Dr Sigrid Lipka

Position: University Reader in Psychology

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Natural Sciences

Subject area: Psychology

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Before coming to Derby, I taught a wide range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, both in Psychology (at Sussex and Derby) and Psycholinguistics (Leipzig).

Teaching responsibilities

I am currently Module Leader for Cognitive Psychology, Language and Language Development, and The Psychology of Language Disorders in Children, and Introduction to Cognitive Psychology which is part of our e-learning degree.

Research interests

I am interested in language in all shapes and forms. My research focuses on the following areas:

  • Semantic and contextual processes in language comprehension.
  • Cross-linguistic studies of sentence comprehension strategies.
  • The role of working memory in language comprehension.
  • Rehearsal processes in working memory and synchronisation of brain activity.

I am also keen to apply cognitive research to questions of clinical psychology, looking at the influence of emotion on cognitive processes, and at response biases and possible malingering in clinical assessment.

My research activity contributes to the work of the Centre for Psychological Research in Human Behaviour at Derby University.

I am currently involved in two international collaborations. One project is about working memory and synchronization of brain activity. This is a joint project with Prof Schroeger, Institute for Psychology at the University of Leipzig, and Franziska Kopp, Max Planck Institute for Human and Cognitive Brain Sciences, Leipzig. This work was supported by two grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG = Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

Another collaborative project is with a clinical psychologist, Dr Ralf Dohrenbusch, from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Bonn. We are studying response biases and possible malingering in clinical assessment. This work is currently supported by one of the two Visiting Fellowships which the Leverhulme Trust awarded to the University of Derby in 2005


  • Psychology, University of Bonn
  • MSc Human Communication Studies, University of London
  • PhD Psychology, University College London

Recent publications

  • Drake, K., & Lipka, S. (in press, 2013). The effect of cognitive load on faking interrogative suggestibility on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale. Personality and Individual Differences. [Impact Factor of 1.877 for 2011, Thomson Reuters].
  • Brown, S., Lipka, S., Coyne, S., Qualter, P., Barlow, A., & Taylor, P. (2011). Implicit Alcohol-Aggression Scripts and Alcohol-Related Aggression on a Laboratory Task in 11-14 Year-Old Adolescents. Aggressive Behavior, 37(5), 430-439. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20400
  • Dohrenbusch, R., Buchanan, H., Lipka, S., & Ott, R. (2008). Impact of chronic somatoform and osteoarthritis pain on conscious and preconscious cognitive processing. The Journal of Pain, 9 (10), 927-939. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2008.05.004
  • Kopp, F., Schroeger, E., & Lipka, S. (2006). Synchronized brain activity during rehearsal and short-term memory disruption by irrelevant speech is affected by recall mode. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 61, 188-203.
  • Dohrenbusch, R., & Lipka, S. (2006). Assessing and predicting supervisors' evaluations of psychotherapists. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 19(4), 395-414.
  • Kopp, F., Schroeger, E., & Lipka, S. (2004). Neural networks engaged in short-term memory rehearsal are disrupted by irrelevant speech in human subjects. Neuroscience Letters, 354 (1), 42-45.
  • Lipka, S. (2002). Reading sentences with a Late Closure ambiguity: Does semantic information help? Language and Cognitive Processes, 17 (3), 271-298.
  • Kopp, F., Schroeger, E., & Lipka, S. (2001). Rehearsal processes in working memory and synchronisation of brain areas. In E. Sommerfeld, R. Kompass, & Th. Lachmann (eds.) Fechner Day 2001: 200th birthday of Gustav Theodor Fechner. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics. Leipzig, Germany: The International Society for Psychophysics.
  • Lipka, S., Kopp, F., & Pechmann, T. (2000). Referential context effects for subject/object relative-clause ambiguities: The role of the Reading Span. In E. Schroeger, A. Mecklinger, & A. D. Friederici (Eds.), Working on working memory. Leipzig: Leipzig University Press, pp. 121-138.

Recent conferences

  • Lipka, S. (2010). The effects of knowledge and strategy use on working memory. Talk presented at the "Wintertreffen Arbeitsgedächtnis 2010" [Working Memory conference], University of Heidelberg, 12 February 2010.
  • Lipka, S., & Dohrenbusch, R. (2007). Faking short-term memory problems: The role of activating one's own experience. Talk presented at BPS (= British Psyhcological Society) Cognitive Section Annual Conference, 20-22 August 2007, Aberdeen.
  • Lipka, S., & Brown, S. (2005). The effects of knowledge and strategy use on working memory. Talk presented at BPS Cognitive Section Annual Conference, 30th August - 2nd September 2005, Leeds.

Additional interests and activities

Doctoral research supervision and supporting staff development in doctoral research supervision: I delivered the module 7ER002 Research Supervision in Spring 2011 (Academic Practice in Research)

Experience in industry

My first job was as a Research Officer at the MRC Cognitive Development Unit in London. I then worked at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex, initially as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Gerry Altmann and Alan Garnham, and then as a Teaching Assistant and Temporary Lecturer. I was a Lecturer in Psycholinguistics at the University of Leipzig in Germany for almost six years before I took up my present job as Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby in March 2002. I was made University Reader in Psychology in July 2006.

International experience

I have a good knowledge of the German university system, having both studied and worked as a lecturer in Germany. I have a particular interest in supporting international students.

In the media

Interview with BBC Radio Derby some years ago.

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