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

Studentships and Lecturing posts available now

Part time TARA/PhD studentships (6 years; apply by 22 August) available

A part time teaching post / research studentship available to start in September 2021

Find out the details

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

  • Schlegelmilch R, Wills A & von Helversen B 2021 'A Cognitive Category-Learning Model of Rule Abstraction, Attention Learning, and Contextual Modulation' Psychological Review Open access
  • Foerster FR & Goslin J 2021 'Tool use and function knowledge shape visual object processing' Biological Psychology 164, 108143-108143 , DOI
  • Chen C, Houston DM & Yu C 2021 'Parent–Child Joint Behaviors in Novel Object Play Create High‐Quality Data for Word Learning' Child Development , DOI
  • Shuai R, Bakou AE, Andrade J, Hides L & Hogarth L 2021 'Brief online negative affect focused functional imagery training improves two-week drinking outcomes in hazardous student drinkers: a pilot randomised controlled trial' International Journal of Behavioral Medicine , DOI Open access
  • Samuel S, Hagspiel K, Cole G & Eacott M 2021 ''Seeing' proximal representations: Testing attitudes to the relationship between vision and images' PLoS One Open access
  • Wyer NA, Hollins TJ & Pahl S 2021 'Remembering Social Events: A Construal Level Approach' Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 014616722110381-014616722110381 , DOI Open access
  • Sharpe P, Whalley B & Mitchell CJ 2021 'Does Brief Focused Attention and Open Monitoring Meditation Affect the Attentional Blink?' Mindfulness , DOI
  • Seabrooke T, Mitchell C, Wills A, Inkster A & Hollins T 2021 'The Benefits of Impossible Tests: Assessing the Role of Error-Correction in the Pretesting Effect' Memory and Cognition , DOI Open access
  • Dome L, Edmunds C & Wills A 2021 'SUSTAIN captures category learning, recognition, and hippocampal activation in a unidimensional vs information-integration task' Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 7-/-0/2021 7-/-0/2021 eScholarship Publisher Site Open access
  • Svensson SL, Golubickis M, Maclean H, Falbén JK, Persson LM, Tsamadi D, Caughey S, Sahraie A & Macrae CN 2021 'More or less of me and you: self-relevance augments the effects of item probability on stimulus prioritization' Psychological Research , DOI
  • Terbeck S, Charlesford J, Clemans H, Pope E, Lee A, Turner J, Gummerum M & Bussmann B 2021 'Physical Presence during Moral Action in Immersive Virtual Reality' International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, (15) 8039-8039 , DOI
  • Spicer S, Laura N, Joanne L, Maria U, Lloyd H & Close J 2021 'Loot boxes, problem gambling and problem video gaming: A systematic review and meta-synthesis' New Media and Society , DOI Open access
  • Jillian R, Erica G, Mieke R, Stoop A, Espallargues M, Lloyd H, Close J & de Bruin S 2021 'Measuring older peoples’ experiences of person-centred coordinated care: experience and methodological reflections from applying a patient reported experience measure in SUSTAIN' International Journal of Integrated Care 21, (3) 3-3 , DOI Open access
  • Köster M, Langeloh M, Kliesch C, Kanngiesser P & Hoehl S 2021 'The value of subsequent memory paradigms in uncovering neural mechanisms of early social learning' NeuroImage 234, 117978-117978 , DOI
  • Golubickis M & Macrae CN 2021 'Judging me and you: Task design modulates self-prioritization' Acta Psychologica 218, 103350-103350 , DOI
  • Golubickis M & Macrae CN 2021 'That’s me in the spotlight: Self-relevance modulates attentional breadth' Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , DOI
  • Johnson A, Group TF, Delduca C & Morris R 2021 Living Your Life with Cancer: An ACT Approach Flying Over Thunderstorms. Routledge
  • Cooley SJ, Jones CR, Moss D & Robertson N 2021 'Organizational perspectives on outdoor talking therapy: Towards a position of ‘environmental safe uncertainty’' British Journal of Clinical Psychology , DOI
  • Swedberg K & Lloyd H 2021 'Testing Cost Containment of Future Health Care with Maintained or Improved Quality – The COST CARES project Running title: Cost Containment of Future Health Care' Health Science Reports 4, (2) , DOI Open access
  • Mehesz E, Karoui H, Strutton PH & Hughes SW 2021 'Exposure to an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment can Modulate Perceptual Correlates of Endogenous Analgesia and Central Sensitization in Healthy Volunteers' The Journal of Pain 22, (6) 707-714 , DOI

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