Department of Psychology academic researchers
We are well known for world-leading research with an enthusiastic academic team and a lively research environment.
The Department of Psychology has a world-leading academic research team, with expertise in a diverse range of psychological topics, methodologies and research skills.
Broadly speaking, the department conducts research under five thematic areas, with a focus on theoretically-informed applied psychology.
Dr Jennifer Allen
Research Interests: Child and adolescent mental health, including callous-unemotional traits and antisocial behaviour, ADHD, and substance use. Interested in understanding the role of parenting, teacher-child interactions and relationships, stressful life events and individual differences in the context of these conditions.
Expertise: Child, family and classroom observation, RCTs of psychological therapies, and secondary data analysis of longitudinal datasets (e.g., Millennium Cohort Study). Experienced in conducting research in South-East Asian Nations.
Dr Melissa Atkinson
Research Interests: Body image and eating disorders, including predictors of their development and the development of prevention, early intervention and relapse interventions to support young people. These include group, school and online interventions as well as microinterventions.
Expertise: Clinical approaches, including intervention development and evaluation, cluster RCTs, and co-design of research. Analytical skills include multilevel modelling, mediation and psychometric validations.
Dr Tom Barry
Research Interests: Cognitive (attention; appraisal; memory) and behavioural (fear generalization; extinction) models of psychopathology, including the processes involved in the onset, maintenance and treatment of depressive and anxious disorders.
Expertise: Experimental methods, including physiological approaches, attention measurement and manipulation (e.g., using eye tracking). Expertise in the development and implementation of machine learning models for a data-driven approach to measuring eye movements.
Prof Paul Chadwick
Research Interests: Psychosis and therapeutic tools, such as mindfulness, that can support wellbeing in people with the condition.
Expertise: Clinical approaches, including intervention development and evaluation with qualitative and quantitative methods.
Dr Kate Cooper
Research Interests: Social and gender identity in autistic people and how a sense of affiliation relates to wellbeing. Adapting psychological therapies for autistic people, including those with gender dysphoria.
Expertise: Qualitative approaches including IPA and meta-synthesis. Conducting trials to test psychological interventions and broadly, participant involvement in research.
Dr Jo Daniels
Research Interests: Psychological distress in medical settings; particularly anxiety and trauma in staff and patient groups; high impact care utilisation; policy development in staff mental health; emergency medicine.
Expertise: Predominantly quantitative, though some experience with qualitative and mixed methods approaches. Case series and single case experimental design.
Dr Cara Davis
Research Interests: Psychology of cancer across the lifespan (children, young people, adults and families). This includes developing an understanding of cancer related experiences and challenges, as well as improving the effectiveness and acceptability of health-related tools and interventions (e.g. for cancer related fatigue).
Expertise: Clinical approaches to supporting people with physical health conditions across the lifespan. Applying qualitative methodology to explore individuals' and families’ experiences of health conditions and health services. Employing mixed methods research to the development and evaluation of healthcare interventions. For example, to the development of an mHealth intervention (mobile phone app) for cancer-related fatigue.
Prof Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis
Research Interests: Childhood trauma, maltreatment and risk assessment, considering both victims (e.g., prediction, prevention and impact of maltreatment) and offenders (e.g., harmful sexual behaviour; online grooming). Particularly focused on technology-assisted child sexual abuse, including victim vulnerabilities, offender grooming and policing.
Expertise: Diverse approaches with strengths in qualitative methods including interviews and focus groups. Experienced in working with external organisations and stakeholders.
Dr Pamela Jacobsen
Research Interests: Development, evaluation (including clinical trials) and implementation of psychological therapies for psychosis.
Expertise: Experienced in experimental study design conducted both in person and online, evidence synthesis including meta-analysis and meta-synthesis, and conducting clinical trials in the NHS.
Dr Maria Loades
Research Interests: Teen depression, particularly exploring how to improve treatments (including CBT), understanding what works for whom, increasing options for young people and improving early access.
Expertise: Clinical approaches, including the development and evaluation of interventions for young people. PPI and incorporating lived experience into research.
Dr Elizabeth Marks
Research Interests: Clinical health psychology, including how to support people with hearing loss, tinnitus and chest pain. Understanding, defining, measuring and responding to the psychological impacts of climate change (e.g., eco anxiety, grief, fear, distress, hope from engagement). Cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness as clinical approaches.
