Alice Taylor joins the Psychology Technical Skills Specialist team!

By Alice Taylor, Technical Skills Specialist – Psychology, Sport & Exercise

Having spent the summer trying to find a way of kick-starting my career in Psychology, I was excited when I read about the position in Technical Services at Staffordshire University and even more delighted to be offered the job!

My love of Psychology stems from my two fantastic A level teachers whose passion and creative teaching sparked my interest in the subject. This led me to complete an undergraduate degree at Loughborough University which I finished in 2014. I have always been involved in competitive sport and compete with British Eventing, as well as playing women’s rugby and watching all kinds of sport whenever possible! Whilst at Loughborough, I began to explore Sport Psychology through module choices and completed a Final Year Research Project investigating the psychological impact of event riders returning to competition after a fall. After finishing at Loughborough, I commenced the MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology at Staffordshire University which I completed via distance-learning, working alongside my studies to fund my degree. I completed a mixed-methods dissertation investigating the social support needs of pre-elite female rowers and graduated with Distinction in 2017.

I started working as Technical Officer at the end of October 2017. The role is very interesting and varied and I’m enjoying working with the team and getting to grips with all the equipment that is available. The Psychology and Sport facilities that are available here at Staffs impressed me from the start and I haven’t been disappointed! Highlights so far have been learning to use the virtual reality kit, producing perfect Alpha waves whilst wearing the very flattering EEG cap (see right), and learning about the hi-tech kit in sport. I feel like I still have lots to learn, especially with the experiment building software, but I’m really enjoying being involved in an area that interests me and will hopefully be the start of a long career in Psychology and Sport.

Having now been working in the team for over two weeks, I can happily say I am finding my way around without a map and have even managed to help several students with SuperLab queries! Onwards and upwards…


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 Manpal Singh Bhogal joins the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University!

By Dr Mani Bhogal, Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire University.

Dr Manpal Bhogal

I am delighted to join the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University. The Psychology Department here is full of talented, friendly and welcoming staff! Here is a bit of background about me:

I studied Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton, graduating in 2007. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and it was after completing my undergraduate dissertation I realised that I loved research. I then went onto complete a MSc in Health Psychology at Aston University, but at the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted a career researching social evolutionary psychology. I went onto work in public health departments in the NHS as a health improvement advisor, working in smoking cessation and weight management services. There I used psychological principles to design a weight loss programme for clinically obese clients. I then began studying for my PhD whilst working for the NHS. I left the NHS in 2014.

I studied for my PhD on a part-time basis at the University of Wolverhampton in 2011, under the supervision of Dr. Niall Galbraith and Prof. Ken Manktelow. My research focussed on exploring sexual selection theory and altruistic/cooperative behaviour. My research explored whether people were more altruistic towards those they find attractive, with a methodological framework founded on behavioural game theory. I graduated with my PhD in September 2017.

Whilst completing my PhD, I took a full-time post at Coventry University in 2014 as an assistant lecturer in psychology. There I taught on the undergraduate psychology course and supervised several dissertation projects. I joined the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University in October 2017.

My current research interests relate to Evolutionary Psychology and Social Psychology. Much of my research explores mate selection and romantic relationships, including altruism, sexual jealousy and sexual infidelity. I have published several papers in the field, and I am currently an editorial board member for Springer journal ‘Current Psychology’.

I am thrilled to be at Staffordshire University, working as part of an excellent team of psychologists. If you would like to get in touch, you can follow me on Twitter @DrManiBhogal.


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:

New sun protection intervention research seeking participants aged 34 years and older

Dr Alison Owen

A new research study conducted in collaboration with Dr Alison Owen (Lecturer in Psychology, Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research & Centre for Health Psychology) is seeking volunteers aged 34 years and above – Alison blogs about the study below:

Dr Alison Owen completed her PhD in 2013, under the  supervision of Prof. Sarah Grogan, Prof. David Clark-Carter and Dr Emily Buckley. Alison’s PhD involved researching ways in which to help people to improve their sun protection behaviours in order to encourage them to improvd their sun protection and UV exposure behaviours (e.g. Sun bathing, using sun beds). The main intervention used in the PhD involved showing participants images of how their faces may age if they exposed their skin to the sun, compared to how their faces might age if they protect their skin. The piece of software used, AprilAge, lets participants view projected images of themselves up to the age of 72 years, comparing images of them after exposing their skin to the sun without using protection with those where they have been protecting their skin from the sun. Dr Owen and the PhD supervision team found some really positive findings, with participants reporting significantly higher intentions to use sun protection after viewing the intervention.

One of Dr Owen’s suggestions for future research in her PhD was to look at the effectiveness of the intervention in older men and women, over the age of 34 years. Dr Owen’s research focussed on participants aged 18-34 years, as well as a group of adolescent participants aged 11-14 years, as there is evidence that people who have ever used a sunbed have an increased risk of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) and this risk is even higher in people who have started using sun beds before the age of 35. However it is also really important to fully investigate the impact of the intervention, and to see if it has even more potential, in older people alongside those who are aged 34 years and under.

