Science in Schools
  • Room 3, Link Building, University of Plymouth

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The aim of this one-day event is to give school-aged children (primary and secondary) insight into and hands-on experience of psychological research. We will show how memory works and how social factors can affect our memory. The topics of the event and activities will be suitable for all ages from 7 onwards.

Example of activities

We will give pupils age-appropriate memory quizzes, which will illustrate the effect of learning new information as words or pictures, and show what happens to new memories when we are distracted. We will use a child-friendly clicker response system, giving pupils direct feedback on how pictures can boost memory compared to words, and how distractors can greatly reduce memory performance. 

We will then branch out in groups and show the effect of gossip and rumours on our memory via a staged eye-witness scenario. 

After that in group activities we explore how groups remember things, how group memory is different from individual remembering, and when it makes sense to remember in groups or alone. 

Finally, we will draw on one problematic aspect of human’s sociability, namely our tendency to conform to a majority even though we might know better. The pervasiveness of conformity has been a mainstay of psychological research. In this activity we demonstrate what factors might influence conformity, as well as some of the consequences of conformity on other behaviour and memory. For example, are we more likely to agree with others when we have engaged in a coordination task before (for example, singing together)? And what effect does conformity have on subsequent behaviour, such as creativity, memory, or risk taking?

The activities show what research tells us about how memory works and how we can create a prosocial environment.


The biographies of Psychology colleagues participating in this event are available on the University's staff webpages. 

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Today's events

Plymouth School Lab

The Plymouth School Lab was set up in 2010 and is formed by a group of developmental psychologists and educators. 

All studies are run by lecturers, research assistants or students from the School of Psychology at the University. Most of the research is based on experiments or questionnaire studies. For example, in a study on how children understand each other's emotions, participants are told short stories and asked for how the characters in the stories felt. All studies are age appropriate and tend to be fun for participants. 

Find out more on the Plymouth School Lab website.

About the ESRC Festival of Social Science

(extract from the ESRC* website)

The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

You may be surprised at just how relevant the festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.

Everyone - from schoolchildren to politicians - can take part in and hear about social science research in the festival's many engaging events.

This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.

Visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website for more information about the festival.

* ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council.

Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.