Staff within the School of Psychology have a wide range of specialist expertise and knowledge. We work together in a number of research groups through which we support the work of both staff and students in the Department. In addition, we are able to offer a range of services on a consultancy basis. If you would like to discuss collaboration or consultancy with us, please do get in touch. Our research groups play an important role in the Department of Psychology. The groups meet regularly throughout the academic year and provide opportunities for members to discuss their current research, ideas for new research projects, or simply to discuss an interesting journal article or conference presentation they've seen. They also provide an important support structure for junior researchers, including MPhil and PhD students.

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  • The variable influence of confession inconsistencies: How factual errors (but not contradictions) reduce belief in suspect guilt

    Holt, Glenys A.; Palmer, Matthew A.; University of Chester; University of Tasmania
    Wrongful conviction statistics suggest that jurors pay little heed to the quality of confession evidence when making verdict decisions. However, recent research indicates that confession inconsistencies may sometimes reduce perception of suspect guilt. Drawing on theoretical frameworks of attribution theory, correspondence bias, and the story model of juror decision-making, we investigated how judgments about likely guilt are affected by different types of inconsistencies: self-contradictions (Experiment 1) and factual errors (Experiment 2). Crucially, judgments of likely guilt of the suspect were reduced by factual errors in confession evidence, but not by contradictions. Mediation analyses suggest that this effect of factual errors on judgments of guilt is underpinned by the extent to which mock-jurors generated a plausible, alternative explanation for why the suspect confessed. These results indicate that not all confession inconsistencies are treated equally; factual errors might cause suspicion about the veracity of the confession, but contradictions do not.
  • The Hummingbird Project: A Positive Psychology Intervention for Secondary School Students

    Platt, Ian Andrew; Kannangara, Chathurika; Tytherleigh, Michelle; Carson, Jerome; University of Chester; University of Bolton
    Mental health in schools has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs) in secondary schools have been shown to improve mental health outcomes for students. Previous PPIs have tended to be delivered by trained Psychology specialists or have tended to focus on a single aspect of Positive Psychology such as Mindfulness. The current study involved 2 phases. Phase 1 was a pilot PPI, delivered by current university students in Psychology, which educated secondary school students (N = 90) in a variety of Positive Psychology concepts. Phase 2 involved delivering the PPI to secondary school students (N = 1,054). This PPI, the Hummingbird Project, led to improvements in student well-being, as measured by the World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5). The intervention also led to improvements in student resilience, as measured by the Bolton Uni-Stride Scale (BUSS), and hope, as measured by the Children’s Hope Scale (CHS). Results are discussed in the context of their implications for the future of psychological intervention in secondary school settings.
  • In search of scope: A response to Ruiz et al. (2020)

    Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J; Pendrous, Rosina; Hochard, Kevin D; University of Chester
    Deliberate and explicit replication attempts are becoming more common across the behavioral sciences. Whilst replicability has been recognized as a core feature of science for decades (if not centuries), the directness of today’s replication work requires us to consider carefully how we communicate our research and how we conceptualize our theories in light of differing findings. This paper uses a concrete example to make a number of suggestions for how we, as a scientific community, ought to engage with replication attempts. Within Relational Frame Theory (RFT) there is a growing body of applied research on the effective use of metaphors to increase tolerance of aversive states. We conducted a replication of an earlier experimental analogue study (2020, this journal) and failed to find the specified effect. Ruiz et al. (2020, also this journal) have recently published a critical response in which they list a number of differences between our two studies which might account for the negative findings. We will use this series of three papers as our exemplum. We also take the opportunity to acknowledge some points of critique provided by Ruiz et al., and to set the record straight with respect to the differences between the original study and our replication attempt. We hope this discussion might help the CBS community to develop a coherent approach to the very current issue of replication.
  • Social network analysis of a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) group in captivity following the integration of a new adult member

    Diaz, Sergio; Murray, Lindsay Elaine; Roberts, Sam; Rodway, Paul; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University
    Management of primates in captivity often presents the challenge of introducing new individuals into a group, and research investigating the stability of the social network in the medium-term after the introduction can help inform management decisions. We investigated the behavior of a group of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) housed at Chester Zoo, UK over 12 months (divided into three periods of four months) following the introduction of a new adult female. We recorded grooming, proximity, other affiliative behaviors and agonistic behaviors and used Social Network Analysis to investigate the stability, reciprocity and structure of the group, to examine the effect of rearing history on grooming network position and the role of sex in agonistic behavior. Both the grooming and agonistic networks correlated across all three periods, while affiliative networks correlated only between periods two and three. Males had significantly higher out-degree centrality in agonistic behaviors than females, indicating that they carried out agonistic behaviors more often than females. There was no significant difference in centrality between hand-reared and mother-reared chimpanzees. Overall, the group structure was stable and cohesive during the first year after the introduction of the new female, suggesting that this change did not destabilize the group. Our findings highlight the utility of Social Network Analysis in the study of primate sociality in captivity, and how it can be used to better understand primate behavior following the integration of new individuals.
  • How downplaying or exaggerating crime severity in a confession affects perceived guilt

