Thursday, 28 November 2019

Psychology Dept. Research Seminar. 5th Dec' 2019, 1-2pm - Mia Scally. “frustrated, controlled, confused and mostly helpless”….Women’s experiences of navigating child contact with an abusive ex-partner

*** Everyone welcome!  No need to book in advance ***
Date: Thursday 5th December 2019  
Time: 1-2pm Room: C135, College Building
Mia Scally (Middlesex University)

Background & Aims – Child contact is often used by fathers to continue intimate partner violence and abuse. This presentation aims to discuss women’s experiences of this, including the emotional labour required from survivors attempting to navigate this.

Method – This presentation incorporates findings from three studies: online accounts from 68 women across two forums (publicly available data), case studies from in-depth interviews with four survivors, and a training workshop with professionals working within the field of child contact & IPVA.

Findings – Formal and informal child contact come with their own differing challenges. Both are difficult for survivors to manage safely as a result of the behaviour of their ex-partners. Informal contact often came before formal contact, and usually involved navigating a range of different services, all of which had differing aims, in order to try and ensure the safety of their children. However formal contact arrangements didn’t always result in safer arrangements, with professionals working within the system being perceived to hold gendered beliefs that impacted on the processes and created further trauma for survivors and the children.

Conclusions – Survivor voices and experiences must be taken into account and carefully considered in light of these (and other) findings. The culture within the family court system is having a clear impact on women and children, leading to unsafe contact for all involved.

Mia Scally is a lecturer in Forensic Criminology-Forensic Psychology within the department of Criminology and Sociology at Middlesex University. Mia has previous experience working within Her Majesty’s Prison Service, and supporting survivors of domestic abuse in her role with Victim Support, and has been research active since undertaking her MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2011/12. Mia is passionate about undertaking applied research that contributes to practice and policy, and most recently was part of the academic panel that contributed to the Victim Strategy.  Mia is currently undertaking a PhD in Forensic Psychology, supervised by Prof. Joanna Adler and Dr. Miranda Horvath.  The presentation will be based on findings from the PhD. 

Monday, 18 November 2019

Psychology Dept. Research Seminar. 21st Nov' 2019, 12-1pm - Dr Vania Bajic. The influence of music on the perception of food taste and pleasantness

*** Everyone welcome!  No need to book in advance ***

Date: Thursday 21st November, 2019
Time: 12-1pm
Room: BG09A, Building 9

Dr Vania Bajic (University of Kent)


Western diets are rich in calorie dense foods high in sugar, salt and fat. This, combined with a lack of exercise, has contributed to the dramatic rise in overweight and obesity in recent years. The fact that food cravings are often associated with food palatability adds to the difficulties posed by low calorie diets and special food regimes recommended for overweight and obese individuals. Finding novel and creative ways to improve food taste and palatability could provide valuable support to the current effort to reduce the prevalence of overeating and overweight conditions. This experiment investigates whether music could be used to modify the perception of food taste and in that way exert influence over eating behaviours and outcomes. More specifically, it examines whether listening to sweet-taste-congruent and bitter-taste-congruent soundtracks while eating can modify the perception of food-taste and food-pleasantness. The findings demonstrate the effects of taste-congruent soundtracks on the perception of food taste as well as food pleasantness. The prospect of using sound to influence food acceptance and palatability looks encouraging and merits further investigation.

Vania Bajic received her PhD in Applied Psychology from the University of Kent in 2018. Her thesis investigates the possibility of using music to influence eating behaviors and eating outcomes such as the perception of food-taste, food-pleasantness and the speed of mastication. Prior to that Vania obtained an MSc (2013) in Applied Music Psychology from Roehampton University. In the same year she was awarded the Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). Vania has over 20 years of experience in the field of music, both as a teacher and a performer. She is a full member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (FISM).