News

Society News

EPS / BSA Undergraduate Project Prize Winner for 2020

Congratulations to Lenard Dome from Plymouth University (and Lenard’s supervisor, Professor Andy Wills) who has been selected as the winner of the EPS / BSA prize for best undergraduate research project in experimental psychology!

There were many outstanding submissions brought to the attention of BSA and EPS, congratulations on all nominated projects. More details of Lenard’s presentation to the EPS will be provided in future messages.

Society News

EPS award nominations for approval at the Annual General Meeting in January 2020.

Following the EPS committee meeting that took place last week, we are delighted to announce the Committee’s award nominations for approval at the Annual General Meeting in January.

Election of Forty Ninth Bartlett lecturer

The Committee seeks approval for the following nomination:

Professor Chris Frith (University College London)

Election of Nineteenth EPS Mid-Career Award lecturer

The Committee seeks approval for the following nomination:

Professor Mike Anderson (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit)

Election of Twenty Eighth EPS Prize lecture

The Committee seeks approval for the following nomination:

Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox (University of Cambridge)

Election of Ninth Frith Prize lecturer

The Committee seeks approval for the following nomination:

Dr Emma James (University of York)

Election of Officers and Committee Members

The Committee seeks approval for the following nominations:

Early Career Representative

Dr Daniel Yon (Goldsmiths)

London Organiser

Dr Jo Taylor (University College London)

Conference Secretary elect

Dr Andrew Johnson (Bournemouth University)

Ordinary Committee Member

Dr Elisabeth Bradford (University of Dundee)

Forthcoming Workshop

Invitation: Royal Institution – ‘Hearts and minds: The science of behaviour change’.

The Royal Institution are holding an event called ‘Hearts and minds: The science of behaviour change’ and invite you to an evening packed full of revelations about how we work as human beings. Click here to find out more!

Many problems that our society faces – climate change, poor health, depleted natural resources – require us to change the way we do things. To combat climate change we need to use less fossil fuel. To reduce obesity we need to eat less and move more. To reduce lung cancer we need to stop smoking. The list goes on.

So if we know what to do, why aren’t these problems solved? Behavioural science has found that we don’t always act rationally or in our best interest, and simply being told what we need to be doing doesn’t work. Understanding how people make decisions can help us design interventions that encourage people to change behaviour in beneficial ways. However, there is an important balance to be struck between personal freedom and helping people lead better lives.

Join a panel of experts as they explore this fascinating area at the intersection of psychology, economics and policy.

About the speakers
Susan Michie is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL. Susan’s research focuses on developing the science of behaviour change interventions and applying behavioural science to interventions. She works with a wide range of disciplines, practitioners and policy-makers and holds grants from a large number of organisations including the Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Research, Economic and Social Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

Nick Chater has over 200 publications, has won four national awards for psychological research, and has served as Associate Editor for the journals Cognitive Science, Psychological Review, and Psychological Science. He was elected a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society in 2010 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2012. Nick is co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology; and is on the advisory board of the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insight Team (BIT), popularly know as the ‘Nudge Unit’.

Toby Park leads the energy and sustainability work at BIT (Behavioural Insights Team), covering topics as diverse as domestic energy use, sustainable transport and wider pro-environmental behaviours including recycling, food consumption, air quality and water conservation. The energy and sustainability team also work closely with the productivity and economic growth team, with an interest in promoting sustainable business practice and green growth. Toby also works with our consumers team supporting our housing work.

Toby’s background is originally in engineering, having spent a number of years running environmental impact assessments and acoustic design work for architectural and building services clients. He returned to academia to focus on social and cognitive psychology before joining BIT in 2014. He holds Masters degrees in Engineering (1st class) and Psychology (distinction).

The event will be chaired by Stavroula Kousta, Chief Editor of Nature Human Behaviour.

Timing
The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm.

Latecomers will be admitted to the gallery.

Filming
This event will be filmed and on the Ri’s YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

Accessibility
The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.

