The Psychology Research Centre sits in the Department of Psychology at Bournemouth University (BU) and is coordinating all the research activities within the department. The Centre has very strong collaborations with national and international partners.
The Psychology Research Centre is structured into four research groups which are listed below. These research groups have strong links to other research centres within the university such as the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) and the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU).
The Psychology Research Centre has access to state-of-the art equipment to support its research.
The four research groups within the Centre are:
Behaviour Change Research Group
The work of the Behaviour Change Group aims to develop knowledge of the psychological factors underlying health, health behaviours and wellbeing, and develop strategies and interventions for improvement.
Research is both basic and applied, to further understanding of underlying biological mechanisms and psychological theories, and to result in translation and application of this understanding into interventions and improvements in health for the whole of society. Research focuses on both clinical and general populations, covers a range of behaviours and psychological conditions, and uses a variety of methodologies.
The group has strengths particularly, in eating behaviours, eating disorders, physical activity, sleep, stress reactivity and chronic stress, psycho-oncology, asthma, antisocial and deviant behaviours and clinical psychology and psychotherapies. They lean towards interventions that are behavioural and/or involve emerging technologies, e.g. gaming technology, websites, mobile phone apps. This increasing use of emerging technologies has also resulted in more research with a focus on online behaviours, and aspects of cyber security, online safety and wellbeing.
Face Processing Research Group
Areas of interest include face recognition, face learning, face recognition disorders, recognition of facial expressions, processing of social and affective information, appraisal of facial attractiveness, development of face processing, cultural and individual difference, neural correlates, and forensic and commercial applications. Collectively, the group aims to create a synergy in understanding the mechanisms of face perception. They have expertise in neuropsychological disorders of face-processing and forensic applications of face-processing research, but study all aspects of face perception.
The group is led by Professor Changhong Liu supported by staff and postgraduate research students from Psychology in the Faculty of Science & Technology.
The group’s expertise directly supports teaching on the final year BSc Psychology unit ‘Face Recognition and its Disorders’ and the MSc Investigative Forensic Psychology unit ‘Forensic Perspectives in Face-Processing’. The group provide opportunities for students to get involved in ongoing research through supervising student projects and providing opportunities for students to work as voluntary research assistants.
SC2AN Research Group
The Social, Cognitive, Clinical, and Affective Neuroscience Research Group (SC2AN) is conducting research in cutting-edge cognitive and neuroscience areas. While specialising in these topics, the group have strong links to the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Researchers at BU, to the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC), and to the other research groups within the Psychology Research Centre,
The SC2AN research group is mainly working on these three key research themes.
(1) Attention, Memory and Decision Making
Researchers working in this research theme investigate attention, memory, and decision making processes in various contexts. These include visual perception, cognitive control, interplay between thoughts and actions, emotion and affective processing, and cognitive performance in social scenarios. Researchers use many different methods to study these cognitive processes. The research is carried out in healthy participants and patients alike.
(2) Cognitive, Affective, and Social Neuroscience
This research theme is investigating cognitive mechanisms (e.g. attention, cognitive control mechanisms, decision making) which are investigated with state of the art neuroscience techniques such as EEG, TMS, tDCS, and MRI/fMRI methods (see Psychology Testing Suite) as well as computational modelling techniques. This area of expertise is extended to the studying modulatory effects of emotion, hypnosis, medication, nutrition, social factors and ageing on these cognitive functions. Researchers are also investigating modulatory social factors, such as joint attention and joint action.
(3) Clinical neuropsychology and neuroscience across the life span
This research theme is investigating questions related to neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. ADHD and autism), psychological and psychiatric disorders (e.g. eating disorders, OCD, schizophrenia) as well as disorders which increasing prevalence in ageing populations (dementias, Parkinson’s disease, stroke). For this, researchers use varied methods such as neuropsychological assessments, questionnaire and experimental measures, as well as cognitive and clinical neuroscience methodologies (see Psychological Testing Suite).
Expertise directly supports teaching on the final year BSc Psychology units “Memory and Decision Making”, “Current Trends in Clinical Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience” and “Mind Brain Evolution”, as well as the Master programmes MSc Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology and MSc Hypnosis in Research, Medicine and Clinical Practice. Staff provide opportunities for students to get involved in ongoing research through supervising student projects and to working as voluntary research assistants.
Visual Cognition Research Group
This group of researchers works within the field of Visual Cognition, drawing on the expertise and knowledge of not only the staff within the department, but colleagues from across Bournemouth University with strong links to the Social Cognitive Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Research Group (SC2AN), the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC), and to the other research groups within the Psychology Research Centre, as well as experts from other institutions in the UK, Europe and internationally. The group works closely with its funders (e.g. Microsoft) to translate research into knowledge ready for application making its work relevant and increasing its impact. Close ties with the Experimental Psychological Society (EPS) enable staff and research students to present and engage in experimental psychology.
The Visual Cognition Research Group is mainly working on these three key research themes:
(1) Reading, Writing and Language Processing
This research focuses primarily on eye movements during reading and transcribing text. The group are interested in advancing the field of psycholinguistics through the implementation and testing of computational models. Much of their research is motivated by predictions from computational models of eye-movement control. Their particular interests currently lie within the areas of: foveal and parafoveal processing, lexical activation during copying, abbreviations, wrap-up and return-sweep and binocular coordination.
(2) Individual Differences in Visual Processing
The primary goal of this line of research is to increase understanding of the causes and outcomes of a range of disorders and to conduct research that will significantly impact on theory, education and professional practice. The theme’s particular interests currently lie within the areas of: dyslexia, dementia, sexual offending, autism, borderline personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD and schizotypal personality disorder.
(3) Attending to and Searching for: Navigation, Wayfinding and Icons
Research in this area focuses on navigation and wayfinding; processing moving scenes; dual-target cost, guidance and visual search; understanding, learning, and using icons and signs; fundamental behavioural challenges that involve multiple cognitive components and complex information processing. In order to address these issues the team use an inter-disciplinary approach combining different methods such as behavioural experiments, virtual reality techniques, eye-tracking, and cognitive modelling.