In the HotSeat: Chris Berry

Welcome to the HotSeat, Chris!

Background

  • Chris studied at University College London.
  • He is a member on the Ethics Committee, acting on the panel for ethics applications for research projects in the Faculty.
  • He also has a role on the ethics committee for Masters projects.

We all know Chris is very popular, but he is more than just great hair, guys! As we know he teaches stats, the concept that throws many of us in to sheer meltdown (or is that just me?). Well, Chris reassures me that this is just an aspect of research and that to grasp it first time is somewhat rare, although everyone can usually grasp it… at some level… eventually.

He suggests SPSS is not limited to what we learn in workshops; there are many levels on which we can use statistics. SPSS and other statistical packages are very powerful and versatile; you can use them to do simple analyses yourself.

PALS

Chris took the opportunity to discuss PALS, of which he is Academic Co-ordinator for Psychology. PALS is a scheme where study sessions are run for stage two students by students in stages 3, 4, and 5. They are there to help direct learning by running quizzes and activities. It is useful as another way of learning and is not mandatory, but he hopes people give it a try.

Research

Chris enjoys research with a particular interest in implicit and explicit memory, the relationship between conscious and unconscious memory and using different models to assess it. I asked Chris if he had a particular project he was most happy or proud. He replied, “There was an article I was very happy with in 2012 in Psychological Review, there were many rounds of reviews and we made lots of changes. It felt good to finally finish it.”

Chris also told me that he can get a little anxious, as most researchers would, whilst waiting for article reviews: “Whilst being happy to get it off the to-do list, you then look forward to reading what the reviewers have to say.” I asked him what it was like to work with Tim Hollins and Nick Lange. He told me it was nice to work with colleagues and share ideas with each other.

A student requested that I ask Chris if he had any quirky rhymes or such to remember statistics. He explained that this would be a good example of why he studies memory, as he couldn’t remember any at the time! We stayed with memory for a while as I asked if he had any ideas on how to improve memory for assignments exams and so on. Very kindly he sent me some links to look at (here and here).

When I was trying to get questions to ask Chris other than hair-related inquiries and whether or not he has a girlfriend (one I didn’t ask, by the way), somebody said they considered that Chris was one of those really intelligent people who could step into any role and excel. When I told him this, he rather humbly explained that he was flattered – however, he loves psychology and science and is very interested in research. He enjoys coming to work to do this and sharing his interest with students.

Getting to know Chris…

What type of music are you into?
“Rock music. I have seen the Foo Fighters live.” (Such good music taste!)

Who would you like to sit on a bench with for an hour?
“Psychologist Endel Tulving – he is one of many I find inspirational.”

I asked about Chris’s hair routine: “Students want to know what you do to your hair.” He didn’t really know what to say… “I don’t understand! Sometimes I use conditioner…I don’t really do much with it.” He hasn’t cut his hair since January 2016, with no reason for letting it grow. But has been asked if he can read people’s minds and explains that people will always have perceptions of other people’s roles.

Quick-Fire Questions

  • Coffee or tea                                                Coffee
  • Pepsi or coke                                               Neither
  • Diet or full sugar                                        Full sugar
  • Indian or Chinese                                      Both
  • Spring or summer                                     Summer
  • Apple or android                                        Apple (currently, anyway!)
  • Cocktail or mocktail                                 Cocktail
  • Poached or fried                                         Poached
  • Star Wars or Star Trek                              Star Wars
  • Cats or dogs                                                 Cats (but he doesn’t have a cat)
  • Sunrise or sunset                                       Sunset (sunrise is too early)
  • Personal chef or trainer                          Chef
  • Tresemme or Aussie                                 None (not sure what they are)
  • Eat in or out                                                 Out


Final Thoughts!

Chris was very easy to talk to, and very passionate about science and psychology. Thank you to Chris for sparing some time! For more information about Chris, visit the uni website for his research and publications.

Next up in the HotSeat: Alyson Norman! Don’t forget to follow the blog and PUpsychstudents on Twitter!

Y6Zoe Higgins

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