Four short films that explain statistical concepts through dance that were partly funded by a 2011 BPS Public Engagement Grant have been viewed thousands of times on the BPS You Tube channel.
The grant was awarded to Lucy Irving from Middlesex University and Professor Andy Field from the University of Sussex for their project 'Communicating psychology to the public through dance'. This aimed to help psychology students get to grips with, what is seen by many, as the most difficult part of a psychology degree. The films also received funding from IdeasTap.
Lucy, who teaches research methods, wanted to make learning about statistics fun and engaging and demystify the concepts. She explained: “I knew this wasn’t an original concept but we hoped that representing complicated psychological constructs and statistical procedures in fun and memorable ways would enable more psychology students to understand and engage with them.”
Bringing together a team that included a professional choreographer Masha Gurina, film maker Kyle Stevenson and co-producer, a psychology graduate and professional dancer, Elise Phillips they experimented with the dancers to find ways of communicating the concepts: correlation, variance, frequency distributions, sampling and standard error.
Lucy said: “We worked with the choreographer and experimented with the dancers to find ways of communicating the concepts. Students often report that ‘the stats’ are the most difficult part of their psychology degree and these the films aim to challenge this by demonstrating that thinking about them in new ways may make them easier to comprehend”.
Since being launched at Siobhan Davies studios and subsequently placed on the BPS You Tube channel the videos have been viewed over 15,000 times and have attracted lots of positive comments.
The videos are available via the BPS You Tube channel now.
If you have questions or comments about the films please contact @statsdancer or email@example.com
The Society runs an annual public engagement grant scheme. Through these grants we aim to help members promote the relevance of evidence-based psychology to wider audiences either through direct work or by organising interesting and relevant communications activities. Find out more.
IdeasTap is an arts charity for young, creative people at the start of their careers. Visit their website for more information.