    Holt, G. A.; Palmer, M. A.; University of Chester; University of Tasmania
    This study investigated how judgments of guilt are influenced by factual errors in confessions that either amplified or downplayed the severity of the crime. Participants read a confession statement and a police report. Information in the confession statement either was consistent with the facts of the crime in the police report, the suspect admitted to a worse crime than described in the police report, or the suspect admitted to a lesser crime than described in the police report. Mediation analyses showed that, compared to consistent confessions, both types of directional errors reduced judgments of guilt. Inconsistencies that made the suspect look better—but not those that made the suspect look worse—also increased judgments of guilt via a direct effect. Confessions that contain errors that appear to exaggerate the severity of the crime prompt no higher judgments of suspect guilt than confessions that are consistent with the facts of the crime. However, errors in confessions that are perceived to downplay the severity of the crime can prompt an increased perception of suspect guilt, when compared to a consistent confession.
  • The Gravitational Pull of Identity: Professional Growth in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychologists

    Tod, David; McEwan, Hayley; Chandler, Charlotte; Eubank, Martin; Lafferty, Moira; Liverpool John Moores; University of West Scotland; University of Derby; Liverpool John Moores; University of Chester
    Theories based in symbolic interactionism and narrative psychology can help us understand practitioner identity. Drawing on theories from these approaches, our purpose in this article is to distil research on sport psychologist growth, argue professional identity is a central goal in practitioner development, and offer applied implications. Professional growth includes movement from the self as an expert, who solves clients’ problems, to the self as a facilitator, who works alongside clients. Practitioners strive towards being authentic and along the way, develop self-awareness, learn to manage anxiety, and choose their preferred ways of working. A key feature of being authentic is an articulated professional identity. Practitioners can shape their professional identities by interacting with helpful people, consuming various genres of literature, and engaging in different types of writing.
  • Stories of Critical Moments Contributing to the Development of Applied Sport Psychology Practitioners

    Wadsworth, Nick; McEwan, Hayley; Lafferty, Moira; Eubank, Martin; Tod, David; University of Bolton; University of the West of Scotland; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores; Liverpool John Moores
    This study explored the stories of critical moments experienced by applied sport psychology practitioners. The 13 recruited practitioners (eight male and five female) were in different stages of their development (trainee, neophyte, and experienced) and were asked to tell one story about a critical moment that significantly contributed to their development as applied practitioners. Narrative analysis was used to explore the stories of critical moments. Four distinct narrative structures were evident; Re-birth, Rags to Riches, Tragedy, and The Quest. There was one consistent narrative feature that supported these plots: critical moments contribute towards an alignment between a practitioner’s beliefs and behaviour, which supports the development of a congruent philosophy of practice and the environment they choose to work within. We recommend future research, such as the use of narrative analysis to explore alternative narrative structures and the investigation of successful and unsuccessful consultancy experiences.
  • A review of stress-management interventions for the oncology nursing workforce: what do we know and what should we be doing differently?

    Kent, William; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas; Hochard, Kevin D.; University of Chester
    Oncology nurses are at risk of chronic stress. In this narrative review we provide an overview of stress-management intervention studies for oncology nurses, and suggest that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) provides a better intervention framework due to the relevance of underpinning therapeutic processes (e.g. acceptance, mindfulness, values clarification) to the role and stress-related experiences of this workforce population. Current evidence for stress management intervention effectiveness varies, with few studies describing how theory informs intervention content, or justifying why they should benefit this population specifically. ACT lends itself to data-driven intervention development, thus potentially addressing some methodological limitations in this field. Only one trial has tested ACT in this population, reporting only partial effects. Further empirical research is required given (a) the applicability of ACT for this population and context, and (b) the associated advantages of brief and/or group delivery to address known barriers to participating in stress-management interventions.
  • Personality and behavioral changes in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) following the death of herd members

