Staff profile

Professor Frances Maratos

Professor of Psychology and Affective Science

Frances Maratos in the University




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology

Research centre

Human Sciences Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



As an expert in Emotion (Affective) Science, for the past 15+ years, my research has centred on understanding psychological, neurological, cognitive and physiological correlates of emotional well-being. In particular, my research has contributed to understanding anxiety and its relationship with eating disorders, understanding processes of pain, threat and self-criticism, and the use of compassion for emotion regulation across various populations.

I have published circa 50 peer-reviewed papers in these specific areas, as well as several book chapters. In recent years, I have become a key individual within the compassion in schools movement - initiating, co-ordinating, progressing and evaluating well-being effects of compassionate mind training with both educators and their pupils, nationally and internationally.

I have further been involved in the successful award of over £1.3 million in grant funding. For example, currently, I am serving as an external expert on a 5-year US National Institute of Health research grant concerned with the ‘Neural Mechanisms Underlying Self-Critical Rumination and Self-Reassurance and Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior in Youth’. Additionally, given my work in the education sector, I am also currently serving as a consultant on UK ‘Mindfulness Initiative Education Strategy’ policy.

Teaching responsibilities


  • I host/contribute to a specialist final year module 'Emotion in Context'
  • I guest lecture or teach on a range of on-campus modules at UG and MSc level mainly within the fields of biological psychology, cognitive psychology, biological psychology, educational psychology and psychopathology

Research interests

I lead on our Compassion in Education Programme of Research. As part of this, my team and I have developed four curriculums to improve the wellbeing of both pupils and staff in the education sector, The Compassionate Mind Foundation.

To aid the comprehensive and robust investigation of research in the field of affective science, more generally, I always adopt an integrative approach to research and regularly use a wide variety of experimental methods to pursue research questions and evaluate the efficacy of the interventions my team and I develop. These include psychophysiological methods (measures of reaction time and eye-tracking), behavioural methods (e.g. questionnaire measures and performance accuracy measures), physiological measures (e.g. stress hormones, blood pressure and heart-rate variability), neuroimaging methods (measures of MEG, EEG and fMRI) and qualitative methods (e.g. thematic analysis). 

Further research interests include visual attention and effects of related psychological phenomena such as cognitive load and expertise; and learning/pedagogy in HE, including the development and assessment of critical thinking and the micro-skills of compassionate communication.

I am currently supervising 7 PhD students, these are:

  • Hajra Ashra, Research Area: Self-criticism in youth and the development of appropriate measures
  • Julie Hurst, Research Area: Compassion in the Classroom - development of curricula for younger children
  • Daniel Gaffiero, Research Area: Cognitive biases in acute and chronic pain conditions
  • Alistair Turvill, Research Area: Efficacy of pain management programmes
  • Charlotte Elson, Research Area: Cognitive and emotional biases in picky/fussy eating and intervention development
  • James Mitchell, Research Area: Cognitive-perceptual strategies underpinning coaching expertise in climbing
  • Cameron Hartley, Research Area: Factors affecting sporting performance and intervention development

Find out about the 'Exploring the impact of compassion-based initiatives in higher education' PhD

Membership of professional bodies

  • I am a member of the Mindfulness Initiative steering group, which provides the secretariat for the Mindfulness All_Party Parliamentary Group
  • I am a member of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience, the American Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society


Postgraduate qualifications

  • PGCert in Learning & Teaching in HE, University of Derby, Derby (2007)

Research qualifications

  • PhD Cognitive Neuroscience, Aston University, Birmingham (2005)

Occupational qualifications

  • CPsychol, British Psychology Society (2020)
  • Occupational Ability Test User, Psytech International (2014)
  • Occupational Personality Assessment User, Psytech International (2014)

