Pack away (some of) the Christmas toys!

Did your child get lots of toys for Christmas? Are you struggling to find places to store them all?

Dr Sarah Rose, Director of the Psychology Children’s Lab at Staffordshire University reports on some new research suggesting that having fewer toys may actually be better!

Researchers at the University of Toledo in Ohio gave 36 toddlers either 4 or 16 toys to play with for a 30-minute period. Their play was observed and analysed for indicators of play quality. It was concluded that when fewer toys were present children spent longer playing with each toy, showed better concentration, and were more creative as they expanded and developed their play ideas.

This study is a useful reminder to parents, and anyone working with children, that toddlers are easily distracted. Toddlers are developing their ability to focus their attention and steps that can be taken to support this are likely to have long term positive consequences. Attention is vital for academic success and young children with better attentional skills maintain this advantage as they get older.

Not only was having fewer toys found to beneficial to helping toddlers to sustain their attention it also encouraged them to explore and be more creative with the toys. Creativity is another skill that is developed in early childhood and as associated with many positive attributes such as educational achievement, well-being and success at work.

This evidence supports the idea of toy rotation. This involves small collections of toys being rotated into play while the majority are stored away. This provides opportunities for developing sustained attention and creativity while still providing children with novel and varied play experiences.

Further research in this area is needed, particularly relating to play in the home environment, where there are often additional distractions such as background Television and other screen media. The impact of screen time on children’s developing creativity is a topic that we are investigating within our Psychology Children’s Lab. If you are a parent of a 3 to 8 year old child please do consider taking part in our online survey – further details can be found here.

Dr Sarah Rose was also featured in The Sentinel newspaper providing commentary on this recent research finding (click here to read the full story).


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Grégory Dessart joins the Department of Psychology on a six-month research visit!

The Department of Psychology is pleased to welcome Grégory Dessart, an international researcher who has joined the Department’s Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research for a six month visit to work with researchers based in the Centre. Grégory introduces himself below:

It is a pleasure for me to work at Staffordshire University as a visiting academic scholar until the beginning of April 2018. I am receiving supervision from Dr. Richard Jolley. My current and main research interests lie in the visual symbolization of abstract notions and their individual development.

More specifically, I am exploring children’s drawings of God through their socio-normative, conceptual and emotional aspects as part of my PhD at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), under the supervision of Prof. Pierre-Yves Brandt. The research lies at the crossroads between developmental psychology, gender studies and the psychology of religion. My main focus has been on data from French-speaking Switzerland. However, my thesis is part of an international project – “Drawings of gods” – funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for which over 6,000 drawings from eight different countries have so far been collected (http://ddd.unil.ch/).

It is the emotional messages in drawings of God from the Swiss sample that I will be examining during this research visit, and is the key reason I contacted Dr. Jolley because of his research expertise in the expressive aspects of children’s drawings. For instance, we will be examining a range of questions about the emotional intensity, valence and anthropomorphism in pictures such as the one below, and whether they vary according to age, gender, religious schooling and religious practice of the children.

Prior to my PhD, I obtained a degree in psychology from the University of Liège (Belgium) in 2010 where I specialized in CBT and clinical neuropsychology. My primary field of research was then rooted in cognitive psychopathology and the observation of sub-clinical symptoms in the general population. My Master’s thesis explored the effects of childhood trauma on the proneness to face psychotic-like experiences in adulthood through the mediation of stress sensitivity and emotion regulation strategies.

Setting off on a new journey to analyze children’s drawings has been quite refreshing.  In fact, inspecting the data was fun before even looking to have them scored into numbers and stats. Drawings are likely to be read on many different levels, which makes them all the more attractive as a researcher, but also very challenging. This can sometimes feel like wearing many hats at the same time and trying to keep them in balance. However, I am happy to have embarked on this fascinating journey and to have met Dr. Richard Jolley whose long expertise in the field is very beneficial to my work and myself as a drawing researcher-to-be.

I am also fortunate to work in a vibrant research department that boasts several drawings researchers, including Dr. Sarah Rose, Dr. Claire Barlow and Dr. Romina Vivaldi (another visiting academic researcher whose visit you can read about here). I would be glad also to bounce research ideas with you, but also to chat about the meaning of life or whatever over a cup of coffee. Feel free to drop me an email (Gregory.Dessart@staffs.ac.uk).