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University are building on Dr Owen’s research and are investigating the impact of the intervention on people aged between 35 and 61 years old. PhD student Sofia Persson is working with Prof. Sarah Grogan and Dr Yael Benn to carry out the research. Like with Dr Owen’s research, Sofia is carrying out both quantitative and qualitative research with men and women, to see how effective it is in this group of people.

Interested in taking part in this study?

Sofia Persson will be visiting Staffordshire University on Wednesday 1st November to recruit participants for their research. The study will consist of discussing the negative effects of UV exposure and the positive effects of sun protection, as well as compelling measures of sun protection and UV exposure immediately, four weeks and six months after the session. The initial session will take around 30 minutes and all follow-up measures will be completed online. Upon completion of the measures, participants will be entered into a prize draw with the opportunity to win a £30 gift voucher.

If you are aged between 35 and 61 years, and are available for a thirty minute slot on the 1st November, then please contact Sofia on sofia.persson@stu.mmu.ac.uk or Dr Owen on alison.owen@staffs.ac.uk for further information.


Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health Psychology is a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Health Psychology, and is home to Staffordshire’s BPS Accredited Stage 1 MSc in Health Psychology and Stage 2 Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. The Centre for Health Psychology is part of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research.

Keep updated with the latest Health Psychology news from Staffordshire University via following us on @StaffsPsych and via the #HealthPsychStaffs hashtag.

For further information about Health Psychology courses and research at Staffordshire University please visit the following webpages:

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:

Dr Daniel Jolley interviewed by UNILAD on the dangers of conspiracy beliefs

Dr Daniel Jolley (Lecturer in Psychology & Member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) was featured in a story by the UNILAD news site on the dangers of beliefs in conspiracy theories.

Dr Jolley conducts research into the consequences of believing in conspiracy theories, including the potential negative impact on health-protective behaviours (e.g. vaccinations) to the engagement in politics and voting. Read Dr Jolley’s interview via the below link:

UNILAD: Why Believing In Conspiracy Theories Is Dangerous For Us All


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:

New research links ADHD to multisensory integration

Dr Maria Panagiotidi

Dr Maria Panagiotidi (Lecturer in Psychology & Member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about her new paper investigating sensory integration and ADHD:

In our daily life, we often take in information from multiple senses at the same time. As we interact with the environment, signals from various senses are integrated to create unified and coherent representation of our surroundings. This process is known as “multisensory integration”. The ability to integrate information from multiple senses has been shown to be abnormal in certain disorders such as autism. Anecdotal evidence suggests that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) might also have deficits in multisensory integration. 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. ADHD can be viewed as the extreme end of traits found in the general population.

In a recent paper published in “Acta Psychologica”, we empirically tested multisensory integration in individuals with high and low level of ADHD traits and found significant abnormalities in the way they integrate visual and auditory signals. Specifically, adults who reported more inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, processed sensory information differently than adults with fewer symptoms.

In total, 40 participants with high and low ADHD traits were recruited and took part in a lab based task; they were presented with a series of brief sounds and simple images and were asked to decide whether they appeared at the same time or not. The image and the sound were presented either simultaneously or with slight delays (image before the sound or vice versa). The responses of the participants were used to measure multisensory integration. The effect of ADHD symptoms on performance was investigated by comparing the responses of the high and the low ADHD groups. The low ADHD group reported a higher number of simultaneous presentations. This finding suggests that individuals with ADHD symptoms are less likely to integrate multisensory information.

Perceiving signals from two or more modalities as occurring separately can lead to distractibility, one of the core and most disruptive symptoms of ADHD. Showing that ADHD might be linked to abnormal integration of sensory information also informs our understanding of neural mechanisms involved in the disorder. In particular, it provides further evidence for the involvement of the midbrain superior colliculus (SC) – a sensory structure linked to orienting the eyes and head towards salient stimuli – in ADHD (located towards the top of the image).

Our study identified a new area of focus for future ADHD research, which could potentially improve our ability to diagnose and assess ADHD. In addition to this, our results may provide future directions for possible ADHD treatment and behavioural interventions.

You can read the publication via the below link:

Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P. G., Stafford, T. (2017). Multisensory integration and ADHD-like traits: Evidence for an abnormal temporal integration window in ADHD. Acta Psychologica, 181, 10-17.


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 Daniel Jolley appears on hit myth-busting TV show ‘Adam Ruins Everything’

Dr Daniel Jolley, a Psychologist from Staffordshire University will appear on hit US television show ‘Adam Ruins Everything‘ this week. Dr Jolley specialises in the psychology of conspiracy theories and was invited onto the myth-busting programme to discuss his research.

