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Unibas Psychologists Video Conference Grade 11 Psychology Students

In the strange and uncertain times we are experiencing, the value of research and science has been emphasised. The pursuit of knowledge is unstoppable, as our own students have shown in their dedicated distance learning. Although changes are having to be made, work continues. 

On Friday, 3 April, Grade 11 Higher Level Psychology students were fortunate enough to gain the opportunity to participate in a real-life study and pose questions to the researchers. Students were joined by Emma Jones and Marnie Reed, from the Basel University. They are clinical psychologists and part of a team conducting a study investigating third culture kids. 

The term ‘third culture kid’ is no doubt familiar to many. A third culture kid (TCK) can be defined as a child who is raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of their country of nationality for a significant part of their development years. This is a population on the rise as many families chose to move for work purposes, much like many in the school community. Naturally, this change can cause children to be confronted by unfamiliar challenges as they attempt to acculturate. Research shows that when third culture kids reach adulthood they are more likely to have many positive traits including open-mindedness, psychological flexibility and resistance to stress. 

Despite the global population of TCK’s, there is surprisingly very little thorough scientific research. Having highlighted this gap, the team at Basel University is attempting to better understand the factors that influence wellbeing and socio-cultural adjustment not just in individuals but also the family system. This study perfectly ties in with the IB Psychology curriculum. Grade 11 students have learnt about the socio-cultural topic of acculturation as well as research methods and in the video conference/online class discovered how to apply these concepts to real life situations. 

The researchers shared everything, ranging from from the initial research question, hypotheses and ethics considerations to data collection & processing and applications of findings (conclusions). The rigorous planning showed students the demanding work involved in psychological research. Ms. Jones and Ms. Reed also explored the various careers within the field and the vast applications psychology has.  

As for the findings? The study is still in the data collection stage. The aim with the findings is to make applications to the target population and draw conclusions which can be built back into the clinical setting to help third culture kids. Ms. Jones said; “the goal with research isn’t to prove existing work but to understand the subtleties of the human mind.” Many students’ interest in psychology has been reaffirmed today, so maybe we will be seeing their names on future research. 

Written by: Beth, Grade 11

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The Home Abroad Study Team, which Emma Jones and Marnie Reed are a part of, are still looking for English-speaking expatriate families with children between the ages of 7-17 years who may be interested in taking part in the study. Please click here to find details of the study.