The importance of comunication in psychology

February 18, 2012

One of the infamous classes students have to participate in is oral presentation practice (otherwise known as POPPS to Bangor Psychology students).  I personally enjoy the classes as I take the stance of seeing it as a formal way to argue and talk about our views and opinions on matters that affect us. It allows us to gain the point of view of peers who we wouldn’t normally associate ourselves with. A subject like Psychology provokes a lot of thought and of course we are human, we’ll get the wrong end of stick sometimes. What’s even better practice in these sessions is we can have the valuable experience of defending our own viewpoint in a professional manor, not everyone agrees with the same theories and principles (1).

One particular speech brought to hand an argument which highlighted how much people’s opinions can differ. The subject was animal rights and scientific experimentation, which naturally people are going to have a distinguished opinion be it ‘I don’t care’ or ‘absolutely not!’ and both have right to think that. However I think it is best for people to educate for both sides of the argument otherwise someone can call your bluff and you are left stumbling trying to hold onto the remnants of what you were trying to fight for (2). The audience you are talking to may be aware that horrific experiments are taking place on animals and it’s not right. If they see that you don’t care enough to do your research and present a solid argument then they will lose respect for you as a person (3). Of course this is situational circumstances, but even if an argument is being presented to a friend and not a board of professionals, is it okay to look foolish if you can’t counter a statement?

Presentation and delivery is essential (4). When a person cannot convince a friend of what they are trying to prove then convincing their colleagues in the scientific community will be near impossible. Communication skills come across in how well we write an argument in a research report, if you waffle when you talk its more than likely waffle when you write your essay/report (5).  The impression given across to the public when working as a psychologist is dependent on communication skills, if we cannot clearly and precisely work with patients for good results then the patients and other professions will lose faith in psychology as a discipline (6).

I appreciate that POPPS causes a lot of anxiety for people (some more than others) but if you don’t keep trying and asking for help then you won’t improve (7). I feel that my confidence and ability to communicate has improved a lot since I arrived at university and I believe POPPS had helped me achieve that. This old Chinese proverb describes this point exactly:

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

In conclusion I feel that POPPS is an essential part of our course as it allows us to improve key social skills which are imperative in life, especially in the field of psychology.

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References

1. Communication discrepancy and intent to persuade as determinants of counterargument production – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022103167900315

2. The ethics of debating both sides – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03634525709376840

3. Source credibility, information favourability, and job offer acceptance – http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/255481

4. Are first impressions important in academia – http://www.jstor.org/pss/145922

5. CORPORATE WRITING: GAIN POWER OVER HEARTS AND MINDS – http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zeY9lByMVLwC&oi=fnd&pg=PA124&dq=if+you+waffle+in+your+speech+you+waffle+in+writing&ots=zQk8HTWpQG&sig=fSHZ5qhRDBgdhnABNdXDr01twuQ

Writing Essays: Style and Organisation Ii Approaches to Organising Your Writing – http://myteachingroom.squarespace.com/storage/Guide%20to%20Essay%20Writing.doc

Organising Your Presentation – http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/19/04705161/0470516119.pdf

6. Osler—as much heart as head: The importance of compassion – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2145983/

Media doctor admits to plagiarism –  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7452877.stm

7. Opinion change and performance facilitation as a result of objective self-awareness – http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=audiance+causes+reduction+in+performance&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=&as_vis=0

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15 Responses to “The importance of comunication in psychology”

  1. kennedy92 Says:

    A really good blog. I really enjoy reading your blogs because you come up with some really interesting topics and once again you have done. POPP’s is always a point of discussion with us students and there are so many mixed reviews on it. I personally agree with you and think POPP’s is a really good idea. I have spoke in public before coming to university and doing POPP’s but I think the regular practice at actually standing up infront of people and building up my own confidence is so important and I am really glad you have benefitted from POPP’s as well. I had never thought about how speaking can affect writing essays etc. like you have pointed out and if I do think about it I do agree that learning how to structure a speech will help to learn to structure an essay (and I suppose the other way around as well). I did a quick search on the benefits of public speaking and there are even more than what came to mind. One of the personal benefits that the website pointed out was that “it encourages you to look inside yourself” and I completely agree becuase if you get given a topic you will either have an opinion already formed or will have to form one. This website also discussed the power of words and how words can persuade or hurt people and that public speaking is a massive responsibility and is incredibly important. I do think public speaking is a massive responsibility as words can have such an affect on people. Like when I was younger in primary school (and thinking about it high school as well) nasty names are just words but these words stick with you for a long long time and can have long lasting effects on people. So I think you have come up with another great topic and really appropriate for us as students.

