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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Meet the Undergraduate - Jakob Brown

Jakob Brown joined Queen Mary University of London in 2015 and is currently in the final year of his Psychology BSc at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS). We spoke to Jakob to learn about his experience at SBCS, his Psychology course and a very fascinating dissertation.

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Describe your experience at Queen Mary

I initially didn’t live in halls in the first year so I haven’t always been on campus, but in terms of provisions and what’s been available to me, it’s still been really great and very easy to get really involved at the university. I’ve enjoyed the Psychology course and I’ve made lots of friends. The best thing I can say is that the university has helped me to get me degree very smoothly and supported me really well. If I’ve ever had a problem, it’s usually been sorted out on the day. For example, I recently broke my wrist, meaning I'm going to have to type my exams now, which I was a bit worried about, but the school made the whole process so easy for me. My dissertation advisor Dr Hadfield has been instrumental in my positive experience here and my academic advisor Dr Mareschal has been great. The online platforms have also been laid out very well.

Why did you choose to study Psychology?

I had a really interesting Psychology teacher when I was doing my A Levels so she made me really like the subject. It’s always been a subject I’ve been interested in and also good at so it was a natural choice for me. Queen Mary is ranked highly for Psychology and has Russell Group status so it seemed like a very good fit. I did a BSc so it’s more scientific in nature, which is what I wanted. I’ve loved having the elective modules at the end of the last two years, the lecturers have been great and the course has been broken down into quite manageable chunks.

Tell us about your dissertation

The topic of my dissertation is about debunking the myth that men value physical attractiveness in a partner more than women do and that women are more interested in personality and earning resources than men are. I write about this sexual double standard having a feminist impact in that this widely held belief creates a pressure on women, more so than men, to justify their attractions to people as being something more than mere physical attraction. My study thus focused on women in order to back up recent studies in to the topic which seek to demonstrate the equal extent to which both men and women value physical attractiveness.

The experiment looked at whether the more information you know about someone affects your attraction to them and whether physical attractiveness supersedes that effect. The result was that it really did in women. The information was relevant up to a point, but when the guy presented was really hot, the information that was presented with him was no longer relevant.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m excited about finishing my course and have decided to take a year out next year and perhaps travelling abroad. After I come back I want to do a Masters but I will use this time to decide want Masters I want to do, what I want to specialise in. I’ve enjoyed loads of modules in my time at Queen Mary so I haven’t decided what Masters to do yet and will use my time to think more about this rather than going straight into a Masters in September.

Dr Michael Pluess did a Developmental Psychology module last year that was great. Positive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience are the fields that are going further and further forwards at the moment. Positive Psychology is really great and I think it’s what the field has needed for a while. As you can see from my dissertation, I’m more into the social aspect of things and interpersonal relationships but I also find the anatomy and scientific side really interesting as well as counselling. So you can see I’ve got quite a choice on my hands. Ideally I’d like to do a counselling course as ultimately I got into Psychology to help people and counselling is a good way to do that.

To learn more about studying Psychology at SBCS, visit the course page.




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