LCF News caught up with MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion graduate, Lisa Strunz. Here, Lisa talks to us about what interests her about fashion and psychology, the things she enjoyed most about her course and her final project on relationship between narcissism and Instagram.
What did you study before MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion?
For my BA I studied Fashion Journalism and Media Communication in Berlin. After that, I worked as a freelance journalist for magazines and newspapers such as Elle, Financial Times Germany, Tagesspiegel, Welt am Sonntag, Zeitmagazin, and many more.
Why did you choose LCF and how did you find out about the MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion course?
My original plan was to study food culture in Paris, as food is one of my big passions, but then I came across this MSc online. I applied, was invited to an interview and I knew: this is it!
What is it that interests you most about the relationship between fashion and psychology?
The idea of studying psychology in the context of fashion didn’t really exist before, probably because fashion can still be seen as something superficial. To prove that it’s not makes it even more exciting to research. And as our course director Dr Carolyn Mair used to say: ‘fashion is about people, and psychology is the study of human behaviour.’ I very much agree with that – the link between fashion and psychology makes complete sense.
What did you research for your final project?
Initially, I wanted to research the relationship between enclothed cognition and moral judgement, which would have meant finding out if our beliefs about the clothes that we wear have an impact on our moral judgements and decision-making. The idea even brought me the LCF Whitespace Fashion Matters Award.
In the end, however, I decided to look at Instagram, as it’s currently the fastest growing social media platform and changed the way we communicate, perceive ourselves and others. It needs a long-term study to find out which effects the use of Instagram really has on us, therefore I turned things around a little: focussing on narcissism, the sense of self, and subjective well-being, I conducted a study with 400 participants to investigate their characteristics and intentions of using Instagram.
Almost all fashion courses are creative and have a practical element – is there any room for creativity in the MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion course?
Yes, definitely! A ‘Master of Science in Psychology’ might not sound very creative – and its true, there is no drawing or designing in the lectures – however, there is lots of creative thinking.
For our assignments we had to write essays in which we were required to apply psychology to a subject of choice. This could be anything within the fashion business, but also anything related to fashion like age, art, film, food, gender, health, social media. Finding ideas was a very creative process, and even more so was the final project, when we had to come up with hypotheses and draw conclusions from our findings.
What did you find most challenging about the course?
I remember that we had to read a psychological study at the beginning of the course and I didn’t understand a word – Anova? Cronbach’s alpha? P-value? – what?! Luckily, we were always encouraged to ask lots of questions and had a very supportive team spirit among us peers.
After a few weeks, reading these studies became fun, and a year later we wrote one ourselves. More challenging was actually to find a subject for my final project – there were so many interesting things to research.
What did you like most about your course?
We had lectures on consumer psychology, personality and individual differences, social cognition and research methods, and I liked them all. Well, apart from research methods, statistics are just not my thing but very necessary in psychology and business. Writing all the essays was very helpful too, as we could explore the application of psychology in a different context with each assignment. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how much we learned in just one year. What I liked most was the creative freedom we had in choosing our subject for the final project, and the great support I got from my supervisor.
What would be your top tips for prospective students?
Apply early, as I am sure that the course will become more and more popular. Find your subject as soon as possible. Writing essays on it will provide you with lots of material you can use for your final dissertation. Do a test run of your questionnaire before sending out the final version – it helps to avoid mistakes which you cannot correct later. And most of all: Enjoy, it’s an amazing course and you’ll learn lots!
What is your plan now that you have finished your MSc?
I am working as a journalist again, and have already had many requests to write and talk about my project, for example at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in April this year. I am also very interested in working with a future agency and bringing more psychological evidence to trend prediction.
And then there is still my passion for food, which is linked to psychology on so many levels as well. I’d love to do more research on that. Personally, I think that understanding human behaviour is necessary in every context, therefore I am confident that chances of finding a great job with the MSc Applied Psychology in Fashion are high.