Expertise: Developing and evaluating interventions, clinical approaches, experimental designs, quantitative (e.g., survey development) and qualitative (TA and IPA) techniques and participatory methods, including with youth.
Dr Josie Millar
Research Interests: Cognitive behavioural therapy and other treatments to support people with OCD and to prevent relapse. Also interested in loneliness and social isolation in diverse populations, e.g., Veterans, people with OCD.
Expertise: Online and in-person intervention development and evaluation, including co-production with the public.
Dr Ailsa Russell
Research Interests: Clinical psychology, particularly constructs relevant to mental health in autism and adapting psychological interventions for autistic people.
Expertise: Developing and evaluating psychological interventions, particularly in health service contexts and with clinical trials design.
Dr Janet Bultitude
Research Interests: Spatial attention, body representation, perception and neurorehabilitation (particularly in context of hemispatial neglect).
Expertise: Lab-based psychophysiological approaches, often including illusions, though developing online approaches. Experienced in use of tDCS and tactile stimulation (to measure somatosensory, pain and visual thresholds) as well as working with individuals with clinical conditions (e.g., stroke, Parkinson’s, chronic pain conditions), including conducting case studies and open science approaches for sensitive subjects.
Dr Katherine Button
Research Interests: Anxiety, depression and the associated cognitive mechanisms. This includes understanding predictors of treatment success and relapse following withdrawal from antidepressants.
Expertise: Quantitative methods including cognitive and experimental approaches. Expert in advanced statistical methods and open science practices.
Dr Neal Hinvest
Research Interests: Neuro and behavioural economics, often in an organisational context. This includes understanding how people perceive and represent risk, decision strategies in complex choice environments (investing), social behaviour underpinned by game-theoretic models, and emotions in trading (both traditional and crypto).
Expertise: Quantitative research methods with expertise in cognitive neuroscience including fMRI, EEG, GSR, heart rate and eye tracking methods. Strengths in collaborating with economic and management disciplines.
Dr Janina Hoffmann
Research Interests: Economic psychology and decision science, particularly relating to what decisions strategies people apply (e.g., memory-based), how people make decisions and take advice in social contexts, and the use of AI-generated information when making decisions.
Expertise: Experienced in experimental design, intra-individual differences research, economic games, simulations, questionnaire designs and meta-analysis. Analytical approaches include regression (LMM, regularized), Bayesian approaches, machine learning, cognitive modelling and reinforcement learning.
Dr Tom Lancaster
Research Interests: Exploring how neuropsychiatric genes confer risk via alterations in the brain and behaviour, with a particular interest in the imaging brain networks supporting reward, memory and learning.
Expertise: Secondary data approaches with large datasets, including multimodal neuroimaging (structural and functional MRI) and genetics data, with expertise in relevant software and tools.
Dr Anthony Little
Research Interests: Perception of faces, bodies, voices and how people process that information, make social attributions and mate choice and preferences. This includes understanding individual differences and variation in these processes.
Expertise: Quantitative approaches, including experimental and survey designs. Experienced in linear mixed models, computer graphic face manipulation, physiological measurement (e.g. eye tracking, biopac) and test creation in EPrime.
Dr Karin Petrini
Research Interests: Virtual reality and how to optimise it as a tool. Development and integration of non-visual senses by individuals with visual impairment and how this can inform assistive technologies (e.g. sensory substitution devices). Barriers and enablers for teenagers with blindness during transition periods (e.g. attending university). How music, as an expertise, can change brain structure and function.
Expertise: Quantitative methods, including neuro (e.g., EEG, fMRI), experimental and behavioural approaches. Experienced in use of VR.
Dr Michael Proulx
Research Interests: Cognitive science and interactive technology, with a focus on multiple sensory modalities, virtual and augmented reality, eye tracking, and applications for inclusive design (such as for visual impairments). Comparative cognitive neuroscience, with interests in the role of culture and evolution on behaviour.
Expertise: Quantitative methods, including multisensory psychophysics, eye tracking, experimental psychology, human-computer-interaction, and neuroscience (tES, EEG, fMRI). Computational models of human and computer perception. Interactive technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, auditory displays, and tactile displays.