Related (non-EPS) activities

Call for Papers

Music and Lifetime Memories: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Music and Lifetime Memories: An Interdisciplinary Conference, will be a 2-day interdisciplinary conference (1-2 November, 2019) at Durham University on music and lifetime memories, with Featured Lectures from Professor Andrea Halpern (Bucknell University, USA), Dr. Alexandra Lamont (Keele University, UK), and Professor Catherine Loveday (University of Westminster, UK).

Submissions for oral presentations are now being accepted, until 15 May 2019. Full details are available on our website: https://musicscience.net/events/music-memory-conference/

Any questions can be directed to Dr. Kelly Jakubowski (kelly.jakubowski@durham.ac.uk). 

Related (non-EPS) activities

Meeting of the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, Chemical communication in humans.

Chemical communication in humans
Monday 1 – Tuesday 2 April 2019
Kavli Royal Society Centre, Chicheley Hall, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9JJ
Professor Craig Roberts, Dr Jan Havlíček and Professor Benoist Schaal
https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2019/04/chemical-communication/

This meeting will bring together an international group of biologists, psychologists, linguists, anthropologists and chemists to present and discuss emerging evidence of human chemical communication.

The meeting is free to attend; participants just have to cover their accommodation, travel and subsistence. Interested participants can request an invite on the website.

Related (non-EPS) activities

2019 Psychonomic Society Honours & Awards: Call for Nominations

Each year, the Psychonomic Society invite you to submit nominations for one or more of the 2019 awards. Please spread the word that nominations are now open!

The Psychonomic Society is committed to scientific merit, which entails the inclusion of scientists of all genders, races, sexual orientations, countries of origin, geographical locations, and disciplinary expertise. Please critically examine your deliberations to eliminate biases that detract from our commitment to merit.

2019 Fellows (Spring class)
• Fellowship recognizes members who demonstrate clear evidence of independent scholarship, active engagement in methodologically rigorous and theoretically interesting high level research, and indications of an imminent national/international reputation for excellence in the psychological sciences.
• Deadline: March 1, 2019

2019 Mid-career Award
• Nominees will have normally completed their PhD 15-25 years before the nomination deadline.
• The nominee must be a current Member or Fellow of the Psychonomic Society, with preference given to Fellows.
• Up to two awards, each with a $2,500 USD prize and airfare to the Annual Meeting in Montréal.
• Deadline: March 15, 2019

2019 Early Career Award
• Awardees must have completed their highest degree (typically the PhD) no more than 10 years before the year in which the award is given.
• The nominee must be a Member or Fellow of the Psychonomic Society.
• Up to four awards, each with a $2,500 USD prize and airfare to the Annual Meeting in Montréal.
• Deadline: March 15, 2019

Graduate Travel Awards
• Up to fifteen Graduate Travel Awards, each with a travel stipend of $1,000 USD to attend the Annual Meeting in Montréal.
• Submissions open: March 1, 2019
• Deadline: April 15, 2019.

J. Frank Yates Student Travel Award: supporting diversity and inclusion in cognitive psychology
• Up to six Yates Student Travel Awards, each with a travel stipend of $1,000 USD to attend the Annual Meeting in Montréal.
• Submissions open: March 1, 2019
• Deadline: April 15, 2019.

2019 Distinguished Leadership Award
• New in 2019, this award is given to an individual who has been in the field for 10 or more years and has shown evidence of making major contributions in both of the selection criteria areas listed here. These contributions must demonstrate sustained and ongoing leadership.
• Up to two awards, each with a $1,000 USD prize.
• Deadline: June 1, 2019

For more information on criteria and eligibility, visit the Psychonomic Society Awards web page. Any questions may be directed to Members Services at info@psychonomic.org.

Society News

REF 2021 news for UOA 4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience – 31st January 2019

Today sees the publication of the REF 2021 Guidance on Submissions, Guidance on Codes of Practice and on the Panel Criteria and Working Methods https://www.ref.ac.uk. These documents are the product of extensive consultation and are designed to provide clarity on the full range of activities related to REF 2021. The disciplines of psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience have been actively involved in this process and their views have been taken into account in arriving at the final forms of the guidance. We are writing to fill you in on two important developments related to UOA 4 arising from this consultation.

