Psychology and Biology Symposium

A Level Stonar students studying psychology and biology were inspired by attending a symposium at Millfield School where they attended lectures and workshops delivered by national and international experts in their fields.

The conference attracted more than 200 students from schools and colleges in the south west of England.

The Keynote lecture was lecture delivered by Professor Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society in the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol. Prof. Hood talked about the human domesticated brain and showed how humans had adapted to their changing environment to evolve a domesticated brain that was very different to our evolutionary past. Prof. Mark Levine (University of Exeter) delivered a fascinating talk on pro-social and anti-social behaviour to show how individual bystanders and groups can prevent aggressive behaviour but also how the use of virtual avatars in a virtual reality pub setting can induce hostile feelings and emotions in humans.

Florence Jumpp shared her experiences of working in research and training with 'Kids Company', a charity proving practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable children and young people, showing how neglect can produce neurological changes in the brain. In the biology field, Dr. Nick Kent (Cardiff University) showed how novel next-generation chromatin sequencing techniques can be used to understand basic chromatin biology relevant to human health, crop improvement and the evolution of the human genome structure. Finally, Dan Bucknell, Executive Director of Tusk UK shared his extensive elephant conservation work in Africa.

Lauren Fairley, Year 12 said "Attending the symposium was an amazing opportunity and it was fascinating to see different practical applications for psychology."

Anthony Curtis, Head of Psychology and Careers, also delivered two workshops on exam skills and techniques. He said 'this was an outstanding event for our pupils who were immersed in a fascinating series of biology and psychology lectures and workshops by leading national and international speakers in their field. It provided excellent preparation for University life after Stonar whilst also giving them top tips and techniques for their forthcoming examinations. I would like to thank the psychology staff at Millfield for organising this fantastic event. Future links with the Stonar and Millfield schools are now being explored, including joint conferences and student publication opportunities'.