Thursday, 20 November 2014

Visiting speaker: Marinus van IJzendoorn, Leiden University

TitlePrenatal parenting, newborn methylation and child development
Speaker: Marinus H. van IJzendoorn

Time and Location: Friday, Dec 12, 12:00pm, Committee Room 3 (Town Hall).

“Prenatal parenting” seems a contradictio in terminis. In humans however parenting starts way before child birth. Intra-uterine conditions are crucial for the development of the fetus and determine whether the newborn experiences a head start or is already delayed in its neurobiological and psychological development.  This is not unlike pre-birth development in rodents as Michael Meaney and his team have documented in detail. Quite some evidence shows that prenatal conditions indeed are associated with later psychosocial and cognitive development.
But how prenatal parenting  --for better and for worse—affects the child’s  development after birth still is a puzzle to be solved.  Epigenetic changes, in particular changes in methylation might be an important piece of this puzzle. The Dutch Hunger Winter Study provided some insight in the profound epigenetic programming taking place in the first trimester after conception when conception took place in the most severe period of famine. In Generation R, a cohort study following 10,000 Rotterdam families from mother’s pregnancy into child’s puberty, we measured several prenatal maternal behaviors, problems and stress factors that might influence methylation patterns assessed in cord blood of the newborn. Epigenome-wide analyses as well as analyses targeting candidate loci may shed some light on prenatal parenting leaving its marks on the neurobiology of the newborn.
My primary research focus has been parenting and its influence on children’s development. In the genomic era when many question whether parenting really matters at all, I have shown that family matters indeedusing not only observational and neurobiological methods, but also experimental parent-training and interventions, as well as meta-analyses that generated new ideas. For example, the Leiden team was the first to demonstrate genetic differential susceptibility in a longitudinal study on parenting and externalizing symptoms (Developmental Psychobiology, 2006), which revived the theory of differential susceptibility making it one of the most innovative and fruitful paradigms in developmental psychology and psychopathology worldwide. Moreover, we were the first to experimentally test the theory of differential susceptibility with a focus on temperamental and genetic factors,  extending GxE research to the study of parenting, discovering that contextual factors influence some parents more than others, in a for-better-and-for-worse fashion, depending on their genetic make up (Genes, Brain and Behavior, 2008). Several meta-analyses supported the role of candidate genes as markers of differential susceptibility, emphasizing the interplay of genes and environment in shaping child development. My most important challenge for the near future is experimental work showing susceptibility to the environment, for better and for worse, within the same individual, taking a broader (epi-)genetic perspective and studying mediating mechanisms of differential susceptibility. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Visiting speaker: Denis O'Hora, NUI Galway

Title: Can how we choose tell us about why we choose?

Speaker: Denis O'Hora, NUI Galway

Time and Location: Thursday, Nov 20, 4:00pm, room VG02.

Dr O'Hora will outline recent research on the action dynamics of choice and decision-making. When cognitive processes occur alongside observable actions, it is possible for characteristics of these processes to influence the ongoing performance of those actions.  That is, cognitive processes may 'leak' into motor processes. Anecdotally, negotiators and poker players claim to be attuned to ‘tells,' early behavioural indicators of eventual decisions. Going beyond intuitions, however, several researchers have exploited fine-grained measures of behaviour to highlight the effects of online cognitive processing. In Dr O'Hora's research, participants make simple choices using a computer mouse, which provides a rich semi-continuous stream of action information. By tracking 'how' participants make their decisions, it is possible to infer characteristics of participants' evaluations of the alternatives available to them.  He will summarise recent findings from his laboratory and some of the novel analytic techniques that he and his collaborators have developed.

Denis O’Hora graduated from University College Cork in 1998. He began his postgraduate work at UCC before moving to the National University of Ireland Maynooth in 1999 to complete his studies with the support of a Government of Ireland Scholarship. In 2002, he took up a lecturing post in London Metropolitan University where he worked for a year before being appointed as a lecturer in behaviour analysis at the University of Ulster. During his time at UU, he was part of the course team that developed the first Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis on the island of Ireland, which was supported by an International Development grant from the Society for the Advancement of Behaviour Analysis (SABA). He was also awarded a Crucible fellowship by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, for his work promoting psychology. He was appointed to his post in the National University of Ireland, Galway in January, 2007. He is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow in the British Psychological Society (BPS)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Visiting speaker: Mark Gardner, University of Westminster

Title: Spatial perspective-taking, embodiment, and executive functions

Date, time, and venue: Thursday, Nov 6, 4:00pm, room VG02

My talk considers the cognitive processes involved when taking on the spatial-perspective of another person – an ability that might be employed when giving directions or providing a demonstration of how to do a task. Specifically, we will consider whether spatial perspective-taking relies on an embodied mechanism of imagined self-rotation.  Or, alternatively, whether it is mediated by executive processes that are domain general (inhibition of own perspective responses). The results of a series of eight experiments employing a simple test of perspective-taking will be described which appear to indicate that spatial perspective-taking can be both embodied and reliant on executive functions, but that the route to perspective-taking depends upon participant strategy.

Mark Gardner was trained at University College London in the last millennium.  His PhD research examined imitation in animals, while his postdoc assessed the role of attention in normal and abnormal balance system function.  Mark has worked at the University of Westminster since 2000, where he is now Principal Lecturer in Psychology, and course leader for BSc Psychology.  He also serves on the BPS Undergraduate Education Committee.  When he is not doing admin, Mark loves doing research.  As well as spatial perspective-taking, he is also investigating the effects of water consumption on cognitive performance.

