Journal Club: Future Time Perspectives

Journal clubs are great. Picking a recent paper for discussion with people with similar interests is a great way to keep up with the literature and means a fun hour of getting different perspectives on the paper and how it fits into the literature. These kind of clubs are usually attended (I think!) by PhD students, post-docs, RAs and faculty. But as an experiment, I initiated a club for my undergraduate lab interns and myself.

The first paper was picked by Shea Cogan and the discussion summarised by Harry Coulson. For me, this paper was a revelation  of looking at something I have been thinking about for a long time in a completely different way. And I am currently designing experiments to test some of these new ideas which fit perfectly into my research programme. The experiment was thus a complete success!


Paper: Gellert, P., Ziegelmann, J. P., Lippke, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2012). Future time perspective and health behaviors: Temporal framing of self-regulatory processes in physical exercise and dietary behaviorsAnnals of Behavioral Medicine43(2), 208-218.

Chosen by: Shea Cogan

Summary of the discussion by Harry Coulson:

The first journal club meeting commenced on Wednesday the 11th and discussed a paper on ‘Future time Perspective and Health Behaviour’. Firstly it was found that the paper originated from a medical journal, and one of the most interesting discussion points was the variance across disciplines. It was found that some of the future directions discussed by the research had in fact been conducted, however under a different name in the field of psychology. This left us wondering if a greater communication between disciplines would lead to more understanding and a quicker dispersion of knowledge. This piece of research allowed for thoughts for the future direction of our research into impulsivity and decision making, as it advised that people with different future time perspectives will answer questions differently depending on whether they are emotional or not, as well as researching further into the effects of age on decision making.

Summer Scientist

Every year in the summer we invite children between 3 and 11 years old to join us for a morning or afternoon of psychology fun. To take part in “games” – studies run by academic researchers which will tell us about a range of child development and other games – often led by students which are for fun and for finding out about how the mind works and the brain works.
Actually, why not find out all you need to know in 60 seconds here:

“Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed”

If I could say it more beautifully I would try, but I cannot. Bertrand Russell, a towering intellect, kind man and one of my heroes described perfectly what I think teaching and thinking should be like. His ten commandments of teaching from the 1951 issue of The New York Times Magazine, at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism.”

Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Taking the faff out of booking meetings

The usual procedure for booking a meeting between student and tutor/ supervisor is a flurry of emails – can I meet you?, yes, when?, that day? cannot make that, another day?, no, can’t do that time etc.

Having spent many an unhappy hour with sending such emails back and forth, I have now introduced a new system for meeting my students. I have blocked out one morning and one afternoon a week when students can book a meeting with me, online, no emails required. They select the timeslot they want, fill in a brief form (incl. purpose of meeting) and the system sends both students and me and email to confirm the time and adds it to my google calendar. Meeting booked. No emails exchanged.

And it is all free, powered by the site. So, if you are one my students, you can book an appointment to see me!

It has reduced my emailing by a lot. And THAT is worth something.