Welcome to Mbesc Network 2015-16

We are delighted to invite you to the first meeting of our network. Please come and enjoy our Thursdays lunchtime seminars on brain and mind in educational and social contexts with our amazing speakers!

Prof. Paul Howard-Jones and Dr. Shelley McKeown Jones together with doctoral students will be hosting the opening seminar this Thursday 5 November 2015 at the Graduate School of Education University of Bristol.

We are looking forward to seeing you there and share tea and biscuits along with interest discussions!



Greetings from Russia….

Natalia Shemyakina  and Zhanna Nagornova asked me to send greetings to Mbesc when I popped in to see them in St Petersburg this summer, at the IEPhB RAS, Laboratory of comparative ecological and physiological studies. Natalia and Zhanna are using EEG to study creativity and they visited Mbesc a couple of years back to speak about their work. (They also showed me how they study the effects of oxygen deprivation on cognitive function – but i passed on the offer to fully participate in that experiment!)DSC09673

New Unit on Psychophysiological Methods


Pleased to say we have a new unit up and running for next year on psychophysiological methods in educational research. This 10 credit  unit will involve learning how to measure of autonomic and somatic nervous system response (e.g. skin conductance, skin temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate). You’re encouraged to design your own small-scale pilot experiment for the assignment. At the moment, the max number of students we can take on the unit will depend on lab resources….currently being negotiated!!

Embodied Cognition Meeting Edinburgh

Had a fascinating meeting of the Move2Learn project a few days ago. Lots of interesting ideas. I had no idea before I attended how many ways there are of interpreting what we mean by “embodied cognition”!! Picture shows me with Emma Cook who manages the exhibitions at At-Bristol – we had many creative conversations about how understanding about embodiment might be applied in science exhibitions……Move2Learn Edinburgh

Research visit to Chile


Thanks to the University of Bristol’s International Strategic Fund, I spent a few days last week on a research visit to the Pontificia Universidad de Chile. There is lots of exciting work going on at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies and the Interdisciplinary Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies, Professor Roberto Gonzalez’s team were wonderful hosts. Watch this space for details on resulting research collaborations.

In the meantime, enjoy the towering Andes (view from the Mide building, Santiago).

The past, present and future of research on intergroup contact and social change


Mbesc is delighted to have  Professor John Dixon (Open University) visiting us tomorrow (29 January 2015, 2.30 PM Room 3.13, 35 Berkeley Square). Professor Dixon will be discussing the ‘contact hypothesis’ – which proposes that interaction between members of different groups reduces intergroup prejudice and discrimination, particularly when it occurs under favourable circumstances. See Events for more details!!

Mbesc welcomes Dr Shelley McKeown

M-Besc is delighted that Dr Shelley McKeown has joined the centre this term. She is going to tell us all about her research in a fascinating seminar “I may not know you but I don’t like you” this Thursday 13 November (12.30pm Room 121, 35 Berkeley Square). Shelley’s work focuses on how social psychological theories, such as social identity theory and intergroup contact theory, can be used to understand and improve intergroup relations. There’s more about this talk on our Events Page.

Myths and Messages: Nature Reviews Neuroscience

I’ve been a bit slow pasting up something about this article “Neuroscience and Education: Myths and Messages” that I authored in NRN 2 weeks ago. It created a lot of social media impact, and due to this NRN have made it free access – you just have to register. It is also featured in Nature’s October podcast (Neuropod). Another unexpected consequence of all the tweets is that The Graduate School of Education is to have an event discussing neuromyths and this is also a chance to discuss the new Neuroscience and Education projects due to start around the UK- including how schools can get involved (see the Sci-napse project for more about the Bristol-Manchester project). More info about this event will follow, but keep 27th November 5.15-17.00 in your diaries!