The idea they can speak to a real psychologist kinda blows their mind. They read about studies in books but don’t see those researchers as actual people
Teacher, Society Zone, June 2018
In 2018 the British Psychological Society (BPS) agreed to fund multiple IAS psychology zones each year, where students across the UK connect with psychologists and BPS members.
Below are the main findings from evaluating the zones funded by the British Psychological Society between June 2018 and March 2019.
Download the report: BPS Psychology Zones: Annual Summary Report 2018-19 [PDF]
Six psychology zones were run across three events:
- June 2018: Society Zone; Wellbeing Zone
- November 2018: Childhood Zone; Memory Zone
- March 2019: Perception Zone; Relationships Zone
BPS members and other psychologists are keen to take part. 37 psychologists took part, answering students’ questions and taking part in live chats:
- 68 BPS members applied to take part.
- 35 psychologists were given places in BPS funded zones; 24 were BPS
- 2 BPS members took part in additional (non-BPS funded) zone
69% of students talking to the psychologists were from widening participation or underserved schools.
Demand from teachers for classes was double the space available.
The topic of psychology, the specific zone themes, and the psychologists’ different fields of research and their work were all popular topics of discussion in the zones.
Students were also interested in the topic of being a psychologist with discussions around ethics and research participants; as well as the topic of mental health conditions, with questions about ways people can improve their mental health, as well as more specific questions to those psychologists whose work related directly to mental health.
“I have learnt that taking psychology as a GCSE in a couple of years will help me develop my knowledge and will give me a greater ability to become a doctor.” — Student, November 2018
Students and teachers report that taking part in IAS helps to improve students’ attitudes and motivations towards STEM, and careers and further education in STEM
“There were questions that really challenged me as a scientist and reminded me why I love this job … As scientists sometimes we forget about the myriad of questions that haven’t been nswered, and it was great to have students remind us about them.” — Vassilis, psychologist
Psychologists report that taking part in IAS improved communication skills and gave psychologists a broader understanding of how young people view psychology and science.
£3,000 in prize money was distributed among the six zone winners (four of whom are BPS members) to be spent on further public engagement with psychology.