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Meet the researcher

Every year we ask our new intake of undergraduate psychology students in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences to get into small groups and choose a researcher they want to meet.

Watch the videos and read the text below to find out more about the researchers participating in Meet the Researcher for 2019/20. You can also read which programmes they are available to meet students from.

Duncan Brumby

Prof Duncan Brumby
My research is concerned with understanding people's use of computers. I’ve focused on four things: (1) driver distraction and mobile phone use in the car, (2) how people manage digital interruptions at work, (3) the use of devices in the home for TV watching, and (4) how people find what they are looking for on a screen. 
  • BSc Psychology

Mark Cooper

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My research relates to understanding the disease mechanisms of Parkinson's disease. We still don't know the cause of Parkinson's in most patients, however in the brains of all patients there are characteristic protein aggregates and I'm studying how these protein aggregates spread in the brains of patients as the disease progresses.

  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Anna Cox

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My research investigates the positive and negative impacts of our mobile devices on our ability to get our work done and to successfully manage our work-life balance. 

  • BSc Psychology

Bronwen Evans

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Ever wondered why Glaswegians are hard to understand, why call centres are based in Inverness or why Saturday night TV is dominated by Geordies? My research focuses on variation in speech, addressing how listeners are able to understand speech despite variation, and how and why speakers adapt their own speech when interacting with others.

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Pasco Fearon

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My main interest is in trying to understand the driving forces behind child development, particularly in relation to children’s emotional development. I’m fascinated by the interplay that seems to happen between genetic factors and the social environment – particularly experiences in early caregiving relationships. 

  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Janet Feigenbaum

My primary research interests are in the development of improved interventions for the treatment of personality disorder. My current research focusses on adaptations of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for a wider range of presentations and comorbidity with personality disorder.

  • BSc Psychology

Peter Fonagy

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My research work has largely focused on the integration of psychodynamic theoretical and clinical work with empirical research strategies in the areas of early emotional development and psychosocial treatment research, engaging specifically with severe personality pathology. I co-developed mentalization-based treatment, an innovative research-based dynamic therapeutic approach. I am also engaged in a major collaborative programme exploring developmental psychopathology from an attachment-mentalization perspective.

  • BSc Psychology

Katerina Fotopoulou

Katerina heads KatLab, a group of researchers that focus on topics and disorders that lie at the borders between neurology and psychology and challenge any rigid distinction between mind and body.

  • BSc Psychology 

John Greenwood

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Research in my lab examines visual perception: the way we see the world. We do so using mostly behavioural techniques, known as “psychophysics”. One focus is visual crowding: in your peripheral vision, objects can be highly visible in isolation but become extremely difficult to identify when surrounded by clutter.
 
  • BSc Psychology

Lasana Harris

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My research investigates social cognition, that is, our ability to think about the minds of others. I study the boundary conditions of this phenomenon, such as when we extend social cognition to things that do not have minds (anthropomorphism) and when we withhold it from people (dehumanisation). I address legal, economic, and medical decision-making related to this phenomenon, blending philosophy, evolutionary anthropology, developmental, cognitive and social psychology with neuroscience to explore the brain correlates of this most human ability.
 
  • BSc Psychology

 

Nick Midgley

I'm the co-director of the Child Attachment and Psychological Therapies Resaerch Unit (ChAPTRe) at UCL and the Anna Freud Centre. Most of my research is involved with developing and evaluating psychological therapies for children and young people, including treatments for depressed adolescents and for children in foster care. I'm a mixed-methods researcher, with a passion for involving young people and service users in research

  • BSc Psychology

Carolyn McGettigan

My research is concerned with all aspects of how the human voice is perceived and produced. In my research, a key issue is the flexibility of the voice - how our voice sounds is constantly changing, often in ways that we intend but also in ways we can’t control. I’m interested in understanding the consequences of that variability for both listeners and vocalisers. In my perception work, I’m interested in, for example, how listeners recognise other people from their voice, how they socially appraise those voices, and how they might represent them in the brain. In my work on voice production, I’ve investigate how we control and modulate our own voice to express identity and social intentions. I’ve been using MRI to develop new insights into how the brain controls the voice, through analysing images of the vocal tract and brain activity during speech tasks.

