• Question: What has been / was your most important scientific finding? Your most surprising finding?

    Asked by anna to Laura, Kathryn, Ian, Chris, Bogdana, Alex on 14 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Ian Cookson

      Ian Cookson answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      My masters research looked at Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and if we could make peoples beliefs more rational would that mean that their sporting performance would improve. It didn’t, which was interesting as all the participants said that they felt better having thought about their beliefs. It does give other psychologists useful information though, so it was worthwhile.

    • Photo: Bogdana Huma

      Bogdana Huma answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      My research has examined ‘cold’ calls in which salespeople try to persuade potential customers to meet with them for a sales presentation. I found that salespeople often rely on one of two tactics:
      1. they get the other person to show some commitment or interest in their products and then ask for a meeting
      2. They minimise the perceived costs (e.g. time or pressure to buy) of the meeting by referring to it as ‘a quick chat’ that would take ’10 minutes of their time’. But in fact these meetings are at least half an hour long…

      My most surprising finding is somewhat related. Still in ‘cold’ calls, I looked at how a potential customer resists a salesperson’s persuasive attempt. I mainly found two types of resistance:
      1. ‘a block’ in which the potential customer expressed that they don’t need / are not interested in the product
      2. ‘a delay’ in which the potential customer asked to be contacted at a different time.
      What I didn’t expect was that the ‘delay’ tactics were completely useless. Salespeople were able to persuade their interlocutors to schedule a meeting then and there. In conclusion, delaying as a resistance tactics doesn’t work in ‘cold’ calls.

    • Photo: Alex Lloyd

      Alex Lloyd answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      My most important scientific finding so far (in my opinion) is that teenagers are more likely to take risks in situations that have very little information in them. So, not much is known about the scenario. This is important because it suggests that risk taking might be a way for teenagers to explore new situations and learn about them.

      My most surprising finding was that a lot of teenagers cheat when I ask them to tell me how much they scored on the tasks!

    • Photo: Laura Fisk

      Laura Fisk answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      I think I’ve mentioned before, but the bit of research I am most proud of is something that improved clinical practice in a dementia assessment service. I noticed some of my colleagues were grading a test in different ways which meant people were being given different scores – ad potentially tis was impacting on their care. Working out what the differences in scoring were, why they were happening and then helping to stop them enabled us to offer improved care to our clients. THAT was FANTASTIC. I am chuffed I could be a part of that 🙂

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