Spotlight on... psychology
Posted on 16 February 2017

Student Oliver Ujszaszi with Nicola Dawson

Next up, we have the spotlight on psychology, in which students use scientific research methods to investigate the human mind and make sense of human behaviour.

The skills learnt can take students on various career paths including teaching, medicine and social work.   

Students have recently taken part in pioneering research being conducted by the psychology department at Royal Holloway, University of London into the study of word learning.

The ability to learn new words is paramount to academic achievement, social development and success beyond school and college. It is estimated that between the ages of 12 and 17 adolescents encounter up to 10,000 new words through textbooks alone.

This study focuses on the role of morphological knowledge. Morphology is the study of the structure of words and a morpheme is the smallest unit of a word that conveys meaning. For example, in the words ‘disregard’ and ‘dislike’ the morpheme ‘dis’ indicates a reversal in meaning. Morphological knowledge may help to account for the fact that pupils are able to learn new words that have not been explicitly taught.

Nicola Dawson, PhD Researcher at Royal Holloway and her team gave the students the opportunity to ask questions about experimental design and rationale.  The experience of taking part in a study will help the students in putting together their own research projects. 21 students took part with Oliver Ujszaszi winning a prize. Nicola will be back in June to carry on her research.

If you would like to learn more about what’s happening in psychology follow the @Psych_SFCF twitter feed and click here for more information on the course we offer.