Mark's webpage:

Successful joint bid from Forensic Psychological Services and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies

We are delighted to report that a joint bid from Forensic Psychological Services and the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies has been successful. The project is for 9 months for 75K and is a quantitative and qualitative examination of the impact of legal pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of children and young people. The Co-Principle Investigators on the project are Miranda Horvath and Elena Martellozzo and the Co-Investigators are Joanna Adler and Julia Davidson.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Visiting Speaker: Maryanne L. Fisher, Saint Mary’s University, Canada

Date and time: Monday, October 27, 5:00pm, room VG02 (Vine Building)

Title: Recent Developments in Women's Competition for Mates

There has been an explosion of research pertaining to women’s intrasexual competition for mates within the past decade. This research spans the areas of eating disorders, fertility, risk-taking, self-perceptions of mate value, fashion preferences, and adolescent friendships, among others. I will briefly review these developments, and then present a series of recent studies that collectively reveal women’s perceptions of potential rivals is generally negative and encompasses numerous characteristics. My findings indicate that women do not necessarily have to interact with rivals for these results to occur; women appear to engage in vicarious competition by witnessing hypothetical competitive situations. I will also present data from a new study, whereby we found evidence of brain activation that indicates women may be anticipating a loss or win when viewing young, attractive female faces versus older, unattractive female faces. I will close with a discussion of potential future research directions.

Maryanne L. Fisher, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. She has recently edited Evolution’s Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women (Oxford, 2013) and the Handbook of Women and Competition (Oxford, forthcoming). Her primary areas of inquiry are sex differences in competition and aggression, within-sex variance in mating strategies, and integrating feminist frameworks with evolutionary psychological perspectives. For more information please see Maryanne's website:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fiona Starr presents at the BPS Children Young People and Families Conference

Fiona Starr (Chartered Clinical Psychologist) was invited to present her research, ‘UK Clinical Psychologists in Independent Practice’, at the BPS CYPF (Children Young People and Families) Conference in Peterborough last month. The presentation described the survey that  Fiona Starr &  Karen Ciclitira conducted with the help of the BPS. The survey examined the working practices of a growing number if BPS psychologists who are not working in the public sector. Although increasing numbers of psychologists are being forced to set up independently, largely due to governmental cuts, there has been no comprehensive survey of ‘who is doing what where and how in the UK’. There have been several similar studies conducted in the USA, Canada and Australia.  A special interest group for independent practitioners has been recently established by the BPS.  Fiona and Karen are now in phase two of the study looking at thematic analysis of clinician’s experiences.

For further details see:

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cognitive Archaeology: The Challenge of Understanding Human Becoming

Yvan Russell and Tom Dickins, from the EMU lab, are both presenting invited papers at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference in Manchester this December:

They are taking part in a symposium entitled:

Cognitive Archaeology: The Challenge of Understanding Human Becoming

The symposium aims state the following:

Cognitive Archaeology tries to understand how ancient peoples thought by systematically interpreting the artefacts they left behind. However, the act of interpretation presupposes the need for answers to fundamental questions: What is cognition (Edelman & Tononi, 2000), and what is the role of materiality in it (Knappett, 2005; Malafouris, 2013)? What are the causes of change in hominin–human cognition over the last two million years? Finally, how does understanding the answers to these questions make a better archaeologist?

Neither Yvan nor Tom propose to deal with the final clause!


Visiting speaker: Lin Norton, Liverpool Hope University

Date and time: Thursday 23rd October, 12:00pm, Room VG02

Title: Researching learning and teaching issues: Reflecting on an action research approach

Abstract: In this seminar, Lin will draw on her book ‘Action Research in Teaching & Learning’ to discuss some of the benefits (as well as how to avoid the pitfalls) of this type of research. Further details can be found on her website:  The seminar will be of interest to academic staff who would like to explore the possibilities of such an approach to: i) research some element of their teaching or assessment practice, ii) inform course design and development, iii) enhance their reflective practice or iv) disseminate some innovative learning and teaching initiative. It would also be of interest to students at an undergraduate or postgraduate level who are thinking about developing a pedagogical research study of their own. You can get in touch with Lin by emailing her at 

Lin Norton is an Emeritus Professor of Pedagogical Research at Liverpool Hope University and a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice. Before retiring in December 2010, Lin developed pedagogical action research as a community of practice within Hope and was the founding editor of the in-house journal, PRIME (Pedagogical Research In Maximising Education) and organiser of three international Pedagogical Research in Higher Education (PRHE) conferences. This work was recognized nationally in 2007, when she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.

Lin is a chartered psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society combining her social science training with her practitioner approach to learning and teaching. She has been a member of the Division for Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology (DARTP) since 1997 and was appointed as vice chair (teachers) from 2002-2004, followed by a period as Editor of the Division’s journal Psychology Teaching Review, from 2004-2008. She also served as an associate editor ofPsychology Learning and Teaching from 2008-2013.