Grégory first emailed me in July last year expressing an interest to spend some research time in the Department of Psychology, inviting me to work with him on the ‘Drawings of gods’ project. How children depict God has been a long-standing interest of mine, and Grégory’s proposal presented an opportunity to do some collaborative research on a large sample of drawings already collected. So, it is with great pleasure that we have been able to make this research visit happen. Although I hadn’t had any previous contact with Grégory before, we both attended the BPS Developmental Psychology Section conference in Belfast a couple of months later, and then I was invited to give a research talk at the University of Lausanne in April this year (you can read about my visit here). These opportunities to meet helped us to initiate potential research ideas, and since Grégory arrived in the Department in early October we have been working on formulating a coherent set of research questions about the expressive aspects of the 500 or so drawings from the Swiss sample. We intend to involve artists (and potentially non-experts) to score the drawings, which will be funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Dr. Richard Jolley, Senior Lecturer in Psychology.


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire Centre. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines. The Centre has two overarching research streams: Health and Behaviour Change and Applied Perception and Cognition.

The Centre provides training for PhD students, Research Masters degrees, as well as Professional Doctorates in Clinical and Health Psychology (click here for more details). The Centre also provides bespoke training to private and public organisations, as well as expertise for consultancy research opportunities. For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

Dr Sarah Rose comments on children’s fussy eating for The Sentinel

Dr Sarah Rose

Dr Sarah Rose (Lecturer in Psychology & Director of the Children’s Lab at Staffordshire University) was featured in The Sentinel Newspaper commenting on a news story about children’s fussy eating behaviours and how to encourage children to eat a variety of foods.

Read the story in full via the Stoke/Staffordshire Sentinel website:

The Sentinel: Here’s what to do if your child is a fussy eater

Dr Sarah Rose is a researcher in Developmental Psychology and Course Leader for Staffordshire University’s BSc (Hons) Psychology & Child Development degree.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

BPS Funded Summer Research Project – Divergent thinking & pretend play in pre-schoolers; Is the relationship reciprocal?

Earlier in the summer we reported that we were delighted to have been two British Psychological Society Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme. Both projects have now been successfully completed and Ruth Pettitt, current Level 6 Psychology and Child Development student, reflects on her experience of working with Dr. Sarah Rose.

Ruth writes ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the project throughout the summer. I was very apprehensive at the start, and wondered whether I was up to the task ahead. There were lots of “highs” and certainly a few “lows”, but I had lots of support and reassurance from my supervisor, Dr Sarah Rose confirming that this was completely normal when conducting research, especially with 4 year olds!’

‘My previous experiences of working with children certainly came in useful when collecting the data, you have to expect the unexpected at all times! Despite the timing of the project (just when all nursery children are about to leave, ready to start school!), we reached our target of 58 participants all between the age of 4 years 3 months and 4 years 9 months. Completing the project required perseverance and determination and there were many unexpected challenges to overcome. I had to be organised and manage the workload carefully, as it varied enormously from week to week. Despite Sarah being available throughout, the research frequently required me to work independently which gave me a real experience of the research culture. It was an invaluable experience that I can look back on and draw from in the future, and it has inspired an increased enthusiasm to be a future academic. I’ve gained a lot of practical experience, together with research knowledge far beyond that which I have already learned within my degree. This opportunity has certainly given me an increased confidence and I now feel better equipped to tackle my research project in Level 6.’

Ruth Pettit & Dr Sarah Rose

Dr. Sarah Rose says that ‘Working with Ruth has been an absolute joy. Research with young children always involves some highs and lows and problem solving is certainly a skill required when working in this area. Ruth has demonstrated her ability to think on her feet to make sure that the children taking part in the research had a positive experience while following the pre-planned experimental procedure. Together we have carried out novel research investigating the relationship between children’s play and creative thinking. We look forward to sharing our findings at conferences and through a peer-reviewed journal article.’

Current Staffordshire University Psychology students interested in gaining experience conducting research with young children can get involved with one of Dr. Sarah Rose’s ongoing projects by contacting her.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details and to book your place at an open day please click here.

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

Dr. Richard Jolley visits the University of Thessaly to present research on children’s expressive drawings

Dr Richard Jolley

In the second of two blogs, Dr Richard Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Psychology and member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about a research visit to Greece:

On May 23rd I set off to Volos, Greece on an invited trip to the University of Thessaly. I had been asked to give a talk on the development of children’s expressive drawings, and to provide assistance with the Greek translation of my book, ‘Children and Pictures: Drawing and Understanding’.

