In November 2021, we announced the winner of the first-ever PsychStix essay writing competition. I was ably assisted in the judging by Professor Stephen Reicher of St Andrews University and Professor Becky Milne of Portsmouth University.

First Prize

Lily Brough, of Bedales School, in Petersfield, Hampshire. Lily won £100 kindly donated by the ATP, a gift hamper of PsychStix goodies and the opportunity to share her work with the international Psychology teaching community through publication in ATP Today and here on PsychologyRocks. Please find her winning essay here.

Stephen Reicher gave the following feedback:
“I was greatly impressed by this essay. It is a worthy winner. The essay is scholarly, well-referenced, written with scientific precision but also creative and highly readable. I particularly liked the way in which it achieved clarity without ever over-simplifying a highly complex set of phenomena. It recognised that the impacts of the pandemic were not just down to ‘lockdown’ and the restriction of social contacts but also due to the uncertainties, the hardships and the traumas caused by the virus itself. Linked to this, it recognised that the pandemic has different impacts on different groups hitting the more deprived and exposed particularly hard. This dimension of inequalities must be central to any analysis of the pandemic. Finally – and as a social psychologist myself, I greatly appreciated this – the essay covered many different issues raised by the pandemic including questions of influence and adherence. As many have pointed out, the response to the pandemic depended as much on behavioural as on pharmaceutical factors. All in all, this was highly mature work. I not only enjoyed reading this essay but I also learnt from reading it. Thank you!”

Lily gave the following feedback on her experience of taking part in the competition:

Congratulations Lily!

“While writing this essay I really enjoyed the experience of researching contemporary issues in
psychology and thinking about how psychological research can be focused in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic. I became aware of the already unfolding impacts of the pandemic on
mental health both directly and indirectly and considered the disruption to development
extensive lockdown measures are having on the next generation. More broadly I was also
interested in exploring how established social psychological theories could be applied to
behaviours such as breaking guidelines and not wearing masks, looking at both Adorno’s
authoritarian personality and the theory of locus of control. Overall this experience really
developed my researching skills and challenged me to think adaptively about the knowledge I
already had. Writing this essay confirmed to me the passion I have for continuing to study
psychology at university. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to have this essay
published in a magazine and to attend a psychology conference in March.”

Second Prize

Second prize winner Tanya Cheikh-Ahmed from King Edward’s School, Bath received £50 from the ATP and a box of PsychStix goodies.

Third Prize

The third runner up was Tom Short from Warwick School who received PsychStix goodies for his efforts.

Special commendation

Finally, Elena Walker of Manchester High School for Girls received a Special Commendation from Professor Stephen Reicher. Steve was very impressed by the maturity of Elena’s essay and its well-argued and scholarly approach.

Elena and Lily also won the opportunity to have a “meet and greet” with Steve at the South West conferences London conference in March, kindly donated by Cara Flanagan.

Prizes were donated by the

Who the hell is…? End of term disco PsychStix Pop Quiz!

For our very first teachers’ giveaway (February 2021), we went back to the mid-nineties, when I was at the University of Exeter studying for my undergraduate degree in Psychology.

This competition celebrated the tireless work of a man who helped ensure that “psych stuck” for me back in 1996 and today his extraordinary work is touching the lives of every single one of us here in the UK. 

The competition was won by Julia Greenberg of the London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham.

The second prize went Lisa Brown, who teaches at St Cuthberts School, Auckland, New Zealand.

You can still enjoy the tracks here.