In her ‘retirement’, Lin continues to champion pedagogical action research and is invited to give workshops and seminars in the UK and abroad. She has written extensively on the subject, including a book, and a detailed list of her publications can be found on her website: She is also on the editorial board of the SEDA journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Forensic Psychology Research Group to present in Berlin

The Forensic Psychology Research Group is delighted that some of its members (Miranda Horvath, Jackie Gray, Mackenzie Lambine, Ellouise Long and Aliye Emirali) have had papers accepted at the Aggression Workshop at the Technische Universität, Berlin, Germany, which runs from 20th November. The focus of the workshop is on “Social and Media Dimensions of Aggression”.  Ellouise and Jackie will be presenting work that they have been doing around internet trolling, and Miranda, Mackenzie and Aliye will be presenting their work into different aspects of sexual aggression. This will be a great opportunity for the group to mix with some very interesting international researchers, and we look forward to them reporting back on their return.

See the following link for more details of this workshop:

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Visiting speaker: Stanley Gaines, Brunel University

“From global south to global north: measuring inner wellbeing among university students in the U.K.”

Date/time/place: Thursday 9th October, 12:00, room C209 (College Building) 

We examine the extent to which 1-factor versus 7-factor models of inner wellbeing can be generalized from the global South to the global North.  Using a sample of 174 university students in the UK, we found that both a unifactorical model and a 7-factor model (i.e., economic confidence, agency/participation, social connections, close relationships, physical/mental health, self-worth, and values/meaning ) fit the correlational data.  However, contrary to findings of previous studies in the global South (in which the 7-factor model yielded significantly better fit than did the 1-factor model), we found that the 1-factor and 7-factor models yielded equal fit to the data.  Whether calculated as one overall score or as seven separate scores, we found that inner wellbeing was significantly related to Ryff’s (e.g., Ryff, 1989) measures of psychological wellbeing and Diener’s (e.g., Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985; see also Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) measures of subjective wellbeing.


Dr. Stanley O. Gaines, Jr. is Senior Lecturer in Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University (United Kingdom).  Dr. Gaines authored the book, Culture, Ethnicity, and Personal Relationship Processes (Routledge, 1997); and he has written or co-written more than 90 additional publications in the fields of close relationships and ethnic studies.  Dr. Gaines is especially interested in areas of overlap between the subject areas of interpersonal relations (as informed by the literature on close relationships) and intergroup relations (as informed by the literature on ethnic studies).


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Visiting speaker: Claudia Uller, Kingston University

Visiting speaker: Claudia Uller, Kingston University

Date, time, location: Thursday, September 25, 12:00 PM, room CG01.

"What babies know about the world"

For the past 30 years, a significant body of research shows that babies are much smarter than we ever thought. From perceiving sounds in the womb, to making use of language, all within the first year of life, infants are built to make sense of the world in a rather sophisticated way. In this talk, I will show evidence that this is the case.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Discourse and narrative analyses: Case studies and applications

Save the Date!

19 September 2014, 11.00am (Room no to be confirmed)

Discourse and narrative analyses: Case studies and applications

A Seminar for PhD students and their Supervisors with Dr Marco Gemignani, President of the  Qualitative Inquiry Section of the American Psychological Association , hosted as a joint initiative between The Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research Group, Psychology, and the Social Policy Research Centre.

The seminar will be of interest to all candidates using qualitative and mixed methods in their research and is part of a unique programme of seminars with Dr Gemignani at the beginning of his tenure as President of the Qualitative Inquiry Section of the American Psychological Association.  There will be time for discussion and networking at this exciting event.

The Abstract appears below.

Please email Nollaig Frost,, or Louise Ryan,, to confirm attendance and for further details.


To an extent, the separation between narrative and discourse analyses seems to imply that these two forms of inquiry can exist in isolation from each other. My position, instead, is that they are not only complimentary, but that their interplay allows for sophisticated interpretations and deconstructions of complex processes or issues and for culturally-sensitive co-constructions of data. Major epistemological questions about the location of knowledge and the role of individual agency come with the entanglement of narrative and discursive approaches, especially in participatory, applied, or critical modes of research. Using as example a community-based support group in which I collaborated with Iraqi refugees who had recently relocated in the U.S., the collaboration between narrative inquiry and discourse analysis encourages bridging individual and socio-cultural dimensions of experience and knowledge.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Visiting speaker: Christine Hatchard, Mosaic Psychological Associates, LLC and Monmouth University, USA

Date, time, location: Monday 21st July, 4.00pm, room C210.

"Making the case: Considerations for conducting legal, ethical and comprehensive psychological evaluation for sexual abuse civil litigation"

The speaker will discuss her experience conducting psychological evaluations for civil litigation in New Jersey, United States, with a focus on sexual abuse and sexual harassment personal injury cases. An overview of the testing process, ethical challenges and legal considerations, such as statute of limitations, delayed discovery and establishing psychological damages will be presented. Concepts will be illustrated through the speaker’s own work, which has included plaintiffs from 3 to 60 years old, in cases against a range of defendants, including child protective services, churches, private preschools, public high schools and school districts, family members, teachers and neighbors. The speaker will also discuss her educational background and training, the risks and rewards of forensic work and the crucial role that Psychologists play in the successful resolution of lawsuits.