  • BSc Psychology

Gorkan Ahmetoglu

My research focuses on the intersection between psychology and entrepreneurship. Specifically, I am interested in the assessment and profiling of entrepreneurial traits in people and understanding the causes and consequences of individual differences in such traits. To this end, myself and my co-authors have developed a widely validated Measure of Entrepreneurial Tendencies and Abilities (META; Ahmetoglu et al., 2011) – a psychometric measure completed by over 350,000 people (entrepreneurs as well as employees and managers) across 50 different countries. Cuesta et al. (2018), reviewing existing instruments for measuring entrepreneurial personality traits, states “In an international context, the META questionnaire has probably been the most widely accepted (p.2)”. The main aim of my inter-disciplinary research is to utilise META and other psychological tools and techniques to promote innovation in established corporations, facilitate the performance of entrepreneurs/founders (and start-ups), and develop high performing entrepreneurial regions.

  • BSc Psychology

Fabiana Lorencatto 

I apply theories, frameworks, and mixed-methods from psychology and the behavioural sciences to identify the individual, socio-cultural and environmental influences on behaviour, as a basis for designing theory- and evidence-based behaviour change interventions. My projects predominantly focus on health-related behaviour, such as medication adherence or self-management in chronic illness. However, the things healthcare professionals do in clinical practice (e.g. prescribing medications, referring patients) are also forms of human behaviour. There is evidence that many clinicians do not always ‘behave’ in line with best available evidence and guidelines, meaning patients often do not receive the best care and outcomes.  My area of research (Implementation Science), focuses on understanding what drives evidence-practice gaps, and designing interventions to improve implementation and quality of healthcare. My current studies focus on issues such as infection prevention control and reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics.

  • BSc Psychology  

Mark Huckvale

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Infants acquire speech through social interactions with their caregivers. If computers are to use speech as effectively as humans, then they too need to learn how to use speech to communicate though social interactions...

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Sunjeev Kamboj

Our team uses psychophysiological measurements to look at the role of ‘maladaptive learning and memory’ in addictions and anxiety disorders. Both of these types of disorder involve unhelpful patterns of behaviour which have been learned through, for example, classical conditioning. It turns out that it might be possible to reverse these unhelpful behaviours by retraining people to form more adaptive associations.

  • BSc Psychology

John King

Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, involve problems in the way memory functions. We use techniques including brain imaging, electrophysiology and virtual reality to investigate memory processes in healthy and unwell people. By understanding how these processes fail, we aim to find new ways to improve mental health.

  • BSc Psychology

James Kirkbride 

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My research is in the field of psychiatric epidemiology. Epidemiology is a discipline which investigates the causes of disease at a population level. I apply epidemiological and statistical methods to large datasets of people with mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, to discover whether there is a link between our environment and our risk of developing mental health disorders.

  • BSc Psychology 

Glyn Lewis

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People who have experienced stressors in their life are more likely to develop depression. These stressors include bullying, earthquakes, deployment to war and bereavement. I am interested why individuals vary so much in how they respond to stressors...

  • BSc Psychology

William Mandy 

My work aims to improve the recognition of autism, and to develop new interventions to help autistic people. I have a particular research interest in improving the identification and care of females on the autism spectrum, who are currently at high risk of going unnoticed and unhelped by clinical and educational services.

  • BSc Psychology

Eamon McCrory

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I co-direct the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit at UCL. Our research focuses on early adversity and behavioural problems in childhood. My research uses brain imaging and psychological approaches to investigate the mechanisms associated with developmental adversity and resilience. 

  • BSc Psychology

Steve Pilling

My research interests include: health services research, including trials of complex interventions such as crisis intervention teams and implementation studies of health service policy initiatives;  psychological treatment, in particular treatments for depression and the competencies required to deliver effective interventions for all psychological treatments and disorders; systematic reviews in mental health and their use in clinical guidelines; clinical guideline development and implementation in mental health.

