Lower Sixth Form Psychology Conference
On Tuesday 23 March, 20 Lower Sixth Form Psychologists attended an A Level Psychology virtual conference with Professor Elizabeth Loftus. Professor Loftus is one of the world’s most renowned psychologists, with an impressive career spanning 50 years, in which time she has conducted seminal research into false memories and the fallibility of eyewitness testimony. Professor Loftus spoke to pupils about the malleability of human memory and how easily pseudomemories can be unsuspectingly implanted into people’s minds. Loftus has appeared as an expert witness and consultant on infamous legal cases, including Ted Bundy, O.J Simpson and more recently, Harvey Weinstein. She spoke candidly about the conflict she felt when appearing on behalf of the defendant’s legal team and the courage she had to muster to put aside her personal morals in favour of her professional judgement, arguing that eyewitness testimony is unreliable and shouldn’t be admitted as criminal evidence. Loftus shared a number of touching anecdotes about her dealings with psychology’s most prominent figures, including B.F. Skinner.
Pupils were also treated to a surprise appearance from Professor Philip Zimbardo, famous (or perhaps infamous!) psychologist responsible for one of psychology’s most controversial studies: The Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo reflected on the study 50 years on and spoke about his most recent venture, establishing The Heroic Imagination Project whose mission is to teach young people how to stand up, speak out and act courageously in challenging situations, turning passive bystanders into helping heroes.
Other speakers included David Wilson, Professor of Criminology and presenter of BBC’s Crime Files, who spoke to pupils about revolutionising the prison system, and Alex Bellos who spoke passionately about the psychology of numbers.
This was a fantastic opportunity for pupils to explore their passion for Psychology. It was certainly an inspiring and enriching experience for all!