    • Jessicaaro Says:

      It is amazing just how important communication can be in world. Especially in science where we must promote our idea in the more convincing way possible. Your behavior has a big influence on those around you, especially the emotions you show. A simple smile has an large impact, more than you would expect (1). A study was done on mothers who smiled a lot at there baby and it was found the baby would imitate this behavior as well. Many years of research show that laughter and smiling can boost our well-being, reduce our anxiety and stress, enabling a person to cope with good and bad situations. The research indicates that when working with people be it a client or a colleague how you conduct yourself is very important to progressing in life (2).

      1. http://communicatebetter.blogspot.com/2008/10/power-of-smile.html

      2. http://rowdykittens.com/2010/11/smile/

  2. leylaosman Says:

    Another interesting blog. I remember when i first started POPPs and found out I had to do a speech for a group of complete strangers. It felt like the longest 5 minutes of my life. However it did help me in many areas by becoming more of a confident speaker and expressing my ideas in an argumentative way.

    I agree, Speaking to strangers is an important part of our career choice and i think POPP sets us up for this. As part of our careers we will have to meet new people, everyday and talk to them. If you have no people skills, you cannot be a Psychologist i feel. Also if we don’t start practicing now, we still have to do it at the end of our course when we present our dissertation!


  3. What an interesting topic you have chosen. POPPS reinforces the importance communication plays in the field of Psychology, and POPPS classes also helps us to gain vital communication skills that we can implement later on in life. For example, POPPS has increased my confidence levels by standing up and presenting speeches in front of the class which will benefit me if i were to present speeches later on in life. In addition, POPPS has also taught me how to express my ideas in a clear and effective way which will be of great use to me in my future career. Furthermore, especially in the field of Psychology, you interact with different people every day and will come across conflicting opinions and will have to communicate with a lot of people. POPPS has thus taught me how to become a more confident speaker when communicating with people i do not know and in addition, has enabled me to take people’s differences of opinion into consideration and deal with conflicting opinions in a sophisticated and clear way and thus present my argument effectively.
    In conclusion, communication is without a doubt a vital aspect, especially in the field of Psychology and by taking part in POPPS classes, it allows us to develop and mature, as well as obtain vital communication skills.

    • Jessicaaro Says:

      I think it is amazing the amount power a good speech can have. I think it is wise to remember that good talking skills are essential, a good talker is always remembered, which is useful to keep in mind when going to a job interviews. Research has shown that even if you say one negative thing about yourself then that will be the one thing that stands out, even if it does give you the brownie point of being honest (1). This needs to be considered with writing research reports, you should never criticize your own research, suggest improvement but don’t undermine it. If you do say ‘we didn’t do this’ the person reading it will always think ‘well why didn’t you?’, and it will put a negative feeling in their mind about your work and it credibility. In history we remember the people who gave inspiring, powerful amazing speeches, especially in politics. Examples of this are Martin Luther King and Barrack Obalmer and Enock Powell, it is important for us to take a moment to consider why these speeches are remembered for both the good and band reasons (2).

      1. http://financialhighway.com/30-most-common-interview-questions-and-how-to-answer-them/

      2. http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/

      http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/rivers_blood2.html

  4. hb90 Says:

    Good blog 🙂 I would have to agree with you, i feel that popps is an essential part of the course. It is very important that we learn to communicate and get our arguments and ideas across to one another in a number of ways rather than just essays. Although essays give us the ability to come up with sound arguments sometimes it is easier to get the point across through speaking. I feel that you often you understand more about the research through a presentation especially if the matter being discussed is important to the individual who is giving the presentation. This however, cannot necessarily be seen so clearly in an essay. Although popps can cause anxiety , the feedback is nearly always positive and allows the individual who has given the speech to gain confidence and improve. I feel that what i have learnt from popps will help me in the future if i have to give a presentation and it has helped be gain vital communicatin skills.


