Research areas

We welcome postgraduate research enquiries within any of our research areas, or across related topics in health and cognition.

If you are interested in undertaking a research degree with us, we recommend reading through our Research Degrees pages, and contacting a potential supervisor in the first instance. 

We have listed our research specialisms and areas below. If you are interested in exploring an area not listed here, please get in touch with the Centre's directors, Elaine Wainwright and Jermaine Ravalier

Staff research interests

Creativity and culture

  • Pete Etchells ( - Behavioural/mental health impacts of playing video games (specifically) and screen-based technology use (more generally); developing more robust experimental techniques to assess causal effects of video game play/screen time; the impact of science communication on public understanding and discourse
  • Agata Vitale ( -  Trauma, resilience and creativity; developing art-based interventions to promote the mental health of vulnerable groups.
  • Omar Yousaf ( - Creativity, individual differences, and flow; musical expertise, personality, and performance

Learning, memory and cognition

  • Alexandra de Sousa ( -Comparative crossmodal cognition; origin of the human brain and mind; genomic basis of mammalian brain evolution; bio-inspired technology; psychology and neuroscience of the built environment.
  • Gerry Markopoulos ( - memory from a cognitive psychological perspective; memory encoding and retrieval processes and strategies; environmental context-dependent memory from theoretical, methodological, and applied perspectives. 
  • Rui Paulo ( - Eyewitness memory; investigative interviewing of crime witnesses, victims, and suspects; use of category clustering techniques to improve eyewitness memory; cognitive interview, misinformation, the Confidence-Accuracy relationship (e.g., how effective witnesses are at monitoring the accuracy of their account with different types of judgements such as frequency judgements, confidence judgements, etc.); Memory Malingering and symptom validity.
  • Omar Yousaf ( - Cognitive dissonance and its uses in behaviour modification; mortality salience and terror management theory; religious cognition, personality, and the religious motivation-behaviour relationship; dispositional mindfulness and its relationship to well-being and adaptive functioning.
  • Scott Jones ( - How we learn to discriminate between two similar stimuli through simple exposure (i.e., perceptual learning), and how the structure of this exposure can influence the quality of learning; applying this theoretical framework to investigate how we learn and attend to previously unfamiliar faces and other frequently encountered objects.
  • Jennifer Kinloch ( - Behavioural decision-making, particularly areas related to temporal and probability discounting, and its relationship to risky behaviour; associative learning, particularly stimulus equivalence and relational frame theory; variability in operant behaviour.

Pain, stress and fatigue


  • Elaine Wainwright ( - The impact of pain on any kind of occupational activity; certifying work absence for people in pain; concepts of 'good work' for people in pain; how can we further embed the idea of good work as a health outcome in appropriate spaces e.g. health consultations; measurement of medical staff work stress and how to improve
  • Joe Walsh ( - The impact of pain on cognition; how we communicate pain through nonverbal channels, in particular body posture, and how these forms of communication engage and hold attention of observers; pain as a social-emotional process


  • Jermaine Ravalier ( - stress, mental health and wellbeing at work with a particular emphasis on the public sector (education, health, and social care).
  • Agata Vitale ( - Pre and post-migratory stressors in refugee populations; developing employment interventions to support refugees’ economic integration. 
  • Joe Walsh ( - Stress in teachers and organisations factors which may contribute to stress, and in turn issues around teacher retention and recruitment.


  • Marie Thomas ( - The impact of fatigue across a range of chronic health conditions; managing fatigue in chronic conditions; fatigue in occupational settings; mood and human cognitive performance in health and well-being; developmental disorders (in particular DCD and ADHD). 

Senses and perception

  • Alexandra de Sousa ( - natural history of vision and vision deprivation
  • Agnieszka Janik-McErlean ( Cross-sensory phenomena such as synaesthesia, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and misophonia; individual differences in social perception (e.g. facial emotion processing); interoception (ability to monitor one’s physiological signals) and its wider consequences; Alexithymia (reduced ability to understand and identify emotions) – mechanisms and consequences

Work, health and wellbeing

  • Jermaine Ravalier ( - mental health and wellbeing at work, particularly in the public sector (education, health, and social care); how we can develop interventions for the improvement of employee wellbeing. 
  • Elaine Wainwright ( - see above under 'pain, stress and fatigue'. Particularly how to create positive working environments for people in pain, and how to measure and improve instances of stress in medical staff.
  • Paula Wegrzynek ( - Return to work interventions for people in pain; occupational health and wellbeing.

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