Dr. Hatchard is a licensed clinical psychologist, forensic evaluator and Director of Mosaic Psychological Associates, LLC in New Jersey, United States. She is also an assistant professor at Monmouth University (NJ) where she holds several positions including Director of Undergraduate Psychology Research, Director of the Clinical Psychology Research Center and Field Placement Coordinator. In 1999, she founded and now directs Making Daughters Safe Again, a nonprofit organization, and through this work, is now recognized as a leading expert on the topic of female perpetrated sexual abuse. Dr. Hatchard has provided invited talks and trainings to a variety of audiences both nationally and internationally, and has been featured in newspaper, television, radio and film.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Galton Institute Conference - Genetics in Medicine



TICKETS: FREE admission, strictly by ticket from:
The General Secretary, The Galton Institute
19 Northfields Prospect, London SW18 1PE

Professor Sir John Burn: Overview of Genetic Medicine
Professor Sadaf Farooqi: Genetics and obesity
Professor Bobby Gaspar: Gene Therapy
Professor Andrew Hattersley, FRS: Using Genetics to improve care in Diabetes
Professor Nazneen Rahman: Genetics in cancer and treatment
Professor Sir David Weatherall, FRS: Summing up: what we have learned from genetics for medical care
Professor Andrew Wilkie, FRS: Lionel Penrose and the paternal age effect for mutations— sixty years on

Visiting speaker: Maria Markodimitraki, University of Crete

TitleThe development of language, emotions, imitation, and playful interactions in infants and young children: research methodology and protocols.

Time: Thursday July 10, 4:00, room C210.


The main research areas of the Cretan Research Team (Laboratories of Psychology in the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies, Department of Psychology and Department of Preschool Education) will be presented. More specifically, the presentation will focus on two life periods (infancy and preschool age), on issues we are interested in such as language development, emotions and developmental changes in human imitative ability. All these issues are investigated in a naturalistic context, in playful dyadic and triadic interactions. Finally, the methodological design of our studies will be described and the two main protocols which are used will be presented and analyzed. The most important findings will be discussed from the aspect of theory of innate intersubjectivity.


Maria Markodimitraki (Heraklion, 1973) serves as Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the Department of Preschool Education, University of Crete (Greece). She graduated from the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies of the University of Crete and got her PhD degree in Psychology at the same Department. She has taught as a scholar in Secondary Education. Since September 2003 she teaches at the Department of Preschool Education, University of Crete. She is married and mother of three children, a pair of dizygotic twins of different sex, aged 15, and a boy 10 years old. Her research interests focus on the development and training of typically and non-typically developing twin and non-twin infants and toddlers. Related articles have been published in psychology journals and conference proceedings in the Greek language and internationally. Within voluntary action to connect the University with local community and in cooperation with relevant agencies of Primary Education Dr. Markodimitraki organizes seminars counseling parents of twins and multiple. Maria Markodimitraki participates as scientific coordinator and research associate in research programs funded by ELKE

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Yvan Russell in Göttingen

Yvan Russell updates us on his visit to Göttingen:

I recently visited the University of Göttingen in Germany. This is where I was employed as a postdoctoral research fellow between May 2012 and April 2013. During that time, I was a member of the Courant Research Centre in the Evolution of Social Behaviour (CRC-ESB, see  In Germany, research centres are often funded on a finite term. Hence, the CRC-ESB existed for six years and now it is due to close later this year. They were a very productive interdisciplinary entity comprising developmental, social and evolutionary psychologists, primatologists, behavioural economists, computer scientists, and biologists.  I worked with Prof. Dirk Semmann in his behavioural economics laboratory, where we were specifically interested in evolutionary issues. The CRC-ESB was an exciting and dynamic place to work, where some truly innovative work has been done. In May 2014, I revisited the laboratory for one of its final weeks of existence. This gave me the opportunity to collect a substantial amount of material which I will be able to write up as publications.  Furthermore, the visit gave me clarity on the future directions for this research and where I can pursue future associations and collaborations. Finally, it gave me an opportunity to say a proper goodbye to a workplace and city which I had really grown to love. Then, in June, I visited Göttingen once again because they had invited me to the symposium to mark the end of the CRC-ESB.  This was an academic conference, with attendance by invitation only. Here, the mind-boggling diversity of the research was presented over the course of two days. Speakers were a mixture of staff, students, and postdocs of the CRC-ESB, as well as some very prestigious external speakers. It would take too long to convey the intellectually enriching and fascinating talks and people that I met during these two days. One of my longer term goals is to try to recreate this kind of intellectual environment here at Middlesex University. I will maintain links to Göttingen University and other centres of excellence and this will help us to lay the groundwork for this kind of centre right here in Hendon.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Visiting speaker: Shenel Husnu Raman, Eastern Mediterranean University

TitleIntergroup and Imagined Contact: Promoting Peace in Cyprus

Time: Wednesday July 2, 12:00, room CG01.

Intergroup bias can be seen in children as young as early and middle childhood. The aim of the following two studies was to reduce intergroup prejudice in children in the interethnically divided context of Cyprus. In study 1, 82 Turkish Cypriot children aged between 6-11 were administered a questionnaire which asked questions regarding their national identity, outgroup attitudes toward Greek Cypriots, outgroup intentions, and contact with Greek Cypriots (i.e. prior contact, extended contact, and familial story-telling). Turkish Cypriot children reported high national identification, ingroup favouritism and outgroup prejudice toward Greek Cypriots. Outgroup attitudes mediated the relationship between prior contact measures and intentions toward future contact. Building from these findings, study 2 used a story reading intervention to reduce prejudice toward contact with Greek Cypriots in 28 Turkish Cypriot children aged between 6-10 in a pre-post intervention design. After three consecutive weeks of listening to stories of friendship and cooperation, outgroup attitudes and intentions improved. The findings will be discussed in the context of promoting peace in Cyprus.