    Rutherford, Lucy; Murray, Lindsay Elaine; University of Chester
    Elephants are highly social beings with complex individual personalities. We know that elephants have a general interest in death, investigating carcasses, not just limited to kin; however, research does not explore in depth whether individuals change their behavior or personality following traumatic events, such as the death of a conspecific. Within a captive herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) housed at Chester Zoo, UK, we measured social behavior and proximity and personality using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, and found age-related and relationship-related changes in both behavior and personality following the deaths of herd members. Overall, the herd spent less time socializing and engaging in affiliative behaviors following the death of the adult female when compared to baseline data, yet spent more time engaging in these behaviors after the death of two calves. The death of the central female had a dramatic impact on her infant calf, resulting in increasingly withdrawn behavior, yet had the opposite effect on her adult daughter, who subsequently established a more integrated role within the herd. Emotional Stability fell in the motherless calf but rose in an adult female, who had lost her adult daughter, but had a new calf to care for. We suggest that the greater impact on the behavior and personality of surviving herd members following the deaths of calves, compared to an adult member, attests to the significance of the unifying role played by calves within an elephant herd.
  • Exploring and assessing the current sexual interest of men who have committed sexual and non-sexual violent offences

    Akerman, Geraldine; Hardy, Jennifer; Paul, Hamilton
    Assessing current sexual interest in men who have committed sexual offence can be somewhat problematic, particularly in relation to those who are serving probation, where disclosing offence-related sexual interest may lead to a serious penalty (eg incarceration). This chapter describes the Current Sexual Interest Measure (CSIM) and how it was used to assess men serving their sentence in the community in Texas, USA; comparing them to two groups of men in custody in the United Kingdom. Those serving their sentence in the UK included a group of men who had been convicted of sexual offences, as well as a group of men convicted of violent offences to provide contrasting data. Both groups of men were participating in therapy in a prison-based therapeutic community and so possible effects on the data are considered. In addition, data were collected from men in a lower-security prison to provide further contrast.
  • Neural Correlates of Theory of Mind Are Preserved in Young Women with Anorexia Nervosa

    Leslie, Monica; Halls, Daniel; Leppanen, Jenni; Sedgewick, Felicity; Smith, Katherine; Hayward, Hannah; Lang, Katie; Fonville, Leon; Simic, Mima; Mandy, William; et al.
    People with anorexia nervosa (AN) commonly exhibit social difficulties, which may be related to problems with understanding the perspectives of others, commonly known as Theory of Mind (ToM) processing. However, there is a dearth of literature investigating the neural basis of these differences in ToM and at what age they emerge. This study aimed to test for differences in the neural correlates of ToM processes in young women with AN, and young women weight-restored from AN, as compared to healthy control participants (HC). Based on previous findings in AN, we hypothesised that young women with current or prior AN, as compared to HCs, would exhibit a reduced neural response in the medial prefrontal cortex, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the temporo-parietal junction whilst completing a ToM task. We recruited 73 young women with AN, 45 weight-restored young women, and 70 young women without a history of AN to take part in the current study. Whilst undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan, participants completed the Frith-Happé task, which is a commonly-used measure of ToM with demonstrated reliability and validity in adult populations. In this task, participants viewed the movements of triangles, which depicted either action movements, simple interactions, or complex social interactions. Viewing trials with more complex social interactions in the Frith-Happé task was associated with increased brain activation in regions including the right temporo-parietal junction, the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. There were no group differences in neural activation in response to the ToM contrast. Overall, these results suggest that the neural basis of spontaneous mentalising is preserved in most young women with AN.
  • Supervision: Research Questions to Move the Field Forward

    Tod, David; Eubank, Martin; McEwan, Hayley E; Chandler, Charlotte; Lafferty, Moira; Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool JOhn Moores, University of the West of Scotland, University of Derby, University of Chester
    Book chapter exploring critical questions in sport psychology trainee supervision.
  • Refining the blank lineup procedure: How should we instruct eyewitnesses?

