School of Psychology

Plymouth is a centre of excellence in psychological research. In the last Research Excellence Framework assessment over 80% of our research outputs were rated as either international (3*) or world-leading (4*) quality. This puts us in the top 20 nationally on this measure, and above institutions such as Bristol, UCL, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, and Portsmouth. Our research impact was equal to that of Exeter, and we were the top rated modern university overall.

The School holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to improving gender equality.

We take our students' experience at Plymouth very seriously.  See what it is like studying here through the School of Psychology web pages, compare us with other Universities in the region, and find out about some of our recent graduates or about our international exchange year and optional work-placement year.

School of Psychology Twitter

Wide range of careers

Our graduates go on to pursue a wide range of careers after studying their first degree. Whether you continue studying for a further degree or look for employment straight away our emphasis on employability will put you ahead of other graduates.

Successful graduates

If you would like to find out what other psychology graduates are currently doing, please visit the psychology and social sciences interest area.

The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC), the most advanced multi-modal brain imaging facility in the Southwest, provides the sea-change to enhance the quality of our research in human neuroscience.

With seven cutting-edge human research laboratories, including an MRI suite with the most advanced 3-Tesla scanner in the region, it will critically advance our enquiry, toward the most advanced brain research, improved radiological diagnostics and better patient care.

The partnership of University of Plymouth, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and DDRC Healthcare is central to our wider aims of delivering rapid improvements to health and well-being in the region and beyond, supporting commercial development and integrating research into education at the highest levels.

School of Psychology in the media

Could robots be counsellors? Early research shows positive user experience

Jackie Andrade and Joana Galvão Gomes da Silva have shown for the first time that a social robot can deliver a ‘helpful’ and ‘enjoyable’ motivational interview (MI), a counselling technique designed to support behaviour change.

TOUGH LOVE? The meaner your friends are, the more they care about you, study shows (The Sun)

Research by Belén López-Pérez in the School of Psychology suggests that people who gave 'tough love' to their friends were actually more like to empathise with them and want them to succeed.

Psychology academic navigates Moral Maze on Radio 4

Dr Susan Blackmore, Visiting Professor in the School of Psychology, has appeared on Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme discussing whether religious orthodoxy is able to exist in a world of increasingly liberal values.

EU eyes high-tech cleanup for plastic pollution in rivers - Deutsche Welle

Professor Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology, urges scientists from different fields to work together to address the cause of the plastic pollution.

Plymouth develop resource to assist health services deliver more personalised care - Care Appointments

A study by Dr Helen Lloyd sees the development of a practical tool to support organisations and practitioners achieve the organisational change which needs to happen if they are to provide personalised and coordinated care for people with multiple long term conditions.

‘Social media culture can encourage risky and inappropriate posting behaviour’ (Telegraph)

A new study by Claire White in the School of Psychology has received national coverage after investigating why young adults might post content on social media that contains sexual or offensive material. 

Research on link between creativity and risk-taking (Guardian)

'The Guardian' invites readers to take a seven-question test, and, according to Vaibav Tyagi, Yaniv Hanoch, Stephen Hall and Sue Denham from the School of Psychology, if you score 6 or 7 out of 7, you count as more risk taking, and therefore more creative, than the average person.

Latest publications

Here is a list of some recent papers published by the School of Psychology: you can find a full list from this year and previous years on our research pages

