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UOA 44 - Psychology

University of Essex

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

The Department continues to demonstrate excellence in research. Each research group has produced a substantially increased volume of high quality work that has been published in the best international psychology journals. New facilities and equipment have been brought on-line, and the amount of grant funding attracted over the period has increased significantly. Postgraduates trained in the department have obtained lecturing and research posts in the UK, Europe and the USA. Recent appointments of talented researchers have broadened the range of international expertise. The department conducts research in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology, Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience, and Social and Health Psychology. There are productive collaborations within and between research groups, with other departments at Essex, and with other Universities across the world (Australia, USA, China, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Thailand, the Netherlands and Belgium). Senior members of the department are represented on the editorial boards of major international journals in their research areas. Recent achievements include:

  • Major research discoveries have been published in international outlets by members of each research group, including work on emotion, perceptual categories, and models of memory (Cognition and Development), age of acquisition, spoken word production, auditory processing, and reading (Neuropsychology and Neuroscience), personality and health related behaviour (Health and Social).
  • 307 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters have been published by staff returned in this RAE period.
  • 130% increase in funding has been obtained from research councils, charities and other sources, compared to the previous RAE period, with 72 grants obtained in this RAE period worth over £4.6m (£3.08m of which was spent at Essex). All submitted staff have received external research funding.
  • An additional award of £2.58m has been obtained for major research building, infrastructure and equipment.
  • There has been wide dissemination of our research findings through the media and science outreach programmes.
  • The Department hosted the Experimental Psychology Society Spring meeting in 2005 and the BPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference in 2006, both of which included international symposia organised by departmental staff.
  • Nine members of staff sit on committees of government departments, research councils, scholarly organisations, and international bodies, including: World Health Organization; European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks; Department of Health Task Group; Government Advisory Panel on 'Sense about Science'; RAE 2008 sub-panel 44 (psychology); ESRC MPLE College (2); Steering Group of the BPS Research Board, and the Executive Committee of the EPS.


Research Structure

The department is organised into three main research groups. Each group has offices, laboratories and post-graduate accommodation in the 4-storey, Psychology building. Substantial new facilities have contributed to a rapid expansion of research in additional specialist areas. Within and across research groups there is a range of highly successful collaborations, resulting in joint publications and joint grant awards. Current collaborations make use of shared facilities and resources with other departments including: Health and Human Sciences, Linguistics, Sports and Exercise Science, Computer Science, Accounting, and Economics.


Research Groups

Cognition and Development: Avons (R), Damjanovic (Teaching Fellow), Fox (Prof), Roberts (L), Roberson (Prof), Russo (HoD), Ward (Prof), 1 International Research Fellow, 13 current SROs, ROs and PGRs.

Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience: Barry (Prof), Cooper (L), Hald (L), Hanley (Prof), Kennett (L), Meddis (Prof), Nagai (L), Temple (Prof), Wilkins (Prof), 9 current SROs, ROs and PGRs.

Social and Health: Cozzolino (L), Geeraert (L), Orbell (Prof), Perugini (Prof), Rakow (SL), Uskul (L), 4 current SROs, ROs and PGRs.


Cognition and Development

This group's research is focused across the fields of memory, attention, emotion, cognitive development, thinking and reasoning, and language and thought.

Main Achievements and Activities

  • The group has produced a total of 105 published outputs in this RAE period, 34 of which are co-authored with other members of the group (8 with members of other research groups).
  • The 27 papers nominated by this group are in core cognitive journals [Journal of Experimental Psychology (7), Memory & Cognition (7), QJEP (4), Emotion (2), Cognition, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, Intelligence, JECP, Journal of Memory & Language, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review].
  • Fox discovered that attentional mechanisms involved in dwelling on and disengaging from threatening information predict anxiety and rumination better than the attentional mechanisms involved in initial threat detection (JEP: General, 2001; Cognition & Emotion, 2002). JEP listed the 2001 paper in the top 40 most downloaded in 2005.
  • Roberson won the BPS Cognitive Section Award in 2001 (with Davies and Davidoff) and continues to demonstrate that colour categories are influenced by language (JEP: General, 2004; Cog. Psy., 2005, Cognition, 2007). JEP listed the 2000 paper as 6th most downloaded in 2005.
  • Russo and Avons have provided important new evidence for two different processes (familiarity and recollection) supporting recognition memory (Psych. Bull. & Rev., 2004; Mem. & Cog., 2007) and developed and supported a comprehensive theory of the spacing effect in memory (JEP: LMC, 2002; Mem. & Cog., 2002).
  • Ward has provided an influential reinterpretation of free recall data, previously argued to support the LTS-STS distinction, within a recency-based account of episodic memory (JEP: LMC, 2004; Mem. & Cog., 2002). Ward also acted as UK host for two BPS Visiting Fellows from the USA.
  • Roberts has edited two influential volumes on cognitive processing and reasoning, containing contributions from a prestigious range of international experts. Together, these works critically re-evaluate the evidence for modularity of mind and for individual differences in reasoning.
  • Damjanovic (ECR) has collaborated with Fox (Emotion, 2006) and Roberson (Mem. & Cog, 2007) on the cultural specificity of threat superiority, as well as with Hanley (Mem. & Cog., 2007) on face and voice recognition.

