Saturday, September 25, 2010
As you'd expect, we all speak a rather different language — and I think this discussion should ideally have the disciplines of psychiatry and psychoanalysis here — but the format is great. It's mostly 15 minute papers with two ten minute responses and then the rest of the hour for discussion.
Some amazing papers, but some stand-out moments, too.
A music psychologist described working with dementia patients. Singing provides an amazing restorative because music triggers various memory tracks in the brain — but the most moving thing was to think of the carers seeing their loved ones ... as they used to be. (OK, I shed a little tear here.
A psychologist's response to a paper on academic emotions described the difference between two kinds of thinking: one is the adaptive, perhaps process-driven one that helps surgeons and air-traffic controllers do their job; another is the ruminative, more open-ended kind of thinking that suits disciplines like literary studies. But it is the ruminative thinker who is apparently more likely to become depressed. (He also said there was clinical evidence to suggest that men lie "prolifically" about their emotions...)
The final session of the day was to be a 90-minute round table. We spent quite a while compiling a list of possible topics. A psychologist muttered good-naturedly, "why don't we just starting talking about one of these?" — to which I replied, "but we're ruminating..."
My paper — on various accounts of the Great Fire of London — is on today, just about as the AFL grand final is on. A dear friend is promising to stream the match in the background as I speak.
Since the poor old Bombers finished the season third from the bottom, I don't have much invested, really, in the outcome. But since Essendon is traditional rival with Collingwood, and since it is simply so much fun to have a team you hate — Go Saints!!