7th Feb 2013: What has Psychology ever done for us? by Prof Ray Miller


On 7th February 2013 Prof Ray Miller and Prof Antonella Sorace did a talk at the Counting House in Edinburgh

Name of speaker and subject:

Prof. Ray Miller, Psychologist

Title of talk:

What has Psychology ever done for us? (A story in three parts)
Part 1:  All in the Mind: Understanding me, you and the world around us.

Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • I think therefore I am. Cartesian Dualism: the concept of body and mind.
  • Is my world your world? Why we don’t see things the same; or as they are.
  • How our brain deceives us. Limitations in perception and memory.
  • Who am I? How we develop our personality.
  • No-one is an island. The importance of being a social animal.
  • Am I suffering from the Self Illusion?

Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found:


A few words about you and your passion:

I have been a psychologist for nearly 40 years, mostly in the field of healthcare (now retired). Much of the psychology that I used, and continue to use, is based on understanding some essential concepts acquired during my undergraduate years.
These three talks will not be cutting edge advances in Psychological knowledge. Rather they will draw on well-established principles that have real, practical applications.
They will be a flashcard introduction only. A series of fast images that flick past too quickly to examine in detail but which together, hopefully, convey a story.
If you are interested, there will be an indication of where you can find out more. It is a fascinating topic that has been my hobby and guide as well as my profession.

A few lines about the history of your subject:

Psychology, Philosophy and the urge to understand ourselves and our world have been around as long as there have been people.
Modern Psychology, as an academic and scientific discipline, can be dated to the late 19th century and the attempts of people like Wilhelm Wundt to formalise the study of personal experience. Theories of psychology have ranged from Freud’s model of the psyche, through Behaviourism and Learning Theory, Models of Cognition, Evolutionary Psychology and, most recently, the integration of Psychology with our emerging knowledge of neurology and biology.
It sometimes seems that the more we look into it, the less we actually know. It challenges many ‘common sense’ beliefs and sacred cows. It is political, social and, often, revolutionary.