Research cost levels
Following concerns about the wide range of research costs across the UOA, the REF team considered a proposal to differentiate the cost levels of individual outputs. Over the summer, a pilot exercise assessed the feasibility of the approach and there was wider consultation with HEIs and learned societies regarding its potential value.
Feedback from the 61 participating HEIs indicated that the process of assigning cost activity to outputs was moderately straightforward. However, responses to the wider consultation on this issue were mixed. A significant minority of respondents including key bodies within UOA 4’s subject communities set out clear reservations. Some respondents were opposed to the principle of using REF to capture information on funding and expressed some related concerns that it may lead to an alignment of cost and quality in the assessment. Many considered that the proposed approach would skew the selection of outputs and that this could distort investment and research focus in these disciplines more widely.

Sub-panel 4 discussed the outcomes from the pilot and the consultation at its meeting on 14 November. After extensive consideration of risks and benefits, it advised the funding bodies that the differentiation of research cost by output had high levels of risk and did not have sufficiently broad support from the community to proceed. The decision was supported by the REF Main Panel A and the REF Steering Group decided not to pursue this approach. Thus in common with all other UOAs in REF2021, there will be no classification of outputs by research cost in UOA.

Following concerns about the wide range of research costs across the UOA, the REF team considered a proposal to differentiate the cost levels of individual outputs. Over the summer, a pilot exercise assessed the feasibility of the approach and there was wider consultation with HEIs and learned societies regarding its potential value.

Feedback from the 61 participating HEIs indicated that the process of assigning cost activity to outputs was moderately straightforward. However, responses to the wider consultation on this issue were mixed. A significant minority of respondents including key bodies within UOA 4’s subject communities set out clear reservations. Some respondents were opposed to the principle of using REF to capture information on funding and expressed some related concerns that it may lead to an alignment of cost and quality in the assessment. Many considered that the proposed approach would skew the selection of outputs and that this could distort investment and research focus in these disciplines more widely.

Sub-panel 4 discussed the outcomes from the pilot and the consultation at its meeting on 14 November. After extensive consideration of risks and benefits, it advised the funding bodies that the differentiation of research cost by output had high levels of risk and did not have sufficiently broad support from the community to proceed. The decision was supported by the REF Main Panel A and the REF Steering Group decided not to pursue this approach. Thus in common with all other UOAs in REF2021, there will be no classification of outputs by research cost in UOA.

Colleagues in the funding and policy teams at Research England and the other
funding bodies will continue to consider how best to approach the funding question
outside of the REF process.

Appointment of a qualitative methods expert for the assessment phase
In response to requests from the relevant academic communities, the REF team
agreed to make an early appointment to the sub-panel of a specialist in qualitative
methods for the assessment phase. The process of appointing to this role has
started and will draw from the nominations for sub-panel membership in Spring 2018.

This appointment will be announced at the earliest opportunity.
Over the coming period the sub-panel will continue to support broad understanding
of the REF 2021 process and how it applies to our disciplines. We will keep open all
channels of communication and are committed to ensuring that REF processes are
applied with fairness, consistency and transparency in our UOA.


Yours sincerely,

Professor Susan E. Gathercole

Chair of UoA 4 Psychology

Psychiatry and Neuroscience sub-panel

susan.gathercole@mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk

Professor John P. Iredale

Chair of REF 2021 Main panel

Ji16531@bristol.ac.uk



Society News

EPS response to REF consultation on UoA4 costing exercise

As a Learned Society, the EPS was invited to consider the current REF consultation exercise, and submit a response to a variety of questions. The deadline was 15 October 2018. The Officers do their best to express a view in response to consultations that fits with their understanding of Members’ interests and attitudes, and with the overall field of experimental psychology, bearing in mind the constraints in how such exercises are timed. The broader strategy of the Society can be, and often is, actively debated at AGM.