    Kucina, Talira; Sauer, James. D.; Holt, Glenys; Brewer, Neil; Palmer, Matthew A.; University of Tasmania; University of Chester; Flinders University
    Presenting a blank lineup—containing only fillers—to witnesses prior to showing a real lineup might be useful for screening out those who pick from the blank lineup as unreliable witnesses. We show that the effectiveness of this procedure varies depending on instructions given to witnesses. Participants (N = 462) viewed a simulated crime and attempted to identify the perpetrator from a lineup approximately one week later. Rejecting a blank lineup was associated with greater identification accuracy and greater diagnosticity of suspect identifications, but only when witnesses were instructed prior to the blank lineup that they would view a series of lineups; the procedure was ineffective for screening when witnesses were advised they would view two lineups or received no instruction. These results highlight the importance of instructions used in the blank lineup procedure, and the need for better understanding of how to interpret choosing patterns in this paradigm. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • A leftward bias for the arrangement of consumer items that differ in attractiveness

    Rodway, Paul; Schepman, Astrid; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2020-06-24)
    People are frequently biased to use left side information more than right side information to inform their perceptual judgements. This research examined whether the leftward bias also applied to preferences for the arrangement of everyday consumer items. Pairs of consumer items were created where one item was more attractive than the other item. Using a two-alternative forced choice task, Experiment 1 found a robust preference for arrangements with the more attractive consumer item on the left side rather than the right side of a pair. Experiment 2 reversed the judgement decision, with participants asked to choose the arrangement they least preferred, and a bias for arrangements with the more attractive item on the right side emerged. Experiment 3 failed to find an effect of the ‘attractive left’ preference on participants’ purchasing intentions. The preference for attractive left arrangements has implications for the display of consumer products and for the aesthetic arrangement of objects in general. The findings are discussed in relation to hemispheric asymmetries in processing and the role of left to right scanning.
  • A Novel Approach for Autism Spectrum Condition patients with Eating Disorders: Analysis of Treatment Cost-savings

    Tchanturia, Kate; Dandil, Yasemin; Li, Zhuo; Smith, Katherine; Leslie, Monica; Byford, Sarah; King's College London; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; Illia University (Wiley, 2020-07-10)
    Objective: In the current economic context, it is critical to ensure that eating disorder (ED) treatments are both effective and cost-effective. We describe the impact of a novel clinical pathway developed to better meet the needs of autistic patients with EDs on the length and cost of hospital admissions. Method: The pathway was based on the Institute for Healthcare’s Model of Improvement methodology, using an iterative Plan, Do, Study, Act format to introduce change and to co-produce the work with people with lived experience and with healthcare professionals. We explored the change in length and cost of admissions before and after the pathway was introduced. Results: Preliminary results suggest that the treatment innovations associated with this pathway have led to reduced lengths of admission for patients with the comorbidity, which were not seen for patients without the comorbidity. Estimated cost-savings were approximately £22,837 per patient and approximately £275,000 per year for the service as a whole. Conclusion: Going forward, our aim is to continue to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of investment in the pathway to determine whether the pathway improves the quality of care for patients with a comorbid ED and autism and is good value for money.
  • Prologue: Language Challenges in the 21st Century

    Birney, Megan; Roessel, Janin; Hansen, Karolina; Rakic, Tamara; University of Lancaster
    As immigration and mobility increases, so do interactions between people from different linguistic backgrounds. Yet while linguistic diversity offers many benefits, it also comes with a number of challenges. In seven empirical articles and one commentary, this Special Issue addresses some of the most significant language challenges facing researchers in the 21st century: the power language has to form and perpetuate stereotypes, the contribution language makes to intersectional identities, and the role of language in shaping intergroup relations. By presenting work that aims to shed light on some of these issues, the goal of this Special Issue is to (a) highlight language as integral to social processes and (b) inspire researchers to address the challenges we face. To keep pace with the world’s constantly evolving linguistic landscape, it is essential that we make progress toward harnessing language’s power in ways that benefit 21st century globalized societies.
  • Where Are You From? An Investigation into the Intersectionality of Accent Strength and Nationality Status on Perceptions of Non-native Speakers in Britain

    Birney, Megan E.; Rabinovich, Anna; Morton, Thomas A.; University of Copenhagen
    We explore how interpersonal and intergroup perceptions are affected by a non-native speaker’s accent strength and the status of their home country. When nationality information was absent (Study 1), natives who heard a strong (vs. weak) accent rated the speaker as warmer but immigrants as a group as more threatening. This result was replicated when the speaker’s nationality was familiar (Study 2) but in this study, country status further shaped accent-based perceptions: the strong (vs. weak) accented speaker evoked more positive interpersonal perceptions when her country status was low, but more negative intergroup perceptions when her country status was high. When the status of the speaker’s nationality was manipulated (Study 3), we replicated the interpersonal perceptions found in Study 1 and the intergroup perceptions found in Study 2. Findings support a holistic approach to investigating perceptions of non-native speakers: one that considers nationality as well as accent strength.
  • Initial validation of the general attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence Scale

