Keynote speakers

We are pleased to announce that we have four distinguished keynote speakers lined up for CYPSY21.


Professor Daniel Freeman, Stephen Howell, Professor John McCarthy, and Dr Gary O’Reilly.


daniel bwDaniel Freeman

Daniel Freeman is Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of University College Oxford, an honorary consultant clinical psychologist in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In collaboration with the computer scientists Prof Mel Slater and Dr Angus Antley, he has pioneered the use of immersive virtual reality in the understanding and treatment of paranoia.


Virtual reality in the understanding and treatment of paranoia

Paranoia denotes the unfounded fear that others intend to cause you harm. Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few have many.  Persecutory delusions represent the severest form of paranoia seen in clinical practice. Virtual reality (VR) has enormous potential for developing the assessment, understanding, and treatment of paranoia. This keynote will provide an overview of a programme of work that has been pioneering the use of immersive VR in each of these ways over the past dozen years. This will include description of the latest results showing how VR can be successfully used to reduce persecutory delusions.

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Stephen HowellStephen Howell

Stephen Howell is the Academic Engagement Manager for Microsoft Ireland. In this role he promotes STEM and software development skills to students and educators of all ages and levels. Previous to joining Microsoft, he was a software engineer and Computer Science lecturer. His has published research on educational computer games and is currently researching kinaesthetic learning.

Stephen is the developer of Kinect2Scratch, free software that allows anyone develop games for health and rehabilitation using the Xbox Kinect sensor. This software is used in thousands of schools and universities worldwide by both students and researchers. Stephen has presented this software and how it is used in the classroom at conferences in the USA, UK, Europe and Japan.



Developing Natural User Interface Games for Health without Coding

Making Games for research, health application (or just fun) does not have to be an expensive and difficult challenge.

This presentation will show how the Xbox Kinect body tracking sensor can be programmed in a simple block based programming language (Scratch) to create compelling interactive user experiences. Since the release of this free software in 2011, thousands of teachers, lecturers and researchers have used this software to make games for teaching, exercise and dance games for their students. More interestingly, researchers and medical professionals have used it to create simple rehabilitation games, such as stroke recovery exercises. Although the software was originally created for children learning coding, the Scratch programming language is so simple, non-coding researchers have begun to use it for prototyping their research projects.

This presentation is presented by the software author, who left lecturing 3 years ago to join Microsoft as an Academic Evangelist. He will make games live on stage and test them out – no coding or hardware hacking experience required to learn and enjoy this session.”


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john bw

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is Professor of Applied Psychology at University College Cork, Ireland, where he leads the People and Technology Group (PAT). PAT is a collection of human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers engaged in experience-centred and participatory design of digital technology to understand and enhance people’s lived experience and to ensure their voices are heard in developments that matter to them.

John has over 20 years experience working in HCI research with about 100 publications including three books with Peter Wright on theoretical and methodological foundations of experience-centred HCI Design. The most recent reflects on some design projects that they were involved with, to think about the politics and aesthetics of taking part in HCI design projects. His current research projects are concerned with further developing understanding and practice of participation in HCI. These projects focus on:
(i) The potential to develop dementia friendly research communities to do experienced centred design of technologies and services with people with dementia and their carers in order to understand and enhance their experience and wellbeing;
(ii) The emergence of digital communities and publics as expression of civic engagement in e.g. information, support and advocacy around dementia care and sustainable energy.


Digital publics and counter-publics: varieties of community participation online”. 

In his presentation, John will present a critical enquiry into the emergence, values, and value of digital publics where a public is a group of people who, in facing a similar problem, recognize it and organize themselves to address it (Dewey 1927). He will present observations from ongoing analyses of online communities and publics that have emerged around experiences and interests such as dementia care, abuse, and socio-political change. These discourse analyses will explore the varieties of participation that can be seen in these online communities, including how members imagine their public belongings and how responsive they are to each other online. Preliminary findings point to strong intra- and inter-personal tensions between the need to and the challenge of participating, the need for self-expression and for privacy, the need to provide an open space for identification which is intended to be open only to those in a position to identify but which remains open to all (at some level e.g. technological) so as not to appear closed to those who need to join. Conclusions will be drawn about the qualities of participation in online support groups and about the varieties of belonging that emerge.

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gary bw

Gary O’Reilly
Dr Gary O’ Reilly is a Senior Lecturer/ Director of the Doctoral Training Programme in Clinical Psychology at University College Dublin. He also has a part time appointment as a Principal Clinical Psychologist at Temple Street Childrens Hospital. As such he is both practicing clinician and an academic researcher.  In recent years a significant focus of his work is the development and evaluation of user friendly Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) interventions for young people delivered through a computer game and App called “Pesky gNATs”. The aim of Pesky gNATs is to contribute to the transformation of mental health intervention for young people through technology on a sustainable not-for-profit basis.  For more details please see or follow us on twitter @peskygnats


Pesky gNATs! Delivering Computer Game Based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Interventions for Young People.

Pesky gNATs, is a technology based mental health intervention for young people aged 9 and older who experience clinically significant anxiety or low mood.  Pesky gNATs has 3 components: 1. A Computer Game that young people play in session with a mental health professional that delivers a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) intervention for Anxiety and Mood Disorders.  2. A Smartphone App that helps a young person transfer learning from therapy sessions into their home, school and community life and rewards them for doing so with fun unlockable games.  And 3. An Online Training System that allows mental health professionals anywhere in world to train in and use our programme.  CBT is a form of psychotherapy with one of the strongest evidence bases behind it but its concepts can be abstract and challenging for young people to understand.  Pesky gNATs combines ideas from developmental psychology, clinical psychology and technology to make them more accessible for young people.  This talk will illustrate the value of incorporating game based technologies into mental health interventions in order to make them more accessible to children, less stigmatising and also more effective.

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