Brain Awareness Week photo and filming opportunities

1) Pupils find out 'What do psychological scientists do?' Psychological scientists from The University of Manchester will explain their work to local secondary school pupils* at an interactive event on Wednesday 14 March.

200 pupils will take part in activities and talks with researchers from the School of Psychological Sciences, including renowned autism expert Dr Dougal Hare and brain-imaging specialist Dr Daniela Montaldi.

Each speaker will bring along an object from their everyday work, including a rubber hand and a computer game, for the pupils to examine - and will challenge them to guess whose is whose and what they might do with them**.

Dr Karen Lander, one of the organisers of the event, said: "We're keen to engage school children with science and research in an interactive way, and raise their awareness of what the psychological sciences involve."

Co-organiser Dr Ellen Poliakoff added, "The pupils will gain insights into what it would be like to work in this diverse field, which will be useful when making decisions about future study."

The pupils will go home with a goody bag including further information, activities and a brain-shaped stress ball. The event is funded by Research Councils UK as part of National Science Week and Social Science Week.

"What do psychological scientists do?" will take place on Wednesday 14 March in the Stopford Building at The University of Manchester from 1.30 - 4.00pm. Journalists, photographers and film crews are welcome to attend by prior arrangement.

*The pupils will be aged 14 and above and from the following schools:
o St John Fisher Catholic High School, Wigan
o Altrincham Girls Grammar School
o Urmston Grammar School
o Manchester Grammar School
o Whalley Range High School

** Dr Richard Brown uses the rubber hand to find out about changes in body perception, and Dr Luke Jones found inspiration for his experiments on time perception whilst playing a computer game.

2) School children to build giant brain

Pupils of all ages will work with psychology and neuroscience lecturers, a science communicator and an artist to build a giant model brain at a series of workshops this week.

The project at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls will see the pupils build an outsized brain from chicken wire and plaster, and is designed to demonstrate how social interaction shapes our brains.

Project leader Dr Wael El-Deredy said: "The brain is fundamental to our ability to interact socially, so it's highly appropriate to be building this giant version as a team experience."

Journalists, photographers and film crews are welcome to attend the final workshop on Friday 16 March from 12:30 to 13:30 by prior arrangement. The finished model will also be displayed at the University's Brain Awareness activity day at the Manchester Museum on Saturday 17 March 2007 from 11.00 - 3.00.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of Social Science Week.

For further information or to arrange to attend either event please contact:

o Jo Nightingale: 0161 275 8156/jo.nightingale@manchester.ac.uk (Mon - Weds am) or 07717 881572 (Fri)
o Aeron Haworth: 0161 275 8383/aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk (Weds pm and Thurs)

For more details on the event at Manchester Museum on 17 March, please contact Aeron Haworth as above.

Notes for Editors The University will also be holding Brain Awareness Week events for the public at the Asda store in the Eastlands area of Manchester on Monday 12 and Thursday 15 March. Further details are available from Aeron Haworth as above. The University of Manchester (www.manchester.ac.uk) is the largest higher education institution in the country, with 24 academic schools and over 36 000 students. Its Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences (www.mhs.manchester.ac.uk) is one of the largest faculties of clinical and health sciences in Europe, with a research income of around £51 million (almost a third of the University's total research income). The School of Psychological Sciences (www.psych-sci.manchester.ac.uk) was founded in 2004, and comprises the oldest Psychology department in the UK together with Human Communication and Deafness and Clinical Psychology divisions. All were rated 5/5 in the last higher education Research Assessment Exercise.