Staffs Psychology Graduation 2017 Gallery!

The Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University held their Annual Graduation Ceremony at the beautiful Trentham Estate in July 2017.

See the below gallery for images of our Graduating Class of 2017:

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Highlights from the Psychology graduation day and ceremony can be viewed below:

An interview with one of our BSc Psychology & Counselling graduates, Toni, on graduation day can also be viewed here:


Thinking about applying for a Psychology degree at Staffordshire University via Clearing?

Visit our clearing pages for details of available places starting in September 2017: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing/ 

Clearing made clear - Call 0800 590830


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:

Funded PhD opportunity in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, Department of Psychology

We are delighted to welcome applications for a funded PhD opportunity in the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, Department of Psychology, for an anticipated September 2017 start date.

The PhD project is titled The role of social norms in reducing belief in conspiracy theories and will be supervised by Dr Daniel Jolley (Principal Supervisor, Lecturer in Psychology), Dr Robert Dempsey (Lecturer in Psychology) and Dr Rachel Povey (Associate Professor in Health Psychology).

Project Background:

Belief in conspiracy theories is widespread in society. Whilst belief in conspiracy theories may fulfil needs such as control (e.g., Whitson, et al., 2015), they are potentially dangerous; exposure to conspiracy theories reduces people’s engagement in a variety of behaviours, including vaccinations (e.g., Jolley & Douglas, 2014a, 2014b). Examining tools to address conspiracy theories is therefore timely. Broadly speaking, this novel project will therefore build on existing research by exploring the relationship between perceived social norms and conspiracy beliefs and develop interventions that will help combat the effects of conspiracy theories.

This PhD project has three phases:

  1. a systematic literature review,
  2. empirical studies understanding the psychological mechanisms underlying social norms and conspiracy beliefs,
  3. the development of attitudinal and behaviour change interventions (e.g., improving vaccine uptake).

This three year funded PhD and includes a fee waiver equivalent to the home/EU rate and a tax-free stipend of £14,553 p.a. over the three years of the project. In addition to their PhD studies, the successful applicant will also deliver up to six hours per week of teaching or teaching-related support and will join the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research which provides a supportive research environment in the Department of Psychology.

We recommend that you make contact with the Principal Supervisor (Dr Daniel Jolley, daniel.jolley@staffs.ac.uk), to receive the full project outline and/or to enquire about this PhD opportunity.

Applications

Details on how to apply (alongside qualification requirements) for the funded PhD opportunity can be found here. Applications (a CV and a covering letter) need to emailed to the Staffordshire University Graduate School by 4th August 2017 (details and the email address for the Graduate School can be found here).


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 Alison Owen featured on BBC Radio Wiltshire discussing Tanning Behaviours & Sun Protection

Dr Alison Owen

Dr Alison Owen (Lecturer in Psychology) was featured on BBC Radio Wiltshire’s Graham Seaman show (31st May 2017) discussing the psychological factors associated with tanning behaviours.

Dr Owen has conducted a number of studies into the reasons why both men and women engage in tanning behaviours, especially in relation to the perceived attractiveness of tanned skin, as well as ways in which psychologists can promote more sun protective behaviours.

Listen to Dr Owen’s interview via the below link (from 1hr, 28 mins, 30 seconds):

BBC iPlayer – BBC Wiltshire: Graham Seaman Show

Dr Owen is a Lecturer and researcher at Staffordshire University, and is a member of the University’s Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research and the Centre for Health Psychology. Dr Owen has blogged about her sun protection research for a recent Sun Protection Awareness Week, read more via:

Sun Awareness Week: Dr Alison Owen discusses new research into sun protection behaviours


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 Rob Dempsey blogs on the perceived use of ‘smart drugs’ by university students

Following recent reports of increases in the use of ‘smart study drugs’ by university students in the UK, Dr Robert Dempsey (Lecturer in Psychology & Co-director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about his collaborative research which has received recent media attention:

Socially Normative: Perceived norms and acceptability of ‘smart drug’ use by students

Socially Normative is a blog written by Dr Robert Dempsey with colleagues Dr John McAlaney and Dr Bridgette Bewick – all of whom have research interests in understanding the influence of perceived social norms on behaviour, including the use of substances and online behaviours. Read more about their work via the Socially Normative website.


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).

New MSc Psychology Conversion Course Starting in September 2017

Dr Louise Humphreys (Lecturer in Psychology & Course Leader, MSc Psychology Conversion course) blogs about a new Masters award for students with a non-Psychology degree to gain the Graduate Basis for Chartership:

I am pleased to announce that from September 2017 we are offering an exciting new MSc Psychology course, designed for students who are considering a change in direction and who wish to pursue a career in psychology. The course allows graduates with an honours degree in any discipline to ‘convert’ this to an accredited psychology degree in order to then pursue further training or study in psychology at a postgraduate level. Entry to professional applied psychology training courses (including our own MSc Health Psychology and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology), and eventual achievement of Chartered Status, requires applicants to have the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC). This is a means by which the British Psychological Society (BPS) ensures that those working towards Chartered Status have studied psychology at the appropriate breadth and standard to equip them for postgraduate training.