Dr. Shenel Husnu Raman
BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD in Social Psychology PGCertHE, CPsychol

Shenel Husnu Raman obtained her B.Sc. in Psychology and M.Sc. in Social Psychology from Middle East Technical University, Turkey and her Ph.D. from the University of Kent, UK. She worked at Kent as a part-time lecturer until moving to the University of Derby as a Lecturer.  In 2011 she joined the Department of Psychology at Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus where she became chairperson in 2013. Dr. Raman teaches a variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level including research methods, psychology of prejudice and advanced statistics. Her research is in the field of intergroup relations, mainly prejudice reduction.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society: A postgraduate conference

Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society:  A postgraduate conference 

This one-day conference run by the Centre for Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University, is designed to give postgraduate students from all disciplines who are interested in psychoanalysis an opportunity to present and discuss their research in an informal and intellectually stimulating setting.

The conference takes place at the Hendon Campus of Middlesex University between 9:30 and 5:30 on Saturday, 14 June, 2014. Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be provided. The conference fee is £40 for presenters and attendees. The fee for Middlesex University staff and students is £20.

For further details, please contact David Henderson,

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Middlesex PhD student Kate Brown runs workshop: 'Psychosis from an Attachment Perspective'

On Saturday 14th June 2014, Middlesex PhD student Kate Brown will run a workshop at the Bowlby Centre entitled 'Psychosis from an Attachment Perspective' 

The aim of this workshop is to equip those working with psychotic symptoms with a deeper understanding of its traumatic roots and its relational contexts.

For further details and booking:

Monday, 19 May 2014

Professor Mandeep K. Dhami on the 'star track' in Decision Psychology

Many congratulations to Professor Mandeep K. Dhami - she has been featured as being on the 'star track' in her discipline of Decision Psychology.

Read more here:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Visiting speaker: Angela Clow, University of Westminster

Date and time: Tuesday 29th May, 4:00pm, room CG01.

Title: “Links between physical activity, cortisol secretion and cognitive function."

Increased physical activity is linked with positive benefits for cognitive function as well as physical health.  This talk will explore proposed mechanisms behind this association.  In particular it will examine the role of neuroendocrine function and the impact of stress and well-being.  New findings linking the cortisol awakening response (CAR) with improved cognitive function following an exercise intervention for Mild Cognitive Impairment as well as evidence linking the CAR with brain plasticity will be presented. As the CAR is regulated by the central ‘master’ clock (the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus) the impact for cognition of cortisol as regulator of peripheral ‘slave’ clocks will be discussed.

Angela Clow is a Professor of Psychophysiology based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster.   Angela is trained in neuroscience and psychology and likes to work at the interface of these disciplines.  For her PhD (Institute of Psychiatry, London) she explored the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs, during her post-doctoral studies (Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London) she developed an interest in the biochemistry of stress. In 1989 she joined the University of Westminster where she became a founder member of the interdisciplinary Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group.

Her current research investigates the physiological pathways by which stress and well-being can affect health and performance.  In particular she studies daily patterns of cortisol secretion, a hormone important in the regulation of day-night cycles as well as stress responding.  She is particularly interested in the ways exercise, light and season can affect health and performance.  Her work has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, ESRC, NIHR, the British Academy and the Nuffield Trust.  She has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers, 5 books, and 28 book chapters or reviews.  Angela is a National Teaching Fellow and a frequent public speaker.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

OUPS Annual Psychology Conference 2014: 'The new neuroscience - friend or foe?'

Every year OUPS holds an applied psychology conference, inviting top psychologists to talk on a specific area of psychology. The aim is to provide delegates with the opportunity to hear a number of experts in the field presenting up to date research on a specific area of psychology. It aims to present a range of different perspectives on the topic and provide a forum for informed discussion.  
These OUPS conferences have a reputation for attracting speakers of international standing and are attended by a range of delegates including undergraduates, graduates, academics and practitioners. The Conference is open to anybody who has an interest in the particular topic and not just to Open University students and tutors. Students attending the OUPS mini Summer Schools, which are run in parallel at Warwick University, are welcome to attend some of the conference talks with no extra charge.

The Annual Conference for 2014 will be on July 4th  -6th at Warwick University on 'The new Neurosciences - friend or foe?' The conference is designed to stimulate discussion on the social relevance of this rapidly-developing science. Some questions to be discussed are:
  • Is the all hype about neuroimaging justified?
  • Is it misguided to hope to find the answers to our problems by probing the brain? Do they not lie in the social environment?
  • As we build up more-and-more knowledge about the working of the brain does this change our image of us as humans?
  • Is psychopathology best treated as a brain disorder?
  • What are the implications of genetic determinism?
  • What are some of the implications of evolutionary psychology in the context of the new neurosciences?
  • Does neuroscience prove that free-will is a myth? What are the ethical implications of associating complex mental and behavioural traits with activity of particular parts of the brain?
  • Is consciousness produced by the brain? If not, what are the implications of this?

Speakers who are now confirmed for the conference are:  
 - Frederick Toates (Open University): Introduction to conference
 - Lance Workman (Bath Spa University), author of the widely respected textbook Evolutionary Psychology
 - Gina Rippon, Professor of Psychology, Aston University
 - Raymond Tallis, celebrity and best-selling author (including Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity)
 - Morten Kringelbach, Professor of neuroscience, University of Oxford, director of Hedonia.

