This weekend, the pPOD research team was fortunate enough to once again exhibit a research stand at the annual Imperial Festival. With Harlow’s monkeys dusted off, an excessive number of sweets purchased, and notes on attachment theory printed, the team was ready for ImpFest2017!
We started off in the very earliest years of attachment theory, guiding attendees through the Harlow days of thinking a child’s primary drive for attachment with their caregivers was food, and then moved the public on to thinking about how they themselves might have used their own senses to form attachments with their loved ones (with the help of our trusty featureless baby face, of course!). What makes the event so unique is that one minute you can be explaining attachment theory to an alumni Astrophysicist and the next explaining that very same research to a four year old!
Our very own Prof. Paul Ramchandani also gave a great talk on how our early interactions with our parents/caregivers can shape our future. In it he discussed parental sensitivity, the impact this can have on children’s developmental outcomes, and what can be done to best support parents in those first few years. Judging by the somewhat unmanageable influx of people to our stall immediately following the talk, I think it’s safe to say the public found what Paul conveyed very interesting!
With a record breaking 18,000 attendees, the highlight for me was asking every child who came to the stall what the coolest thing they’d done at the festival was. As much as a small part of me was hoping they’d all say ‘reconstructing a giant baby’s face to learn about attachment theory’, it was such a delight to hear the range and enthusiasm in their answers. From laser balloon popping, to fire tornadoes, and building marshmallow atoms, the creativity and diversity of the ground-breaking research on offer was just phenomenal. I only wish I’d had more time to browse the other stalls myself!
The pPOD research team has come away brimming with enthusiasm and ideas for the stall we can put on for ImpFest2018!
Author: Beth Barker