Programme

The European Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2017 (ECP2017) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The European Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy 2017 (ECERP2017). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow participants to attend sessions in both.

This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • Hidden Thoughts: Do Your Hand Gestures Reveal More About You Than You Think?
    Hidden Thoughts: Do Your Hand Gestures Reveal More About You Than You Think?
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Geoff Beattie
  • A Motivational Theory of Attitudes Towards Counter-Terrorism
    A Motivational Theory of Attitudes Towards Counter-Terrorism
    Featured Presentation: Dr Katie Woodward
  • When the Pope is not a Catholic: Complicating Religious Identity in the Twenty-First Century
    When the Pope is not a Catholic: Complicating Religious Identity in the Twenty-First Century
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Stephen E. Gregg
  • The Virtue of Politeness As a Part of the Virtue of Justice
    The Virtue of Politeness As a Part of the Virtue of Justice
    Featured Presentation: Professor T. Brian Mooney
  • “Identity” and “History, Story, Narrative”
    “Identity” and “History, Story, Narrative”
    Dr Joseph Haldane, Dr Stephen E. Gregg, Dr Geoff Beattie & Dr Katie Woodward
  • Fostering Moral Competence with KMDD (Konstanz Method of Dilemma-Discussion)
    Fostering Moral Competence with KMDD (Konstanz Method of Dilemma-Discussion)
    Spotlight Workshop Presentation: Dr Malgorzata Stec
Hidden Thoughts: Do Your Hand Gestures Reveal More About You Than You Think?
Keynote Presentation: Professor Geoff Beattie

In this lecture I will take a fresh look at what non-verbal communication does in everyday talk. We know that people express their emotions through bodily communication and that we use bodily communication to signal our attitudes to other people, but here I will suggest that one form of bodily communication, namely the spontaneous movements of the hands that we make when we talk, also reflect aspects of our thinking. These hand movements that accompany everyday talk convey core parts of the underlying message. However, since we have little conscious awareness of these spontaneous hand movements they can be very revealing. We are good at controlling what we say in everyday interaction, but we find it impossible to control the form of these unconsciously generated movements. They may therefore, on occasion, not match the speech, and these gesture-speech mismatches can act as a critical cue to various underlying psychological states, including deception. In deception, the form and structural organisation of co-verbal gestures may systematically change, and these spontaneous, unconscious gestures can “leak” the truth. I have analysed instances where people’s self-reported attitudes to sustainability do not correspond to their implicit attitudes, as measured using various associative tasks that do not require verbalisation, and in such cases gesture-speech mismatches may also arise. In this lecture I will argue for the essential unity of speech and gesture in the transmission of thought, and will suggest that we may well have underestimated the communicative power of gestures and failed to see the way that they can reveal our hidden thoughts.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

A Motivational Theory of Attitudes Towards Counter-Terrorism
Featured Presentation: Dr Katie Woodward

Terrorism is a form of communication and the general public are the audience. Although much is known about public attitudes towards terrorism, surprisingly little is known about public attitudes towards counter-terrorism. In the small number studies that do exist attitudes towards counter-terrorism have been shown to be more significant for their variability than their unanimity. The research presented here proposes that one of the key identifiable differences between people who hold differing attitudes towards counter-terrorism is how they conceptualise themselves within a group and therefore how they are motivated to justify the actions of the group in response to terrorist events. Using the previously developed Attitudes towards Counter-Terrorism Scale (AtCTS-13) quantitative data is collected alongside open-ended qualitative questions to examine in greater detail what people articulate to be “good” and “bad” in terms of the UK’s approach to countering terrorism. The integrated analysis of the quantitative and qualitative scores provided by 89 participants enables insight into the different narratives held by three distinct groups: the most favourable, the least favourable and the ambivalent. It was found that the arguments presented by the three groups were qualitatively different, adding more evidence to the theoretical position that the social context in which attitudes are formed and the social-identity motivations are central to understanding these important attitudes. The research culminates in the proposal of a motivational theory to understand attitudes towards counter-terrorism comprising of three distinct justification motives: system justification, group-justification and ego-justification.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

When the Pope is not a Catholic: Complicating Religious Identity in the Twenty-First Century
Keynote Presentation: Dr Stephen E. Gregg

