Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Exploring Psychology: Quality Information Resource (All in The Mind)

Exploring Psychology

When you study psychology at college or University you are introduced to a range of often competing theoretical perspectives. A very useful way of understanding any psychological theory in greater depth is to see it being applied in the 'real world'. Allowing you to do just that, is a radio show from the BBC called All in The Mind.

All in The Mind is described as a show that explores the limits and potential of the mind, revealing the latest research and bringing together experts and commentators from the worlds of psychiatry, psychology and mental health. Coming from the BBC obviously some of the issues discussed are more relevant to UK psychology, for example, a recent show featured the president of The British Psychological Society addressing the issue of statutory regulation among psychologists. The show does, however, also cover a very wide range of generic psychology topics and is, therefore well worth checking out.

There is a section on the BBC website dedicated to the show and although it's not currently on air, visitors can listen to past shows in full dating back to 2005. To give you an example of the eclectic mix of psychology topics covered on the show the following programme details are taken from a broadcast I listened to back in July.


Fifty percent of the population holds some form of paranormal belief. Parapsychology research is booming and there are UK university departments studying phenomena such as psychics, séances, and telepathy. Much of the growth of parapsychology in the UK might be owed to the late Bob Morris, who in 1985 became the inaugural holder of The Koestler Chair of Psychology in Edinburgh University.

Dr Raj Persaud discusses the latest developments in the world of parapsychology with Dr Caroline Watt, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a founder member of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at Edinburgh University; and Professor Christopher French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, University of London.


The psychological and scientific study of laughter has recently taken a turn for the serious. Evolutionary theory argues that any behaviour as universal as laughter must have some solemn survival purpose. And laughter has such profound effects on people’s brain and mind that it is now being seriously deployed to assist those suffering bereavement, having surgery, and even fertility treatment. Could further understanding of the function laughter served become a weapon in our armoury of persuasion and manipulation of others?

A recent study by the Universities of Kent and Liverpool revealed that laughter acts as a social lubricant and increases altruism towards strangers. Mark Van Vugt, Professor of Social Psychology and a member for the University of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Group Processes explains how this theory was tested.


The United States defence agencies are looking at ways of improving soldiers’ endurance and psychological performance as well as ways of using brain power to remotely control machines, such as robots or aircraft.

Professor Jonathan Moreno, Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia, talks about his latest book Mind Wars – Brain Research and National Defense - which reveals how advances in brain research may change the way wars are fought in the future, and how developments in neuroscience could be employed to control soldiers, or maybe even the enemy.

Click Here to listen to this broadcast in full.

Click Here to visit and explore the All in The Mind Homepage.

Exploring Psychology

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