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The University of Southampton

The 4th Psychology Postgraduate Conference 18-19 June 2015

Published: 18 June 2015

The Psychology Postgraduate Conference aims to provide a welcoming environment for all postgraduates across the academic unit to present their work, while at the same time affording the opportunity to see some of the high quality research that other students have carried out and featuring keynote speakers from our own and other world-leading institutions. This year we welcome our external keynote speaker Dr Tom Stafford from the University of Sheffield, as well as our very own Dr Claire Hart who will be giving the internal keynote presentation. In addition to our keynote speakers, we have a wide range of oral and poster presentations from postgraduates across all programmes of study within the school.

Notes for editors

The conference programme can be found here.

Guest Keynote

Learning: new techniques for the old topic

Dr Tom Stafford, University of Sheffield

We have investigated skill learning using data gathered from a simple online game. In contrast to high-precision experimental tasks, this study leveraged the statistical power gained by having a large study population (n=854,064). The results confirm and extend experimental studies of how practice, consolidation and exploration can improve skill learning. Collecting, analysing and publishing this data presented some unique challenges and opportunities, which I will try to use to illustrate the present controversy over reproducibility and research methods in psychology, as well as some possible solutions.

Internal Keynote

The Problem of Declining Levels of Empathy and a Proposed Solution: Addressing Narcissistic Motivation

Dr Claire Hart, University of Southampton

Scholars have long sought ways of promoting cooperative, harmonious relationships between individuals. Dispositional empathy has garnered empirical attention because it is linked to more prosocial and less antisocial behaviours: it is known as “social glue”. Recent evidence, however, suggests that empathy in the Western world is declining. Identifying the origins of this waning empathy and developing successful interventions for raising empathy are crucial. In this vein, my research capitalises on the individual difference variable of narcissism. Escalations in narcissism have accompanied the decline in empathy levels. Indeed, narcissists lack empathy. Little is known, however, about why narcissists lack empathy, despite research showing they are capable of it, and how this deficit can be restored. I will present my current research on narcissism and empathy and discuss my future plans for designing an intervention that will motivate narcissists to act more empathically.


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