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Research in Psychology at Salford is aimed at contributing to the understanding and addressing the challenges our Society faces in the 21st century using cutting edge psychological science. With strengths in Cognitive Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing, (including a cutting edge Autism and Criminal Justice Hub), Politics Policy and Practice, and Visual Cognition, our team works tirelessly towards the advancement of theoretical and applied knowledge of the way in which individuals think, feel, and act in interaction with people, groups, and contemporary society as well as technological advances. As such our research advances our theoretical and applied understanding of topics such as the value of educational apps in enabling children learning to talk, the links between visuomotor control and the effective use of prosthetic limbs, creative interventions for depression, VR technology, artificial Intelligence, modern transport, as well as contemporary social and political issues, such as climate change, social media, coercive control and political radicalisation.

Our Team has identified four areas of research strength and a cross-cutting theme. Each of these groups has a growing record of publications, PhD supervisions, funding, and engagement. Please see individual pages for further information on our work.

Psychology Research Group - Themes

Organisation of research themes. Note: deep blue indicates existing themes within psychology, bright blue indicates school level cross cutting themes, green indicates themes in development.

The four research groups are as follows:

Visual Cognition

The Visual Cognition research theme specialises in studying visual attention and perception from both theoretical and applied perspectives. Key areas of research from our group concern visual search, attentional control, change detection, multi-tasking, the interactions between emotion and visual cognition, visuomotor control, cognitive styles, driving, web usability, and media use. We have expertise in experimental approaches, eye-tracking, and cognitive neuroscience

Politics, Policy and Practice

This vibrant group of psychologists and lecturers in psychology from the UK, Europe and the United States has established a track record in through a range of outputs in leading initiatives and using psychological research to influence government policy in a number of arenas, including employment, higher education and the community.

Cognitive Development

The Cognitive Development research group specialises in studying children’s cognitive development including learning and memory development and early language acquisition in typical and atypical populations. We have expertise in behavioural and eye-tracking experimental designs.

The Nutrition & Psychopharmacology Brain Development Unit (The NPBD UNIT) sits within this group and explore links between nutrition and development of socio-cognitive abilities.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Research group consists of psychologists with a broad research base covering various areas of mental health and wellbeing who come from a variety of theoretical perspectives and clinical practise. We have conducted research on emotional intelligence, creative therapies, psychotherapy outcome, mindfulness, and virtual and augmented reality.

Within this theme sits the established ACJ Hub:

Autism and Criminal Justice Hub

This ACJS Hub is a growing centre of excellence focused upon Autism and the Criminal Justice System (ACJS). It has a number of existing projects which aim to increase knowledge and understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the whole of the criminal justice system. Specifically, at point of first contact with police; custody; court proceedings; prison and secure psychiatric care (in addition to exploring pathways to offending in this population).

Across the research groupings there is a cross-cutting theme:

We identified a cross-cutting theme in Media, Technology and VR, with a series of staff members and output feeding into this theme from across the groups. Some of this work can easily feed in Professor David Roberts’ School-Wide research theme in Health and VR.

The Media technology and VR sub-theme brings together psychology research that involves disruptive technology. It cross cuts sub-themes such as Visual Cognition, for example, where eye tracking and/or neural imaging is used to measure response to media, be it video or virtual reality. It cross cuts Politics, Policy and Practice, for example, where social media facilitates the growth of populism, leading to changes in opinion and leadership of nations. It cross cuts Cognitive Development, for example, where the use of video games by children might improve their cognitive skills but at the potential risk of some populations responding aggressively to threat. It cross cuts Mental Health and Wellbeing, for example, in Virtual Reality’s use to understand, diagnose, treat, help to live with, and communicate a wide range of mental health problems. It cross cuts ACJ, for example, in media’s ability to teach antisocial behaviour or ways to avoid it. It could cross cut Nutrition Psychopharmacology and Brain Development through combining Virtual Reality and Neural Imagining to measure cognition across participants with different diet or medicine use.

Dr Sharon Coen -

Dr Catherine Thompson -