Income: The collaboration between Fox and Russo has resulted in 5 major project grant awards from the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) and the Wellcome Trust totaling over £1.2m. MTHR have also funded an additional Electromagnetics and Health testing facility worth over £400K. Russo has obtained research funding from the ESRC and Kelloggs (with Defeyter at Northumbria). Ward and Avons have had a joint ESRC grant and Ward has two further ESRC grants while Avons and Roberson each had one ESRC grant. Roberson also held a collaborative ESRC grant with Davidoff (Goldsmiths) and Davies (Surrey) [held at Goldsmiths] and received grants from the IRIS (Australia), the British Academy and the Royal Society. 20 grants were awarded to members of the group worth £1.93m of which over £1m has been spent in the Psychology Department at Essex.

The groups shared interests are reflected in the quantity and quality of joint publications, grant awards and the publication success of postgraduate students. Russo, Ward and Avons collaborate in researching short-term memory capacity and cued memory; Russo and Fox collaborate in work on emotion, attention and the cognitive and health effects of mobile phones and masts; Ward and Roberts research executive control and task switching. Roberson is collaborating with Hanley and Damjanovic to investigate categorical perception of colours, shapes and faces using eye-tracking and GRS.

Twelve students from the group have recently completed doctorates, all of whom have published in top-ranked international journals, with 8 gaining senior lectureships / lectureships or research posts at major UK universities and NHS hospitals, 1 gaining a Marie Curie research fellowship in Spain, and others gaining research posts (1) and lectureships (2) in Italy and Cyprus. The group has had 16 ROs during the RA5a period (currently 7 PhDs and 5 SRO/ROs).

The group has active international collaborations, resulting in joint publications and grants, including: Fox with Mathews (California) and MacLeod (Western Australia) with whom she has a new A$1m ARC grant. Ward has research links with Nairne, Neath and Suprenant (Purdue). Roberson collaborates with Winskel (Western Sydney) and Pak (Seoul) who obtained a Korean Research Fellowship to continue their research programme.


Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience

The group has particular expertise in the cognitive neuropsychology of language and memory; face processing; reading; number; executive processes in genetic disorders; hearing, colour vision and neuroscience. All members of the group have interests in both normal and abnormal function.

Main achievements and activities

The group has produced a total of 122 published outputs in this RAE period. Of the 35 papers nominated by this group 7 appear in core experimental or cognition journals [JEP (2), J. Mem. & Lang. (2), QJEP, Psych. Bull. & Rev., Science]; 7 in core neuropsychology journals [Neuropsychologia (4), Cog. Neuropsychology (2), Brain & Language]; and 21 in specialist journals [J. Acoustical Soc. Am. (4), Int. J. Psychophysiology (2), Neuroimage (2), Psychophysiology (2), Brain Research, Cephalagia, Current Biology, Epilepsia, Epilepsy & Behaviour, Epilepsy Research, J. Autism & Dev. Disorders, J. Cog. Neuroscience, NeuroReport, Perception, Perception & Psychophysics].

  • Barry has provided vital evidence that age of acquisition effects are widespread and independent of word frequency (Mem. & Cog., 2005; JEP: LMC, 2006; Visual Cognition, 2006a,b).
  • Hanley has contributed a major modification to Dell's model of spoken word production, providing evidence for the involvement of a nonlexical route in familiar word repetition (Cognitive Neuropsychology, 2004), and shown that separate semantic memory systems are involved in the representation of knowledge about objects and people (Neuropsychologia, 2006).
  • Meddis has developed a comprehensive computer model of the human auditory periphery, which has been adopted by more than 125 research facilities worldwide. He has been awarded Fellowship of the Acoustical Society of America.
  • Temple has defined and characterized the nature of specific deficits in developmental amnesia (Cognitive Neuropsychology, 2006; Neuropsychologia, 2004).
  • Wilkins has developed a new theory of environmental visual stress arising from the energy in a small range of spatial frequencies. He received the Owen Aves Medal in 2003.
  • Cooper (ECR) has conducted a series of critical investigations of the alpha bandwidth of EEG (Int. J. Psychophysiology, 2002, 2003, NeuroReport, 2006).
  • Hald (ECR) has made important discoveries about the neural correlates of sentence comprehension (Science, 2004, Brain & Language, 2006).
  • Kennett (ECR) has conducted innovative studies of visuo-tactile links in spatial attention (J. Cog. Neuroscience, 2001; Psychobiology, 2007).
  • Nagai has won awards from the British Neuropsychiatry Association (2003) and the International League Against Epilepsy (2003). She has been awarded 6 externally funded grants for her work in this RAE period.
  • Senior members of the group are on the editorial boards of major neuropsychology journals (Cognitive Neuropsychology, Brain and Language, Neuropsychologia).