  • Edworthy JR, Parker CJ & Martin EV 2022 'Discriminating between simultaneous audible alarms is easier with auditory icons' Applied Ergonomics 99, 103609-103609 , DOI
  • Barwise Y, Kumar P, Tiwari A, Rafi-Butt F, McNabola A, Cole S, Field BCT, Fuller J, Mendis J & Wyles KJ 2021 'The co-development of HedgeDATE, a public engagement and decision support tool for air pollution exposure mitigation by green infrastructure' Sustainable Cities and Society 75, 103299-103299 , DOI
  • de Felice G, Hyland ME, Lanario JW, Antonacci Y, Jones RC & Masoli M 2021 'Preliminary development of a questionnaire to measure the extra-pulmonary symptoms of severe asthma' BMC Pulmonary Medicine 21, (1) , DOI
  • Alhaddad L, Goodwin R & Kanngiesser P 2021 'Challenges and Coping: Perspectives of Syrian and Iraqi Refugee Youth in Germany' Journal of Adolescent Research , DOI
  • Robinson J, Jones PM & Whitt EJ 2021 'Excitotoxic lesions of the perirhinal cortex leave intact rats’ gustatory sensory preconditioning' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 174702182110549-174702182110549 , DOI
  • Korwisi B, Barke A, Kharko A, Bruhin C, Locher C & Koechlin H 2021 'Not really nice: a commentary on the recent version of NICE guidelines [NG193: chronic pain (primary and secondary) in over 16s: assessment of all chronic pain and management of chronic primary pain] by the Pain Net' PAIN Reports 6, (4) e961-e961 , DOI
  • Xu S, Murrell G, Golding SE, Brockett BFT, Gatersleben B, Scarles C, White EV, Willis C & Wyles KJ 2021 '#Springwatch #WildMorningswithChris: Engaging With Nature via Social Media and Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Lockdown' Frontiers in Psychology 12, , DOI Open access
  • Blease C, Kharko A, Hägglund M, O’Neill S, Wachenheim D, Salmi L, Harcourt K, Locher C, DesRoches CM & Torous J 2021 'The benefits and harms of open notes in mental health: A Delphi survey of international experts' PLOS ONE 16, (10) e0258056-e0258056 , DOI
  • Rhodes J & May J 2021 'Applied Imagery for Motivation: A Person-centred Model' International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology , DOI Open access
  • Heintz S, Ruch W, Lau C, Saklofske DH & McGhee P 2021 'Development and Validation of the Short Version of the Sense of Humor Scale (SHS-S)' European Journal of Psychological Assessment , DOI
  • Smith A & De Lillo C 2021 'Sources of variation in search and foraging: A theoretical perspective' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , DOI Open access
  • Smith A, Priestnall G & Cross J 2021 'Supporting spatial orientation during route following through dynamic maps with off-screen landmark persistence' Spatial Cognition and Computation , DOI Open access
  • Bacon A & Taylor S 2021 'Vaccination hesitancy and conspiracy beliefs in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic' International Journal of Behavioral Medicine , DOI Open access
  • Kanngiesser P, Mammen M & Tomasello M 2021 'Young children’s understanding of justifications for breaking a promise' Cognitive Development 60, 101127-101127 , DOI Open access
  • Oturai NG, Pahl S & Syberg K 2021 'How can we test plastic pollution perceptions and behavior? A feasibility study with Danish children participating in “the Mass Experiment”' Science of The Total Environment 150914-150914 , DOI
  • Cutello CA, Walsh C, Foerster FR, Hanoch Y & Hellier E 2021 'Measuring optimism bias among military personnel' Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 82, 475-483 , DOI
  • Neimeyer RA, Milman E & Steffen EM 2021 'The meaning in loss group: Principles, processes and procedures' in Neimeyer RA New techniques of grief therapy: Bereavement and beyond Routledge 26-45
  • Anil K, Hall S, Demain S, Freeman J, Ganis G & Marsden J 2021 'A Systematic Review of Neurofeedback for the Management of Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease' Brain Sciences 11, (10) 1292-1292 , DOI Open access
  • Minton S 2021 'A response to Dr Louise Taylor’s ‘Seeking equality of educational outcomes for Black students’: A personal account' The Psychology of Education Review 45, (2) Publisher Site Open access
  • Seabrooke T, Mitchell CJ & Hollins TJ 2021 'Pretesting boosts item but not source memory' Memory 1-9 , DOI Open access

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The three schools of Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery and Psychology combine world-leading research and practical expertise across a wide range of scientific and practical disciplines.

Our staff and students form a diverse learning community and we are proud to support them in being themselves by celebrating how diversity enriches all of our lives.

In line with University policy, we do not tolerate bullying or harassment and we are continually working on how best to support everyone in being the best they can be.

Find out more about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the Faculty of Health