• Video

Festival of Psychology

Updated Friday, 1st April 2022
Four experts from a variety of fields in psychology talk about their research and areas of work.

These presentations, given by speakers from universities across Wales, provides an opportunity to:

  • Learn about excellent psychological research happening in Wales and beyond
  • Understand the impact psychological research has many areas of everyday life
  • Hear about the breath of areas in psychology and the diversity this field offers

For anyone who is a psychology student, the presentations may also provide a chance to develop ideas for your own project or research study.


The presentations took place on Thursday 27 January 2022 as part of the OpenTalks series of events run by The Open University in Wales. The event was also made possible by the British Psychological Society

Read more about the speakers and their presentations below.

Keynote lecture: Child language brokering as a family care practice: Reframing the ‘parentified child’ debate

Yr Athro / Professor Sarah Crafter

Professor Sarah Crafter
Professor of Cultural-Developmental Psychology
The Open University

This presentation explores the perspectives of young people who act as child language brokers. These are children and young people who translate and interpret for family members, local community and peers following migration to a new country. There has been considerable debate within the field of child language brokering about whether the practice poses a risk to children’s wellbeing and impacts negatively on parent-child relationships. Child language brokering as an activity takes place across a wide variety of contexts such as banks, retail, healthcare, law, the home, housing and social care. When language brokering situations are challenging, these difficult encounters often take place between figures of authority and their families in predominantly white public spaces.

The increased responsibility taken-on by child language brokers has been likened to the concept of ‘parentification’ or ‘role reversal’, which suggests parents’ authority is suppressed within the family dynamics because child language brokers find themselves in situations where they are assigned roles usually reserved for parents. Opponents of this idea argue against the notion of a role reversal during language brokering, reframing the activity as a family care practice that bears resemblances to other forms of caring responsibilities. Drawing on debates about language brokering as a family care practice, the ‘parentified child’ and discussions about non-normative childhoods, the analysis will highlight how the role played by the adult ‘other,’ coupled with a sometimes-hostile sociocultural context, can exaggerate tensions or facilitate interactions in the parent-child relationship. The young people’s views and experiences illuminate how they navigate these complexities.

Online Interventions for the Treatment of Movement Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease

Dr Joshua Payne

Dr Joshua Payne
Chair of British Psychological Society (Welsh Branch)
Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology, Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, neurodegenerative disorder that affects over 137,000 people in the UK, and an estimated 5million people worldwide. The symptoms of PD are characterized by tremor, muscle stiffness and rigidity, movement fatigue, and balance and gate disturbances, accompanied by cognitive impairment. Drug-based treatments aim to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain to reduce movement symptoms. Whilst they are effective for many people with PD, long-term use is associated with substantial side effects. In the absence of a cure for PD, a major challenge is to find interventions that do not rely on drug-based treatment, to help maintain movement performance. A series of small pilot studies has demonstrated the potential of targeted cognitive-behavioural interventions. There is promising early evidence that these interventions could be effective in maintaining movement performance and reducing associated fatigue. A small-scale feasibility trial of a computer-based intervention highlighted considerable practical and pragmatic challenges. The onset of Covid-19 has highlighted the value and necessity of online interventional work. The talk covers this general background and highlights the next phase of online cognitive-behavioural testing.

Remote Instruction of Language and Literacy

Dr Manon Jones

Dr Manon Jones
Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Director of the Miles Dyslexia Centre, Bangor University

School closures over a twelve-month period have caused delays in children’s progress with literacy (COVID may leave 12 million children unable to read, The Guardian, 22.03.21). In light of these possible negative effects, our Remote Instruction of Language and Literacy programme offers an effective means to help UK primary-aged children make significant (re)-gains in their literacy skills, whilst being resilient to further school closures. Crucially, RILL takes well-established pedagogical approaches for in-person language and literacy teaching and adapts them for effective online teaching. RILL is the first UK attempt to tailor a comprehensive vocabulary and literacy programme for online delivery, and harnesses digital technology to improve children’s attainments in literacy development. During the first lockdown, synchronous (live interaction) and asynchronous (offline study) versions of RILL were administered to 200 children across England and Wales, and I will present data showing its efficacy in maintaining key skills. We are now recruiting and training North Wales school teachers in the use of English and Welsh versions of RILL (currently approximately 60 schools), and I will describe our aims, along with the logistics and data collection processes involved in this endeavour, and early data analyses.

Examining Gender Traits Across the World

Associate Professor / Yr Athro Cyswllt Paul B. Hutchings

Associate Professor Paul B. Hutchings
Assistant Director, Centre for Psychology and Counselling
University of Wales Trinity Saint David

At a time when gender is at the forefront of consideration across the world, our ability to recognise and understand views that people have about their own and other genders has never been greater. Gender traits guide so much of our behaviour; at times this is because we can do the things that we want to do, but at other times it is because there are expectations of how we should behave (what we call prescriptive traits). These prescriptive traits can affect all sorts of people; what are the expectations of a woman? What are the traits associated with a real man? The Towards Gender Harmony Project is a three-year, collaborative project between research teams in 62 countries across the world examining the traits that people associate with males and females. The Social Psychology Research Team, led by Dr Paul Hutchings, have carried out the Welsh arm of this project and this presentation will discuss the findings from Wales and from the overall global survey of over 36,000 participants. Some of the results are as expected, whilst others are surprising, and we will discuss what it means for gender harmony across the world.

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OpenTalks is a series of events run by The Open University in Wales. OpenTalks work to engage the public with The OU’s research and aims to make academics’ work inspiring and accessible to communities in Wales. This supports institutional aims to make education open to all and supports wider OU work to build an informed, engaged and prosperous Wales.

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