At a number of points in the REF cycle, the EPS has attempted to offer constructive suggestions and views to inform decision making at the discipline-level, whilst refraining from commenting on many issues that fall within the remit of institutional decisions or practices. The EPS committee agreed to comment specifically on the proposal that REF introduce a costing exercise for UoA4. For transparency, we report on the EPS submission below.

12a. How feasible do you consider to be the approach set out at paragraphs 267 to 271 for capturing information on the balance of research activity of different costs within submitting units in UOA 4? (300 word limit)

The Experimental Psychology Society opposes the costing of research outputs from UoA 4. Our concerns about feasibility relate to measurement, coherence, and risk of perverse incentives.

We recognise that research costs vary across projects. This is the case in many UoAs, and therefore it is not clear why costing of research outputs should be applied idiosyncratically in UoA 4.

The consultation document proposes costing of methods used in research, rather than the actual total cost of a piece of research, in the sense of its Full Economic Costing (FEC).  It is easy to think of experiments with low-cost methods but high FEC, or vice versa.  The UK science funding framework is based on FEC, and it is hard to defend using different costing frameworks for research funding (FEC) and research assessment.  Two key factors that affect the FEC of research are not mentioned: one is researcher time investment, and the other is size of a dataset.  Both have a positive effect on research quality, and particularly on research reproducibility.  The current proposal risks rewarding small, irreproducible studies with high infrastructure costs, and penalising careful reproducible studies with lower infrastructure costs. This would be a major scientific mistake, and runs contrary to the current, consensual focus on improving the reliability of research.

REF focuses on the evaluation of research outputs; it is not tuned for the assessment of cost, an input measure, or for the assessment of outputs relative to inputs. We endorse this focus on outputs, and see a serious risk that conflation of input and output measurement will encourage institutions to believe they can gain by driving up the cost base of research. It is likely to encourage the use of expensive research methodologies, which is not the same as the REF’s stated aim of encouraging excellent research.

12b. Are the examples of high cost and other research activity sufficiently clear to guide classification? (300 word limit)

Based on the examples, we do not have confidence that classification will provide valid and reliable indicators of cost. One problem relates to change in costs over time. If an institution invests in expensive equipment, the costs of the first output (based on the initial capital) will be different from the next (in which the initial capital is no longer directly relevant). Another problem relates to distribution of effort. Use of expensive methods often involves collaborative teams, often working internationally. If we understand the consultation document correctly, a UK researcher who submits a paper with cutting-edge fMRI data collected at another university will bring money into the university that employs them, not the university that bore the cost of the neuroimaging facility.  (The Experimental Psychology Society advised against such ‘portability’ in a prior REF consultation.) We see no reliable way of directing the rewards towards the institutions that actually incurred the costs, which brings the risk of a perception of unfairness.

Published papers will not generally provide enough information to make accurate estimates of the cost of the methods used.  Misconceptions abound: brain stimulation, for example, is mentioned as a high-cost method, yet sample sizes are small, analyses are often simple, and the equipment can be cheap.  In animal studies, stains, reagents and vectors vary dramatically in cost, but the cost will probably be known only to those who buy them. Assessors may not have information to make accurate estimates of cost, and should not therefore be asked to do so.

12c. Please provide feedback on any specific points in the guidance text as well as the overall clarity of the guidance. (300 word limit)

Para 270 proposes a classification into three bands based on the percentage of research activity that is classed as high cost. This may encourage departments to select outputs based not on the quality of the research but on the cost of the infrastructure in order to ensure classification in a preferred band. This has the potential to be divisive, and runs counter to the central aim of the REF: to reward excellence.

The Experimental Psychology Society agrees that advanced research methods are important, and REF should encourage rather than discourage investment in key research infrastructures, such as animal labs and neuroimaging.  In our view, this should be done through the *environment* assessment, rather than through output assessment.  That way, funding for high-cost infrastructures is guaranteed to go to the HEI that bears the cost, which is not the case for output assessment.  We recommend that the REF team consider how evaluation of methods-based facilities in the environment assessment can take account of the research productivity of methods-based facilities, as well as their existence.  HEIs should be rewarded for facilities that produce useful research, not for facilities that are poorly used.