The popular show sees investigative comedian Adam Conover reveal everyday hidden truths with the help of scientific research and Daniel appears as a guest in an episode broadcast on American television channel Tru TV on Tuesday 10th October.

“I’m a big fan of the show – it’s not just educational but uses humour backed up with research to showcase important issues. My research explores how conspiracy theories can potentially stop us engaging in society in a positive way. For example, people who were exposed to conspiracy theories were shown to be less likely to vote, less likely to trust science and less likely to have a child vaccinated against a disease.”

Daniel flew to Los Angeles to record the episode earlier this summer and said it was an eye-opening experience.

“Going through make-up and being on set was a completely new experience for me! Seeing behind-the-scenes and how the programme is put together was fascinating.”

Adam Ruins Everything has a large following across the globe and Daniel hopes it will open up his research to new audiences:

“We have a strong focus on research at the University so it is really exciting to bring Staffs to America and beyond! This has been a brilliant way to reach a much wider audience and will hopefully show viewers how varied and interesting psychology can be.”

UK fans can catch up with clips from the episode on the Adam Ruins Everything YouTube channel once it has aired.

Discover more about studying Psychology at a Staffordshire University Open Day – view dates and book your place here.

This is a reposting of a Staffordshire University Press Release.


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 Daniel Jolley featured on BBC Radio Stoke talking about why people believe in conspiracy theories

Dr Daniel Jolley

Dr Daniel Jolley (Lecturer in Psychology & member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) was featured on BBC Radio Stoke’s Stuart George evening show (9th October 2017) discussing why people might believe in conspiracy theories, his conspiracy theories research, and his appearance on TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything TV show.

Dr Jolley conducts a number of studies into the consequences of belief in conspiracy theories, such as the impact of conspiracy beliefs on behaviours such as voting, vaccinations, and green behaviours (e.g. energy conservation).

Listen to Dr Jolley’s interview via the below link (from 1hr, 17 mins, 35 seconds in):

BBC iPlayer: BBC Radio Stoke: Stuart George Show

Dr Jolley was also featured on BBC Radio Derby talking about conspiracy theories relating to Theresa May’s Conservative Party Conference Speech (click here).


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:

Student Blog: My first week as a PhD student

Darel Cookson

Darel Cookson, a new PhD Student in the Department of Psychology and the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, blogs about her first week at Staffordshire University as a PhD Student:

It is hard to believe that this time last week I was (not so) quietly fretting about starting my PhD, excited at the enormous opportunity I had been offered and nervous about the level expected of me, but also anxious of doing something super embarrassing on my first day. However here I am a week later, still alive, and the most embarrassing thing that occurred was dropping my handbag on the floor and watching the contents scatter down the stairs in front of me, (I can live with that!).

I thought I would write a blog post to give some information and insight to anyone who is thinking about starting a PhD, or starting one in the near future, of what you might expect in your first week.

Monday

My first day, I arrived at 8:30am on Monday morning and met my primary supervisor (Dr. Daniel Jolley) who had very kindly prepared me a programme for the week ahead. As someone who likes a good ‘to do’ list this was very much appreciated. My supervisor gave me a tour of the campus and the rooms I will need to locate and then we proceeded to the library where I received my student card (its official!). My next meeting was with Dr Richard Jolley. He and the psychology technicians gave us (myself and a visiting PhD student) a tour of the Science Centre and we learned about some of the fantastic equipment available to use.

At lunch I met with two of my supervisors (Dr. Jolley & Dr. Robert Dempsey) and we talked about the project, discussed different ideas and they gave me some advice on where to start my reading. I spent the afternoon in my office, which I share with another PhD student and a post-doc researcher, I sat at my desk and actually began my PhD!

Its official, everyone buys you a new notebook when you are a student…

Tuesday

After my first day nerves, Tuesday began with a coffee, reading, and researching the training programmes available through the Staffordshire University Graduate School to decide which would be best for me to attend. The series looks fantastic. That afternoon I booked a meeting with the Academic Skills Tutor who helped me navigate the library website, definitely worth doing if you are new to an institution.

Wednesday

In the morning I observed the seminar class I will be teaching next week which was really exciting. I enjoy teaching so had been looking forward to meeting the students and they were all really engaged and showed impressive critical thinking. Let’s hope they are just as focused when I take the class!

Thursday

First thing on Thursday, I made another appointment with the Academic Skills Tutor who was so helpful in guiding me through my reference management options, it was reassuring to have the foundations to manage the literature I will be reviewing. I met with my supervisory team for a lunch meeting (Drs Jolley, Dempsey and Povey) and we again discussed project ideas and have agreed to meet weekly for the initial few weeks.

Friday

I am actually working on my PhD; it is still sinking in! It has been wonderful today to get stuck into the work and to reflect on the previous week. Thank you for everyone at Staffordshire University who have been so welcoming this week, I feel that my next few years here are going to be very special.


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).