and terrifying incitement to 'be different'

Marcus Munafo - the conspiracy of silence around science

Erica Burman - encountering hostility to critiques

Adam Buxton - on podcasting and double acts

Essi Viding - 'individuals are active agents in their own environments' 

Emmy van Deurzen - 'they tried to paint me into a corner where I didn't belong' 

Josep Call - comparative psychologist

Lily Bernheimer - environmental psychologist

Sarah Garfinkel - on interoception

Paul Curran - on giftedness and more

Richard Wiseman - on his book 'Shoot for the Moon'

Emmanuelle Peters - on psychosis

Katherine Carpenter - 'That whole journey you do with the patient takes skill and time'

Jenny Taylor - 'You can safely and effectively stretch the boundaries of how we create change'

Claudia Hammond - 'We are busy about everything'

Stephany Biello - 'We are interested in how the clock breaks down'

Stuart Ritchie - 'We need a certain amount of humility'

Kathryn Scott - 'The levers the government are pulling are psychological'

Rowena Hill - pandemic interviews in three parts

Emily and Laurence Alison - 'These are becoming lost skills we need to recapture' 

Peter Olusoga and Hugh Gilmore - 'We have a reponsibility to go beyond sport'

Kirsten Johnson, Director of 'Dick Johnson is Dead'

Veronica O'Keane - The buried emotional tangle in the rag and bone shop

Sahil Suleman - cancer and Covid

Clifford Stott - 'For us it's about getting out of the laboratory and into the field'

Suzanne O'Sullivan - 'They had embodied a narrative'

Tom Buchanan - 'We are all involved in this false information universe'

Angharad Rudkin - 'All of the research is pointless if we can't digest it'

Will Storr - 'Storytelling is your best weapon for convincing people'

Mary-Frances O'Connor - 'You can't really study grief without studying love'

Jenny Terry - 'We need the BPS to understand who we are'

Maxine Woolhouse - 'What we eat, how we eat, how much, it's all part of our class identities'

Greta Defeyter - 'I'm one of them' (also a podcast, live from Latitude Festival)

Lucie Byrne - 'The people we work with literally love health psychology' (plus event report)

Brendan Gough - 'You start to break it down a bit and play around' (plus event report)

Tom Ormerod - 'It's part of the fightback…'

Robin Banerjee - 'Are we going to be snapped back into individuality?'

Shanu Sadhwani - 'What we need right now is hope'

Gerard Drennan - 'If there is trauma, there will have been harm… we need to attend to it'

Power: Our fundamental concept. Meeting Brian Klaas, Jessie Singer, and Mark Knights

Emily Turton - 'Home is quite a frightening place…'

Andy Tolmie - 'It's only through change that you can see what a thing really is'

Ben Alderson-Day - 'The mind can go so far in creating phantoms of others' [also available as a podcast]

Adrian Whittington - 'We've never been in a more fertile environment for psychological approaches to take root…'

Aimee Aubeeluck - 'The world needs health psychologists' (plus event report)

Roxane Cohen Silver - 'Be self-protective about media exposure to tragedy'


… plus some features:

An evolving, collaborative feature on 'Telling Psychology's stories of change'

Growing up with psychologists - with Aidan Horner

Words and sorcery: the causes and consequences of bad writing (with Simon Oxenham)

For those psychologists about to rock… we salute you. Now a Spotify playlist thanks to Charles Fernyhough.

When psychologists become builders (where psychology and LEGO intersect)

Towards healthier meetings (with Abi Millar)

Bullies – thugs or thinkers? (outlining the research which won the Society's Doctoral Award)


… and some 'curios'

Are you analysing me then? Other people's perceptions of psychology (Student Writer Competition winner) - maybe the first appearance in The Psychologist, February 1997!

When psychology came to my rescue (for the Research Digest)

Seven deadly sins: My sloth (for Research Digest sin week… it was the last one left, Jon's not really slothful...)

The wilderness of the mind

Where the Wild Things Are (a small contribution to an 'Eye on Fiction' on his favourite children's book)

Looking back: 25 years of The Psychologist (there HAVE been other editors, and Jon enlists their help here)

Jon's draft Advance Decision

In conversation with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and author Fiona Neill at Latitude Festival 2015

In conversation with Professor Elizabeth Stokoe at Latitude Festival 2016

Three days of reports from the APA conference, put online at the end of each day… track Jon as he loses his mind…

Increasingly thinking he's Adam Curtis or something

News features on screentime, 'tone' in the replication debate

Reviewing Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks and Underland (the latter as part of an 'Under…' special which Jon thought was a great idea but nobody else did). 

Reporting from Paris and from the 2020 Conference

'The magazine is you' - in conversation with Catherine Loveday (and, it has been pointed out, hogging both the conversation and the photo)

The summer 2020 edition, 'Towards a new normal, and beyond'. In the circumstances, this went pretty well…


A review of John Higgs' 'Love and let die: Bond, the Beatles, and the British Psyche'

A report from Conversation Analysis day, and tribute to Charles Antaki

Not Jon's article, but it's on Dad Jokes and he came up with the headline…


… we end with a couple of Jon's favourite quotes, the first dedicated with thanks to all those whose work he has butchered over the years!

"An editor may be butcher, but they are also a midwife, a parent, a nanny, a matron, a therapist, a conspirator and a friend. But don't forget that, in the end, only a butcher can turn a live, stamping, snorting, animal into something you can stomach." - Nell Frizzell

"In terms of your careers, do not stay in the same place for too long – you will get taken for granted after about five years, or, worse still, get too comfortable. Moving helps you learn." - Professor Clive Fletcher