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Institute for Psychological Science areas of expertise

The Institute for Psychological Sciences hosts several special interest clusters, including health psychology, cognition and neuroscience, social, personality and culture psychology, and psychology and technology.

We have strengths in cross-cultural research, higher metal processing, cyber-cognition, perception, eating behaviours, neuroscience and emotion.

Projects include promoting good outcomes in LGBT cancer care; music as a regulation strategy for emotional eating; multicultural identity and wellbeing; decrease of cognitive decline, malnutrition and sedentariness by elderly empowerment in lifestyle management and social inclusion (DO RE MI project); a research monograph on cybercognition; multimodal approaches to brain function; how people create new norms; real-time language comprehension; implicit and explicit learning in second language acquisition; and cross-cultural study of emotion, facial displays and social influence.

Health psychology

The health psychology cluster is an active and enthusiastic research team with an interest in researching psychological issues relating to health. Our research spans a broad range of areas, from preventative health to chronic health conditions, as well as psychological factors relating to health settings and the professionals who work within them. We use multiple methodologies from both quantitative and qualitative traditions. We have an outward-looking approach to research projects and welcome prospective novel collaborations.

There are three main themes of specialism within the group:

  1. Psychology of language/communication in health settings
    Sexual health, infection control, mental health, compassion.
  2. Psychosocial factors associated with chronic health conditions
    Parkinson’s disease, thalassemia, migraine, endometriosis, stroke, musculoskeletal conditions.
  3. Preventative health, especially in relation to food intake
    Breast-feeding, child eating behaviour, fruit and veg consumption, weight loss/obesity, eating disorders.

Group coordinator: Dr Helen Coulthard

Cognition and neuroscience

The cognition and neuroscience research cluster focuses on computational, processing and neurological mechanisms underlying a wide range of human cognition, from visual perception, through emotion, to higher mental processing. Prominent themes include:

  • Normative reasoning and rationality
  • Attention and emotion processing, emotion regulation, emotion perception, and music and emotion
  • Neural mechanisms of visual perception, intelligence, and emotion
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Mental processes and representations underlying human language comprehension, language learning and bilingualism 
  • Culture and cognition
  • Emotion, facial displays, and social influence

Group coordinator: Anuenue Baker-Kukona

Social, culture and personality psychology

We live in an ever-changing social world which constantly calls forth changes to our identities, group memberships and society. Globalisation, migration processes, novel technologies, economic developments, cultural contact, and political violence are just some examples of social phenomena and events that can, in one way or another, shape how we see ourselves and how we relate to others. The mission of the Social, Culture and Personality is to conduct interdisciplinary, theoretically eclectic, and multi-methodological (both quantitative and qualitative) empirical research into topics of culture, social cognition & behaviour, and individual differences with clear real-world application in an international context. Our multidisciplinary team, is actively engaged with cutting-edge research in the areas such as:

  • Identity & Self (development, threat, conflict & integration)
  • Minority identities
  • Social & Cultural change
  • Emotions
  • Individual differences
  • Values
  • Motivation
  • Migration
  • Prosociality
  • Gender, sexuality & parenthood
  • Culture, ethnicity & nationhood
  • LGBT identity & health
  • Environmental identity
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Mental health & resilience

Group coordinator: Dr Nadia Svirydzenka

Psychology and technology

This interdisciplinary cluster researches the psychological processes underlying the application of modern technology on the lives of people, including internet behaviour.

Group coordinator: Mark Scase