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The MSc Psychology is designed to cover core areas of psychology as defined by BPS criteria associated with, and equivalent to, their Qualifying Examination, i.e. research design and methodology, practical work, cognitive psychology, biological bases of behaviour, developmental psychology, social psychology, personality and intelligence.

Unlike a number of alternative conversion courses, the MSc is completed in one academic year, running from September with the final piece of work, the dissertation, being submitted the following July, enabling graduates to apply for further postgraduate study, or employment in the September following enrolment. Additionally students have the choice of undertaking one (Level 6) option module, allowing them to learn more about a specialist area within psychology, as well as the core GBC content. Students on the course will be taught at our Stoke City Campus, home to our £30 million Science Centre, which can be located only a minute’s walk from Stoke-on-Trent Rail Station.

For more information about this exciting conversion course please visit our MSc Psychology Course Profile.

Find out about our range of postgraduate courses at our upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, Wednesday 24th May, 4-7pm – register for the event 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 visit: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/openyourmind/

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

Sun Awareness Week: Dr Alison Owen discusses new research into sun protection behaviours

Dr Alison Owen

As part of Sun Awareness Week (8th-14th May 2017), Dr Alison Owen (Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University) blogs about her recent research into the use of facial ageing software to improve sun protection behaviours:

More than one in three people have been sunburnt in the last year while in the UK and, of those, 28 per cent were sunburnt three or more times, according to a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists to mark their Sun Awareness Week. In addition, a study we conducted here at the Centre for Health Psychology at Staffordshire University found that 80% of female participants felt that a tan looked good and 71.4% felt that tanned people look healthy (Williams et al., 2013).

Based on these findings, we have researched ways in which to help people to improve their sun protection behaviours in order to encourage them to be more safe in the sun, focusing on addressing the appearance-effects of sun exposure to improve sun protection behaviours. Along with colleagues Prof. David Clark-Carter, Dr. Emily Buckley and Prof. Sarah Grogan, we showed 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 picture (below) shows an example of the software used, where participants are able to view a projected image of themselves up to the age of 72 years, comparing images of them after exposing their skin to the sun without using protection (right hand side) with those where they have been protecting their skin from the sun (left hand side). We found that viewing the projected damage to their skin condition significantly improved factors such as participants’ intentions to wear sun protection, and gave them more negative attitudes towards UV exposure (Williams et al., 2013).

APRIL software showing a projection of how a participant may look at 72 years of age.

The World Health Organization (2012) suggests that recreational exposure to UV radiation, including exposure to the sun and sunbeds and a history of sunburn, are the primary causes of all melanomas, which can lead to skin cancer, emphasising the importance of staying safe in the sun. The NHS website contains advice on how best to protect your skin (click here).

You can watch Dr Alison Owen talking about her research as part of a feature on tanning use and skin cancer by BBC Inside Out West Midlands from February 2015 (from 1 minute into the below video).


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:

World Bipolar Day 2017: Raising awareness & new research at Staffordshire University

This Thursday (30th March 2017) is the annual World Bipolar Day, a day to raise awareness and understanding of Bipolar-related conditions and reduce stigma. World Bipolar Day is held on the same date as the birthday of Vincent van Gogh, the renowned Dutch artist who likely experienced some form of bipolar-related condition. Dr Robert Dempsey, Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University, conducts research to understand the role of psychosocial factors in the experience of and vulnerability to bipolar.

Dr Dempsey comments that around one in every hundred people experiences a bipolar-related condition. People living with bipolar experience changeable moods including mania, a heightened state associated with increased behavioural activity, energy and speeded thoughts, and depression, including the experience of low mood, sleep difficulties and low energy. There are many other experiences associated with bipolar-related conditions, including increased anxiety, psychosis and other general health-related issues, so people’s experience of bipolar can vary. People living with bipolar also often report difficulties in their social and personal lives, and have an increased risk of dying by suicide compared to the general population. Estimates suggest that around 19% of people with a clinical diagnosis of bipolar die by suicide, but this could be an underestimate given that some people do not come into contact with healthcare services and may not receive a bipolar diagnosis, so the actual rate could be higher. It is important to note that many people with bipolar maintain a high quality of life, self-manage the symptoms associated with a bipolar diagnosis very well, and many attribute positives with their diagnosis such as increased empathy, creativity and enhanced emotions (Lobban et al., 2012).