Prof Danae Stanton Fraser
Research Interests: Human Computer Interaction. Current projects explore immersion in both performance and screen based technologies; identity with avatars and the use of virtual environments for clinical and learning applications. Also interested in identity and security online.
Expertise: Experimental approaches both in the lab and "in the wild". Quantitative and qualitative methods, including codesign with external partners particularly in industry. Currently designing a methodological toolkit for use with the creative industries.
Dr George Stothart
Research Interests: Neurodegenerative disease and how psychology/cognitive neuroscience can be used to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of these diseases.
Expertise: Quantitative neuroscientific methods including EEG, cognitive behavioural testing, biomarkers and wearable tech.
Dr Alexandra Voinescu
Research Interests: How virtual reality can be used to assess, train or rehabilitate cognitive functions including attention, memory and executive functioning. This includes in child and adult clinical populations, such as those with ADHD, depression, anxiety and older adults experiencing cognitive decline.
Expertise: Lab-based research using VR, including clinical efficacy and usability studies. Experienced in conducting systematic and meta-analytic reviews, including Cochrane reviews.
Development and Psychopathology
Dr Chris Ashwin
Research Interests: Social and cognitive processes that are strengths (e.g., deliberation) or difficulties (e.g., emotion processing) in autism and other conditions (e.g., anxiety, schizophrenia). Developing programmes to support autistic and neurotypical students (e.g., in employment).
Expertise: Developing and running behavioural task and questionnaires-based studies. Evaluating research-based community programmes.
Dr Rachael Bedford
Research Interests: Understanding risk and resilience factors in infancy and toddlerhood which influence development and developing early interventions for maximal impact on developmental trajectories. This includes exploring atypical development (e.g., autism, ADHD, anxiety) and the influence of screen time on cognitive development.
Expertise: Experimental approaches, including eye tracking and EEG (including with babies), combined with longitudinal approaches in large samples. Expert in advanced statistical methods, including structural equation modelling, latent class analysis, growth curve models, with knowledge of MPlus and Stata.
Prof Mark Brosnan
Research Interests: Understanding autism in children and adults, autism-related strengths in deliberative cognition, and exploring autistic traits as a continuum.
Expertise: Experimental and cognitive approaches, with a focus on participatory research and engaging with the autistic community. Developing apps and technology with community engagement and collaboration with partners with technical expertise.
Dr Graeme Fairchild
Research Interests: Antisocial behaviour in children and adults, including associated brain correlates and sex differences. Mental health and trauma, including in international cohorts (e.g. Brazil).
Expertise: Brain imaging data collection and analysis, EEG, psychophysiological methods (e.g., examining cortisol system) and Ecological Momentary Assessment methods. Analysis of secondary data (ENIGMA, Pelotas Birth Cohorts, FemNAT), including longitudinally.
Dr Nathalia Gjersoe
Research Interests: Understanding how we can communicate science better and the psychological obstacles that limit scientific thinking. Anthropomorphism, particularly of technology and robots, by children. Wellbeing in higher education.
Expertise: Experimental approaches, including social-cognitive behavioural experiments with toddlers and young children. Online surveys, including cross culturally. Creative evaluation techniques to assess charity and organisational outputs. Broader skills in public engagement, including as a scientific consultant and blog writer.
Prof Sarah Halligan
Research Interests: Child trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and associated mental and physical health conditions. This includes cross cultural (e.g. in South Africa) research and longitudinal explorations of the risk factors for the development, recovery and maintenance of PTSD after exposure to trauma.
Expertise: A broad range of approaches, from qualitative to neuroimaging studies. Experienced in conducting research internationally, including in South America and South Africa.
Prof Richard Joiner
Research Interests: Digital technology, particularly to support learning and gender differences in its use. Social media, gender differences and mental health, such as exploring the use of TikTok and body dissatisfaction.
Expertise: Broad range of methods, including developmental approaches and social media research.
Dr Iris Lavi
Research Interests: Prevention of childhood maltreatment, including exploring how relationships and emotions in families, online peer support, emotion regulation and threat detection contribute to prevention.
Expertise: Quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Experienced in meta-analytic reviews.
