Cooperation and how to nurture it key theme of Soapbox Science talk

Bangor Psychology PhD student Pippa Beston will be travelling to Swansea to take part in the Soapbox Science event on 8th July. She is following a considerable tradition of Bangor’s School of Psychology taking part in this event with previous participants including Prof. Emily Cross and Dr Kami Koldewyn.

Pippa BestonPippa BestonPippa’s view is that in the current political climate, the credibility of science and ‘experts’ is under threat and she thinks it is really important for the public to encounter science in their everyday lives and to understand what it is, how it functions and why it is crucial for the progression of society. Pippa said “To be a part of an event like Soapbox Science and to encourage people to both engage with scientific research and to think like scientists, is a very exciting opportunity. I am really looking forward to my first public outreach opportunity to talk about social psychology and cooperation.”

In her research, she is currently looking at cooperation and the conditions under which it both flourishes and deteriorates. Over the course of her PhD, she has explored the role of punishment in cooperation, e.g. naming and shaming ‘free-riders’ versus monetary fines. Pippa said “I have also found that the social environment where these interactions take place really makes a difference in people’s decisions to cooperate, and changes the effectiveness of different punishments. I am very much looking forward to engaging members of the public in discussions about this research and about how social psychology can provide some answers about how to foster stable cooperation between individuals and societies.”

Prof Guillaume Thierry, is Pippa’s supervisor and commented that “I am totally thrilled to learn that Pippa will be giving a talk at Soapbox Science Swansea 2017. Pippa is a cheerful and bright PhD student with astonishing levels of empathy and social awareness. She is one of these rare students who care not only about the quality of the science they engage with, but also, the relevance of their research for society. Pippa is an inspiration for her peers and giving a talk at the soapbox event is a matching recognition for her drive and dedication.”

Prof. Emily Cross, a soapbox science veteran said ““I’m absolutely thrilled that Pippa is our next fearless lady of Bangor Psychology to take to her soapbox and spread her science to the people. When I participated in Soapbox Science back in 2013, it was like stepping into the unknown- the challenge of having nothing but your voice, your body, and maybe a few props to engage random passerbys in a public setting was certainly daunting. However, the Soapbox Science team is brilliant and I have every confidence that Pippa will be electrifying audiences in Swansea with her fascinating research on social punishment”

Publication date: 29 March 2017