I set out with some trepidation for the navigation from Athens airport to Volos using a connection of Greek buses and taxis felt like a considerable challenge.  However, the excellent instructions I’ve been given by Dr Fotini Botini, the scientific editor of the Greek translation of my book and the organiser of my talk to her students, made travelling across Greece seem very straightforward. Nevertheless, door-to-door the trip did take a full day and half the night, and I arrived shortly after midnight the next day. None of that seem consequential when I looked at the view from my hotel window the following morning!

 

My talk presented later that day was received by a group of very motivated and interested postgraduate students who certainly kept me on my toes! The talk was an overview of how children express mood in pictures, and the techniques they use (more details of these can be found in my blog about my research trip to the University of  Lausanne).

I also presented data on the pattern in which children’s expressive drawing develops. An influential and long-standing position is that children’s expressive and aesthetic drawings develop in a U-shape. That is, young children’s drawings are thought to be particularly expressive and creative, but then dip during the school years due to a focus on making realistic representations, only then for expressiveness to re-emerge for some adolescents. However, this position has been argued to depend upon measuring the drawings from a ‘modernist’ perspective which places more emphasis on how children have used abstract formal properties (colour, line, composition, etc.) for expressive and aesthetic purposes. I presented my own research conducted with colleagues from both the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University (Dr Claire Barlow) and other institutions (Prof Ken Rotenberg, Keele University; Dr Maureen Cox, University of York). Our findings showed that expressive drawing develops in an age-incremental pattern from pre-schoolers to adult artists, but if the scores are adjusted to limit the impact of the participants’ ability to draw visually realistically then the developmental pattern does indeed tend towards a U-shape.

Immediately following the talk, I had a fascinating discussion with the students who very ably picked up some of the methodological issues in my research which we were then able to apply to their own research studies. Here are a couple of quotes:

“A while ago I was participating to a seminar in “Children Drawings Research Methodology” that Mr. R. Jolley was the main speaker.

It was revealing the way that he was explaining to the audience (us) all the details of children’s drawing that we should pay attention to in research, using several examples during his presentation that made absolutely clear what he was talking about!  He also thoroughly answered all our questions that made obvious his knowledge, interest and love that he has for his research field that transmitted clearly to us!

By the end of the seminar, I was already thinking about abstract expression, color, lines, composition, overall quality and stories that children drawings may be telling us!

Thank you for the exceptional presentation, Dr. Jolley!!”

Olga Michailidou, Grammar School teacher

 

“Professor Jolley’s lecture was well structured. He provided a review of his previous work and the learning goals for the lecture being delivered. He demonstrated enthusiasm in his presentation and he asked questions to ensure our engagement with the topic. To conclude I believe that Dr. Jolley communicated his energy and enthusiasm for his research work, he was inspirational for the students and the new researchers.”

Aspasia Mantziou, PhD Student

 

Expressive drawing is just one part of my wider interest in children’s making and understanding of pictures, and in 2010 Wiley-Blackwell published my book in this area. It has been particularly pleasing for me that the book is currently being translated both in Chinese and in Greek. Dr Bonoti is editing the Greek translation to be published by Topos Books, in which I will be writing a preface. The following day of my trip presented an opportunity for me to clarify the meaning of some sentences of the original text. Our discussion reminded me of how much metaphor and symbolism we use in language, but when translated literally into another language this can lead to confusion!

The topic of children and pictures is not just a research interests of mine, but also a subject in which students at Staffordshire University learn about.  For nearly 20 years it has been a final year option for students studying for a degree across our psychology programmes, and has always been popular and well received by the students.

References

Jolley, R.P., Barlow, C.M., Rotenberg, K.J., & Cox, M.V. (2016). Linear and U-shape trends in the development of expressive drawing from pre-schoolers to adult artists. Psychology of Creativity, Aesthetics and the Arts, 10, 309-324.

Jolley, R.P. (2010). Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire Centre. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines. The Centre has two overarching research streams: Health and Behaviour Change and Applied Perception and Cognition.