 - Simon Thorpe, cognitive scientist, paranormal commentator, director CNRS laboratory, Toulouse, France
 - Iain McGilchrist, author of best-selling The Master and his Emissary

 - Adrian Raine ( University of Pennsylvania) author of The Anatomy of Violence
 - David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network, author of Thinking Beyond the Brain: A Wider Science of Consciousness

Further details and booking information can be found here:

Monday, 5 May 2014

Visiting speaker: Stewart Guthrie, Fordham University, USA

Date and time: Tuesday 13th May, 4:00pm, room C219 (Corporate boardroom).

Title: “A cognitive theory of religion: biology, anthropomorphism and evolutionary epistemology"

A classic theory of religion dating to the 1600s is consistent with current knowledge. The theory is that religion is an aspect of anthropomorphism (the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman things and events) and that anthropomorphism is built into human cognition. Scholars including Spinoza, Hume, Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Freud and Tylor have proposed forms of this theory, which now is widely deployed in the cognitive science of religion. Yet its proponents disagree on a central question: how can we explain anthropomorphism itself? Present writers answer with such diverse notions as “projection,” “wishful thinking” and “counter-intuitivity.” These notions, however, not only differ but also are inconsistent with an evolutionary view of cognition. My answer, in contrast, joins Pascal with Darwin and with disciplines from anthropology and ethology to neurobiology, to hold that anthropomorphism is a byproduct of an evolved perceptual and cognitive strategy. The strategy in question employs the principle of Pascal’s Wager: bet first on the possibility that matters most.

Stewart E. Guthrie (Ph.D. Yale 1976) is Prof. Emeritus of Anthropology at Fordham University and a founding member of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion. His fieldwork has been mostly in Japan (e.g., A Japanese New Religion). The central propositions of his 1980 “A cognitive theory of religion” have been widely adopted in cognitive studies of religion:  that religion is anthropomorphism; that the latter stems from an evolved perceptual strategy, producing hair-trigger judgments that persons (or their traces) are present; and that viewing things and events as personal provides the most significant and powerful interpretation possible. Guthrie elaborates these ideas in Faces in the Clouds and elsewhere.


Friday, 2 May 2014

Qualitatively-Driven Approaches to Mixed Methods Research Design and Analysis

Middlesex PhD candidate Deborah Rodriguez will be facilitating a workshop next month on 'Qualitatively-Driven Approaches to Mixed Methods Research Design and Analysis'. This workshop will be useful both to researchers new to using mixed methods and to those interested in extending their use of this approach.  The workshop will show participants how to construct research questions that benefit from qualitatively driven mixed methods research design and provide opportunities for them to work with data generated with this approach. There will be ample opportunity for small group work, questions and answers and dialogue throughout. 

The conference takes place from Friday 27th June to Sunday 29th June, with the workshops taking place on Sunday 29th June – in Boston, Massachusetts! Here is the link to the conference: and more specifically the workshop descriptions: 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Visiting speaker: Mazda Beigi, Institute of Neurology and Brunel University

Date and time: Thursday 1st May, 3:30pm, room HG09

Title: “New considerations for incidental learning based on neurological and methodological principles"

There remains a fundamental debate regarding how processing of incidental information implicates neurological diseases and how treatments modulate performance. These issues were explored, in normal participants and neurological patients, using manipulations of the Serial Reaction Task [SRT] in which participants gradually learn a stimulus sequence. Our experiments have demonstrated that the specific metric used to quantify learning and the occurrence of highly salient repeat locations may inflate estimates of learning in tasks with increased motor demands, suggesting the way learning is measured to be of greater significance than once thought. The next study demonstrates that impairments of incidental learning in Parkinson’s disease are partially reduced by administration of l-Dopa medication, demonstrating the different effects of medication on learning. Finally, the impact of Deep Brain Stimulation of the GPi is investigated in a population known to have only limited cognitive deficits relating to their illness (dystonia). Despite previous reports of impaired intentional learning in this population, there was no evidence for any impairment before or after stimulation. The implications of these findings are discussed.

I graduated from Brunel University in 2007 during which I worked as a research fellow at the institute of neurology (IoN) in Queen Square. In 2007 I was awarded an ESRC studentship and went on to complete an MRes at Brunel before my PhD which was in collaboration between Brunel and the IoN.

My research interests are primarily incidental learning and in particular sequence learning. I have worked with both health participants but have mainly conducted research into the effects of surgery and medication on patients with basal ganglia disorders.

I have spent 6 years working in the functional neurosurgery unit at the IoN working with patients with movement disorders applying for Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. I have also worked in supported housing and social care settings with learning disability groups as well as in probation services with high risk and serious offenders.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Summer Conference 2014

The Schools of Art & Design, Heath & Education, Media & Performing Arts, Science & Technology and the Institute for  Work Based Learning invite you to their Summer Conference 2014, to be held in the College Building at the Hendon Campus on Thursday 19th June 2014.

All postgraduate students and staff within the above schools are invited to attend. A principal objective of the Summer Conference is to enable all members of the schools to become familiar with the extensive range of ongoing research within the schools and to allow research students to present their results in surroundings which are equivalent to those encountered at external conferences and workshops.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Investigating corporate psychopaths using management research methods – main findings so far

Speaker: Clive Boddy, Middlesex University

Date and time: Thursday 3rd April, 4:00pm, room HG03

Title: “Investigating corporate psychopaths using management research methods – main findings so far"

Clive will speak about his research into corporate psychopaths in Australia and the UK. This will cover who they are, how they are identified and what effects they have in organisations. Clive will outline three research studies that have been undertaken so far including a 2008 quantitative study of 346 Australian senior white collar workers, a 2011 quantitative study of 304 British senior white collar workers and a 2013 qualitative study among 7 British managers.

