Staff profile

Dr Stuart Pugh

Lecturer in Psychology

Stuart Pugh




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology





I joined the University of Derby as a Lecturer in Psychology in July 2021. Prior to this, since 2019, I held a Senior Lectureship at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, as part of their Communication and Applied Behavioural Sciences (CABS) department.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire in 2014, with a project that explored the impact of acute stress (Helicopter Underwater Evacuation Training) and personality on mood, workload and visual search performance.

I then accepted a research role at the University of Southampton exploring how individuals identify threats when conducting visual searches of X-Ray scanned images, before undertaking my PhD which investigated the impact of acute psychosocial stress on the attentional networks, working memory, and decision-making capability.

Teaching responsibilities

Alongside Dr Peter Macaulay, I lead the level four-module 'Introduction to Social and Cognitive Psychology', and its level five counterpart 'Social and Cognitive Psychology', with responsibility for the cognitive side of the modules.

I also teach on a number of research methods, biological- and neuro-psychology modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Professional interests

Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, Neuropsychology, Social Psychology.

Stress, Leadership, Ethics, Conflict Resolution, Negotiation.

Research interests

My main research focus is understanding the biological and neurological basis of acute stress, and the impact this has on executive functions such as attention, working memory and decision-making. Specifically, my doctoral research investigated the impact of acute psychosocial stress on the attentional networks, whilst exploring the influence of an individual's neuroendocrine response.

Additionally, I have also researched the impact of fatigue and distraction on executive functions, the utility of non-verbal behaviours in predicting trustworthiness, and how to improve visual search processes to enhance security at national points of entry (airports etc.).


Recent conferences

I attended my first academic conferences during my undergraduate degree, presenting research at both the British (Nottingham, 2014) and US (Kentucky, 2014) National Conferences of Undergraduate Research, as well as the British Psychological Society's Psychobiology Section Conference (Windermere, 2014). As a result of these experiences, I am committed to improving opportunities for undergraduate students to contribute to research.

More recently, I have presented work at a number of national and international academic and industry-focused conferences including the Vision Sciences Society AGM (Florida, US - 2017 & 2018), the European Conference of Visual Perception (Berlin, Germany - 2017) and the Project MARTHA Maritime conference (Warsash, UK - 2016).

The work presented at these conferences covers a range of topics including the impacts of stress and fatigue on attention, working memory and decision-making, the neural basis of moral reasoning, and investigations of how to improve visual processing of security images to better identify threats.

Experience in industry

I have worked alongside a number of industry partners to produce impactful research and technical reports, including defence, maritime and energy sectors.

From 2019 to 2021, I held a Senior Lectureship at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Recent publications