Income: Over the period Temple, who is a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University, has received 2 ESRC grants, in addition to a Nuffield grant. Hanley has also held 2 ESRC grants (of which one was in collaboration with Kay at Exeter); Wilkins and Hald have held one ESRC grant each. Wilkins has also obtained grants from the Wellcome Trust (2); NIH, in collaboration with Michigan State University; and TLF. Meddis has obtained grants from the BBSRC; EPSRC; the Wellcome Trust; the MRC, in collaboration with Cambridge; PhD funding from a Deafness Research charity; and a funded PhD studentship from British Aerospace. Other research grants contributing to the group's work but held elsewhere include a collaborative Wellcome project grant held by Hanley and Kay (Exeter); collaborative grants to Barry with colleagues held at Kent and Lancaster. Nagai has held 4 UK and one Japanese grant over the period and has recently obtained a grant ($75k) from the Tourette Syndrome Association. Past members of the group (Masterson, Plack) obtained major funding to investigate action and object naming in Alzheimer's disease (Wellcome Trust), and mechanisms of pitch perception (EPSRC) and pitch representation in the human auditory cortex (RNID). Total funds gained by members of the group during the assessment period were £2.6m, with almost £1.3m spent at Essex.

Barry joined the Department in 2003, adding to the breadth of expertise, particularly in the neuropsychology of language. Hanley, Barry, Temple and Hald research normal and abnormal language processing. Hanley and Barry research face processing and other forms of person recognition. Hald, Cooper and Nagai conduct research across a variety of domains using EEG, GSR and Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (NIRS). Wilkins and Nagai study epilepsy. Wilkins and Cooper investigate the use of NIRS for non-invasive assessment of cortical abnormality in migraine. Wilkins, Meddis and Kennett investigate sensory integration.

Fourteen students have recently completed doctorates within the group. All have published in top-ranked international journals and ten have gained lectureships or research posts at research universities in the UK, Europe and the USA. The group has had 10 SRO/ROs over the period and currently has 10 PhD students and 1 SRO.

Internationally, Hanley collaborates with Dell (Illinois) resulting in two joint publications on Dell's model of spoken word production. He also collaborates with Nickels (Macquarie, Australia) as well as with Kay (Exeter) with whom he shares a number of grants and publications. Meddis collaborates with Shore (Kresge Hearing Research Institute, Michigan); Leek (Walter Reed Hospital, Washington); Schaick (Sydney University), Presnitzer (IRCAM, Paris); Lopez-Poveda (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain); and Yost (Loyala, Chicago). Wilkins collaborates with Kasteleijn (Instituut voor Epilepsiebestrijding, Netherlands) and Conlon (Griffith University, Brisbane). Barry has ongoing collaborations with Johnston and Lloyd-Jones (Kent) and Dewhurst (Lancaster) with whom he shares a number of grants and publications. Cooper collaborates with Burgess (Swansea, Wales); Croft (Swinburne, Melbourne); Fitzgerald (Monash, Melbourne); and Franz (Otago, New Zealand). Nagai collaborates with the Hikikomori Society (Japan).


Social and Health

Since 2001, the group has established a critical mass of social psychologists with shared interests in experimental social psychology, particularly social cognition, and cognitive-motivational social psychology. Orbell and Perugini collaboratively investigate attitude theory; Orbell, Perugini, Rakow and Cozzolino study decision making processes; Orbell, Rakow and Uskul study health and medical related themes; Geeraert, Perugini and Cozzolino study the basic social cognitive mechanisms that underlie perception and action; Geeraert and Uskul study cross-cultural differences in social cognition. The group holds regular three-weekly meetings in which each member presents their ongoing research and gains feedback that will help shape the next steps in their respective research programmes. Post-docs and PhD students participate in these meetings. The group has had 5 PhD students and 12 ROs over the RAE period. Three students have recently obtained their doctorates, one obtaining a lectureship position in Thessaloniki, Greece and the other an ESRC-funded research post at Essex. All have papers published or accepted in major social psychology journals (Health Psychology; JPSP). The group has a dedicated Group Testing Suite with multiple cubicles equipped with the latest experimental software located on the same floor as the group's offices. The group has also recently obtained funding for experiential sampling equipment, a virtual reality environment and a fully portable head-mounted eye-tracker for studies in real world environments.

Main achievements

  • Despite having 3 early career researchers, who have recently gained their PhDs, the group has a total of 80 published outputs in this RAE period. All their nominated papers are in highly rated journals in cognitive psychology [EP, Experimental Psych., Psychological Inquiry, Thinking & Reasoning]; social psychology [JPSP, JESP (2), Personality & Social Psych. Bull., European J. Social Psych.(2), European J. Personality, British J. of Social Psych.]; health [Health Psych. (4), Social Science & Medicine (2)] or decision making [J. Behavioural Decision Making, Medical Decision Making].
  • Orbell has demonstrated by theoretical and empirical analysis that temporal framing of message content influences the persuasiveness of a communication and has delineated the social cognitive mechanisms accounting for these effects (Health Psychology, 2004, 2006b; Health Psych, 2007). The meta-analysis reported by Hagger and Orbell (2003) was in the top 5 most downloaded articles in Psychology of Health between 2003-2006. Her programme of work has led to 4 keynote invitations during 2006/7. She is a member of the RAE2008 sub panel 44 (Psychology) as well as a member of the ESRC MPLE College (2002-2005).
  • Perugini has developed and elaborated a significant new model of Goal Directed Behaviour (European J. Social Psych., 2004; European J. Personality, 2003) and, in international collaboration, developed a 6-factor model of personality structure (J. Personality and Social Psych., 2004, Experimental Psychology, 2007). With collaborators in North-America and Europe he investigates implicit and explicit processes concerning decision-making and behaviour and paradigms and mechanisms of implicit attitude change.
  • Rakow's empirical work has provided a major challenge to Gigerenza's 'Fast-and-Frugal' model of decision making, revealing weaknesses in the original position and setting out realistic alternatives.
  • The group has projects investigating cross-cultural aspects of self-representation (Geeraert, ECR). Uskul (ECR) is starting a 2-year NSF-funded project in collaboration with researchers in Turkey and the US on the role of self-concept in constructions of honour and its negative and positive consequences for interpersonal relationships. Uskul will lead a project on the comparison of various socio-cognitive processes (e.g. attention, attribution) across three modes of subsistence (farming, fishing, herding). Cozzolino has obtained funding for further studies of death contemplation.
  • The group hosted the annual BPS Division of Health Psychology conference in 2006.

Income: The group has robust research funding, with members of the group gaining 19 grants totaling £1.2million over the assessment period of which £676k has been spent through Essex University. Orbell and Uskul have each secured grants from the USA; Orbell has funding from the National Institute of Health and Uskul has funding from the National Science Foundation. Orbell has secured 2 grants from the DoH and one from CRUK. Perugini has grants from the ESRC and three grants from Unilever (total of £329k) to investigate basic processes concerning the role of implicit and explicit factors in behaviour and behaviour change. Rakow, Uskul, Geeraert and Cozzolino have received grants from the British Academy. All group members, including early careers researchers obtained external funding since their appointments.

The group also has a range of international collaborations, including those between Orbell and Rothman (Minnesota); Perugini with Ashton (Brock), Bagozzi (Rice), de Raad and van der Zee (Groningen, NL), Hendriks (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Gallucci (Amsterdam) and Leone (Rome); Uskul with Oyserman, Schwarz and Nisbett (Michigan) and Adams (Kansas); Geeraert with Kashima (Melbourne) and Demoulin and Yzerbyt (Louvain la Neuve); Cozzolino with Schachtman (Missouri) and Meyers (California State); Rakow with Anderson (Stockholm)and Newel (NSW Sydney).


Research facilities

All major facilities and equipment are shared communally and managed by dedicated specialist departmental technicians. Facilities include:

  • Electromagnetics and Health lab: a unique purpose-built suite of fully electrically screened rooms, purchased from the National Physics Laboratory (£400K). The laboratory contains a reception room, testing room, and experimenter's control room, all of which are completely screened from all outside electromagnetic fields. The testing rooms internal surface is lined with radio frequency pyramid-shaped absorbing material, which allows antenna to produce a uniform electromagnetic field within 3 dB over the area where the participant is situated. A simulated exposure system capable of producing GSM, TG and TETRA signals is used to assess the effects of exposure to REF emitted by mobile phone masts on health and cognitive function.
  • EEG and TMS labs: In addition to the existing multiple integrated EEG, TMS and NIRS testing facilities in the Department, a new research centre is under construction (anticipated completion of all construction and equipment installation by March 2008), funded by SRIF3. The building will house existing and additional EEG, TMS and NIRS testing facilities, together with multiple eye-tracking and facilities for collecting and storing genetic material.
  • Infant cognition lab with state-of-the-art digital recording facilities including a purpose-built video recording tent with built in stage for stimulus display; simultaneous video recording of stimulus presentation and infant response, compatible with eye-tracking.
  • Cognitive perception lab with ASL variable-speed, remote pan/tilt optics eye-tracker, with video head tracking and Cambridge Research Systems VISaGe system for precision colour stimulus presentation. Includes VISaGe stimulus generator, 22" precision colour monitor, for threshold measurement and calibration facilities for both screen presented and paper stimuli. 2 portable touch screen computers with writing tablets, GSR, heart-rate and respiratory monitoring,
  • Two psychoacoustic hearing labs, with four high spec. double-walled soundproof booths, with OAE recording facilities.
  • Visual perception lab with head mounted eye-tracker; telespectroradiometer; intuitive colorimeter; precision tints; optometric trial lenses; monochromator; photometers and a range of clinical optometric test equipment.
  • Two fully equipped neuropsychological assessment rooms (one set aside for developmental neuropsychological assessments).
  • Observation suite with one-way mirror, testing room and observation room equipped with video recording facilities.
  • Group testing suite consisting of multiple neighbouring cubicles, whose computers can be interlinked to allow real-time group behavioural studies.
  • Eight specialist memory/attention/cognition labs equipped with computers capable of high-speed stimulus presentation with fast refresh-rate monitors.
  • In addition to the specific research units, the Department has 27 general-purpose experimental cubicles. There are more than 200 computers in the Department and the department has four computer servers that support networking, personal home pages, and file-transfer folders for every member of academic and support staff.
  • The department benefits from a large and enthusiastic participant panel (over 1850 students, members of University staff and members of the local community), for which a database is held centrally. Other participant populations are drawn from affiliates of the University of the Third Age, local schools, and nurseries, special schools; individuals with Asperger's syndrome and Autism; members of local Stroke Clubs and hearing impaired volunteers from the RNID and local audiology clinics.


Research Infrastructure

Research has a high priority in the Department and is coordinated and promoted by the Departmental Research Committee, on which a representative of each research group sits. The Research Director has membership of all appointment panels, and is specifically charged with facilitating research in the Department; preparing equipment bids; advising on grant proposals and sources of income; maintaining an internal research website; disseminating information from Research Councils and funding bodies; monitoring ethical procedures; liaising with the University Research Office; and RAE planning. The Research Director has no other administrative responsibility, and dedicates around 180 hours per year to the task. The Department organises an annual Away Day for all academic staff, which reviews research progress, research group structure and discusses the promotion of research within the Department. At the University level, the Research Office offers advice to staff members on obtaining funding, and liaises with the Research Director to promote funding opportunities in the Department.

The geography of the Department is organised around the Research Groups. As far as possible each group occupies its own area of the psychology building, to facilitate dialogue and collaboration. All recent appointments have been made with a view to maintaining excellence within existing areas of expertise and achieving critical mass in new areas of research.

The research culture is promoted by weekly internal and external research seminars. An internal seminar series encourages the exchange and discussion of recent findings between and across groups. Weekly external seminars invite visiting speakers to present cutting edge research from departments around the country and encourage the development of inter-departmental collaborations. In the last two years, speakers from 28 universities have presented their work to the Department. All research postgraduates attend both series of seminars, and their reports on the talks they have heard contribute to their assessment.

Research facilities are supported by a full-time Computer Officer, a Chief Technician and one full-time and two part-time technicians. In addition the Departmental Administrator allocates 50% of her time to research support.


Research management and support

A number of measures maximize research support, especially for junior and probationary members of staff, including:

  • 34% of all Research Council overheads are passed directly to the successful grant applicants personal budget to support unscheduled research initiatives.
  • A generous start-up budget is provided for the purchase of appropriate facilities and equipment for academic staff to equip their research labs. Additionally, each member of academic staff receives a personal budget of around £1500 p.a. to cover conference attendance and additional research costs. This amount is increased for each major grant application, successful or not, to encourage the submission of proposals (with an extra incentive award for newly appointed lecturers).
  • Bids can also be made to the Research Fund for contributions of bridging funds to retain research staff between grants whilst awaiting research grant outcomes.
  • There is a rigorously observed sabbatical policy of one term of research leave for every 6 terms of full duties to promote research quality and innovation and encourage staff retention.
  • Every member of academic staff may take a Research Day every week on which they have no teaching or administration duties.
  • Probationary staff have reduced teaching and administrative loads to allow them extra time to pursue research.
  • Each new junior member of staff is mentored by a senior researcher, who advises on grant applications, career development and managing teaching and administrative responsibilities.
  • Each Research Officer / Assistant and research student supervised by a member of academic staff causes a reduction in the members teaching load by 30 hours and 60 hours per annum respectively.
  • The University Research Promotion Fund gives pump-priming support for research activities through competitive selection. Nineteen awards, totaling £129.4K, were received by the Department from this source during the assessment period.
  • Each research student also receives an allocation of £480 p.a., regardless of whether or not they are externally funded. This money may be spent on any research-related activity.
  • The Department has a substantial versatile library of neuropsychological and cognitive tests valued at around £300K, with an annual budget for the purchase of new/upgraded tests. All staff receive a new personal computer every 3-4 years and experimental laptops are available on request. Software licences are held for Microsoft Office, MatLab, SPSS, Real Basic, Visual Basic, Supercard, Superlab, JMP, E-Prime, Endnote. There are over 750 relevant scientific journals available online through the library (current library spend for Psychology around £57K p.a.).


Relationships with industry/commerce, other research users and public engagement with science

In Cognition and Development, the Department of Health has commissioned three major projects on the effects of electromagnetic field exposure and mobile cellular communication on cognitive functioning as part of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme. Fox also advises the WHO on these matters. Russo has a grant from Kelloggs (with Defeyter at Northumbria) to investigate the relationship between nutrition and cognitive performance. In Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Hanley is an invited member and keynote speaker at an ESRC Research Seminar Series (2006-8) entitled "Pedagogy and Curriculum in Early Reading: Multidisciplinary Perspectives" which communicates recent research on the cognitive psychology of reading to education specialists involved with the teaching of reading. Meddis has sold his software of computational modelling of auditory processing (DSAM) to more than 120 research and industrial laboratories. Meddis also obtained funding from British Aerospace for a PhD studentship. Nagai has patented a biofeedback system for the treatment of headache and migraine. Wilkins has ongoing responsibility for advising on the development of a new set of guidelines for prevention of seizures from television. In Social and Health, Orbell is a member of the DoH Task Group on Screening for Type-2 Diabetes (2003-2004). Perugini has received major funding from Unilever to investigate goal conflict in behaviour change and the use of digital media to support resolution. Rakow received funding from the NHS for a monograph, Bayesian Elicitation of Expert Probabilities, co-authored with researchers from Leeds, Sheffield and the Open University.

Fox and the MTHR research team have participated in live media debates (BBC, ITV, Ch.4, News 24, BBC World, Radio 4, and in USA, Australia and South Africa) regarding the potential health effects of mobile phones and their associated masts. Fox led an advisory session to an invited group of science journalists at the Royal Institution on this issue and has recently been appointed to a 'Sense about Science' Advisory Panel to facilitate the public understanding of science. Roberson and Temple have both presented their research in public lectures during the BA National Science and Engineering Week.


Staff Development

To facilitate the integration of new staff members, the Department runs a one-day induction programme. In addition to probationary mentoring, and a workload abatement ramped over the first three years of appointments, a number of courses in teaching, supervising, computer skills etc. are organised centrally by the University's Staff Development Office. Contract research staff frequently attend international conferences. During this RAE period, on the strength of their research profiles, six senior staff have been awarded Chairs and 2 Lecturers have been promoted to Senior Lecturer/Reader. This includes Rakow, who joined the department as a Teaching Fellow, subsequently developed a strong research profile, and was appointed Lecturer in 2003 and Senior Lecturer in 2007.


Staff Recruitment - Effects on Research Activity

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience group has expanded with the appointment of Barry (Cognitive Neuropsychology), Hald, Cooper, Nagai and Kennett (Neuroscience). Cooper and Nagai will link existing behavioural investigations of visual and auditory processing (Wilkins and Meddis) with neuroimaging, as will Kennett's work on cross-modal integration. The use of neuroimaging techniques to investigate language processing will forge a link between the new EEG and TMS facilities that are presently being brought online and current behavioural research into language processing within the group (Hanley and Barry). These techniques will also be integrated with Roberson's and Hanley's research into hemispheric asymetries in the categorical perception of colour.

Three new appointments have expanded the Social and Health group (Geereart, Uskul and Cozzolino). Their research interests bolster existing research strengths within the group, while significantly extending the range of research interests of the group as a whole.


Research Students

The Department has ESRC Mode A training status. PhD students who have graduated from the Department since 2001 have been appointed to lectureships in Psychology departments at Newcastle upon Tyne, City, Essex, Northumbria, London Metropolitan University (2), Frederick University, Cyprus and Thessaloniki, Greece; while others have obtained senior research positions in psychology departments at Oxford, Essex (3), Valencia, Naples, Chieti and in the USA, as well as in major teaching hospitals (2) or clinical psychology training. Graduates have published their thesis findings in leading international journals (JEP, Cognition, Psych. Bull. & Revi, Mem. & Cog., JASA, JECP, Emotion, Neuropsychologia, Health Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin) and presented their data at major international conferences (including Psychonomics, Cognitive Science, SCRD, ARO, ARVO, BNS, EPS and BPS meetings). Over the period since 2001, the Department obtained 9 studentships funded by the ESRC, two by the EPSRC, and one by British Aerospace. Postgraduate research in psychology also receives a high financial commitment from the Department and University, with 28 fully funded 3-year University studentships and five fees-only University studentships over the period.

Each PGR has dedicated desk space in the Department, with their choice of new personal computer (mac/pc, desktop/laptop). Every PGR is allocated a personal budget (£480) to meet research costs and to encourage attendance at scientific meetings. There is an annual postgraduate conference in the Department. Each student is expected to give at least one presentation every year. Most PGRs also gave presentations at international meetings outside the Department in the last two years of their studies. During the assessment period 31 papers have been published with PGRs, including many before their graduation.


Future Plans

The Department plans continued expansion, strengthening of research groups and developing existing areas of expertise. Additional facilities are currently under construction in the adjacent research building (expected completion March, 2008). This will allow members of all groups to extend their existing research programmes to include the use of the newly available EEG, ERP and TMS facilities. This will entail increased collaboration between groups and integrate the work of new members of staff with the rest of the Department and their research. Applications for major funding have been made by members of all research groups to research councils, charities, government departments and industrial bodies.

In Cognition and Development, Fox will investigate the neural and genetic basis of anxiety (with colleagues at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and the University of Western Australia), incorporating FMRI and genotyping methods in ongoing studies. Fox and Russo will study neural and cognitive effects of mobile phones on children (using Near-infra Red Spectroscopy) and of living near mobile phone masts. Roberson will collaborate with Nagai to investigate biofeedback in Autism and, with colleagues at Newcastle and Portsmouth to investigate representational systems in humans and intelligent systems. Ward will extend the scope of the recency-based account of free recall. Avons will study spatial short-term memory, to determine if different patterns of eye movements, and different brain mechanisms subserve different spatial reference frames. Roberts will investigate belief bias effects utilising relational inference.

In Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience, Barry will collaborate with colleagues at Kent and Lancaster on Age of Acquisition and lexical priming. Hanley will apply Dell's model of speech production to children's naming and repetition and collaborate with Roberson on categorical perception of faces and colours. Temple will investigate developmental prosopagnosias, while Meddis has obtained funding for equipments to measure auditory brainstem recordings and is moving into hearing-aid design. Wilkins will investigate visual stress in migraine, autism and multiple sclerosis. Cooper will conduct psychophysiological explorations of the mirror neuron theory of autism using EEG, TMS and NIRS. Kennett will explore reference frames for interactions between vision and touch, both behaviourally and using EEG. Nagai and Wilkins will explore effects of biofeedback treatment on various neurological and psychological conditions including epilepsy, migraine and autism using EEG and NIRS.

In the Social and Health group Orbell and Uskul (with US collaborators) have obtained funding to study individual and cultural differences in self-regulatory focus. Orbell has obtained new funding to investigate implicit schemas regarding illness (ESRC); and expand investigation of the relation of future consequences to socio-economic status, ethnicity and age. Perugini has obtained further funding to investigate implicit attitude change, and its interplay with explicit measures in predicting behaviour. Rakow will research unconscious processes in decision-making and expert judgement in paediatric cardiology (with Great Ormond St. Hospital). With the ISER at Essex University the group will investigate social capital and social cognitive processes in trust and cooperation. The group will study cross-cultural aspects of survey methodology (Uskul); self-processes in terror management, trust and cooperation (Cozzolino); self-representation (Geeraert); mental control and self-regulation (Orbell, Geeraert, Perugini); and self-activation.


Evidence of Esteem

During this RAE period staff have given 163 keynote or invited presentations in 16 countries and the department has hosted two major conferences, and visiting scientists from Australia, the USA, Spain, Italy, Columbia, Greece, Estonia and South Korea. All staff regularly referee for major international journals and grant funding bodies and are actively participating at a level appropriate to their current career development. Senior members of research groups have acted as external PhD examiners in the UK and overseas (Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy).

(a) Research-related service   (b) Editorial   (c) Awards   (d) Invited talks


Cognition and Development Group

Fox (a) Scientific Advisor to WHO on effects of mobile phone masts on human health; Member of European Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). (b) Associate Editor: Emotion; Editorial board: Cognition and Emotion. (d) Keynote speaker: International Attention Conference, Almeria (2001).

Roberson (a) Treasurer: British Neuropsychological Society. (c) BPS Cognitive Psychology Award (2001). (d) Keynote speaker: Words and the World, Bethlehem, PA, 2005; Mind, Culture and Evolution, Vancouver (2004) with chapters in resulting edited volumes; Invited talks: Association for Psychological Science Annual meetings in New York (2006) and Washington (2007).

Russo (a) Leads a major research project on effects of mobile cellular communication on cognitive function. (d) Invited talks: Advanced Seminar on Learning, Fondazione Pietro Polidori, San Sepolcro, Italy (2005); BPS Annual Conference, Bournmouth (2003); 3rd International conference on Memory, Valencia (2001).

Ward (a) Committee Member and BPS Cognitive Section Secretary; Symposium organizer: Annual BPS-CPS Conference, Kent (2002); Annual BPS-CPS Conference, Reading (2003); Annual BPS Conference, Eastbourne .(2003); Proposed and hosted BPS Visiting Fellows Grafman (NIH, Bethesda, Washington, 2002) and Nairne (Purdue, 2003).

Avons (d) Invited talks: International Conference on Memory, Valencia (2001); 6th Conference of the Australian Cognitive Science Society, Freemantle (2002); Quebec Conference on Short-term Memory (2002), International Conference on Spatial Cognition, Rome (2006).