Dr Katie Maras
Research Interests: Developing and testing evidence-based adaptions for real-world problems, particularly those involving memory and cognition, autism and the criminal justice system.
Expertise: Mixed methods including quantitative survey, experimental, and evaluation approaches. Experienced in collaborating with public and private sector stakeholders, government and policy engagement, and developing impact activities.
Dr Punit Shah
Research Interests: Processing of socially-relevant information, ranging from low-level perceptual and cognitive processes to more complex higher-order processes such as theory of mind and empathy. This includes how these processes may differ between neurodivergent and neurotypical people.
Expertise: Primarily quantitative research methods including the development of self-report and experimental measures for children and adults. Online qualitative approaches and mixed methods.
Dr Michelle St Clair
Research Interests: Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and the long-term social and educational outcomes associated with the condition, including in undiagnosed adults.
Expertise: Cognitive and experimental methods, including longitudinal cohort approaches. Experienced in public engagement activities to widen access to research into DLD.
Dr Esther Walton
Research Interests: (Epi)genetic predictors and heritability of brain structure and brain aging and how this links to physical and mental health outcomes (e.g., ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, multimorbidity) across the lifespan.
Expertise: Secondary data approaches with large datasets, including neuroimaging and genetics data. Experienced in advanced statistical methods in R and computational modelling using the high-performance computing cluster.
Prof Julie Barnett
Research Interests: Public understanding and acceptance of new technologies; risk perception and communication; getting five more years of healthy life. Current projects focus on management of food allergy; personalised nutrition and medicine; loneliness; social prescribing; reducing medicines waste.
Expertise: Interdisciplinary working; mixed methods approaches; public engagement and involvement and citizen science.
Dr Charlotte Dack
Research Interests: Developing, evaluating and implementing health interventions in applied settings, with a particular focus on support for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Broad interest in behaviour change for healthier living.
Expertise: Developing web-based interventions and their evaluation with mixed method approaches. Experienced in patient and public involvement and participatory design.
Dr Tom Freeman
Research Interests: Addiction, mental health and psychopharmacology. Specifically interested in cannabidiol, ‘Spice’, and cannabis, including the development of ‘standard units’ for cannabis to reduce harm.
Expertise: Diverse approaches including observational studies (e.g., longitudinal cohorts), real-world data (e.g., international monitoring) and experimental and clinical trials (with health, cognitive and neuroimaging outcomes). Experienced in conducting trials regulated by the MHRA.
Dr Abbie Jordan
Research Interests: The impact of chronic paediatric pain on young people and their families, particularly within the broader social context. This includes exploring the impacts on identity, dealing with diagnostic uncertainty around the causes of chronic pain, and societal and media representation of paediatric pain.
Expertise: Qualitative research methods including Reflexive TA, IPA, story completion methods, qualitative content analysis, combining qualitative data collection and analysis methods and LIWC. Experienced in working with children and hard to reach populations, including NHS ethical issues when working with children as well as PPIE.
Prof Edmund Keogh
Research Interests: Psychology of pain and the psychosocial factors that affect pain experiences, including pain communication, attention and attentional biases. Sex and gender differences as applied to pain.
Expertise: Quantitative experimental methods, including sensory testing (pain induction and measurement). Experienced in multidisciplinary, collaborative, consortium-based work, working with health professionals and PPI.
Dr Paula Smith
Research Interests: Health psychology, including understanding experiences of healthcare workers, tools to support people with chronic unexplained itch and the use of remote consultations.
Expertise: Primarily qualitative methods, with extensive experience in interview techniques and thematic analysis.
Dr Paul Bain
Research Interests: Understanding cultural beliefs about the nature of humans, groups, and societies. Understanding beliefs about societal change, especially the future e.g. new technologies or social policies. Sustainability, including climate change. "Unflattening" social psychology by finding better ways to measure and model interactions between people, psychological constructs, and contexts that currently often rely on collapsing across one of these dimensions (thus creating 2D models of 3D+ social worlds).
Expertise: Design and data collection: Surveys, experiments, often using online technologies (e.g. Qualtrics). Analysis: Regression, factor/principal component analysis (including 3-mode analyses).
