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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. You can also read which programmes they are available to meet students from.

Featured researchers

Anna Cox

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Anna Cox's 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
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 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 through social interactions...

  • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences

 

    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
    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

     

    Jonathan Roiser

    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
    Anna Cox

    YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/N37i2HC_P8s

     

      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
      John King

      John King

      Meet the researchers: 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
      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
      Bronwen Evans

      YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/ZxcAwShwqW8

       

      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
      James Kirkbride

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      My research is in the field of psychiatric epidemiology. Epidemiology is a discipline that 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 
      Paul Chadwick

      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
      Steve Fleming

      Steve Fleming

      Our cognitive neuroscience lab is based at the Department of Experimental Psychology and Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. We focus on understanding 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
      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 in why individuals vary so much in how they respond to stressors. I also investigate the effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression using randomised controlled trials based in primary care.

      • BSc Psychology
      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
      William Mandy

       

      William Mandy

      Meet the researcher: Will 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
      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
      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
      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

         

        David Shanks

        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.

        Helene Joffe

        Helene Joffe
        I have two areas of research. The one is how publics view risks such as infectious disease, earthquakes and climate change. Psychology has found a host of mechanisms with which humans deal with such risks. My other area is the liveability of cities, particularly how we can reduce loneliness and increase wellbeing for city dwellers. Here it is interesting to work in a multi-disciplinary way to think about creating spaces in cities that would increase sociality and decrease isolation.

        These areas are important because we need to increase people’s resilience to the host of risks that face them and we need to design (and re-design) cities in ways that diminish the mental health crisis that has emerged following Covid-19. 

        The work my team does helps to shape disaster preparedness and recovery programmes in areas that experience repeated natural disasters, like earthquake and tsunami. Here governments can be influences to create programmes that draw on the evidence base. Regarding mental health, we are working on shaping cities to increase social connectedness.

        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
        Patrick Haggard

        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
        Mairead MacSweeney

        Mairead MacSweeney

        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
        • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences
        Carolyn McGettigan

        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
        Nick Midgley

        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
        Courtenay Norbury

        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    
        Steve Pilling

        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
        Jo Taylor

        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  
        David Tuckett

        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
        Sarah White

        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
        Amanda Williams

        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

        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
        Quentin Huys

        Quentin Huys

        1. What is my area of research?

        I build mathematical or artificial-intelligence models to understand emotions and decision-making and try to use this to improve how we treat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety

        2. Why is it important?

        It is hard to understand illnesses without understanding how the symptoms arise from the function of the organ. Mental illnesses arise from the brain, and our most powerful approach to understanding brain functions are a combination of neuroscience, psychology and mathematics. A better understanding is important because it can help us improve existing treatments and develop new ones.

        3. What impact does it/can it have on the society/the world etc

        It helps us better understand how humans think, behave, decide, why individuals differ, and how we can help those with mental illness.

        • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences
        • BSc Psychology
        Jennifer McGowan

        Jennifer McGowan

        Jennifer McGowan is a lecturer (teaching) for Experimental Psychology. She has a PhD in health psychology and epidemiology, and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her teaching role includes coordinating the external placements of MSci students into clinical and industrial settings, lectures on quantitative and qualitative research methods, Learning and memory, Ageing, Mindfulness, and Adolescence. She also facilitates journal clubs, and is dedicated to inclusive and interactive learning.

        Jennifer is the founder and lead of the global Resilience Research Group. The group’s aim is to develop a collaborative group of resilience researchers, in order to develop high quality resilience research. This includes developing research and dissemination opportunities to raise member profiles, supporting early career researchers into funding, and developing and consolidating the resilience field. We also work with local councils to evaluate resilience interventions.

        Her research interests are focused primarily on health and positive psychology. I am interested in projects into:

        • Positive psychology, resilience, and physical well-being
        • Public health (well-being, smoking, cancer, sexual well-being, lifespan ageing)
        • Sexual well-being in regards to abnormal sexuality

        To date her research has explored the biopsychosocial well-being of adults ageing with HIV in relation to both age and time with diagnosed HIV; cancer and smoking; adolescent health and well-being; and the evaluation of resilience interventions in clinicians and schools.

        • BSc Psychology and Language Sciences
        • BSc Psychology
        Patti Adank

        Professor Patti Adank

        1. I am interested in how our brains process speech. I use a combination of cognitive neuroscience methods (specifically brain stimulation using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, TMS)  and behavioural methods to investigate how we are able to communicate with others in a wide variety of interactive situations. For instance, how do we manage to interact with others in background noise? How can we get used to a foreign accent so quickly? How do we use visual information when listening to others in background noise?

        2. It is important to establish why we are able to understand other in challenging conditions as not everyone finds it easy to communicate in these circumstances. Older people, or people with hearing loss might be specifically affected and find it more difficult to communicate.

        3. My research can help us understand who might have trouble communicating in everyday listening conditions and can contribute to the development of more effective diagnostic methods as well as improved devices, such as hearing aids.

        • BSc/MSci Psychology and Language Sciences

         

        Sarah Garfinkel 

        Professor Sarah Garfinkel

        My research is interested in emotion, and how emotion is represented in both the brain and the body. I focus on the heart and investigate heart-brain interactions, and something called ‘interoception’ which is the sensing of internal signals. Internal signals, such as those from the heart, can influence our emotions, our decisions, and our memories. When trying to understand mechanisms that are altered in different clinical conditions such as anxiety, autism and schizophrenia, understanding aberrant bodily processing can provide new insights into these conditions. My work is fully translational, I study basic mechanisms and identify alterations in different clinical conditions to devise new insights for therapeutic interventions.   

        • BSc/MSci Psychology
        • BSc/MSci Psychology and Language Sciences
        Kate Rowley

        Kate Rowley

        I am a deaf psycholinguist and my research focuses on the language and literacy development of deaf children. My goal is to eradicate language deprivation in deaf children, which has severe and long-term implications on deaf people’s lives. Much of my research is applicable, and has a direct impact on practice.

        • BSc/MSci Psychology
        • BSc/MSci Psychology and Language Sciences