    Schepman, Astrid; Rodway, Paul; University of Chester
    A new General Attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence Scale (GAAIS) was developed. The scale underwent initial statistical validation via Exploratory Factor Analysis, which identified positive and negative subscales. Both subscales captured emotions in line with their valence. In addition, the positive subscale reflected societal and personal utility, whereas the negative subscale reflected concerns. The scale showed good psychometric indices and convergent and discriminant validity against existing measures. To cross-validate general attitudes with attitudes towards specific instances of AI applications, summaries of tasks accomplished by specific applications of Artificial Intelligence were sourced from newspaper articles. These were rated for comfortableness and perceived capability. Comfortableness with specific applications was a strong predictor of general attitudes as measured by the GAAIS, but perceived capability was a weaker predictor. Participants viewed AI applications involving big data (e.g. astronomy, law, pharmacology) positively, but viewed applications for tasks involving human judgement, (e.g. medical treatment, psychological counselling) negatively. Applications with a strong ethical dimension led to stronger discomfort than their rated capabilities would predict. The survey data suggested that people held mixed views of AI. The initially validated two-factor GAAIS to measure General Attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence is included in the Appendix.
  • There is no Other Monkey in the Mirror for Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi)

    Murray, Lindsay; Schaffner, Colleen; Aureli, Filippo; Amici, Federica; University of Chester, Adams State University, Universidad Veracruzana, Liverpool John Moores University, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (American Psychological Association, 2020-06-18)
    Mirror self-recognition (MSR), usually considered a marker of self-awareness, occurs in several species and may reflect a capacity that has evolved in small incremental steps. In line with research on human development and building on previous research adopting a gradualist framework, we categorized the initial mirror responses of naïve spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) according to four levels. We compared social, exploratory, contingent and self-exploratory responses to a mirror and faux mirror during three short trials. If spider monkeys respond as most monkey species, we predicted they would perform at level 0, mainly showing social behavior toward their mirror-image. However, because spider monkeys show enhancement of certain cognitive skills comparable to those of great ape species, we predicted that they would perform at level 1a (showing exploratory behavior) or 1b (showing contingent behavior). GLMMs revealed that monkeys looked behind and visually inspected the mirror significantly more in the mirror than the faux mirror condition. Although the monkeys engaged in contingent body movements at the mirror, this trend was not significant. Strikingly, they showed no social behaviors toward their mirror-image. We also measured self-scratching as an indicator of anxiety and found no differences in frequencies of self-scratching between conditions. Therefore, in contrast to most findings on other species, spider monkeys did not treat their image as another monkey during their initial exposure to the mirror. In fact, they reached at least level 1a within minutes of mirror exposure. These responses recommend spider monkeys as good candidates for further explorations into monkey self-recognition.
  • Eating Disorders Impact on Vigilance and Decision Making of a Community Sample of Treatment Naive Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Young Adults

    Nazar, Bruno Palazzo; Trindade, Amanda Pompeu; Leslie, Monica; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro Fernandes; Sergeant, Joseph; Treasure, Janet; Mattos, Paulo; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; King's College London; Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; University Amsterdam; D'Or Institute for Education and Research
    Although impulsivity is suggested as a possible link to explain the association of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with an Eating Disorder (ED), there is little research on how clinical and cognitive/neuropsychological functioning might change when this comorbidity occurs. ADHD individuals are at a higher of developing ED and also obesity. Some research has described the impact of ADHD in clinical treatment-seeking samples of ED patients. Consequently, we investigated how ED impacted on clinical and cognitive variables of a community sample of treatment-naive ADHD individuals. Ninety college students arranged in three groups (ADHD+ED, ADHD only and Controls) were analyzed using semi-structured interviews for ADHD (K-SADS), the Iowa Gambling Task, the Conner's Continuous Performance Test, Digit and Visual span, as well as rating scales for anxiety (STAI), depression (BDI) and impulsivity (BIS-11), and binge eating (BES). We found that ADHD+ED individuals significantly differed from both groups, presenting with a higher body mass index; more hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms; higher binge eating scores; more omission errors on the Continuous Performance Test; disadvantageous choices on the Iowa Gambling Task. Also, we demonstrated through a moderation/mediation analysis that a greater level of binge eating mediated the increases in body mass index on our sample. There were no significant paths to explain binge-eating severity through changes on any of the neuropsychological tests used. The presence of an ED in normal weight in a community sample of ADHD individuals is associated with higher body mass index and a worse cognitive functioning.

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