In today’s Profcast we speak to Professor Rory O’Connor, Chair in Health Psychology and Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.
Why did you become an academic?
That’s a good question. From pretty early on in my life, I wanted to be a psychologist. As an identical twin of an identical twin I’ve always been fascinated by nature vs nurture and psychology more generally. Yes, to clarify, my father was an identical twin and I am an identical twin and my twin, Daryl, is also a professor of psychology – at Leeds University (we’re mirror twins actually). Also, when I was 11, I met a clinical psychologist, who really impressed me and I have been pretty much hooked on psychology ever since (I had the good fortune to meet said same clinical psychologist more than ten years later while doing my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast which was great). It was some time later before I decided that I wanted to become an academic rather than a clinician. I remember really enjoying doing a group research project during the 2nd year of my undergraduate degree; this really whetted my appetite for research, which was further reinforced by doing my final year dissertation (an experimental study on learned helplessness and depression). I loved the process, thinking of a problem, formulating it as a question and then systematically attempting to answer it. I have also always enjoyed teaching and again, I had really positive experiences of teaching/supervision as a postgraduate and of developing an extra-mural course on mental health at Queen’s with two colleagues during my PhD. Continue Reading