School of Psychology and Vision Sciences

Sluckin lectures

The Sluckin Lecture is an annual event at the University of Leicester to commemorate Professor Wladyslaw Sluckin (1919–1985), one of the original members of the University of Leicester’s Department of Psychology and Head of Department from 1973 until his retirement in 1984. He was Editor of the British Journal of Psychology from 1967 to 1973. He had a lasting influence on generations of students and colleagues and remains an inspiration to the School of Psychology and to British psychology in general.

The first Sluckin Lecture was delivered in 1991 by Professor Patrick Bateson, FRS, of King’s College, Cambridge.

2023 - Professor Sarah Beck, University of Birmingham

Thursday 4 May, 5.00pm - 6.00pm

Imagination and Innovation

People don’t limit themselves to thinking about what is real. We think about how the world might be different to how it is now. In particular, we speculate about how past events might have turned out differently and we use our imagination to solve problems we encounter. I will discuss experimental studies with young children, who develop from being highly imaginative pretenders to innovative problem solvers. I will also make links to work with non-human animals to explore how different minds use the imagination to understand the world.

The seminar will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, George Davies Centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester, LE1 7HA. The event is followed by a drinks reception in the George Davies Centre Reception Atrium.

Booking is required via Eventbrite.

Previous lectures

2022 - 2013


  • Cancelled (Covid-19)


  • Cancelled (Covid-19)


  • Cancelled (Covid-19)

2019 - Professor Mike Burton, University of York

  • Face Perception: Recognising Friends and Checking Passports

2018 - Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, University College

  • London Adolescence as a Sensitive Period of Social Brain Development

2017 - Michael W. Eysenck, Royal Holloway, University of London

  • Cognitive Neuroscience: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

2016 - Simon Baron-Cohen, University of Cambridge

  • The Prenatal Sex Steroid Theory of Autism

2015 - Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Leeds University

  • A Pathway to Impact: Figure Skating Judging, Sex Education, and Beyond

2014 - Professor David Shanks, University College London

  • The Replication Crisis in Psychology

2013 - Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford

  • Developmental Dyslexia and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Distinct Syndromes or Part of Normal Variation?

2012 - 2002

2012 - Andrew R. Mayes, University of Manchester

  • Memory, Brain and Genes – and Some Educational Recommendations

2011 - Nicholas J. Mackintosh, University of Cambridge

  • Sex differences in intelligence?

2010 - Sir Michael Rutter, Kings College London

  • Testing Causal Inferences: Naturalistic Studies, ‘Natural Experiments’, Planned Experiments and Animal Models

2009 - Trevor W. Robbins, University of Cambridge

  • From Impulsivity to Compulsivity

2008 - Anthony Dickinson, University of Cambridge

  • Mental Time Travel by Animals

2007 - Aubrey Manning, University of Edinburgh

  • The Animals and Ourselves

2005 - Rufus Johnstone, University of Cambridge

  • The Evolution of Personality: An Adaptive View of Individual Differences in Behaviour

2004 - Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive, Medical Research Council

  • Whither Psychology: Wither Psychology?

2003 - Nick Chater, University of Warwick

  • Simplicity as a Fundamental Cognitive Principle

2002 - Adrian Furnham, University College London

  • Music While You Work

2001 - 1991

2001 - John Sloboda, University of Keele

  • Engaging with Music: Emotion, Motivation and Action

2000 - Jeffrey Gray, Institute of Psychiatry

  • The Repair of Brain Damage and Cognitive Functioning Using Conditionally Immortalised Neural Stem Cells

1999 - Richard Gregory, University of Bristol

  • Reflections on Mirrors

1998 - Jan B. Deregowski, University of Aberdeen

  • The Perceptual Bounds of Artistic Portrayal

1996 - Robert Hinde, St Johns College, Cambridge

  • Violence and War

1995 - Patrick Rabbitt, University of Manchester

  • Models for the Ageing Mind

1994 - Margaret Boden, University of Sussex

  • Minds and Machines: Forty Years On

1993 - Kacper Miklaszewski, Institute for Research in Music Education, Poland

  • Learning Music: Psychological Research in Poland and Eastern Europe

1992 - Colwyn Trevarthen, University of Edinburgh

  • Infant Communicative Behaviour

1991 - Patrick Bateson, King’s College, Cambridge

  • Early Learning in Animals

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