School of Psychology

Plymouth is in the top 20 of all UK universities in psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry with 83 per cent of our research output rated world-leading or internationally excellent by REF2014, placing us above Bristol, UCL, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, and many others. 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.

The University of Plymouth holds a Silver Award in the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), and was commended for its course design and assessment practices; its institution-wide focus on student employability, work-based learning and entrepreneurship; and the sustained and substantial institutional investment programme to enhance learning resources, both physical and digital.

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

Five PhD studentships available - apply by 9 April 2020

We are offering three PhD studentships (3 years full-time) and two Teaching and Research Associate positions (TARAs - 6 years). TARAs are part-time teaching/PhD roles.

Three full-time and two part-time PhD studentships available in any area of psychology

Find out how to apply

Learn more about the School of Psychology

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.

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 at the University of Plymouth

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

Dr 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

  • Torre I, Goslin J & White L 2020 'If your device could smile: People trust happy-sounding artificial agents more' Computers in Human Behavior 105, 106215-106215 , DOI
  • McDougall S, Edworthy J, Sinimeri D, Goodliffe J, Bradley D & Foster J 2020 'Searching for meaning in sound: Learning and interpreting alarm signals in visual environments' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 26, (1) 89-107 , DOI PEARL
  • Alcock I, White MP, Pahl S, Duarte-Davidson R & Fleming LE 2020 'Associations between pro-environmental behaviour and neighbourhood nature, nature visit frequency and nature appreciation: Evidence from a nationally representative survey in England' Environment International 136, 105441-105441 , DOI
  • Ward E, Ganis G, McDonough KL & Bach P 2020 'Perspective taking as virtual navigation? Perceptual simulation of what others see reflects their location in space but not their gaze' Cognition 199, 104241-104241 , DOI PEARL
  • Bacon A, May J & Charlesford J 2020 'Understanding public attitudes to hate: developing and testing a UK version of the Hate Crime Beliefs Scale' Journal of Interpersonal Violence PEARL
  • Farmer H, Hewstone M, Spiegler O, Morse H, Saifullah A, Pan X, Fell B, Charlesford J & Terbeck S 2020 'Positive intergroup contact modulates fusiform gyrus activity to black and white faces' Scientific Reports 10, (1) , DOI PEARL
  • Spanton R & Berry C 2020 'The unequal variance signal detection model of recognition: Investigating the encoding variability hypothesis' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , DOI PEARL
  • Bault N & Rusconi E 2020 'The Art of Influencing Consumer Choices: A Reflection on Recent Advances in Decision Neuroscience' Frontiers in Psychology 10, , DOI PEARL
  • Rothen N, Berry C, Seth A, Oligschläger S & Ward J 2020 'A Single System Account of Enhanced Recognition Memory in Synaesthesia' Memory and Cognition , DOI PEARL
  • Floccia C, Delle Luche C, Lepadatu I, Chow J, Ratnage P & Plunkett K 2020 'Translation equivalent and cross-language semantic priming in bilingual toddlers' Journal of Memory and Language , DOI PEARL
  • Heintz S 2020 'Separating Content and Structure in Humor Appreciation' Journal of Individual Differences 41, (1) 37-44 , DOI
  • Zaniewski B, Dallos R, Stedmon J & Welbourne P 2019 'An exploration of attachment and trauma in young men who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviours' Journal of Sexual Aggression 1-17 , DOI
  • St Leger Dowse M, Whalley B, Waterman MK, Conway RM & Smeardon GR 2019 'Diving and mental health: the potential benefits and risks from a survey of recreational scuba divers' Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Journal 49, (4) 291-297 , DOI
  • prokic E, Woodhall G, Williams A, Stanford I & Hall S 2019 'Bradykinesia is driven by cumulative beta power during continuous movement and alleviated by GABAergic modulation in Parkinson’s disease' Frontiers in Neurology , DOI PEARL
  • Gibbons N, Bacon A & Lloyd L 2019 'Is Nurturing Attachments training effective in improving Self-Efficacy in foster carers and in reducing manifestations of Reactive Attachment Disorder in looked after children?' Adoption and Fostering , DOI PEARL
  • Adshead CD, Norman A & Holloway M 2019 'The inter-relationship between acquired brain injury, substance use and homelessness; the impact of adverse childhood experiences: an interpretative phenomenological analysis study' Disability and Rehabilitation 1-13 , DOI PEARL
  • Clancy D, Mitchell A & Smart C 2019 'A qualitative exploration of the experiences of students attending interprofessional Schwartz Rounds in a University context' Journal of Interprofessional Care 1-10 , DOI
  • Zanatto D, Patacchiola M, Goslin J & Cangelosi A 2019 'Investigating cooperation with robotic peers' PLOS ONE 14, (11) e0225028-e0225028 , DOI
  • Lloyd H 2019 'The potential and pitfalls of narrative elicitation in person-centred care' Health Expectations , DOI PEARL
  • Naldemirci O, Wolf A, Britten N & Lloyd H 2019 'The potential and pitfalls of narrative elicitation in person‐centred care' Health Expectations , DOI PEARL