Lydia Brown

University of York - Sciences
The automatic processing of emotional body language
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My project was looking at whether when we look at people we automatically detect the emotion they are feeling or not. I did this by designing an experiment where participants viewed an image of 3 people standing in a row expressing certain emotions, e.g. anger or happiness.

The people on the left and right expressed a different emotion to the person in the middle, and participants were told to focus on the one in the middle and press a button to identify the emotion expressed. If we do automatically process the emotion from the body language, then participants would be slower when the left and right people had expressed different emotions to the body in the middle.

What is Lydia up to now?

Currently studying an Integrated Masters (psychology and neuroimaging) at The University of York.

Lydia Brown

My research project provided a great experience of working alongside a leading academic as the balance between independence and guidance was struck just right. I felt it was my project and I steered it, but I was also able to go to my supervisor when need for guidance in areas I was less familiar with or he was an expert in. I also learned to code in a computer programming language called MATLAB, and I developed my skills in experimental design. I was also given a fully kitted out lab to work in, including an amazing mac computer with all of the psychology software needed to run the experiment.

Benefits of the network

I applied for a job as a data analyst in the human resources department at the University of York where the brilliant members of staff who ran the scholarship were based, so having contacts there was helpful for guidance about the interview. I’ve also made great friends with other scholars in psychology and neuroscience who I know will go on to do amazing things, so they will be fantastic links to maintain.

I’ve also written for the York Laidlaw team and I have been to many university events to help at the Laidlaw Scholarship stalls to recruit for the next year of scholars as well as speaking at the welcome event for the next cohort.

What's next?

I have just graduated from my master’s and I intend to undertake a PhD next, and keep going down the academic research path as a career. The Laidlaw Scholarship has really enabled me to do this and given me such an edge in interviews, as the independent research is such a rare opportunity to get which made me stand out from other competitors.