We investigate how humans affect the environment and how the environment can affect us, using a range of research methods.

Currently, our two main research interests are ways to increase sustainable behaviour in individuals and the influence the environment, in particular the marine environment, has on our health and well-being.

Our group has a very interdisciplinary approach, with members from various areas of psychology as well as members from other fields and institutions.

Research Group Schedule - Spring 2015

Date Academic Topic
7 January   Bonny Hartley  MARLISCO Update 
21 January     Christine Boomsma    TBC    
4 February     Kayleigh Wyles    Psychological benefits of the coast and the influence of perceived ecosystem services   
18 February  Maxine Crawford    Affective Forecasting and Environmental Exposure  
25 February   Matthew White    Marine Psychology - A large EU grant application  
4 March   Staff seminar   Sustainability related 
11 March  Undergraduate/Master Students Project Presentation 
13 March  Bonny and Matt MARLISCO project results update  
18 March  Sabine Pahl Presentation (tbc)  
26 March  Kayeigh Wyles Dr Kate Walker-Springett PML Seminar 1-2pm

Group members

Psychology staff and postgraduates:  Jackie Andrade, Christine BoomsmaDeborah Cracknell, Olivia Fakoussa, Julie GoodhewBonny HartleyAmanda Hignett,  Sabine PahlKimberley Schenke, Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, Rebecca Turner, Daniel Zahra

Psychology undergraduates: Jaclyn Burrows, Amber Gardner, Matthew Holland, Aneta Nastaj, Jason Woodus

Plymouth University staff and postgraduates outside psychology:   Francesca Burton, Steve Fletcher, Laura Friedrich, Sean Manzi, Richard C. Thompson

Members from other institutions

Dorset Coast ForumMatilda Manley

European Centre for Environment and Human Health: Katherine Ashbullby, Rebecca Jenkin, Will Stahl-Timmins, Mathew White

Falmouth College of Arts: Carolyn Arnold, Lerryn Rowe

National Marine Aquarium: Paul Cox

Open University: Steve Smith

Plymouth Marine LaboratoryKayleigh Wyles

RSPBRebecca Jefferson

University of ExeterLewis Elliott, Bouke Wiersma, Cheryl Willis


eViz - EPSRC-funded interdisciplinary research carried out by four universities looking at energy visualisation for carbon reduction in buildings.

MARLISCO - European project aiming to increase awareness and co-responsibility regarding marine litter.

Communicating climate change - Interdisciplinary forum based at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health

People really do like to be beside the seaside - BBC coverage of Mat White and Kat Ashbullby's research on the benefits of blue spaces

Recent publications

Fletcher, S., (2013). Marine and Coastal Policy in the United Kingdom: challenges and opportunities in a new era. Marine Policy, (in press).

Friedrich, L., Fletcher, S., Gall, S., & Rees, S. (2013). Securing the benefits of the Marine Conservation Zone Network: Evidence for a declining ecological baseline. Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research, Plymouth University.

Hartley, B. L., Thompson, R. T., & Pahl, S. (accepted for publication). Marine litter education boosts children’s understanding and self-reported action. Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Law, K. L., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Microplastics in the seas. Science, 345,144-145.

Manzi, S., Nichols, A., & Richardson, J. (2014). A non-participant observational study of health and social care waste disposal behaviour in the South West of England. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, (online publication prior to print).

Murray, P., Goodhew, J., & Murray, S. (2013). The Heart of ESD: Personally Engaging Learners with Sustainability. Environmental Education Research, (Published online November 2013).

Pahl, S., Sheppard, S. R. J., Boomsma, C., & Groves, C. (2014). Perceptions of time in relation to climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change, 5, 375-388.

Tanja-Dijkstra, K., Pahl S., White, M. P., Andrade, J., May, J., Stone R. J., Bruce M., Mills, I., Auvray, M., Gabe, R., & Moles, D. R., (2014). Can virtual nature improve patient experiences and memories of dental treatment? A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 15, 90-90.

Tanja-Dijkstra, K., Pahl S., White, M. P., Andrade, J., Qian, C., Bruce, M., May, J., & Moles, D. R. (2014). 'Improving Dental Experiences by Using Virtual Reality Distraction: A Simulation Study. PLOSOne, 3 (9), e91276.

Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Perceived risks and benefits of recreational visits to the marine environment: Integrating impacts on the environment and impacts on the visitor. Ocean and Coastal Management, 88, 53-63.

Zahra, D., Bailey, C., Hedge, C., Wyles, K., & Sanders, B. G. (2013). A Short Report on the Trait Meta-Mood Scale and the Importance of Scale Norms. Social Psychological Review, 15 (1), 14-24.