First year Psychology students got up close and personal with wildlife, as an educational trip to London Zoo offered a chance for them to get behind the bars of the enclosures.

An opportunity to put their Psychology studies into practice, 28 AS students headed to the capital to learn about monitoring animal behaviour, which marries with their academic classroom work.

“It was amazing. Getting inside the monkey enclosure was so good, and much better than looking at them through a cage."

Elizabeth Lyons, Psychology student

The two-day trip also encompassed some sightseeing and a spectacular West End show, which even stuck with the zoo / animal theme.

One of three Psychology teachers accompanying the first years was Becky Cheadle, who said: “It was an excellent trip and the students really enjoyed it.

“The main purpose of going was to visit the zoo which links into research methods that we study. The students were given a talk on how they would observe the animals in the zoo, which pretty much mirrors how we observe human behaviour with the same systems and methods.”

Becky continued: “After the briefing, they were given iPads with a certain app on and were taken into the enclosure with the squirrel monkeys. They used the app to observe the animals and log results.

“It was a really useful exercise to highlight exactly how to observe someone, and it showed how easy it can be, although getting used to the technology that’s used in research also presents its own problems, but the students all dealt with it very well. Hopefully they’ve taken a lot away from it.”

An outing on the London Eye was followed by a theatre trip to watch the Lion King, and Becky said: “The Lion King was a real highlight for a lot of the students. They were singing along and dancing in the seats, and didn’t move for the whole three hour show!”

Psychology students, Elizabeth Lyons and Chloe Fleming, were among those who enjoyed the jaunt to the City.

Elizabeth said: “It was amazing. Getting inside the monkey enclosure was so good, and much better than looking at them through a cage. The zoo on the whole was incredible.”

Chloe echoed Elizabeth’s sentiments, and said: “We had to do a case study on the monkeys, identifying a particular one and logging its behaviour within certain intervals, then analysing the results through various charts.

“A lot of the studies that we look at in Psychology are animal-based so it was good to get to put the theory into practice.”

Chloe concluded: “The Lion King was outstanding as well, I’d definitely go again.”