Dr Kayleigh Wyles
Associate Professor in Psychology
School of Psychology (Faculty of Health)
Associate Professor in Environmental Psychology
2009 BSc (Hons) in Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK
IAPS (International Association People Environment Studies)
My passion for the natural environment (especially marine environments) has long been engrained in both my professional and personal life. I’m interested in the relationship between humans and the natural world, which is reflected in both my research and teaching. This works broadly falls within one or more of the following themes:
The marine environment
Whilst 70% of the Earth consists of oceans and seas, this natural setting is often overlooked. Consequently, my research often looks at the human dimension of threats facing this environment (e.g. microplastics, marine litter, and overfishing), and people's use and experience of this natural setting. In order to address these global multidisciplinary topics, I have worked with economists, marine biologists, oceanographers, geographers, modellers, artists, and environmental scientists from a range of countries (including Brazil, Ecuador, Norway, USA, Chile, South Korea, and Sweden).
The influence of the environment on people
Experiencing nature can be therapeutic, restoring people's cognitive functioning and promoting their physical and mental health. I'm interested in exploring the mechanisms as to why nature (and especially coastal and marine settings) have these benefits, looking at the importance of connectedness to nature and place attachment, the type and quality of the environment, and the type of engagement we have with the environment.
The influence people have on the environment
Individuals can have a dramatic impact on the state of the natural environment, from their consumer choice, to everyday behaviours to political will. Within my work, I'm interested in understanding key drivers of behaviour and behaviour change, including the role habits have, value orientation, knowledge and perceptions but also people's links to the environment such as childhood upbringing and connectedness to nature.
Application and impact
A key driver of all of this work is to be useful and applied locally, nationally, and internationally. Consequently, I am active in working with a range of stakeholders, from NGOs to advising decision makers, such as contributing to parliamentary enquiries and advising the United Nations through GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection).
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Emma White (P/T Psychology Dept): Perceptions of Naturalness. Oct 2012-Feb 2019 (2nd Supervisor as of Nov 2018)
Christopher Wiles (P/T Psychology Dept.): The effects of virtual reality natural environments on depression and anxiety [working title]. School-funded PhD Studentship, University of Surrey. October 2017- (DoS)
Mark Newman (F/T Psychology Dept.): Using virtual reality environments to explore the role of physical properties and symbolic associations in recovery from boredom and stress [working title]. Self-funded. October 2017- (2nd Supervisor)
Pablo Pereira-Doel (F/T Tourism Dept.): Persuasive communication: an experiment on hotel guests’ values, inconvenience and smart water-saving technology. Oct 2017- (2nd Supervisor).
Christy E. Hehir (F/T Tourism Dept.): Beyond Good Intentions: Wildlife Tourism as a Driver of Emotion and Philanthropic Behaviour Change. ESRC PhD Studentship. October 2016- (3rd Supervisor)
Tim Sykes (P/T Biological Sciences): Investigating the cultural contributions from chalk streams and their winterbournes and aquifers [working title]. Environment Agency & Wildlife Trust funded PhD Studentship. October 2019- (3rd external supervisor)
Grants & contracts
Gatersleben et al., (2020-2022). Counting birds and bees: promoting wellbeing of older people through engagement with nature-based conservation activities. Dunhill Medical Trust, £127,819.08 (Co-PI).
Gatersleben, B. et al., (2020-2021). Nature Engagement and Wellbeing Pre-, During and Post Covid-19: Supporting the UK (Green) Recovery. UKRI (ESRC) COVID-19, £201,482 (Co-PI). Post-doc: Emma White
Hepper, E., et al., (2020-2021). Don’t Judge Me, Greta: Narcissism and Environmental Defensiveness. British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant, £9,978.20 (Co-PI)
Wyles, K.J. & Gatersleben, B. (2020). Marine Litter Citizen Science Research Agenda - An Expert Perspective on Advancing the Citizen and the Science in Citizen Science. BBSRC Citizen Sci Exp Grant, £19,805 (PI). Post-doc: Matthew Peacock
Wyles, K.J. et al., (2019-20). Ocean LitterAcy (OLA) - Empowering society to combat marine litter through citizen science. Global Challenges Research Fund, £138,998 (PI). RAs: Larissa Kawabe, Thais Rech
Macdonald, A., et a., (2017-2019) AMRSim: A Microbial Reality Simulator. AHRC/AMR Indoor and Built Environment Pump Priming, £200,804 (Co-PI). Post-doc: Tom Kupfer; RA: Naomi Klepacz.
Beaumont, N. et al., (2016-2019). CoastWEB: Valuing the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and well-being, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events. NERC-ESRC-AHRC Valuing Nature Programme, £252k (Co-PI).
Beaumont, N. et al., (2016-2019). MARine Plastic Pollution in the Arctic: origin, status, costs and incentives for Prevention. Forskerprosjekt – POLARPROG (Norwegian Fund), £89k (Co-PI)
Wyles, K. (2019). Blue Charter Fellowships - Specialist Mentor. The Association of Commonwealth Universities, £3,927.
Wyles, K. (2018). Travel Grant. Galapagos Conservation Trust, £800
Wyles, K.J. (2017-18). The Value of Bathing Waters and the Influence of Bathing Water Quality. Scottish Government Tender via Collingwood Environmental Planning Limited, £1,675.56 (consultancy).
Austen, M. et al., (2016-2017). New Plastics Economy. People’s Postcode Lottery Dreamfund, £100k (Co-PI).
Wyles, K. (2017). Examining the Psychological Benefits of Computer-Based and Coastal-Based Citizen Science Schemes. Faculty Research Support Fund, University of Surrey, £5.5k (PI)
Anderson, A. et al., (2015). Beating the micro-bead: Engaging people about microplastics in the marine environment. Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research Small Collaborative Awards, Plymouth University, £2.5k. (Co-PI)
Attrill, M. et al., (2013). The benefits of engaging with the Marine Centre at Wembury Beach. University of Plymouth Community Research Award, £9k. (Co-PI)
Key publications are highlightedJournals