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Dealing with the Loss of a Pet: Grieving and Moving Forwards

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole”- Roger Caras (1998)

As we grow older, many of us may experience the loss of a family pet. We form incredibly close bonds with our pet, which is something that not everyone may be able to understand. Some people may see a pet as ‘just an animal’. However, it has been shown that the intensity of feelings accompanying the death of a companion animal can be similar to those when losing a significant human being (Gerwolls & Labott, 1994). Continue reading “Dealing with the Loss of a Pet: Grieving and Moving Forwards”


I’m So Stressed!

We’re at UCL. We’ve all experienced stress before.

Yet, have you noticed that some of your friends get stressed all the time – even over trivial things? Or, maybe, are you the one who’s always stressed? Continue reading “I’m So Stressed!”

Ana is Not Just a Name, It’s a Condition

2000 to 2500 kilocalories per day – that is the recommended daily calorie intake for women and men. To a particular group of people, those numbers set off a triggering alarm in their minds.

Continue reading “Ana is Not Just a Name, It’s a Condition”

Ketamine – the Antidepressant of the Future?

Disclaimer: This article looks into the novel research of the clinical applications of ketamine in the treatment of depression. This article is in no way a promotion of recreational drug use, but rather an insight into the steps being taken to improve the psychopharmacology related to depression. It is important to note that the doses given during the experimental ketamine trials which will be discussed in this article are far below that of street doses, standing at a minute 0.5mg/kg.

It is often suggested that drugs can play an aiding role in the development of mental disorders. Heavy cannabis use, for example, has been found to have the potential of doubling the risk of schizophrenia diagnosis in individuals who start taking the drug below the age of 18 (Moore et al., 2007). These types of findings have allowed the development of a negative stigma around the use of any and all types of street drugs. The dopamine hypothesis supports the notion that neurotransmitter dysfunctions can cause mental instabilities, and can present themselves in various forms, including the showing of psychotic symptoms. Many street drugs tend to affect these neurotransmitters, and it would therefore be plausible to say that they can play a role in mental disorders such as depression. However, is this role always a negative one?

Continue reading “Ketamine – the Antidepressant of the Future?”

Love in the time of Autism: A Review of “Dina”

From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time to The Big Bang Theory and Parenthood, autism has been a recurring topic in literature and television. Many authors and film directors have portrayed people with this disorder, although the accuracy of these depictions has long been criticised.

Continue reading “Love in the time of Autism: A Review of “Dina””

Diagnosis of Special Educational Needs: Yes or No?

Special educational needs often revolve around terms like dyslexia and autism. It has been a contentious topic for many years and a conclusion has still not been reached as to whether a diagnosis would be beneficial for people with learning difficulties. People who support diagnosing students with specific learning conditions believe that better educational help can then be provided. Having said this, some claim that this form of diagnosis would only hinder those students’ academic progress, considering the additional attention laid on them by their teachers and peers. This may perhaps exert an external pressure on them, which stops them from learning in the classroom naturally. With this in mind, to what extent should the diagnosis of special educational needs be supported?

Continue reading “Diagnosis of Special Educational Needs: Yes or No?”

“For You, a Thousand Times Over”: A Review of “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

Recently, I finally finished reading the book ‘The Kite Runner’, which has been recommended by several friends. The novel, written by the famous Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, is set in war stricken Afghanistan between the late 1960s and 2000 and follows the lives of two boys, Amir and Hassan.

Continue reading ““For You, a Thousand Times Over”: A Review of “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini”

Psychology in Sport: What Makes the Best?

The world’s best athletes are consistently put in high-pressured situations. Regardless, they can still perform to their best. Environmental factors and one’s mind state dictate performance together with natural ability. But, beyond baseline performance, just how much do psychological factors alter our sporting ability and separate the mediocre from the world-class?

Continue reading “Psychology in Sport: What Makes the Best?”