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

David Shanks 

I conduct research on human learning and memory. A particular focus is on the benefits of taking quizzes/tests for consolidating learning. We study some of the properties and explanations of these testing effects, as well as metamemory – what we know (or think we know) about our own learning and memory.

  • BSc Psychology

Velia Cardin

The remarkable capacity of the brain for functional and structural reorganisation is known as neural plasticity. Human congenital deafness results in anatomical and functional changes that affect sensory and cognitive processing, providing unique insights into our understanding of plasticity and the brain. The vast majority of the research on neural plasticity due to deafness and blindness focuses on the consequences on sensory processing and reorganisation, with much less focus on the unique information that they provide for our understanding of cognitive processes in the brain. In our lab, we study cognition in deaf individuals to unravel the impact that sensory developmental experience has on the organisation of cognitive networks in the brain, and how these processes are differentially affected by nature and nurture.

  • BSc Psychology

Paul Chadwick 

My research interests are in the area of changing health-related behaviour in adults and children. I have been involved in several large scale randomised controlled trials of obesity interventions across the lifespan. I am also interested in the relationships between systems thinking and behaviour change thinking, and integrating these two approaches to address complex issues like violence against women and girls.

  • BSc Psychology

Sarah White

I'm an autism researcher at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, studying cognitive differences through behavioural and neuroimaging techniques. I'm interested in the universality, specificity and sufficiency of mentalizing difficulties and of a local processing bias in explaining the core symptoms of autism, and whether an implicit mentalizing impairment can account for difficulties in other cognitive domains too. The ultimate aim is to understand autism better in order that evidence-based support can be developed that is targeted at the source and make a real difference.

  • BSc Psychology

Mairead McSweeney

I use both behavioural and neuroimaging approaches to further understand how we process visual forms of communication: sign language, reading and visual speech (lipreading). Most of this research is conducted with deaf adults and children. In addition to informing our understanding of how the brain processes language, regardless of whether it comes in via the eyes or the ears, some of our research can also be used to inform educational interventions for deaf children.

  • BSc Psychology

David Tuckett 

My research is concerned with the role of narrative and emotion  in making consequential decisions under uncertainty -  radical uncertainty, when it cannot be assumed that the information we have about the world yesterday and today can in any simple way be optimised to help us decide what will achieve what we want tomorrow. So the applications are to investment, macroeconomics, Bank of England rate-setting, how to “level-up” communities outside London and the South East, or how to mitigate the effects of the current pandemic or prevent future ones. Conviction Narrative Theory focuses on how people (or organizations) make sense of data, simulate the outcome of actions and become convinced to act rather than be paralysed although in formal terms the possibility of success or failure both remain high. We explore the role of narrative and emotion in this space through interviews, econometric and algorithmic analyses  and standard experimental techniques.  

  • BSc Psychology    

 

Jenni Rodd

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I study the different cognitive skills that adults use to understand the meanings of spoken and written words. The long-term goal is to understand the specific difficulties faced by individual children and adults who find comprehension more difficult, and then develop targeted interventions that help them improve their comprehension skills.

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

 

Jonathan Roiser 

Our aim is to understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric symptoms. We utilise experimental techniques drawn from cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and computational modelling, both in patient populations and healthy volunteers.

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences
  • BSc Psychology

Stuart Rosen

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My research interests are centred in various aspects of auditory perception, with most of my recent work concerned with the problems people face when trying to understand speech in noisy places. I have used a wide variety of experimental techniques (behaviour, pupillometry, EEG, fMRI and fNIRS)in adults and children, both in typical and disordered populations (including people with autism, language disorders and hearing impairment, most notably those who use cochlear implants).

