One of the nicest aspects of being an academic is meeting people with similar interests. Since Easter, Plymouth Motivation Lab has hosted two international visitors, Daniel Klerks from Amsterdam and Nicole Robinson from Brisbane.

Daniel came to learn about Functional Imagery Training (FIT) and hone his skills through some intensive role play (thanks, Linda!). He returned to the Netherlands ready to run the first ever test of FIT to reduce cannabis use. This is exciting, because it should be so much easier to run this study in Amsterdam, where cannabis is legal, than here. The idea arose from a last-minute conversation at the airport with Daniel’s supervisor Reinout Wiers, who had come to Plymouth to give a School seminar.

Nicole Robinson (centre, left hand photo above) came from Brisbane to learn how to use QUT’s NAO robot to deliver FIT. Joana, Lloyd and Leonie showed her how to program NAO using Aldebaran’s Choreographe software while Tony Belpaeme gave us lots of useful advice on getting young people to engage with the robot. Developing FIT scripts for seamless and foolproof delivery by robot has been an interesting and enjoyable challenge. It will be interesting to see how volunteers get on with them in the next phase of Nicole’s study development.

Marina Khalil

Meanwhile, Marina Khalil arrived to begin a 4-month placement. She will be developing a training package for FIT and soliciting feedback on it from a range of healthcare professionals. If you are interested in using FIT in your work, please contact me on jackie.andrade[at]