Findings include that corporate psychopaths are important because they: Are more frequently at the top of western organisations than the bottom; Influence workplace behaviour such as conflict and bullying, unfair supervision, workload, job satisfaction, withdrawal, organisational constraints and corporate social responsibility; Are willing to engage in the illegal dumping of toxic waste materials; Influence customer service levels, managerial trust, credibility and ethical leadership; Engage in fraud and cause accounting scandals and are assumed to have had a major influence on the behaviour that caused the global financial crisis.

Clive has been a Professor at Middlesex University Business School since 2000 when he was made a Professor in Marketing as one of ten Professors in Management Practice that were appointed that year.  After that he was a Visiting Professor in Marketing for eight years until 2011 and was then appointed Professor in Leadership and Organisation Behaviour in 2012. He has been researching corporate psychopaths and their influence on organisational outcomes since 2005.  Prior to academia he worked in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia where in his roles as Company President and Group Board Director he successfully led high growth market research companies at country manager level and at regional (Asia-Pacific) level. He successfully co-founded a multi-national market research company before moving into academia.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Annual Psychology Placement Conference

The annual Psychology Placement Conference will be held on Thursday, 10th April 2014, starting at 9.30am in HG09, HG01, and HG02. This is a wonderful opportunity for placement students to showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired whilst on placement.

Dr Letitia Slabu and colleagues on the Work Placement Module very much look forward to welcoming you at the event. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

After the REF event

Dr Emma Ward reports on a half day workshop she attended at the University of London last week (arranged by Knowledge London).

"The focus was on impact, and discussion points surrounded the challenges that we are all facing, and how to maintain momentum now that the last REF round is out of the way. A dominant theme was the ambiguity around what counts as impact and how best to measure it. Impact does not mean the same thing for every researcher, but the key thing I took away from the meeting was a deeper understanding of what impact could translate as for me in my research. It was helpful to view impact more in terms of a metaphor of an ecosystem rather than some kind of explosion of worth.

We were given an impact toolkit to take away, which has been devised by Averil Horten of Brunel University. This is not available electronically at the moment, so anyone who wishes to have a look is welcome to borrow it. The toolkit was developed with the question of how we take knowledge and convert it into impact in mind. Averil suggested that thinking about impact is difficult for some researchers because it requires consideration of the big picture when they are used to thinking about their research in very specific terms. The toolkit aims to help people identify and describe different types of impact, and understand what evidence of impact might look like in their field."

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Brain scans are fascinating but behaviour tells us more about the mind

Cognitive profiling helps us to understand the nature of specific brain disorders, argues Catherine Loveday from the University of Westminster

Calling all social psychologists

The British Psychological Society’s Research Board, in conjunction with the Social Psychology Section, is evaluating social psychologists experiences of the REF 2014.

To this end, we would be extremely grateful if you could could complete the survey below. The responses will be used to inform the Research Board's post-REF responses to HEFCE etc. regarding the appropriateness of the sub-panel configuration and assessment of the discipline under the REF.

To access the survey, please visit:
The Research Board will also be carrying out similar surveys for other areas of the discipline in due course – ideally as one single survey.

If you have any queries in relation to this matter, please do not hesistate to contact Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

British Academy funding success

Professor Olga van den Akker and Dr Satvinder Purewal have been awarded a British Academy grant to carry out a systematic review and meta analysis of the psychosocial consequences of twins and multiple births following medically assisted reproduction.

Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) is used by 48,147 women annually, is increasing yearly and mothers of MAR twins/multiples report greater psychosocial problems compared to mothers with singletons. The psychosocial and medical risks associated with twins and multiple births are known in research, practice and policy as being the greatest risk of MAR to the health and wellbeing of the mother and infant. The aims of this project are to conduct an updated systematic review and carry out the first comprehensive meta analysis of the psychosocial consequences of MAR twins/multiple births and compare maternal psychological distress of MAR twins/multiples versus naturally conceived twins/multiples and MAR twins/multiples versus MAR singletons.

The team expect to start advertising for an RA in the next few months.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Hello Parents! Are you expecting your second child?

Would you like the opportunity to express your own views and experiences on becoming a parent for the second time?

Deborah Rodriguez is a PhD candidate at Middlesex University. Her research will follow couples on their journey to and through the transition to second-time parenthood, capturing the addition of your new family member.  This is an area of research that has hardly been explored, and will help to provide some insights into what parents’ experiences are of their relationships when they have a second child.

Deborah is interested in how parents experience this new period in their lives, and you can help by sharing your story with her.

She would like to meet with both partners of the same couple several times, from when the pregnancy of the second child is at around the 6 months stage through to the first year of the child’s life to catch the transition to second-time parenthood.

The research primarily involves interviews, where you can talk about whatever you like with regards to your relational and parenting experiences. The research process is very flexible, and will be arranged around times and locations that are convenient for you. Information provided will be completely confidential and anonymised.

If you are interested in participating, or would like to know more about the research, please feel free to contact Deborah. Please note that by contacting her, this does not commit you to taking part.

