Monday, October 08, 2012

Free public lectures on psychology in London and Oxford

In recent days I have come across a couple of free public psychology events that may be of interest to a wider audience.

26 October 2012 (1-2 p.m.) - The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

Spooks and spoofs: psychologists and psychical research in the inter-war years
Professor Elizabeth Valentine

Several physicist fellows of the Royal Society were interested in psychical research in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between the wars, William McDougall FRS and other senior academic psychologists became involved with amateur psychical researcher and author Harry Price. They attended séances at his laboratory and were members of his University of London Council for Psychical Investigation.

Why did reputable psychologists and the University of London cooperate with someone of dubious integrity who lacked scientific credentials? One reason for their mutual attraction may have been their common engagement in a delicate balancing act between courting popular appeal and asserting scientific expertise and authority.

Elizabeth Valentine is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

5 December 2012 (6-8 p.m.) - The Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford

The Case Against Neuroleptics: What history and science reveal about the long-term efficacy of antipsychotics for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
Robert Whitaker

Robert Whitaker is a journalist and author who specialises in medicine and science. In America his articles on psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry have won a George Polk Award for Medical Writing, and a National Association of Science Writers' Award for best magazine article. In 1998 he co-wrote a series on abuses in psychiatric research that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

He is the author of four books. His most recent, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, was described in the New Scientist as an “enthralling and frighteningly persuasive book … one whose astonishing intellectual punch is delivered with the gripping vitality of a novel.”

You can read more about Robert Whitaker on his blog for Psychology Today.

This lecture forms part of the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology. It is open to anyone, whether they have registered for the conference of not. You can just turn up on the day, but it would be a great help if you could register your intention to attend in advance.

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