• Question: What is the best piece of research you have ever produced and how did it have an impact on psychology?

    Asked by deer352bug to Laura, Kathryn, Ian, Chris, Bogdana, Alex on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Alex Lloyd

      Alex Lloyd answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I recently had a study published in an academic journal which I was very proud of! I hope it will have an impact on psychology by building on our knowledge of why teenagers take risks. A lot of research only has a very small impact in psychology and it is about making lots of little steps which gradually changes how we understand a psychological issue. Hopefully, my research will be one of these small building blocks.

    • Photo: Ian Cookson

      Ian Cookson answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think my Masters thesis was a good piece of work, exploring links between REBT and sports performance. We didn’t see any improvement, but the participants all found the workshops useful and it changed the way they thought. My supervisor wanted to rewrite the research to reflect how useful it was to the individual and not focused on performance, but as I’d started my PhD I didn’t really have time. BUT, I hope that as my supervisor is a practicing sports psychologist that he can use the findings in applied settings.

    • Photo: Laura Fisk

      Laura Fisk answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Oooh! I think the piece of research I am most proud of is something I did when I was an assistant psychologist. I noticed that there was variation (differences) in how people in my service were grading a test they were giving clients. I wanted to find out what that variation meant, and whether it impacted on the care people got. So, I worked with my ‘supervisor’ (a senior psychologist) to work out how I could collect the data, analyse it, and write it up. I know it drew attention to a practical problem that was happening in our team – and that meant we could fix it and, most importantly, improve client care. Woop!

    • Photo: Bogdana Huma

      Bogdana Huma answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I’m quite proud of my latest paper which reveals the techniques that salespeople use in ‘cold’ calls to persuade prospective customers to meet with them for a sales presentation. One of the things they do to ‘catch’ us, is getting us to show commitment / interest and then ask for a meeting. So people when asked find it hard to say ‘no’ because they’ve ‘painted themselves into a corner’. A second technique consists in them using ‘minimisers’ to make the burden of having a meeting seem small and thus difficult to refuse. For instance salespeople refer to the meeting as ‘just a quick chat’ and suggest that it would take ‘only a few minutes’ of the person’s time. So for their interlocutor it’s really hard to say ‘no’ because everybody has 5 minutes… Of course the meetings are actually much longer and their not ‘just’ a chat…

      As the paper was published last year, it doesn’t yet have an impact on psychology, because these things take a while. However, it demonstrates that some of our prior theories of persuasion are wrong or at least incomplete because they don’t take into consideration how conversations shape and are shaped by the use of language. So hopefully, it will contribute, in the long run, to us better understanding how persuasion works.

    • Photo: Chris Fullwood

      Chris Fullwood answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I think the piece of research I’m most proud of was a paper I published back in 2016 called “. Self-concept clarity and online self-presentation in adolescents”. We were interested in understanding whether self-concept clarity (i.e. the extent to which a person’s view of him/herself is stable over time and consistent between different social situations) influenced whether they experimented with different types of self-presentations online. Adolescence is a time in someone’s life when people start to put increased importance on how others view them and begin to reflect more on what their place in the world is. In our research we found that adolescents who had lower self-concept clarity (i.e. were less confident about defining who they thought they were) were more likely to experiment with multiple self-presentations online and present themselves in an idealistic way. We argued that presenting the self online in this way might be a way to help young people resolve identity crises and work towards the discovery of their ‘true’ selves. I think this had made a contribution to psychology in helping us to understand why young people communicate online in the way that they do and also in showing how the internet can also have positive effects on our behaviour

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