Ideomotor Apraxia: The Burden of Intentional Movement

Neurologist Dr R. sits with Mr J., a 48-year-old photographer who’d recently suffered a stroke, in his office. Dr R. asks Mr J. to demonstrate a waving motion as if he were saying hello, to which he attempts with some difficulty. When asked to point towards the ceiling, Mr J. again encounters difficulties as he finds himself clenching and unclenching his fist. Dr R. proceeds to hold his hand out in front of him with his palm facing the floor. “Try to imitate the movement,” he asks. With deliberate effort, Mr J. eventually manages. “That’s good!” praises Dr R, “Now turn your hand over.” Mr J., with increased frustration, gives this a try – only to begin repeatedly slapping his hand against his thigh instead.

Continue reading “Ideomotor Apraxia: The Burden of Intentional Movement”

The Echo Chamber: Is Social Media to Blame?

With the recent inauguration of Donald Trump and the results of the Brexit referendum, alongside a growth in support for parties like UKIP, it seems that populations of voters are becoming more extreme in their political views.

Continue reading “The Echo Chamber: Is Social Media to Blame?”

Say Yes to The Mess

This article was inspired by Tim Harford’s talk on “The Importance of Being Messy”, an Intelligence Squared Debate, 6th Dec. 2016

Economist Tim Harford puts forth a compelling case to put our autopilot selves on hold occasionally, and embrace the unexpected. While we derive comfort and efficiency from organization and structure, Harford proposes that structure doesn’t always help us get the best out of our abilities, that randomness and chaos force us to become the best versions of ourselves in extenuating circumstances – such as pianist Keith Jarrett’s concert in Cologne, where he gave one of his most powerful performances on an untuned rehearsal piano. Oppenheimer and colleagues (2010) carried out a study on ‘desirable difficulties’ as mechanisms to improve exam performance of students. They found that changing the font of the study material to something relatively uncommon or difficult (think comic sans ms or Ar Decode) helped those students score better than the ones who read the material in more typical fonts like Times New Roman. ‘Complex’ fonts increased attention and slowed their pace of reading, thus leading to more in-depth retention of the material.

Continue reading “Say Yes to The Mess”

Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #4: Work Experience and Future Careers


As the field of academia gets increasingly more competitive, it becomes harder to impress the admissions office: there are too many intelligent people out there nowadays, so good grades alone just don’t cut it anymore. This is where work experience comes in. Not only does it enable your application to stand out, but also demonstrates your maturity, responsibility, commitment and many other important qualities that make you a worthy applicant. So, work experience is pretty much a necessity for an aspiring psychologist, but you probably already know this from all the careers lectures you had to sit through during your time at UCL. So, what can postgrads advise when it comes to work experience?

Continue reading “Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #4: Work Experience and Future Careers”

Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #3: Interviews and Funding


Apart from the degree application, the subsequent interview process and the application to relevant funding sources and scholarships are important steps to be taken. Below are some tips and personal experience from various postgraduate students on how to prepare for an interview and secure funding will be covered.

Continue reading “Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #3: Interviews and Funding”

Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #2: CV and Personal Statement


Academic achievements are undeniably important for applying to postgraduate courses. However, with an imperfect transcript, your CV and personal statement may just be your saving grace. Here, we  provide a guide on what makes a successful CV and personal statement.

Continue reading “Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #2: CV and Personal Statement”

Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #1: Introduction to our Postgrads



As the application season is now in heat, we decided to work on a project on postgraduate applications to help our readers currently applying to courses. We interviewed six current and former UCL Masters and PhD students in Psychology-related fields about their applications process. In this project, we will cover academic CVs and personal statements, interviews and funding, as well as desirable experience and prospects after graduation. In this opening post, we will introduce our interviewees and provide a glimpse into why they chose their degree programmes.

Continue reading “Postgraduate Application Guide (PAG) #1: Introduction to our Postgrads”

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