The research we conduct here at Staffordshire University does not treat bipolar as an ‘abnormal’ experience, rather we see a bipolar continuum on which everyone in the general population is located, with some experiencing more severe and changeable moods than others. We focus on understanding the interaction between psychological and social factors in people’s experiences of bipolar and have conducted various studies in this area (1, 2, 3, 4).

Our current research has investigated the role of appraisals of an individual’s social environment in the experience of suicidality for people living with bipolar. We have conducted qualitative interview studies to understand the role of various social factors in the experience of suicidality for people with bipolar (5), the complex relationship between bipolar and social functioning and vice versa (6), as well as the experience of talking about suicidality in our interviews from the perspective of our participants (7). We are currently analysing data from a quantitative study investigating the prospective predictors of suicidality in a sample of people with bipolar, and have already reported that feelings of defeat and internal entrapment (feelings of being trapped by one’s moods and thoughts) are a predictor of increased suicidal ideation over time (8). By better understanding the psychosocial precursors of suicidality experienced by people with bipolar we can inform the development of more effective, targeted interventions to improve outcomes for people living with bipolar.

I hope that World Bipolar Day helps to raise awareness of bipolar-related conditions, improve the understanding of the varied experiences associated with bipolar, and helps to reduce the stigma that is often associated with bipolar and other related conditions.

Dr Rob Dempsey was also briefly featured on the BBC Radio Stoke news bulletins on 30th March discussing his research into suicidality and bipolar (click here to listen: from 3:15 into the programme).

WBD is an initiative of International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) in collaboration with the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD). For more information about World Bipolar Day please visit http://ibpf.org/webform/world-bipolar-day.


Dr Rob Dempsey is Co-Director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, home to psychology-related research at Staffordshire University.  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).

Fourth Annual Staffs Psychology Student Conference held in March 2017

Dr Louise Humphreys (Lecturer in Psychology & Level 6 Tutor) blogs about the Fourth Annual Psychology Student Conference held at Staffordshire University in March 2017, featuring talks by our current final year students on their Final Year Research Projects:

This year’s Psychology Student Conference was a huge success and an event that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was lovely to hear about all of the work the students had conducted over this last year. I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations (oral and posters), and the students’ enthusiasm for their work. The level 4 and 5 students that attended found it useful and inspired them for their final year.

Many congratulations to our Prize Winners, Emma Manchester (Best Talk) and Jade Martin (Best Poster), as well as to all our presenters who did a great job presenting their research! Tweets from this year’s conference can be found via #StaffsPsyConf.

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Comments from presenters

“The experience of presenting in front of my peers and lecturers was scary, thrilling, exciting and energising. Having people feedback to me afterwards and show interest in what I was doing has been such a huge confidence boost and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. I would definitely encourage anyone doing a final year project to take the time to present at the conference and I’d say to all other students that it really interesting, informative and great fun to attend. I also want to say a huge thank you to all the lecturers that attended and worked on pulling the conference together on top of all the other work you already have. It’s been such a valuable experience for me and I’m so grateful for the opportunity and support I’ve received. It really makes all the difference.”

Emma Manchester (BSc Psychology & Child Development Student)

“Being a part of the Psychology conference really sums up an amazing journey and how far I have progressed at Staffordshire University. The Psychology conference was one of the highlights of my degree. I was able to share my project with students and lecturers and never felt more accomplished than I did then. When I was in Level 5 I came to the psychology conference and it was great even helped me plan my own project and then to take part at Level 6 was just awesome!”

Steph Slade (L6 BSc Psychology Student)

“Presenting my project also gave me a boost of confidence and motivation after hearing people’s feedback and the general interest in my research. Presenting as a poster was also a great way to interact with people more one-on-one, and is particularly good for people who, like me, get extremely nervous in front of large crowds.”

Jade Martin (L6 BSc Psychology & Criminology Student)

“I really enjoyed the conference. I felt like it gave me the opportunity to use and improve on my presenting skills as well as giving me the confidence and experience to be able to present at other future events.”

Asmah Ahmed (L6 BSc Psychology & Counselling Student)


Comments from level 5 students attending the conference:

“I really enjoyed the conference and found it really interesting. It will definitely be something that I will recommend to my friends, and will myself aspire towards next year”

Ruth Pettitt (L5 BSc Psychology & Child Development Student)

“The conference was really interesting and I’m glad I was able to make it! It was also nice to see the professional relationships that have formed between the final years and staff through working together! Overall it was very useful and enjoyable.”

Sophie Potts (L5 BSc Psychology & Criminology Student)

The psychology conference was really useful to attend; it gives good insight into the vast topic areas you can do for your own project. Even if there isn’t a topic area of your choice, it is still helpful as it shows just what needs to be included and everyone broke each section down – which is really handy… plus the free cake is always a bonus!

