Top Brass: A Voyage of Discovery around the Human Mind ; the 10 Leading Psychologists in Britain, as Chosen by Their Peers

The Independent (London, England), October 14, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Top Brass: A Voyage of Discovery around the Human Mind ; the 10 Leading Psychologists in Britain, as Chosen by Their Peers


David Perrett

Professor David Perrett, 47, has spent much of his career researching an interest that began with his PhD at Oxford on primate responses to the face. In the late 1980s he started focusing on face perception in humans. This led to research into the determinants of attractiveness, the social aspects of the face and its role in the perception of emotion. His work is published in international journals, and the products of his research have been shown in art galleries worldwide. He received the British Psychological Society Presidents' Award for 2001 and is currently professor of psychology at St Andrews University.

"Psychology describes how our biology and experience shape the way we see, think and feel. This makes it a great subject to research and teach because everyone wants insight into how his or her mind works.

"I work with faces because they are powerful reflections of our emotions and passions. Why should we believe someone is a kind person just from looking at their eyes, for instance?

"I use computer graphics to this end. Computers are particularly useful in work like mine because if you think a particular expression has a meaning, you can modify images to explore this further.

"I enjoy teaching almost as much as the research. After all, there's not much point in finding things out if you can't tell anyone about it.

"In the future, I'd like to expand on my current work - one task being to explore the relationship between health and facial expressions."

Gus Baker

Clinical psychologist Dr Gus Baker, 45, has committed his career to understanding the psychological and neuro-psychological consequences of epilepsy. The International League Against Epilepsy recently presented him with an Ambassador for Epilepsy award.

"Clinical psychology is about making a real difference in people's lives by empowering them to think, feel and behave in more constructive ways."

John Coleman

Dr John Coleman, 61, founded the Trust for the Study of Adolescence, an independent body, in 1989. He was awarded an OBE this year.

"Young people get a raw deal. We don't value what they have to offer, and focus too often on the negative aspects of their behaviour. My organisation is committed to producing useful infor- mation for parents and professionals."

Joss Griffiths

Joss Griffiths, 45, head of social sciences and law at Newcastle- under-Lyme College, currently holds the British Psychological Society's Award for Out-standing Contributions to Teaching.

"When I started teaching in 1984, the annual intake of full-time students taking psychology was in single figures. At present, there are in excess of 450 students taking psychology at A-level or A- level equivalent."

Sue McGaw

Dr Sue McGaw, 52, founded and pioneered Special Parenting Services in 1988 and Promoting Effective Parenting in 1998. She lectures to multi- professional audiences and provides training based on her own Parent Assessment Manual.

"I believe that professionals need to dispel the myths and misconceptions about parenting in the context of research findings, evidence-based practice and modern-day family life.

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