  5. I’m glad that there are others that like POPPs too, just like some of you I had done speeches before but they had always been in front of classmates that I had known for years, whereas with POPPs the people you are presenting to changes every semester and I think this really helps as we are able to adapt our speaking to new audiences, and we can also see a wide range of speeches to help us with our own.
    I feel as though some in our year and in the first year are not taking full advantage of POPPs as if an impromptu speech is too hard they want an easier one, and even then the speech will not even last two minutes.

  6. Jack Says:

    POPPS is useful for a host of reasons; entertainment, social factors and easy course credit. We get grades for talking about the effectiveness of fruit as weaponry, how much ape’s enjoy Oasis and/or the nutritional value of cardboard. This can’t be hard people. When it comes to the presentations, I think other students would agree that the marking isn’t exactly stringent. I enjoy the banter in POPPS, and ridiculous topics for impromptus can actually brighten your day with the right speaker.
    POPPS is officially geared towards presenting our dissertation if I’m not mistaken, but the sessions don’t really focus on serious topics and (although I still have another semester of POPPS to attend before I can make a decent review) I believe they aren’t effective enough to fill the space they hold in our timetable. Lastly, the presentations that cover blog topics (which are most I believe at this stage) are fairly relaxed in terms of content- I think allowing relevant material e.g. new research and/or topics of debate in different fields to dominate the presentations would mean we might actually learn something.


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  8. psuc27 Says:

    Ok so i too agree that POPPS is a key part of our course especially as you said in improving out social skills, which are invaluable. However i think there is more too the importance of communication within psychology… POPPS is intended to aid us in being able to effectively communicate oneself and its benefits go beyond simply improving our social skills, as by being able to communicate effectively this can actually enhance our abilities when it comes to learning and recalling in our transactive memory systems (Hollingshead, 1998). I know personally i have actually found this to be true… as we are currently doing our prepared speeches in POPPS on blog topics..which are statistically related…and as someone who has previously struggled terribly when it comes to statistics I have found that through communicating through the blogs and then through my speeches I have been able to gain a further understanding of topic areas i previously had very little knowledge on. This may be due to the fact that i am having to communicate my understanding so am doing further research into it for the blog aspect, and then through rehearsal for my speeches i am gaining a better understanding of these once baffling areas. So i think that communication within psychology is very important as it is through effective communication that we are able to obtain a host of different skills.

  9. tinkybelle Says:

    I thought your blog was very original and presented many different views of oral presentation in psychology. Personally I am not fazed by POPPS, and like you, find it an enjoyable way of experiencing other people’s points of view. Oral communication is so important in many other parts of life too, from discussing issues with our peers to interview presentations and narrative therapy. I would however like to see it’s usefulness and importance in the wider world explained early in the first year as I do think that people get so much more out of something if they know why they are doing it. This Task based teaching is often employed to teach languages – but I think POPPS is also about language and communication. Along the same lines really, whether someone wants to be a research psychologist or a councillor you will need to be able to communicate your research/advice in a clear and effective manner, and as you pointed out, POPPS will help enormously with this. I do think it is worth mentioning though, that it is possible that some people become so anxious about this that anything they may get from POPPS is far outweighed by the sleepless nights and anxiousness they feel, and for people who suffer this severe stress, an alternative should be available – especially within the psychology department. In conclusion, I think that POPPS is a valuable lesson but it should not be enforced in circumstances where the stress experienced is greater than any benefit gained. (Isn’t that a code of ethics…????)

    References:

    http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:R1crFOY2PlMJ:scholar.google.com/+other+people%27s+views+enriching+life&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=coO0bxnBeRgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=task+based+teaching&ots=sUw0W3sCB0&sig=vJcobiu3QlFGHqYvNqWanQU7HoQ#v=onepage&q=task%20based%20teaching&f=false

    http://0-www.nature.com.unicat.bangor.ac.uk/neuro/journal/v12/n9/full/nn.2374.html


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