Dr Leda Blackwood
Research Interests: Social psychology of intergroup inequality with a specific focus on how contexts shape intergroup interactions and the consequences for construals of the self and others. Understanding the processes through which societal institutions and practices contribute to (or undermine) social cohesion, community wellbeing, and civic participation.
Expertise: Mixed methods, including qualitative approaches using Reflexive Thematic Analysis and informed by a critical realist epistemology. Data collection approaches include surveys, interviews, focus groups, diaries, photo-elicitation, story completion, and naturally-occurring data. Experienced in community-based participatory research methods.
Prof Mitchell Callan
Research Interests: Social psychology of justice including responses to victimisation, how people make causal attributions to the good and bad things that happen to people (immanent justice reasoning) and the resentment and dissatisfaction stemming from the belief that one is deprived of a desired and deserved outcome relative to others (personal relative deprivation).
Expertise: Quantitative research methods including measure development, social-cognitive experiments, surveys, longitudinal and diary studies, with analytical approaches including GLM, Mixed Effects Modelling, SEM, Factor Analysis and Meta Analysis.
Dr Christina Demski
Research Interests: Public engagement in the context of energy, the environment, and climate change and involving the public in solving ‘Wicked’ – complex, technical and uncertain – problems.
Expertise: Mixed methods approaches with expertise in conducting interviews, focus groups and deliberative and participatory methods as well as quantitative survey and experimental approaches. Broader skills in policy engagement and impact activities including collaborations with private and third sector organisations.
Dr Jeffrey Gavin
Research Interests: How identities are constructed and negotiated through online communication, including in the context of internet dating, social media, and online support, stalking and revenge porn.
Expertise: Mixed methods approaches, including textual and visual analysis of online interactions. Experienced in social media research methods.
Dr Gosia Goclowska
Research Interests: Creativity, epistemic emotions (i.e., awe, wonder, surprise, curiosity) and how they arise when people respond to new, unusual and uncertain situations as well as their use to change attitudes. Also interested in the identification with Women and Feminists and how these identities interact and predict behaviour.
Expertise: Quantitative research methods with strengths in moderated regression and network analysis approaches.
Dr Adam Hahn
Research Interests: Social cognition, particularly social perception, memory, and processing, and their links to attitudes, stereotyping, prejudice and diversity. For instance, exploring whether social categories (gender, race) should be emphasised or downplayed in a diverse society.
Expertise: Experimental approaches with advanced analytical techniques including GLM, multi-level modelling, and SEM.
Prof Gregory Maio
Research Interests: Psychology of attitudes, particularly how abstract values translate into attitudes and actions. More broadly, the social impact of discovering shared values.
Expertise: Broad skills in experimental social cognition research, from discourse and linguistic analysis, to neuroimaging and questionnaire scale construction.
Dr Laura G. E. Smith
Research Interests: Group processes and social interaction, particularly in the context of radicalisation, extremism, mobilisation for collective action, online behaviour and cyber security.
Expertise: Analysis of big data, including archival social media data, using linear mixed effects modelling, natural language processing and machine learning. Experienced in collaborating with government and organisational stakeholders.
Dr Andrew Weyman
Research Interests: Psychology of risk and human factors, particularly within organisations and understanding the public’s perceptions and concerns around risk. Currently exploring COVID-19 effects on NHS staff retention, through understanding individual decision making to leave and risk to service provisions.
Expertise: Mixed methods approaches, with experience in working with organisations to address company or governmental needs.
Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh
Research Interests: Public engagement in climate change, including investigating how people perceive climate change, how we can improve communication about it, and how can we change people’s behaviour using diverse psychological approaches (social, cognitive, developmental). Broader exploration of other environmental topics e.g., attitudes to shale gas fracking, smart homes.
Expertise: Diverse methods including surveys, interviews, focus groups, deliberative design and experimental approaches (lab and field). Expert in engagement and knowledge exchange, particularly with policy, industry and the public, with experience holding advisory roles (e.g. House of Lords specialist advisor).
Dr Lukas Wolf
Research Interests: The effects of value similarities and how recognising shared values can address societal polarisation, prejudice and build hope and well-being. Adults’ attitudes towards young people.
Expertise: Quantitative research methods, including novel methods to visualise interaction effects and similarities between groups. Experimental approaches including reverse correlation image classification.