Or if you know any couples who are currently pregnant with their second child and think they may be interested in sharing their experiences, please pass their details onto Deborah.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please do get in touch with Deborah for further information

Speaker: Antonia Bifulco, Professor of Lifespan Psychology; Co-director of Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, Middlesex University

Date: Thursday, March 20, 12:00 PM

Location: Committee Room 1, Town Hall

Title: 'Attachment style, relationships and psychological disorder - implications for Knowledge Exchange'.

Investigating attachment in human relationships is a fertile area for research into clinical outcomes, family life, and problem development. Bowlby and Ainsworth’s original concept of Secure versus Insecure attachment styles, formed in childhood in response to experiences with caregivers and which persist into adult life through ‘internal working models’ is now largely substantiated. Thus insecure anxious attachment styles are shown to mediate experience of neglect or abuse in childhood and adult major depression/anxiety disorder in prospective investigation. Further specificity of childhood experience, attachment style and type of disorder has been successfully mapped in an intergenerational London sample of high risk mothers and adolescent offspring to be described. Such research is of critical value to services working with families and clinical populations with this a key remit of the CATS team who worked on the intergenerational project. Examples are given of knowledge exchange around aspects such as the exchange of adapted standardised assessment procedures, practitioner training, monitoring of service outcomes, aids for case analysis and research dissemination.

Bifulco, A., & Thomas, G. (2012). Understanding adult attachment in family relationships: Research, Assessment and Intervention. London: Routledge.

Professor Antonia Bifulco is a Lifespan psychologist, currently head of the department of psychology at Middlesex University and co-director of the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies. Over a period of 20 years she worked together with her team on MRC funded research programmes into the lifespan psycho-social causes of mental health difficulties in women and inter-generationally. She has published extensively on the role of childhood neglect and abuse and adult adversity in longer term emotional disorder. Prof Bifulco is particularly concerned with propagating high quality research methods which include intensive, narrative style interviews to explore the context of experience of adversity, trauma and attachment in depth. She and her team are currently working closely with health and social care services to improve assessment procedures and practitioner understanding of attachment-based research in Child and Family services.

Opportunities for Masters students to do dissertation research with major retailers

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is bringing research into the retail sector by offering opportunities for academics and students to partner with major companies.

These companies such as Boots, British Gas, Camelot Co-operative, E.ON Energy Solutions, and Experian will work with research projects that are important to the retail industry.

The Retail Research Masters scheme is now in its third year, and has proved to be a great way for both students and their supervisors to build links with major retail companies. The scheme provides the opportunity to work directly with an industrial partner and to link your research to important retail and 'open data' sources.

The scheme is designed for students in a wide range of disciplines and projects will take place over spring/summer 2014. In addition, students will be eligible to enter a prize competition for the best dissertations submitted.

Taking part in this scheme offers Masters students:

·         a stimulating project to work on over the coming months
·         advice and support from the retail industry Demographics User Group - which represents 16 of the UK's top retailers and works closely with universities and government
·         industry advice on how data are used in real-world problem solving, and experience of addressing problems that matter
·         a chance of winning one of three prizes (£500, £250 and £250), awarded to the best three dissertations
·         an expenses-paid opportunity to showcase your research findings to an audience of leading retailers, at a conference to be held at the Royal Society on 8 October 2014
·         the possibility of additional sponsorship or research expenses from the retail partner to the project

There are currently 14 project proposals for students to consider. Retailers will be proposing additional projects, and students' applications will be welcomed, through March 2014.

See the links below for further information about the scheme, a list of available projects, and guidance on how to apply.

See below for further information about the scheme

Friday, 28 February 2014

Leading academics and policy-makers discuss the future of work-life balance

A consortium of universities, led by Professor Suzan Lewis (Department of Leadership, Work and Organisations) and Dr Nicky Payne (Department of Psychology) at Middlesex, along with the charity Working Families, are addressing one of the current challenges of the workplace through a series of ESRC funded seminars, ‘Work Life Balance in the Recession and Beyond’. The series examines the work-life balance challenges for employees, employers and policy-makers posed by economic recession and austerity measures.

The first of seven events was hosted at Middlesex on Friday 17th January and was attended by academics from across Europe, as well as representatives from policy-makers such as the International Labour Organization, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Local Government Association and ACAS, and representatives from industry leaders such as Ford and Barclays.

The seminar focused on the impact of economic pressures on work-life balance policies, practices and discourse, and the implications for individuals, families, organisations, policy-makers and the wider community. Professor Lewis opened proceedings with a forth-coming paper, co-authored with Dr Payne and colleagues, entitled ‘Public sector austerity cuts and the work-life balance agenda: under threat or a burning platform for change?’

Discussions focused on key issues faced by those present. Issues raised included the advantages of and limitations to organizational work-life balance practices under austerity, the provision of the right to request flexible working and upcoming changes to legislation; the impact on work life balance of unpaid care for children and elderly relatives provided by parents and grandparents; individualism and collectivism in formulating and implementing work-life balance policies and practices at both government and workplace levels; and the variety of policies and practices across countries and across different workplaces and different types of workers and work. Future seminars will focus more specifically on how issues and dilemmas may be taken forward and addressed.

Presentations and findings from each seminar and details of forthcoming seminars will be disseminated on the website . For further information or if you are interested in attending future seminars please visit the website or contact Professor Lewis and Dr Payne at .

The next seminar 'Work-life balance (WLB), fairness and social justice during recession and austerity' is on April 11th 2014 at the University of Manchester.