Report on Psychology Group Meeting - Meeting, Friday, 16 October 2015

Report on the Psychology Group meeting of the 16th October, 2015.

We met as usual in The Owl Hotel at Hambleton and though few in number we more than made up for that in interest and enthusiasm. Wendy reported that all claims had been met regarding the reimbursement of monies owed to U3A members by the previous psychology group and the small surplus had been donated to our U3A’s general fund.

All members present having been at the previous meeting we continued with our unfinished video presentation on the Horizon programme’s guide to a summary of programmes concerned with intelligence which they have broadcast over the last 40 years. This part of the program covered issues relating to attempts to influence the biological or nurturing aspects of intelligence with a view to ‘improving’ the intellectual performance of one’s children. Historically his raised some very controversial issues such as: the failed attempts to create ‘genius sperm banks’ using donations from ‘elite specimens’ such as Nobel Prize winners, an approach redolent of the eugenics movement and the Nazis: and from a nurture perspective the ‘hothousing’ of children by their parents or ‘elite’ schools who put tremendous pressure on their children to excel in intellectual and related fields. The programme then went on to discuss theories of multiple intelligences and finally the possible future rise of ‘Artificial Intelligence’, as a result of the computer revolution and the consequences that such a development might have for our descendants.

This all generated a very interesting discussion of the issues raised and frankly left us all with the view that the idea that we humans may, in the not too distant future, might be no more than pets for our super-intelligent computer masters was no more than foolish hyperbole.

As for the topic of our next meeting members, after some discussion of the options available, decided that we should explore the range of mental disorders associated with the term, ‘Autism’, a term that has come very much into popular usage but is really little understood by most people. The meeting will include a video presentation on this subject by Prof. Uta Frith, an eminent German born British clinical psychologist who has made a study of this condition her life’s work. This meeting will take place at The Owl Hotel, Hambleton on Friday the 20th November, between 2 and 4 pm.

John Moore – Group Leader

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