2015 MSPS Great Debate - Review

Dear colleagues,

This year's edition of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences (MSPS) Great Debate took place in front of a packed and boisterous audience last night in the Richard Berry Building.

A diverse audience of students, staff and members of the public enjoyed an evening of rhetoric and repartee from some of the School's finest minds and sharpest tongues, debating the proposition that "Nothing studied in psychology is real".

There were many memorable moments, but some stood out:

For the affirmative

  • Rob Hester reviewing neuroimaging studies of dead fish
  • Jenny Boldero advocating persuasively for data fabrication
  • Lean OBrien arguing that psychology may be a hub science, but the hub is a void

For the negative

  • Annie Blunden exploring the psychology of nose and ear hair
  • Elise Holland's dystopian vision of a Redmond Barry Building filled with philosophers, with psychologists reduced to scrubbing toilets
  • Simon Cropper channelling Nietzsche and extolling the joys of standing in mud-puddles

There were many other high-points and low-points, including numerous gratuitous attacks on Scientology and recent ex-Prime Ministers, and an unacceptable number of cheap digs at social psychology. The topic of the debate was occasionally addressed. In the end, the negative team was adjudged the winner by acclamation.

Congratulations and thanks to all of the debaters, and to Katherine Johnson, Chris Newton, Paul Dudgeon, Erin Calder and the entire External Relations team for putting on a very entertaining evening.

Cheers, Nick Haslam