Zoe Collins (L5 BSc Psychology & Child Development Student)

 


Staffs-Uni-Hi-Res_45-1024x683The 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 undergraduate Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit the course profiles below:


Mental Health Research Seminar: “Bipolar Disorder & Suicidality” and “Books, Meaning and Hope”

Dr Robert Dempsey (Lecturer in Psychology & Co-director of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) blogs about a recent seminar on mental health-related research.

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Rob presenting research at the CHAD seminar in November 2016

I was pleased to be able to present some of our ongoing bipolar disorder and suicidality research at a seminar hosted by Staffordshire University’s Centre for Health and Development, a collaboration between the University and local councils (Stoke-on-Trent City and Staffordshire County councils) which focuses on addressing health inequalities. We held the seminar for the second time at the Staffordshire County Council Buildings in Stafford in February 2017, with myself and researchers from the South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust presenting research to a mixed audience of academics, service-users, charity workers, public health staff and representatives from the local councils. (Click here for a write-up of the first seminar)

My talk presented some of the latest findings from our research focusing on understanding the experiences of suicidality amongst people with a bipolar disorder diagnosis, including the need to better understand the psychological pathways to suicidality for people living with bipolar disorder (especially to design appropriate interventions to reduce suicidality). I presented some findings from a new paper investigating the mediating role of perceptions of defeat and entrapment on the experience of suicidal ideation at a four month follow-up amongst a sample of people with bipolar disorder.

Our paper is the first to investigate the role of defeat and entrapment in the experience of suicidality for people with bipolar disorder, despite defeat and entrapment being key predictors of suicidality according to several key theories of suicide and being previously associated with suicidality amongst other groups (e.g. people living with psychosis and post-traumatic stress). Our findings suggest that a sense of ‘internal entrapment’, being trapped by your own thoughts and feelings, explains the relationship between defeat (a sense of low social rank) and suicidal ideation. Interestingly, ‘external entrapment’ (by social circumstances, for example) did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that there is a pathway to suicidality through feeling entrapped by your own thoughts and moods when feeling defeated – which makes sense in the context of bipolar disorder, where many people experience changeable moods and other symptoms which may not always be easy to predict or manage. One possibility is that the experience of bipolar disorder may be a defeating one for some individuals.

I also briefly presented some ongoing analyses into the role of perceived social support on these pathways to suicidality, which seem to indicate that perceptions of social support are important in reducing feelings of defeat and entrapment (prior to feeling suicidal) but not after someone feels defeated/entrapped. We are continuing to analyse this data, but it appears that perceived social support has a specific role in the pathway to suicidality suggesting that boosting individuals’ awareness of their social support resources may lower the risk of feeling defeated/trapped by their thoughts, feelings and current circumstances.

Our defeat/entrapment mediation paper is currently in press and we hope to publish further articles on our suicidality data in the near future:

  • Owen, R., Dempsey, R., Jones, S., & Gooding, P. (in press). Defeat and Entrapment in Bipolar Disorder: Exploring the relationship with suicidal ideation from a psychological theoretical perspective. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

It was also pleasing to hear about some service-user led research into the role of ‘book indexclubs’ for individuals in recovery from various mental health conditions. Dr Joy Thorneycroft and Dr David Dobel-Ober talked about how these book clubs were co-produced between service-users and healthcare staff and aimed to help support service-users in recovery and post-discharge from trusts. Joy and David’s talk included some very interesting qualitative data about the challenges and benefits associated with running these groups, including good practice for running other co-produced groups in the future. What seemed particularly important was that the book groups were informal, unpressured (in terms of having to read a certain number of books per month), and were run in a ‘non-mental health’ setting (i.e. a local library). Their evaluation of these groups suggested that they were particularly helpful with boosting the attendees’ self-confidence and social interaction, if not with more specific issues like concentration difficulties associated with the experience of and recovery from depression.

Both talks highlighted the importance of social support and interaction for improving mental health outcomes and recovery – irrespective of whether support is perceived or based on actual, in-person interactions with others. Giving opportunities for social interaction for those experiencing an ongoing mental health issue, and reinforcing their available support resources, may be critical for improving mental health outcomes.


Staffs-Uni-Hi-Res_45-1024x683The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is a hub for research excellence for psychology research at Staffordshire University. The Centre is a lively and active research community, including established academic researchers, early career researchers and postgraduate students. The Centre runs a regular series of public engagement events, including research seminars and Psychology in the Pub talks which are open to the public (click here for more details).

The Centre houses experts from a variety of psychological disciplines, including our renowned Centre for Health Psychology, and offers Postgraduate Training in Research, including Applied Masters by Research courses, MSc in Health Psychology, MPhil/PhDs, as well as taught Professional Doctorates in Health and Clinical Psychology.

For more information or details of the wide range of Psychology degrees on offer at Staffordshire University please visit our website and our courses page.