Recent conferences

  • Recent Invited Talks/Keynotes (limited to past 5 years)
  • Invited Speaker: Progressing compassionate mind training in school settings, an international study. Exeter University, January 2020
  • Keynote Opening Speaker:  Progressing compassionate mind training in school settings to improve well-being – An international research study. Applied Psychology Conference, Singapore, June 2019
  • Keynote Speaker: Mental Health in Schools: Why is it important and what can be done? Mental Health Awareness Conference, October 2018
  • Symposium Organiser: Relations between Emotion, Attention, Psychopathology and the Brain. CERE, Glasgow, April 2018 Speakers: Professor Luiz Pessoa (University of Maryland, USA); Professor Narayanan Srinivasan (University of Allahabad, India); Dr Frances Maratos (University of Derby, UK), Dr Nick Hedges (University of Reading, UK), Dr Nathan Ridout (Aston University, UK)
  • Invited Speaker: Improving well-being in Education: An evaluation of a Compassionate Mind Training Intervention with Teaching Staff Values in HE, Oxford, September 2017
  • Keynote Speaker: Evaluation of a compassionate mind training intervention with teachers to improve well-being. Mental Health UK, London, June 2017
  • Invited Speaker: What drives the prioritization of threat? International Conference on Cognition and Emotion. Allahabad, December 2015
  • Invited Speaker: Using self-compassion and/or touch to aid general well-being and coping:  Implications for Physical Health Care. 4th International Conference of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, Manchester, October 2015

Experience in industry

Schooling with Compassion

International experience

Currently, I am serving as an external expert collaborator on a 5-year $1,000,000 National Institute of Health Grant, with Anastacia Kudinova to understand 'Neural Mechanisms Underlying Self-Critical Rumination and Self-Reassurance and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviour in Youth.'

Dates: 4/1/2020 – 3/31/2025

Find out more about the Project

In the media

Focus on COVID-19:

Focus on Compassion in Education:

Focus on compassion to boost well-being:

Picky/Fussy eating in Children:

Painkiller Addiction & Measurement:

Patient-Doctor Consultation Length

Angry faces attract our attention when other faces do not:

I am also regularly invited to speak on BBC Radio Derby, as well as GEM 106, Mansfield FM etc. and I have featured on television (for example East Midlands tonight)

Recent publications

The most up to date list of all my publications (and including books/book chapters)