The Centre provides training for PhD students, Research Masters degrees, as well as Professional Doctorates in Clinical and Health Psychology (click here for more details). The Centre also provides bespoke training to private and public organisations, as well as expertise for consultancy research opportunities. For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

Dr. Richard Jolley visits the University of Lausanne to discuss children’s expressive drawings

Dr Richard Jolley

Dr Richard Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Psychology and member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about a recent international visit to present his research:

It is always a pleasure (and indeed an honour) to be invited to speak about one’s research at another University, but particularly so when that University is abroad. So, I set off on April 26th to Lausanne, Switzerland, very much looking forward to presenting my work on the development of children’s expressive drawings. An additional bonus was that I’d been invited to a workshop on ‘children’s drawings of gods’, as I had a theological as well as a psychological interest in this topic.

The trip however did not begin well, as I discovered just before I landed in Geneva that the currency I brought with me was Swedish Kroner rather than Swiss francs; a lesson to be learned if one acquires foreign currency from a supermarket! The difference in Kroner and Franc exchange rates meant I had the equivalent of around 6 pounds worth of currency, not something that goes very far in Switzerland! Nevertheless, I managed to get a train to Lausanne, and although arriving very late at night I quickly discovered that the city is built on a sharply-rising terrain providing (once morning arrived!) beautiful sights of Lake Geneva below.

On the first day I attended a workshop on an international project of “Drawings of gods” led my Professor Pierre-Yves Brandt. So far, they have collected over 6000 children’s drawings from 8 countries (http://ddd.unil.ch/). In the workshop I was invited to comment on the drawings from my expertise in the expressive aspects of children’s drawings, but I was also struck by their theological significance, particularly those drawings that presented God from a Christian perspective that I am more familiar with.  Some drew God in human form, most noticeably in a ‘Jesus-type’ figure dressed in flowing multi-coloured clothes expressing peace and love. Other pictures were equally expressive but showed God in less concrete forms, and in more ethereal settings of clouds and heavens, such as the one below.

The child wrote the following about the drawing (translated from French):

“I drew God as though he was putting a smile and laughter bouts to people who call him and they are happy.  By talking to him they get colours, animals as well as humans”

Because of the cross-cultural nature of the project God was presented somewhat differently in countries where other faiths such as Islam and Buddhism are more prominent. But regardless of age, educational and religious background many of the drawings expressed a personal communication of how each child saw God.

In the afternoon I presented my talk to staff and students on the development of children’s expressive drawings. The talk began with an overview of the different techniques children use to express moods and emotions in drawings, particularly literal (e.g. a smiling face), content (the countryside scene on a sunny day) and abstract (bright colours, uplifting lines, balanced composition, etc.). All three of these techniques can be seen in the following drawing:

The developmental path in which children improve the expressive quality of their drawings has been a long-standing debate in the literature, and one part of the talk discussed a recently published article in which I was the lead author (Jolley, Barlow, Rotenberg & Cox, 2016) that addressed this question.  Our findings showed that although children generally improve the expressive quality of their drawings with age, this is somewhat facilitated by their increasing ability to use representational realism.  However, once the children’s representational drawing ability is statistically controlled for the developmental pattern tends towards a U-shape curve, with very young children and adolescents/young adults producing expressive drawings of higher quality than school-age children.

During my visit I also had the opportunity to discuss ideas for future work with Grégory Dessart, a PhD student working within the ‘Drawings of gods’ project. Grégory will be working in the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University as an academic visiting researcher for 6 months from the beginning of October. His stay will overlap another visiting researcher who is currently working with me, Dr. Romina Vivaldi from Argentina, who you can read about here.

This trip to Lausanne was soon followed by a research trip to University of Thessaly, details of which will follow in a separate blog (click here to read about my trip to Greece).

This pair of trips was very humbling to see one’s work and ideas influencing researchers from other countries. The conversations that ensue not only continue to drive my research interests in this area of children’s making and understanding of pictures, but also impact my teaching in this subject, particularly in the final year option psychology students at Staffordshire University can choose in this subject that I lead.

References

Jolley, R.P., Barlow, C.M., Rotenberg, K.J., & Cox, M.V. (2016). Linear and U-shape trends in the development of expressive drawing from pre-schoolers to adult artists. Psychology of Creativity, Aesthetics and the Arts, 10, 309-324.

Jolley, R.P. (2010). Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details, and to book your place at an open day, please visit: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/openyourmind/

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages:

New research shows a positive relationship between ADHD and autistic traits in adults

Dr Maria Panagiotidi

Dr Maria Panagiotidi (Lecturer in Psychology & member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about her new research:

In a recent paper published in the “Journal of Attention Disorders”, we found that there is a positive relationship between Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) traits. Specifically, adults who reported more inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, also reported more behaviours related to autism spectrum conditions (e.g., difficulties in communication).

ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder and in roughly half of the children diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms persist into adulthood. It is characterised by attentional difficulties, hyperactive/impulsive behaviour, or both. ASD is a developmental disorder that severely affects development in three main areas: language ability, social interaction, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviours. Clinical and genetic studies suggest that these conditions often co-occur and share genetic susceptibility. ADHD and ASD can both be viewed as the extreme end of traits found in the general population.

In collaboration with Dr Tom Stafford and Professor Paul Overton from the University of Sheffield we examined the co-occurrence of ADHD and ASD traits in an adult healthy population. In total, 334 participants were recruited and were asked to complete a number of online questionnaires measuring current and retrospective (from their childhood) ADHD and ASD symptoms and behaviours. A positive relationship was found between ADHD and autistic traits. In particular, higher inattention and overall ADHD scores were associated with self-reported deficits in communication and social skills. Both childhood and current ADHD traits were associated with autistic symptoms. The only autistic symptoms not associated with ADHD scores were related to attention to detail. This finding suggests that that tendency to focus on detail might be specific to autism.

Overall, our results are similar to findings from previous studies on clinical populations, in which a significant overlap exists between the two conditions. This further supports the dimensionality of ADHD and ASD, and suggests that these disorders might share substantial aetiology.

You can read the publication via the below link:

Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P. G., & Stafford, T. (2017). Co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD traits in an adult population. Journal of Attention Disorders. Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1177/1087054717720720


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire Centre. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines. The Centre has two overarching research streams: Health and Behaviour Change and Applied Perception and Cognition.

The Centre provides training for PhD students, Research Masters degrees, as well as Professional Doctorates in Clinical and Health Psychology (click here for more details). The Centre also provides bespoke training to private and public organisations, as well as expertise for consultancy research opportunities. For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

Dr Sarah Rose featured in a Q&A with the Parenting Science Gang on Children’s TV viewing and creativity

Dr Sarah Rose

Dr Sarah Rose (Lecturer in Psychology & Director of the Children’s Lab at Staffordshire University) was featured in a live Question and Answer web chat with the Parenting Science Gang, a parent-led citizen science project funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Rose discussed her research into the effects of viewing TV on children’s creativity, including the development of novel ways of measuring children’s creative thinking through play-based tasks and her work into children’s drawings.

Read Dr Rose’s interview via the Parenting Science Gang’s website (click here).

Dr Rose is also the Course Leader for Staffordshire University’s BSc (Hons) Psychology and Child Development degree, one of only a hand of such degrees in the country.


Interested in Psychology? Thinking about a Psychology degree?

Come to an Open Day & find out more about Psychology courses at Staffordshire University.

Book your place via: www.staffs.ac.uk/openyourmind/

Find out about our Psychology degrees, including our highly rated BSc Psychology & Child Development degree and our Undergraduate courses and Postgraduate awards.

Dr. Romina Vivaldi joins the Department of Psychology on a six-month research visit!

The Department of Psychology is pleased to welcome Dr Romina Vivaldi, an international researcher who has joined the Department’s Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research for a six month visit to work with researchers based in the Centre. Dr Vivaldi introduces herself below:

I am Dr. Romina Vivaldi from the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and I am delighted to be joining the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University as a visiting academic scholar for six months under the supervision of Dr. Richard Jolley. My research interests lie in children’s symbolic development, especially as it relates to pictures. One particular focus of my research is children’s developing understanding of the artist’s intention behind pictures. I have also conducted research on preschool children’s production and use of drawings. In addition to Dr. Jolley’s extensive experience in representational and expressive drawing development, I look forward to discussing research ideas with Dr. Claire Barlow and Dr. Sarah Rose who also have research interests within this broad area, as well as with other staff members and students.

Dr Romina Vivaldi

I completed my psychology degree at the National University of my hometown: Rosario, Argentina. A fun fact about me is that when I was a 1st year undergraduate I used to say that I was keen on every aspect of the Psychology practice BUT Research and Teaching! Interestingly, when I started to learn more and more about the profession I ended up falling completely in love with the two practice areas I thought I might dislike the most. After that, I have never looked back.