Roberts (b) Edited acclaimed collection of international expert chapters challenging current theories that cognitive systems are modular. (b) Editorial Board: European Journal of Cognitive Psychology; British Journal of Psychology. (d) Invited talks: Workshop on Mental Models Theory of Reasoning, Brussels (2001); and Rome (2006).

Damjanovic (ECR) (a) Awarded a competitive TALIF grant (£8,934) for Biopac EEG, EMG and GSR equipment for research and training. Referee: Emotion, Memory.


Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group

Barry (a) Member of the examiner panel for ESRC post-doctoral applications (2002-2003) and ESRC/MRC post-doctoral applications (2006-2007). (b) Associate Editor Neuropsychologia; Brain & Language; Editor special issue Visual Cognition (May, 2006).

Hanley (a) Trustee and Hon. Treasurer, Experimental Psychology Society (2005- ); Meetings Sec., British Neuropsychological Society (2001-2005); Co-opted member of the Steering Group of the BPS Research Board. (b) Associate Editor Memory; Cognitive Neuropsychology.

Meddis (a) Consultant to Walter Reed Military Medical Centre, Washington, DC (2004) and Scientific Advisory Board (2004-2009); Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. (d) Keynote speaker: Acoustical Society of America Annual Conference, New York, 2004; Mathematical Biosciences Institute Workshop on the Auditory System, Ohio (2007).

Temple (a) Member of the ESRC MPLE College (2000-2004); (b) Associate Editor Neuropsychologia; (d) Plenary speaker: Societe Europeenne de Neurologie Pediatrique Marshall, Martigny, Switzerland (2004); Festschrift for John Marshall, Oxford (2004).

Wilkins (a) Invited member of Committee Internal d'Eclairage standards committee; (c) Fellow of the Royal College of Medicine (2004), Honorary Fellow of the College of Optometry (2005). (d) Invited talks: Annual Conference of Optometrists in Visual Cognition in Florida (2002) and Arizona (2003).

Cooper (ECR) (a) Committee member and Newsletter Editor of The British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience; Grant reviewer for FWF Austrian Science Fund; Refereeing for Clinical Neurophysiology, International Journal of Psychophysiology, NeuroImage.

Hald (ECR) (a) Invited contribution to special issue Brain Research on Discourse Comprehension; Referee: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain and Language Hippocampus; Elected Board Member, Fulbright Alumni Society (2003). (d) Invited talks: Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems colloquium (Kent, 2005) and the University of California Center for Research in Language colloquium (2003).

Kennett (ECR) (a) Referee: Neuropsychologia, JEP: Human Perception and Performance, JEP: Learning, Memory and Cognition, Experimental Brain Research, Perception, Visual Cognition.

Nagai (a) Speakers Award of the British Neuropsychiatry Association (2003); Young Scientific Investigators Award from the International League against Epilepsy (2003). (d) Invited talks: Musashino Epilepsy Conference (Japan, 2006) and to the Japanese Parliament (2006).


Social and Health Group

Orbell (a) Member of RAE2008 sub panel 44 (Psychology); Member of ESRC MPLE College (2002-2005); WHO advisor and Member of DoH Task Group on Screening for Type-2 Diabetes (2003-2004); (d) Keynote speaker: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London (2002 and 2007); 20th Anniversary meeting of the BPS Division of Health Psychology (2006).

Perugini (a) Secretary and Treasurer of the European Association of Personality Psychology (2001-2008); Programme Committee of European Conferences on Personality (2002, 2004, 2006). (b) Associate Editor: British Journal of Social Psychology, European Journal of Personality (d) Keynote speaker: ICS/KLI meeting on Solidarity and Prosocial Dispositions, Schiermonnikoog, Netherlands (2001).

Rakow (b) Associate Editor: Thinking & Reasoning (Dec. 2007- ); (d) Invited speaker: NHS Alliance Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine (2002); Seminar for the Cardiothoracic Unit at Great Ormond Street, (2005); Invited lectures (Risk Perception & Medical Statistics) on the MSc in Clinical Risk Management at University College London.

Cozzolino (ECR) (b) Referee: Journal of Personality, European Journal of Social Psychology. (d) Invited talk at the International Conference of Social Justice Research, Berlin, 2006.

Geeraert (ECR) (a) Honorary Fellowship, Belgian American Educational Fund (2004); Co-organizer Annual meeting of the Belgian Psychological Society in 2001. (b) Referee: British Journal of Social Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (d) Invited talks: University of Colorado (2004) and Kasetsart University, Bankok (2003).

Uskul (ECR) (a) Regula Herzog Young Investigator Award (University of Michigan, 2005-6). (b) Editorial board Psychology and Health; Reviewed grant proposals for Israel Science Foundation and Ontario Womens Health Council; Referee: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Self and Identity.