Starting off the new year with a bang, five students from the MSc Organisational/Business Psychology received awards from the Faculty of Humanities to attend this year’s British Psychological Society (BPS) – Division of Occupational Psychology conference in Liverpool – UK’s biggest single gathering of Occupational Psychologists.
Aimee, Beth, Matt, Ruby and Jasmine spent two days hearing some of the latest research and practice in work psychology and networking with practitioners in the field. There was also a fun meet up with current and past students and some of the academic staff from the MSc Organisational/Business Psychology programme.
Here, two of the students share some of their highlights from the conference.
What was your highlight of the BPS DOP conference overall?
Matt: It was an excellent experience to see the Occupational Psychology community for 2 days and get a feel of the type of applied work psychologists do outside of academia. My highlight was attending a very entertaining magician session, where a work psychologist used magic tricks to demonstrate false blindness, habituation and limits of our perception and attention.
Beth: Getting to listen to a variety of speakers on a diverse range of topics within the space of one day!
Which session particularly sparked your interest?
Matt: I attended a session about Game Based Assessments, which are personality and ability inventories that have been adapted into mobile games. The idea is that this medium will improve the accuracy of the measures, as respondents will remain engaged with the game and be less likely to suffer from fatigue or try to work out what the test is measuring. It was an interesting, innovative use of new technology that feels appropriate in this era of smart phones.
Beth: It wasn’t so much a specific topic but the idea of studying and learning from design theory in order to enhance solutions within occupational psychology. I was particularly intrigued by Dr. Lievens keynote about modularity in selection methods and Joanna Wilde’s talk about performance management which both suggested that design theory and design thinking could be better utilised in our field.
What is your advice for future MSc Organisational/Business Psychology students who are interested in attending the conference?
Beth: Apply for funding if it is available, arrive with an open mind and engage with the discussions around you. Go to presentations that interest you but also to those which challenge your current thinking.
Matt: I was surprised by the difference between academics and practitioners, as many tools were presented that we know have little support from the academic community. My advice would be to raise questions and challenge those methods that we know have no foundation in the psychological literature. But above all, enjoy the experience and try to attend sessions that will increase your knowledge and help you in the January exams!