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Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
The 2012 Jeff Pressing Debate:
“Has Psychology Lost its Feeling?”
Dr Jeff Pressing was a much loved and highly regarded member of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, until he passed away in 2002. Jeff had many interests and talents in everything from making & composing music to predicting movements on the Stock Exchange. Every two years, the School holds a special event in his honour.
Date: Tuesday 4 September, 2012
Venue: Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre A, Elisabeth Murdoch building, University of Melbourne, Parkville.
Admission: Free. All welcome!
Map: http://maps.unimelb.edu.au/parkville/building/134 (entrance located off Spencer Rd, opposite Castro's Kiosk/Physics building)
- Guest speaker: Dr Ben Williams, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology. Dr Williams was a student & colleague of Dr Jeff Pressing at the University of Melbourne.
- Current PhD candidate Saam Saber, 2011 recipient of the Jeff Pressing Prize, will make a brief presentation about his award-winning 4th year research project, "When does feature-based attention improve performance?".
- The 2012 Jeff Pressing Debate: “Has Psychology Lost Its Feeling?”. Two teams of academic staff from the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences will engage in a light-hearted debate.
- Affirmative – Prof Nick Allen (team leader), Dr Luke Smillie, Dr Heidi Gazelle.
- Negative – A/Prof Neil McLachlan (team leader), Dr Meredith McKague, Dr Isabel Krug.
- Mr David Murray-Smith, Lawyer and Acting Adviser, Corrections Victoria, Department of Justice.
Abstract: "Has Psychology Lost its Feeling"?
Historically, psychology as a discipline has its roots in many strands of theory and empirical research: psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, cognitive, developmental, social, personality, abnormal, experimental, behavioural, and biological. A number of these strands has achieved paradigmatic dominance at various points in time. Despite the existence of these strands and the current ascendancy of the neuroscience paradigm, it appears that emotion is either ignored, controlled as a confound, or treated as a side-effect of cognitive processes. In addition, emotion is often seen as softer and less scientific than ‘brains’ and ‘cognitions’.
Yet another line of work argues that: (i) emotion and the experience of emotion itself is worthy of study in its right; and, (ii) that emotions (both positive and negative) may be another way of knowing, eg. have survival value in circumstances involving threat.
Has psychology lost its feeling, and is that loss important?
Debaters are asked to consider these two key questions:
- Over the decades has psychology focused too much on the study of behaviour, cognition and cognitive processes at the expense of the study of emotion? Is this true or not?
- If true, is this justified?
Henry Jackson 2012