'Media Often Sensationalize Findings'

Marie Arsalidou joined HSE in September 2014 as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Arsalidou speaks to The HSE LooK about her research projects and work plans.
  • Why did you choose psychology?
  • To be honest I didn’t know that I would end up doing neuropsychology. I started with an interest in human thought which has progressed with an interest into the human brain and especially its development and now I am doing neuroimaging. Psychology is very broad. On the one hand it can be very theoretical and on the other hand it can be very empirical in terms of how we study things and also how we evaluate it: from simple paper-and-pencil test to very high-end equipment such as functional magnetic resonance imaging when you see activity in the brain while you are doing things. So, there is quite a range. We learn new things every day. What changes are the methods and the techniques? The tools we use now to study the human brain and human thought have changed. Now we have magnetic encephalography that can track eye movements, we can study brain activity using MRIs. There are many new tools that can give us answers to things that we were not able to answer before, which is exciting.
  • Some of your work was covered by the media. Is it a good thing?
  • Media often sensationalize findings. It might be okay to get the first impression of what scientists do through the media, but if you want to understand what actually is behind it, you should read the real publication in a journal. I do think that it is good to be covered by the media because it gives people the first snapshot of what researchers are doing but from thereon I would be a bit careful with the interpretations done by journalists. So, if you hear that we can now read your thoughts this is not true. 
  • What are your work plans for your first year at HSE?
  • I plan to start a lab with energetic students that I met this year. I already met the first group of master’s students in the English-speaking program and I am really excited to work with them. I’ve been also contacted by students from other universities. My priority now is to start the lab and obtain research resources to begin testing and collecting data.

    Marie Arsalidou grew up in Cyprus. She studied in the Clarion University of Pennsylvania in the United States and York University in Canada where she received a PhD in psychology. After defending her PhD thesis Arsalidou worked as a researcher at York University and at a children’s research hospital. Since September 2014 she has worked as an Assistant Professor at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences. Besides work Marie enjoys cooking. Her specialty is a creative blend of Mediterranean and North American cuisine.

The full text of the issue including interviews with international faculty can be found in The HSE LooK 8 (15), October 2014.