PSI Early Graduate Group Conference, 27-28 February 2015
Keynote Lectures

Keynote speakers

We will be joined by two fascinating speakers, Dr. Geraldine Moane and Prof. Brian Hughes, who will be presenting their views on psychology. See below for more details.

Dr. Geraldine Moane

Dr. Moane is Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology at UCD. The prevailing theme in her work is the question of how people can grow and flourish across the lifespan based on the belief that the social context plays a vital role and Dr. Moane has specialised in diversity, oppression and liberation.  Dr. Moane has extensive experience in groupwork and counselling with diverse groups and has published widely. She is currently a member of the Equality and Inclusive Practice Working Group of the Psychological Society of Ireland, and Chair of the Sexual Diversity and Gender Issues Special Interest Group.

Liberating psychology

How is it possible to undertake psychological interventions with someone who is an asylum seeker living in direct provision? Do psychological models of gender and sexual orientation reflect lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people? These are examples of challenges that have led to calls for psychology to free itself from the confines of traditional positivist and largely individualistic models, to move from clinics and institutions into communities, to engage with social change. These approaches, often labeled liberation psychologies, aim to expand traditional psychological practices and engage people in a participatory manner in their own context using a variety of creative techniques. This paper will explore these themes through case studies and examples of practice, opening up new and interesting possibilities for the role of psychology in Irish society.


Prof. Brian Hughes

Professor Brian Hughes holds a Personal Chair in Psychology at NUI Galway. He is the current President of the international Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR) and is a former President of the PSI. His work on how the human cardiovascular response habituates across repeated stress exposures has been extensively cited. He also writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, and medicine. He also maintains a successful blog, “The Science Bit”, which attempts to demystify science and scientists and highlight abuses of scientific jargon and attempts to exploit public confusion about science.

Keynote lecture:

The Point of Psychology (and How it Gets Missed)

The point of psychology is, and always has been, to use scientific methods to resolve uncertainties in our understanding of the human condition. Nonetheless, many audiences seek to imbue psychology with some kind of mission to "improve people's well-being" (whatever that means), to "encourage positive behaviours" (whatever they are), or to cure mental ill-health by means of laying-on-of-hands. In addition, psychology often projects itself as a politically liberal (as opposed to conservative) discipline, despite being an overwhelmingly white, middle class, middle-aged, male academic field shaped by a century of Euro-American hegemony. This talk will examine these themes, and include at least one joke.