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Giampietro Schiavo

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The research efforts of the Molecular NeuroPathobiology Laboratory are focused on proving the central hypothesis that the impairment of the selectivity and/or the efficiency of long-range communication in neurons caused by defects in vesicular traffic constitutes a major pathogenic mechanism in neurodegenerative disorders. Our laboratory has played a major role in the field by defining the mechanism responsible for the uptake of neurotrophins, their receptors and virulence factors, such as tetanus toxin, and its coupling with the axonal retrograde transport pathway. Furthermore, we have demonstrated the essential role of cytoplasmic dynein in this process and the functional link between mutations in this molecular motor and pathologies of motor and sensory neurons.
 
  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Gabriella Vigliocco

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My research concerns how humans mentally represent and learn knowledge about the world and how they communicate about this. We study these questions looking at children, adults and patients and using methods such as recording reaction times in behavioural experiments and imaging of the neural networks involved.
 
  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

David Vinson

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My research focuses on the meaning of words but also the additional non-verbal cues like gestures, facial expressions, etc and how we express them and understand them. My research uses a combination of psycholinguistic experiments, computational modelling, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
 
  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Amanda Williams

Pain is not just a physical event, or a sensation: it is also an emotional event – if it were not unpleasant and aversive, it would not be pain. It is defined as both a sensory and emotional experience, without any requirement for a detectable disease or lesion, since much pain is produced by changes in the central and peripheral nervous system.

  • BSc Psychology

Bencie Woll

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I study the communication of deaf people as a model for understanding language, cognition, and the brain. My research includes studies of spoken and signed language acquisition, linguistic and sociolinguistic research on sign languages, functional imaging of signed and spoken language processing by deaf and hearing people, and developmental and acquired sign language impairments.

  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Vitor Zimmerer

I study the language profile of neurological disorders such as dementia, stroke aphasia and schizophrenia. Language capacity is very sensitive to neurological change and is therefore an important marker of damage, degeneration or alterations in the neurotransmission. Linguistic assessments can help with diagnosis and tracking of neurological change over time, for example as a response to intervention. I pay particular attention to lexical and grammatical processing, and have developed new methods with the aim to improve clinical procedure.

  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Steve Fleming

Our cognitive neuroscience lab is based at the Department of Experimental Psychology and Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. We focus on understanding the how the human brain supports self-awareness and metacognition, and how these processes are altered in disorders of mental health. Metacognition refers to the ability to reflect on, monitor and control other cognitive processes. By designing novel experiments we aim to deconstruct metacognition into its component parts, such as how we recognise our errors, becomes aware of internal states, and develop beliefs about our skills and abilities. We combine theoretical models with a range of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience approaches including functional and structural MRI, TMS, M/EEG and eye tracking.

  • BSc Psychology

Patrick Haggard

I am interested in how the brain's basic processes of input and output contribute to mental life.  The skin is the largest organ in the body, and provides a rich sensory description of our interaction with the world around us.  I study how the brain combines all these signals to produce a sense of one's own body as a coherent object, and the basis of the self.   Next a distinctive feature of the human mind is its astonishing ability to change the world, sending motor commands that produce desired outcomes in the external environment.  I also investigate the basic processes that bind our voluntary motor commands to their consequences.

  • BSc Psychology

Jo Taylor

My research investigates the way we learn to read, in particular how we learn the relationship between a word’s spelling and its sound and meaning. I often use artificial language learning methods, in which participants learn to read made-up words, sometimes written in unfamiliar alphabets. This enables me to simulate what it's like for children learning read words for the first time or how adults learn a foreign language. I use neuroimaging methods to look at how our brains represent words and am interested in how different factors affect learning, for example, how difficult the spelling-to-sound relationships are, how meaningful the words are, or the method we use to teach people. 

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

Courtenay Norbury

 The main aim of my research is to better understand how children acquire literacy, language and social communication skills in both typical development and in developmental conditions that result in language disorders, including with developmental language disorder, autism, and reading disorders. We use experimental methods and longitudinal studies of different populations to try and understand why some children have difficulty acquiring their native language, what helps language develop in these populations, and how language interacts with other aspects of development. We are also committed to fostering links between researchers, practitioners and the wider community by hosting joint workshops and engaging in a variety of science outreach activities.
  • BSc Psychology