'Psychology: The Future' Conference

Royal High voices, Sixth Form

On Tuesday 5 October, one of our GDST sister schools, Oxford High School hosted an inspirational conference for 90 schools from across the country to hear from leading academics specialising in psychology and related fields. The conference was titled “Psychology: The Future” and was open to all GDST psychology A Level students as a way of furthering our knowledge about topics we will discover throughout the course. We heard from nine psychology professionals covering topics varying from, “Forensic Psychology” by Ms Keelie Persha to “Applying Insights from Psychology to the Design of Health Technologies” presented by Professor Blandford, and even the prescient, “Psychology in Covid-19” by Professor Goodwin.

An eye-opening presentation from the day was Dr Bishop’s talk regarding “Placebo effects in Medicine”. The Placebo effect is when a substance or treatment which is designed to have no therapeutic value takes effect and cures the patient it is tested on. Common placebos include sugar pills, saline injections and sham surgeries. This talk was really intriguing as we learnt that 12% of doctors have already prescribed patients pure placebos as their form of treatment. For example, 51% of patients have responded to “antidepressants” via the placebo effect. The main reason that placebos are so effective is because they stimulate pharmacies in our brains to expect results after receiving treatment, which releases neurochemicals to reduce symptoms. From this we learnt that medicine and psychology aren’t so different and there are many overlaps.

We also heard from Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore who works in the psychology department at Cambridge university and has a PhD in Neuroscience and has lectured to people all over the world via her TedTalks. Her interest in psychology developed when she wanted to further her research as to why some people’s brains create symptoms of schizophrenia and why others don’t. This lead to her interest in the adolescent brain development which was what we heard her talk about. We personally found this talk really interesting as it explained the “sensation seeking” behaviour of teenagers and it offered an insight into why boys and girls act differently. It was also amazing to hear from such an inspirational and renowned psychologist.

Thank you so much to Oxford High School for hosting this engaging conference and thank you to Mrs Looker and Mrs Newman for giving us such a brilliant opportunity. We are so grateful to be a part of the Girls Day School Trust, because without it we wouldn’t be able to attend events like this.

By Rosie and Annabel

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Above credit: elisa_riva