Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Why do kids love to 'play monster'?

Why do kids love it when parents, or other caregivers, play monster and scare them ?

Dr Emily Freeman from the School of Psychology studies the role of play between parents and children and how this lays the foundations for positive child developmental outcomes. 

In an interview to the Journal Fatherly, by New York journalist Lexi Krupp last week, Dr Freeman suggests kids enjoy how "the jolt of fear escalates regular play into exhilarating drama, without the risk of real danger." They get the heart beat and the excitement while staying in a safe environment. 

The article is now available for online view:

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Head of School welcome to 2020

Welcome back to UoN, it is going to be an exciting year with new people, new courses and new events.

I know for many of you that it has been a challenging summer, typical of our Australian summer, we have lurched from fire to ice, from drought to flood (but apparently there is nothing wrong with our climate! ). I know that many of our staff and students have been badly impacted by the fires over summer, but even for those of us not directly affected, the hour-by-hour media reports of lost homes, devastated environments, and burnt animals can be gut-wrenching. It is important to find peace and optimism where we can.  However If anyone is finding it difficult to settle into the year after such a tumultuous summer, please reach out.

Through this year we will be welcoming some new staff into our school, bringing in some new and interesting areas of expertise. Dr Myles Young is coming to us in April from the UoN’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition. His interests are in physical and mental health, particularly weight loss programs for men, who are vastly underrepresented in weight loss programs, despite the long term health problems associated with being overweight. 

Also starting in April is Dr Sharon Savage who is a clinical neuropsychologist. Originally from Australia, she is currently in Exeter, and her research focuses around ageing and dementia. 

In addition to Myles and Sharon, we will have an Indigenous scholar starting with us in a few months – we have yet to appoint someone into this position, but I am very proud of our school in acquiring this position to help us navigate Indigenisation of teaching and conducting community-led research.
These changes reflect the enormous success that we have had in increasing our student numbers, both in our individual courses, as well as our programs. We have our inaugural BPsycSci(Adv) program starting this year with 26 students, and we have new offerings with new modules in PSYC2800 and 3800 as well as a new 1st year elective PSYC1800 Sex, Drugs and Serial Killers. Like PSYC2800 and 3800, this will be a fully online course in which we take an informative  and revealing look at issues such as sexuality, gender identity, the evolution of attraction, addiction, recovery, and the dark triad (tetrad?).

At some point this year we also plan a Staff vs. Students charity event! There is still some discussion around what this should look like – some of us are opting for a sport event of some sort, while others of us feel that something like a trivia night might give us staff a better edge on the students J Any thoughts or suggests are very welcome.

So, as I said, many new things happening and I am looking forward to sharing them with you. It is also the Chinese year of the rat, traditionally a year of wealth, surplus and fertility. Make of that what you will J

Take care and have a wonderful 2020.

Kind regards