Centre for Psychological Research

The Centre for Psychological Research offers a supportive environment for an active group of researchers who focus on behaviour and psychology. We have expertise in well-being and health, anxiety and compassion, language, reasoning, maths education, pain and pain killers, obesity and weight loss. We offer services in evaluation, intervention effectiveness and consultancy.

Our aims

The strategic aims of the Centre for Psychological Research are to enhance the profile and impact of psychology research in the context of the University environment, mission and strategies.

We conduct a wide range of pure and applied psychological research, with special clusters of excellence in cognitive psychology, health psychology, pedagogic psychology, psychology of mental health, social psychology, psychology of paranormal phenomena and nature connectedness.

We aim to facilitate the application of psychological theory to human behaviour through excellence in research, teaching and associated consultancy activities. The research activity of the centre underpins the teaching and learning of our psychology degrees BSc (Hons) PsychologyJoint Honours PsychologyMSc Health Psychology and MSc Ergonomics.

The centre is organised into a number of research groups:

We also have an active community of postgraduate research students.

Our impact

Prof. Paul Gilbert PhD, FBPsS, OBE

Paul is central to the development of compassion-focussed therapy (CFT), which has been applied successfully to a range of disorders. Paul was awarded an OBE for services to mental health care.

CFT has been used to treat depression and anxiety by reducing shame and self-criticism.  CFT has also been applied successfully to eating disorders, addictions, psychosis and other disorders, and has been introduced in NHS treatment centres. Research on compassion-focussed therapy has also impacted directly on the general public, through self-help materials and resources. These include best-selling self-help books, such as The Compassionate Mind and Overcoming Depression, which are published in at least twelve countries. 

Dr Miles Richardson CPsychol CSci FIEHF AFBPsS

Miles’ applied cognitive research has informed food labelling policy in Australia and New Zealand and he is one of seven members of the International Standards Organisation consumer policy committee task group on Self-Assembly Instructions.

Miles’ primary area of expertise is Assembly Tasks and the factors that make them difficult. Miles advises internationally on self-assembly tasks and has several formal publications on the topic. Press coverage has included a two page feature in The Guardian (Flatpack king), articles in The Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail and many more. This research has also been the topic of interviews on BBC Mews, local and commercial radio in the UK and overseas. This research has developed into an interest in children's construction play and its association with maths.

Miles has also examined the impact of ‘traffic light’ concepts on consumers’ use of nutrition labels. His research showed that the traffic light system helped to guide the attention of the consumer to the important nutrients and improved the accuracy of the healthiness ratings of foodstuffs. The work has provided evidence in Australia and New Zealand where reports by the Royal Australian College of Physicians, Agencies for Nutrition Action and a collaboration of public health and consumer research groups for Cancer Council have used the findings to recommend Federal regulations for Australia and New Zealand to provide mandatory ‘Front of Pack’ traffic light labelling.

Research Centre Annual Reports

Every year the Centre for Psychological Research makes a report to the University Research Committee. These give information about publications, research impact, research income and other achievements and activities by members of the research centre during the preceding year.