Our research in the School of Psychology reflects two key approaches. First is the development and study of interventions to promote well-being, from early childhood to older age. Intervention was at the heart of the School’s agenda at its inception more than 50 years ago and remains central to our research identity today. Our second key approach is cognitive neuroscience, where we have invested heavily in staff and specialised research facilities, to investigate perception and action; language and development; and social cognition.
We currently have four broad research groupings:
Perception and Action
This group investigates how we extract information from the environment and use this information to guide our actions, and how such interactions result in learning and memory. Studies investigate the flow of information from perception, such as object recognition, to how attention and eye-movements guide the selection of action, how response can be switched between different stimulus properties, how actions are directed through 3D space and how memory systems interact. The group uses various behavioural measures such as recording hand and eye-movements, neuroimaging techniques such as EEG and fMRI, as well as investigating patients with brain lesions and manipulating neural responses with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Direct Current Stimulation (DCS).
Language and Development
The group uses a variety of behavioural, neuropsychological, and cognitive neuroscience methods to study the interaction of language and cognition across the lifespan. Research Projects include both basic level and transactional research with monolingual and bilingual infants, children, and adults. Current topics of research include phonological and lexical development, word recognition, semantic processing, literacy, treatment programmes for aphasia in bilinguals, cognitive advantages to bilingualism, cross-language priming and interference in bilinguals.
Social Cognition and Neuroscience
This group investigate research questions that are about how the brain makes sense of the social world. The group focuses on the perception of other people - their faces, bodies, voices; understanding the meaning of others' actions; on social learning; on disorders of social cognition; and on emotion and memory.
Intervention, Well-Being and Clinical Psychology
This group’s broad focus is the application of psychological knowledge to understand and enhance psychological well-being in multiple contexts. A range of applied questions drives the research in this group, with many addressing the need for Behaviour Change in health (e.g. diet, eating and alcohol) and occupational settings, but also typical developmental and learning processes across the lifespan (e.g. dementia). Health psychology is also an important focus of this group as well as the use of psychological interventions (e.g. mindfulness-based programmes) in a range of populations.