In this lecture I will explore new academic approaches to the study of religion that move beyond the World Religions paradigm and the theological approaches of past generations. Prioritising a bottom-up, vernacular approach to “religion”, I will explore the complexities of religious identity, categorisation and belonging that arise when the religious participants are understood within the context of their everyday lives. With a focus on people, not texts, practices, not beliefs, and on understanding religious living in informal as well as formal settings, I will argue that religious belonging and identity need to be understood within a relational continuum, rather than the binary “inside/outside” categories of previous paradigms. Such an approach seeks to understand the complexity of everyday religious lives – of atheist Muslims, of pro-women priest Catholics, and of performative religious lives that often defy textbook categories of belonging and identity. In so doing, this approach not only re-appraises individual identity and belonging, but challenges the very notion of religious authority and “ownership” – if huge swathes of Catholics disagree with the Vatican with regard to social or family policy issues, what does it mean for textbooks to state “Catholics believe that…”? About whom are they talking? Cardinals or choirboys? Popes or plasterers? Utilising examples from a variety of “mainstream” and “minority” religions, I wish to argue that public discourse on religion, and interdisciplinary approaches to religion outside Religious Studies, should be focusing on religion “as-lived” to best understand the role of religion within contemporary society.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

The Virtue of Politeness As a Part of the Virtue of Justice
Featured Presentation: Professor T. Brian Mooney

“Politeness” appears to be connected to a quite disparate set of related concepts, including but not limited to “manners”, “etiquette”, “agreeableness”, “respect” and even “piety”. While in the East politeness considered as an important social virtue is present (and even central) in the theoretical and practical expressions of the Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist traditions, it has not featured prominently in philosophical discussion in the West. American presidents Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington all devoted discussion to politeness within the broader ambit of manners and etiquette, as too did Erasmus, Edmund Burke and Ralph Waldo Emerson, but on the whole sustained philosophical engagement with the topic has been lacking in the West. The richest source for philosophical investigation is perhaps afforded by the centrality of the concept of respect in Immanuel Kant. However in this paper I will instead draw on the writings of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas to defend the centrality of “politeness” as an important and valuable moral virtue. Starting with an analysis of the broader Aristotelian arguments on the virtues associated with “agreeableness”, namely, friendliness, truthfulness and wit, I will argue that “politeness” should be thought of as an important moral virtue attached to social intercourse (and by extension the vice of impoliteness). I then move to identify an even broader and more important account of politeness, drawing on the work of Aquinas, as intimately connected to the notion of pietas (piety) as a fundamental part of the virtue of justice.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

“Identity” and “History, Story, Narrative”
Dr Joseph Haldane, Dr Stephen E. Gregg, Dr Geoff Beattie & Dr Katie Woodward

Panel Chair: Joseph Haldane
Panellists: Stephen E. Gregg, Geoff Beattie & Katie Woodward

For much of the previous quarter of a century, Europe and North America has seen a liberal politics in the ascendent, moving towards full legal equality of the LGBT community, and an increased international engagement in cooperative unions. But the past few years have seen a remarkable comeback of a conservative and religious right within these countries, leading to huge debates over such fundamental questions as what it means to be a human, a citizen, or even an assigned gender.

Militancy or activism fighting power structures has been harnessed in the form of populist movements defining themselves against the "Establishment", and this Establishment no longer able to exercise the same level of control through traditional instruments of power, including previous near monopolies on communication. Populist movements now, as in the past, have used various forms of scapegoating to harness and direct popular sentiment and anger towards easy solutions. Regionalism, nationalism and divisions of faiths and ethnic groups has lead to huge divisions and conflict in this globalised world.

In this panel Dr Joseph Haldane chairs a round-table discussion which draws on the three morning presentations, referencing the conference themes, and the contemporary, local and global contexts to set the scene for the rest of the conference, and inviting reflection from the panellists as well as participation from the audience.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Fostering Moral Competence with KMDD (Konstanz Method of Dilemma-Discussion)
Spotlight Workshop Presentation: Dr Malgorzata Stec

Well-designed ethics classes can enhance moral competence development, which plays an important role in general personality and identity development. It has been also proved that an effective way to stimulate development must put individuals in situations of cognitive conflict (Turiel, 1966). It shows how important the quality of reasoning is in general growth. But cognitive competence is not enough. Moral learning and upbringing processes should be also based on responsible and democratic decisions – for example, by participating in discussions of moral dilemmas. The Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion (KMDD) introduced originally by Professor Dr Georg Lind of the University of Konstanz, Germany, is one of the the most effective and well-documented methods for moral democratic education (fostering moral-democratic competence). Developed through international collaboration over many years of experience by one of the foremost moral education researchers, Professor Dr Georg Lind, this theory-based approach is scientifically proven to improve moral-democratic competence (Lind, 2016). Within the KMDD fostering moral-democratic competence can be achieved more effectively and with less investment of costs or time than is often thought. KMDD can be offered to people of all ages (from age eight upward) and all cultures and religions. After just one or two sessions, a measurable and sustainable effect occurs. As a Certified KMDD Trainee, KMDD Teacher candidate (2017) and Professor Lind’s direct apprentice and follower, during my workshop I would like to present a full session of KMDD to all who are interested in fostering moral and democratic competence.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.