Forthcoming Workshop

Research Workshop: The psychology of upper-limb prosthetic use. To be held at Manchester Metropolitan University, 19 March 2019 – organisers Gavin Buckingham, Same Vine and Greg Wood

The human hand is remarkable, and the loss of an upper limb represents a huge challenge for one’s sensorimotor system. To address this challenge, we will bring together psychologists, prosthetists, bioengineers, and prosthetic-users to present and discuss work which furthers our understanding of the psychology of upper limb prosthetic use.

This day-long workshop will take place on the 19th of March 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan University, immediately prior to Trent International Prosthetics Symposium which is being held in the same city.

Further details, including registration and abstract submission, can be found here:  https://prostheticsworkshop.wixsite.com/event

Society News

Small grants and study visits: open for open science!

The EPS committee have agreed to make explicit in the guidance for small grant and study visit  applicants that we welcome proposals that specify relevant open science practices. These awards are used for a wide variety of purposes and without being restrictive, we are simply encouraging applicants to frame their proposals in ways that help convince an audience of their potential value to applicants and the community.

Forthcoming Workshop

Research Workshop: Memory malleability over time. To be held at University of Kent. 10-11 January 2019

Traditional research into the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie long-term memory has typically focused on how we encode information from a single exposure into memories that are then retrieved once in a test phase. Through these type of paradigms, we have learned a lot about the brain mechanisms that underlie memory for unique experiences. However, in real life, very similar experiences are often encoded multiple times, and memories are often retrieved/reactivated repeatedly. Recent evidence suggests that repeated encoding and retrieval can change memories in different ways. The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers who investigate long-term memory malleability over time from different theoretical angles and using different cognitive neuroscience methodologies.

 Further details can be found here: https://kentmemoryworkshop2019.weebly.com/

Organisers: Zara Bergstrom and Robin Hellerstedt

Journal News

New video material of Andy Young’s Bartlett paper

Andy YoungIn what we hope will be the first in a series of commissioned video resources, Andy Young talks about the research and the ideas that are central to the 45th Bartlett Lecture on “Faces, people and the Brain”. This is now hosted here

We hope this resource will be useful to everyone from students to colleagues, and provide a helpful supplement to the paper itself. We should also note that, as part of the Journal partnership with SAGE, the Bartlett paper is free to view.

Andy’s Society Lecture is also available to members here

Member News

Obituaries

It is with great sadness that we record the following deaths:

Anne Treisman, February 2018. Anne was a recipient of the EPS Frederic Bartlett Prize award in 1987. Her Bartlett lecture can be found here:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02724988843000104

 

Peter Venables, April 2017. Peter was elected and served as Honorary Secretary of the EPS in 1965-1967 and President of the EPS in 1969-1970.

Peter Venables

Annette Karmiloff-Smith, December 2016. Annette was a recipient of the EPS Frederic Bartlett Prize award in 2012.

 

Anyone interested in writing an obituary in respect of any of the above, for the website/newsletter is welcome to contact the Hon Secretary for more details.

Journal News

Update to journal format

QJEP has made changes to the existing format of two types of journal article – comments and book reviews.

First, comments will be allowed to alleviate the problem that readers have few options to raise their concerns (or support) about an article published in QJEP. Comments are short (1000 words at most), deal with articles published in QJEP or with general issues faced by psychological researchers, and will be published at the end of an issue. Normally they will not go to reviewers but be decided upon at the Editorial level. Given our experiences at the Meetings of the Experimental Psychology Society, it is our conviction that such commentaries can become a vital and very informative part of the journal.

We also discovered that many readers miss the Book Reviews section, which had to be dropped a few years ago because the publication lag was becoming too long. Now that the journal has many more pages (and could further extend if needed), there is an opportunity to revitalise that part. Philip Quinlan kindly accepted to be the new Book Review Editor of the journal and readers are invited to send him suggestion of must-be-reviewed books. More importantly, readers who want to help making this section a success, are invited to send in their names as possible reviewers (please also include your subjects of expertise/interest).