Taster lectures in Psychology

Friday 21 June

Time and location: 12-12.30pm, G.O Jones Lecture Theatre

Title: How the brain overrides the obvious to be creative

Description: Learning is powerful; it enables us to solve a variety of problems by applying previously successful strategies. This makes us fast and efficient. However, many problems we face could be solved in a more creative (optimal) way, which is not always evident. How can you recognise that your learned strategy is not the best? How can you override or inhibit the obvious learned solutions? What does it take to be creative? This lecture will answer those questions based on recent neuroscientific evidence regarding how our brains override obvious learned solutions to come up with something new.

Saturday 22 June

Time and location: 12-12.30pm, G.O Jones Lecture Theatre

Title: 'Take a deep breath and relax', or is it more complex than that? The relationships between breathing and relaxation

Description: Breathing instructions are key components of a broad range of popular stress reduction and relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga and autogenic training. Most common are instructions to notice breathing, increase awareness of breathing, slow down breathing, breathe abdominally and nasally, and take deep breaths. There is a multitude of online tools available to aid persons seeking relaxation through these breathing instructions. Despite the widespread use of these breathing instructions, scientific evidence on the efficacy of these breathing instructions to promote relaxation is very scarce, and the existing research challenges some of these commonly used breathing techniques. During this taster lecture, I will discuss the complex relationship between breathing and relaxation based on recent research findings, focusing on the role of slow breathing and deep breaths.