After receiving my degree in 2009, I contacted a former professor of mine who then became both my PhD and Post doc supervisor, Dr. Analía Salsa. Dr Salsa’s research area is children’s symbolic development. When she asked me about my research interests I knew that I wanted to study the mentalistic aspects of children’s drawing development. Since drawings are one of the first symbols children produce, they can work as a window to their feelings and ideas, even for toddlers whose linguistic skills are yet to be developed.

I have also been working in a teaching position at the Educational Psychology School at the Instituto Universitario del Gran Rosario [University Institute of the Great Rosario] since the beginning of my PhD program. Teaching is like breathing to me: I am passionate about helping students to achieve their academic goals and to become more confident with their speaking and writing skills. I am also very enthusiastic about developing new and innovate ways to teach every single piece of knowledge I was lucky enough to gain during my developing  research career.

Everyone has been remarkably kind to me on my first couple of days here and I have been overwhelmed by the research facilities the University has to offer. Therefore, I am looking forward to making a fruitful contribution to this stimulating academic team. I am based in the Brindley building, please contact me by email if you would like any further details about my research (Romina.Vivaldi@staffs.ac.uk).

———————————–

It was almost a year ago that I received an email from Romina asking whether she could work with me on an academic research visit to Staffordshire University. I was first struck by her courageousness, particularly as we had never met or even had any previous correspondence!  But after numerous emails sorting out the practicalities, I am very pleased that she arrived on Monday 12th June, and has settled in so quickly into the Department and her work.

Romina has such a positive outlook and drive that I am sure she will flourish during her time here, and provide a very useful addition to the team of staff we have  researching children’s symbolic and creative understanding in the domain of pictures. Furthermore, academic research visitors provide an important contribution to the research culture of the department, particularly international visitors. From October, the Department of Psychology will have another research visitor, Dr. Grégory Dessart from the University of Lausanne, who will be working with me on the expressive aspects of children’s drawings of God.

Dr. Richard Jolley

Senior Lecturer in Psychology


We wish Dr Vivaldi every success in her six month stay with the Department of Psychology and the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research!


The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire Centre. The Centre is home to a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines. The Centre has two overarching research streams: Health and Behaviour Change and Applied Perception and Cognition.

The Centre provides training for PhD students, Research Masters degrees, as well as Professional Doctorates in Clinical and Health Psychology (click here for more details). The Centre also provides bespoke training to private and public organisations, as well as expertise for consultancy research opportunities. For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).

Two prestigious BPS Undergraduate Research Assistantships awarded to the Staffordshire Psychology Department

The Department of Psychology is delighted to have been awarded funds through the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme. The scheme is a prestigious award that marks out a student as a future researcher and potential academic.

The BPS Research Assistantship Scheme is highly competitive, so the Department is proud to be successful in being awarded two Assistantships to Dr Daniel Jolley and Dr Sarah Rose.

Dr Daniel Jolley

Dr Daniel Jolley, Lecturer in Psychology, has been awarded an Assistantship where our current Level 5 student Tanya Schrader will be working on a project examining conspiracy theories. Tanya has said:

“I am delighted to be included in the 2017 BPS Research Assistantship Scheme. This exciting opportunity will afford me invaluable research experience which I will apply to my future career. Thank you to the BPS, Staffordshire University and Dr Daniel Jolley for the support.”

Dr Sarah Rose

Dr Sarah Rose, Lecturer in Psychology and Director of Staffordshire University’s Children’s Lab, will be working with Ruth Pettitt, a current Level 5 student to investigate whether there is a reciprocal relationship between play and creativity in preschool aged children. Ruth has said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given this unique opportunity and very proud that I am considered both capable and worthy of the trust and support of Dr. Sarah Rose, Staffordshire University and the BPS. I will thoroughly enjoy immersing myself into the project and I am looking forward to my journey of learning over the summer.”

The two Staffordshire undergraduate students will be provided with the fantastic opportunity to gain ‘hands-on’ experience of research during the summer vacation. Dr Emily Buckley, Head of the Department of Psychology, provided a little more background on the awards:

“The assistantships will enable the students to gain an insight into scientific research, to develop their potential and to encourage them to consider an academic career within psychology.  We are very much looking forward to working with them.”

We wish both students the best of luck in their Summer Research Assistantships!


The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Psychology at the University’s £30 million Science Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Interested in a Psychology degree? Come to an Open Day – for further details, and to book your place at an open day, please visit: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/openyourmind/

For more information about the Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the below pages: