"The skills I gained from designing and running an experiment, along with an understanding of memory and memory loss was an amazing help both at interview and with my university course itself."
Kate spent 2 months designing and running a psychological experiment based upon testing and improving memory skills in adults with memory problems resulting from head injuries. She was based at a day centre run by the head injury charity Headway which catered for adults in various stages of recovery from head injuries. She worked closely with the team based there to run their daily rehabilitation program, in order to gain a greater understanding of the problems encountered by their clients.
Based on this Kate decided that memory loss might provide the most interesting avenue for research and set about designing a test of memory and a means to improve it; by visualising phonetically similar cues in association with a face in order to remember a name. The technique showed a marked improvement in recall, replicating similar more widescale testing in the early stages of recovery from head injuries. This suggests that recovery of cognitive function is not necessarily limited to a short sensitive period following injury and that teaching new techniques may aid rehabilitation further than was previously thought.
Speaking of her experience, Kate said:
"I had an amazing time and returned the next summer to continue working with them and advise the Nuffield Research Placement student based there. My report was awarded 1st prize at the Surrey Nuffield Research Placement Presentation Evening."
After her Nuffield Research Placement, Kate went on to study Psychology and Physiology at Magdalen College, Oxford, and she is now working in a psychiatric hospital and planning to apply for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.