  • Maratos, F.A.*, Simione, L. & Raffone, A. (2020). Emotional faces, visuospatial working memory and anxiety. Psychology & Psychiatry. 9(4) 43-51
  • Maratos, F.A.*, Montague, J., Ashra, H. et al. (2019) Evaluation of a Compassionate Mind Training Intervention with School Teachers and Support Staff. Mindfulness 10, 2245–2258.
  • Maratos, F.A.* & Pessoa, L. (2019). What drives prioritised stimulus processing? An argument for motivational salience. Progress in brain research. 247, 111-148
  • McEwan, K., Gilbert, P., Dandeneau, S., Maratos, F.A., Gibbons, L., Chotai, S. & Elander, J. (2019). Searching Compassion in a Crowd: Countering Self-Criticism with a Novel Compassion Visual Search. Psychology & Psychiatry. 8(5), 322-333
  • Said, O., Elander, J. & Maratos, F.A. (2019). An international study of analgesic misuse and dependence among people with pain in the general population. Substance Use & Misuse. 54, 1319-1331
  • Gaffiero, D., Elander, J., Maratos, F. A. (2019). Do individuals with Chronic Pain show attentional bias to pain-related information? An early-stage systematic review of the eye-tracking evidence. Cognitive Psychology Bulletin, 4, 37-45
  • Wahl, J., Sheffield, D. Archer, S. & Maratos, F.A. (2018) Development of a compassion-based training for cancer (CforC) curriculum for female breast cancer patients in stages I-III and cancer survivors. Origins, rationale and initial observations. Mindfulness & Compassion 3, 47-76
  • Maratos, F. A.*, Duarte, J., Barnes, C., McEwan, K., Sheffield, D., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The physiological and emotional effects of touch: Assessing a hand-massage intervention with high self-critics. Psychiatry Research, 250, 221-227
  • Elander, J., Said, O., Maratos, F. A., Dys, A., Collins, H., & Schofield, M. B. (2017). Development and validation of a short-form Pain Medication Attitudes Questionnaire (PMAQ-14). Pain, 158, 400-407
  • Stupple, E. J., Maratos, F. A., Elander, J., Hunt, T. E., Cheung, K. Y., & Aubeeluck, A. V. (2017). Development of the Critical Thinking Toolkit (CriTT): A measure of student attitudes and beliefs about critical thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 23, 91-100
  • Elmore, N., Burt, J., Abel, G., Maratos F. A., Montague, J., Campbell, J. & Roland, M. (2016). Investigating the relationship between consultation length and patient experience: a cross-sectional study in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, bjgp-dec16
  • Kelly, L., Maratos, F.A.*, Lipka, S., & Croker, S. (2016). Attentional Bias towards Threatening and Neutral Facial Expressions in High Trait Anxious Children. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 7(3) 343-359
  • Richardson, M., McEwan, K., Maratos, F.A., & Sheffield, D. (2016). Joy and calm: how an evolutionary functional model of affect regulation informs positive emotions in nature. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2(4) 308-320
  • Yuenyongchaiwat, K., Baker, I., Maratos, F.A., & Sheffield, D. (2016). Do Cardiovascular Responses to Active and Passive Coping Tasks predict Future Blood Pressure 10-Months Later? The Spanish journal of psychology. 19 (E10)
  • Owen, S., and Maratos, F. A.* (2016) Recognition of subtle and universal facial expressions in a community-based sample of adults classified with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 60(4), 344-354
  • Maratos, F. A.*, Garner, M., Hogan, A. M., & Karl, A. (2015). When is a Face a Face? Schematic Faces, Emotion, Attention and the N170. AIMS Neurosci2, 172-182
  • Duarte, J., McEwan, K., Barnes, C. & Maratos, F.A.* (2015) Do therapeutic imagery practices affect physiological and emotional indicators of threat in high self-critics? Psychology and Psychotherapy: Therapy, Research and Practice 88(3) 270-284 
  • Maratos, F.A* & Staples, P. (2015) Attentional biases toward familiar and unfamiliar foods in Children: The role of food neophobia. Appetite91, 220-225
  • Yuenyongchaiwat, K., Sheffield, D., Baker, I., & Maratos, F.A. (2015). Hemodynamic responses to active and passive coping tasks and the prediction of future blood pressure in Thai participants: A preliminary prospective cohort study. Japanese Psychological Research57(4), 288-299
  • Simione L, Calabrese L, Marucci FS, Belardinelli MO, Raffone A, Maratos, F.A.* (2014) Emotion Based Attentional Priority for Storage in Visual Short-Term Memory PLoS ONE 9(5): e95261. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095261 
  • McEwan K, Gilbert P, Dandeneau S, Lipka S, Maratos F.A., et al. (2014) Facial Expressions Depicting Compassionate and Critical Emotions: The Development and Validation of a New Emotional Face Stimulus Set. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88783. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088783 

* = Corresponding Author

A young man in a hoodie and a face mask standing agains a wall with graffiti which reads

Professor Frances Maratos, Associate Professor and Reader in Emotion Science at the University of Derby, explains why she and fellow psychologists are concerned about recent messaging about Covid-19.

A small child looking out of a window

Professor Frances Maratos, Associate Professor of Emotion Science at the University of Derby, offers suggestions on how to help children manage their worries about COVID-19 and self isolation.

A pupil in a classroom environment looking into the foreground

Professor Frances Maratos discusses whether in terms of the health and well-being of our pupils and teachers, the UK education system is arguably nearing breaking point, after recent reports reveal that up to 54% of teachers state their job ‘often’ or ‘always’ impacts negatively on their mental and/or physical health.

A close up of fruit kiwi pineapple berries  apple

Professor Frances Maratos, Reader in Emotion Science, and Jayne Trovati, PhD student, explain give top tips to parents who have children who are picky eaters.

Clown in black and white

Professor Frances Maratos, Reader in Emotion Science at the University of Derby, explains the psychology behind why people are afraid of clowns.