The Community Lab – a day of interactive psychology exhibits at Skegness Aquarium
Members of staff from the School of psychology showed off their research in a collection of fun, interactive exhibits at Skegness Aquarium in November 2017. Members of the public from children to over 60’s enjoyed learning about colour vision, migraines, face perception, eye tracking and monkeys’ facial expressions, as well as about psychology and the brain in general.
The whole-day event ran as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science, a programme of over 300 events which takes place each November. Kay Ritchie (lecturer in cognitive psychology) gained funding from the ESRC to run the event and organised the day.
Kay said “In recent years there has been an upsurge in interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), and a big push to get more young people interested in these subjects. Psychology can sometimes be left behind a bit by these initiatives. Psychology sits in both the worlds of science and social science – we use rigorous scientific methods in our experiments, and often ask questions about the social world. The Community Lab was a great opportunity for us to show how exciting psychological research can be, and to speak to members of the public about social sciences in general.”
“I chose Skegness Aquarium as the venue for the event because I wanted us to surprise people with psychology demos in a location they wouldn’t normally expect to find us. I think it is really essential that we as scientists explain to members of the public, adults and children, what it is that we’re doing and why it’s important. Taking our demos to people, and speaking to them in their own towns rather than expecting them to come to us is an important aspect of this. We spoke to lots of people who had no prior contact with the University or researchers, and I hope we inspired a few people to find out more about psychology.”
The day was enjoyed by lots of families from around the East Midlands, as well as our own team.