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FASS academics feature on the BBC’s Morning Live programme

BBC Morning Live presenters Helen Skelton, Gethin Jones, and Michelle Ackerley

Two OU academics from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) were featured this week in the BBC’s Morning Live programme on Wednesday and Thursday 19 and 20 June to explore the psychology of climate change and distracted driving.

Dr Trudi Macagnino and Professor Gemma Briggs from FASS’s School of Psychology & Counselling are the OU consultants involved in two short informative films which aired during the programme that starts at 9.30am, weekdays on BBC One.

Dr Macagnino, who is a Staff Tutor in Psychology and Counselling, was the OU consultant on a film Eco Wins, transmitted on 19 June, which addresses the psychology of why people might feel dispirited and helpless about climate change leading them to disengage from the problem.

It addresses the very real ‘climate anxiety’ that, according to the Office for National Statistics, three out of four of us feel. But the footage aims to leave viewers with uplifting and positive examples of where our everyday actions can help to alleviate our climate anxiety as well as contributing to reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

Dr Macagnino said: “We worked closely together to achieve a balance between the tone of the programme and the research on the impact of the climate and ecological crisis on our mental health.”

And on Thursday 20 June a film called Distracted driving aired, featuring Professor Gemma Briggs, Head of Discipline and Professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology at the OU.

Gemma conducts research into how drivers’ attention and perception can be affected when they use a hands-free phone behind the wheel.

She was the OU consultant on the film, which demonstrates research findings showing that hands-free phone use is different from conversation with a passenger as it causes cognitive distraction, which can lead to increased crash risk and failure to notice hazards.

Professor Briggs said: “The film shows that conventional wisdom about hands-free phone use being ‘safe’ isn’t sound and explains why this is the case. It also shows the devastating impact distracted driving can have.”

Four other films, produced with the help of OU academic consultants, are due to appear between now and the middle of July.

The films were commissioned by Broadcast and Partnerships and are supported by FASS, with particular relevance to Psychology and Counselling

  • Commissioned by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Director, Broadcast and Partnerships
  • Academic Consultants:
    • Dr Trudi Macagnino – Eco Wins
    • Professor Gemma Briggs – Distracted Driving
    • Dr Jim Turner – Changing Your Mind
    • Dr Sinead Eccles – Brain Health Hacks
    • Professor Kesi Mahendran ­­– Are You Extreme?
    • Professor Lara Frumkin – Courtroom Accents
  • Media Fellow: Professor Zoe Walkington
  • Broadcast Project Manager: Clair Robinson
  • Supporting Online Content: Patrick KearneyXinmiao ZhangMatthew Ray and Steff Easom

Also published on OU News.

Supporting online content

Visit our Broadcast website OU Connect, where you can watch each of the films and find interactives exploring the films’ themes further. NB: the films and their associated content will not be live/available until after each broadcast.

Image credit: ©BBC Morning Live

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