Keynotes in 2017

Professor Richard Wiseman

Deep impact: How to engage and energise the public

For over 20 years Professor Wiseman has devised innovative projects that promote the public understanding of psychology. His mass participation studies have involved over 2 million people, his books on popular psychology (including The Luck Factor, 59 Seconds, Quirkology and Night School) have sold across the world, and his Youtube channel has had over 500 million views. Richard will discuss his approach, lessons learned, and the future of the public understanding of psychology.

He will also consider how to recruit students to study pre-tertiary psychology and how to engage their parents.


Professor Richard Wiseman has been described by one Scientific American columnist as ‘…the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologist in the world today’. His books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide and his Quirkology YouTube channel is one of the most watched educational channels in the UK. Richard was listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live, and has acted as a consultant for Derren Brown, Brain Games, Your Bleeped Up Brain, and Mythbusters.

Richard began his working life as a professional magician and is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle. He completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh and currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology (University of Hertfordshire). In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Abertay University for his work into the public understanding of science.

His research has been published in some of the world’s leading academic journals, and he has delivered keynote addresses to organisations across the world, including The Swiss Economic Forum, Google and Amazon.


Professor Nicky Edelstyn

From the bizarre to the sublime: How delusions can help us understand our “sense of self”.

Some people seem to believe quite extraordinary things: “My husband has been murdered and the ‘men’ that came to see me are his double”; “This arm lying in bed next to me is not mine, it belongs to my nephew”; “Part of my body is missing”. In this lecture, Professor Nicky Edelstyn will explore some of the motivational, biological and cognitive neuropsychological explanations of these fascinating delusions (Capgras delusion, somatoparaphrenia and Cotard’s delusion, respectively) with the purpose of drawing conclusions about how the sense of the self arises out of the biological and cognitive structure of the mind.


Nicky Edelstyn is an academic, cognitive neuropsychological researcher, director of the Psychology Research Centre and former honorary secretary of the British Neuropsychological Society.

She was awarded her PhD in visual neurophysiology from the Department of Communication and Neuroscience, Keele University in 1988, and went onto complete a series of postdoctoral fellowships in the MRC Neuropsychology Unit, Oxford University, with Professor Freda Newcombe; Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Birmingham with Professor Glyn Humphreys; and University Department of Psychiatry, Birmingham, with psychiatrist Professor Femi Oyebode. She returned to Keele University in 1999 as lecturer, promoted to senior lecturer in 2006, and Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation in 2013.

Nicky has published on traditional cognitive neuropsychological topics that include prosopagnosia and agnosia. Prosopagnosic patients are unable to recognise faces of family, friends, celebrities, even the patient’s own face; whereas patients with visual agnosia are unable to recognize everyday objects. More recently, Nicky has received funding from national and local charities, as well as the National Institute for Health Research to examine memory impairment in schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, Parkinson’s and stroke; with more recent work examining effects of dopamine replacement therapies on Parkinson’s-related memory disorder.

Nicky has also published widely in the now established field of cognitive neuropsychiatry. Cognitive neuropsychiatry uses evidenced-based models of cognitive function, robust experimental paradigms and validated cognitive neuropsychological assessments to understand how normal beliefs about the world can breakdown and be replaced by bizarre delusions such as the Capgras delusion and Cotard’s delusion.


Dee Anand.

Crazy and Dangerous – Victim or Offender

‘Psycho killer!’ ‘Sick Paedo!’ ‘Schizo killer possessed by devil!’ – we’ve all seen the stories and headlines. But are they ‘mad’ or ‘bad’? Why should we care? Can they be cured? Is there such a thing as ‘pure evil’? Forensic psychologists have been battling against these themes and ideas for years. Beyond the hype, forensic psychology is a science. It is a science which has an impact across society with forensic psychologists working at the front line witnessing first hand the effects of social and political change. We work in a highly sensitive political environment with people that many in society might say we shouldn’t bother with. I say we must and that our role goes beyond that of working with this population but reaches into politics, social justice and cultural change. I will discuss some of the incredible stories we encounter, how we get to work with people with such problems and why, above all ‘Psychology’ matters in the ‘real world’ now more than ever.



Dee has been practising as Forensic Psychologist since 1999. He has conducted research at Broadmoor Special Hospital into psychopathy and construct of PCL-R. He has worked as a practitioner in the community with personality disordered offenders and MDOs. He has designed and delivered intervention programmes for violent offenders and offenders with complex presentation.

He managed a team of Forensic Mental Health Practitioners in inner city London Boroughs from 2002-2004 and has worked as an Expert Witness producing over 250 expert risk assessment reports in civil and criminal cases and appearing in Courts across the country on a regular basis


Alexandra Kent (Keele University)

Police call handlers across the country receive a thousands of requests for help everyday from members of the public ranging from clearly urgent and serious (“hello yes urm id like to report err an assault please”, “Hi I’ve had ur a concerning text messages from my close friend this morning saying she’s in a violent situation at her house and her boyfriend was attacking her”) to requests that don’t appear relevant or legitimate (“Can you ur arrest my please?”, “Hi, um, I’ve got a chap here lying on my doorstep”). During stressful and time sensitive conversations, police call handlers have to gather information and make a decision about what, if any, police action should be take. They only have one chance to get it right. Miscommunications during police calls can have fatal consequences.

Understanding how the structures and patterns of these calls can shape, constrain and facilitate particular social actions is vitally important. I use conversation analysis to study the structure and sequential organisation of conversations. I look for patterns in how the way we say something influences what happens next. Through my research I have identified systematic ways in which police call handlers can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their communication. I now deliver training programmes to police call handlers to help them communicate more effectively with callers.

In my talk I will explore the beginnings and endings of calls. Using conversation analysis, I’ll show how the very first things said by the caller and call handler influence how the call develops and what the likely outcome will be. I’ll also look at the end of the calls to explore effective strategies used by call handlers to explain why the caller won’t be receiving the outcome they were seeking.


Alexandra Kent completed her BSc Social Psychology, MRes Social Research Methods and her PhD in Discursive Psychology with Conversation Analysis at Loughborough University.  She joined the School of Psychology at Keele University in Sept 2012 as a Lecturer in Psychology and established the Qualitative Psychology Forum and the Discourse Research and Teaching Group. She became the MSc Psychology Programmes Director in 2015.

Her research combines a theoretical reworking of the way language and psychology are understood with detailed technical analyses of empirical data using conversation analysis. Her research interests include the negotiation of power and authority in interaction, requests, shared decision-making in interaction, and persuasive communication. She has studied a wide range of interactional settings including family mealtimes, board game evenings, committee meetings and NSPCC calls. She is currently delivering training workshops to police call handlers to improve the effectiveness of communication during 999 and 101 phone calls.