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Psychologist’s unique alternative to the classroom is YouTube hit

Psychologist Lucy Irving has created a unique way of teaching psychology statistics through a series of dance films.

Middlesex University psychologist Lucy Irving has created a unique way of teaching psychology statistics through a series of dance films that have had more than 35,000 views on the British Psychological Society's YouTube channel.

The project entitled 'Communicating psychology to the public through dance' aims to provide students with a creative way of learning the statistical concepts of correlation, variance, frequency distributions, sampling and standard error, which is seen by many as the most difficult part of a psychology degree.

To create the short films Lucy received a public engagement grant from the British Psychological Society (BPS), along with funding from IdeasTap.

Together with Professor Andy Field from the University of Sussex, choreographer Masha Gurina; dancer and project manager Elise Phillips; and filmmaker Kyle Stevenson, the team were able to create ways of communicating statistical concepts of psychology on film through dance and movement.

Lucy, who teaches research methods, came up with the idea to make learning about statistics fun and engaging for her students. She explained, "Students often report that 'the stats' are the most difficult part of their degree. I wanted to create a way to reduce the fear of statistics for students and create some aids to use alongside their research methods courses."

She said "I was hoping that by representing complicated psychological constructs and statistical procedures in a memorable way would enable more psychology students to understand and engage with them.  I hope that people will either tell students about the films or use them in their own lectures and research methods classes."

"People don't ordinarily associate statistics with dance but it's often the more unusual and surprising ideas that are most memorable," added Lucy.

Watch the videos here.

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