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Centre for Research in Psychology

The centre focuses on internationally recognised, theoretical and applied research with 'real world' impact

Established and thriving, their supportive and friendly research environment produces a developing track record of renowned publications. The centre has three dynamic research themes and each boasts a range of strong links with practitioners and service users.

Research expertise

The Centre for Research in Psychology has three distinct and highly-active themes to its work and academics work in small groups to achieve their outputs. The themes are:

Research excellence

60% of our research was awarded 3* out of 4* for 'impact' - "very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance" - by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Research themes

Each of the centre's three dynamic research themes boasts a range of strong links with practitioners and service users. If you are interested in exploring research opportunities in the Department of Psychology email Professor Marcantonio Spada at

Theme: Addiction and Health Related Disorders 

Academics investigate the development in society, such as immigration, drug use, addiction, mental health and sexual violence. There is particular emphasis on the use and integration of diverse research methodologies and technologies to examine the issues. This leads to eclectic research from varying perspectives, bound together by a common goal of pushing forwards the boundaries of theory while maximising its impact on society.

The team are engaged in a variety of diverse research projects. These include, testing the link between negative adaptation strategies and poor mental outcomes amongst immigrants, investigations of mental health professionals' attitudes towards issues relating to sexuality, the effects of drugs on controlled and automatic cognitive processes and the role of implicit cognition in drug use and drug addiction.

The Director of the group is Dr Daniel Frings. His profile and those of other academics working in the area of Addiction and Health Related Disorders can be found in our People Finder.

Theme: Developmental Disorders

Academics investigate the development of remembering, thinking and reasoning in individuals who have a range of developmental disorders. For example, several related projects are investigating 'executive functioning' in children and young people with specific language impairment, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome and intellectual disability. Executive functioning is a range of complex thinking skills relevant to dealing with novel situations that include: planning new solutions; focusing on and remembering relevant information and switching attention as necessary.

The work has attracted a range of external and internal funding ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, LSBU PhD bursary and Williams Syndrome Foundation. The research is providing an in-depth comparative examination of higher order thinking and reasoning skills in young people with developmental disorders. Further work by this group is investigating dyslexia in children and adults.

The Director of the group is Dr James Smith-Spark. His profile and those of other academics working in the area of Development Disorders can be found in our People Finder.

Theme: Memory in Settings

Academics investigate eyewitness skills across the life span, focusing in particular on vulnerable groups of witnesses such as older adults and children with intellectual disabilities. For example, a series of studies has looked at the eyewitness identification accuracy of older adults.

Older adults have subtle difficulties with understanding and retaining the instructions for video eyewitness parades and these results have been fed back to relevant police officers. Additional work on interviewing older witnesses includes examining the effectiveness of a new sketch mental reinstatement of context interview protocol for frontline police officers and developing a more appropriate interview protocol for older adults.

Further work is investigating the eyewitness identification skills of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). This under-researched population is particularly vulnerable, with limited access to the criminal justice system, yet a heightened likelihood of being witnesses to or victims of crime. In addition, the group carries out research into the suggestibility of adults and children with and without ID, methods for enhancing evidence given by children, and the effects of cross-examination on the testimony of children with and without ID.

One of the key strengths of this group is the fact that the research findings are disseminated widely among practitioners, such as lawyers, barristers, disability specialists and police services. 

Contact Dr Rachel Wilcock or find other academics working in the field of Memory in Settings in our People Finder.

Research degree opportunities

The centre is closely linked to LSBU's Department of Psychology which offers exciting opportunities for taught postgraduate degrees for awards of MPhil/PhD (by research) or MSc. Study part-time or full-time in a range of areas and be taught by academic staff who have direct expertise.

The wide range of research activities in the School of Applied Sciences, together with the mix of academic staff, post-doctoral research fellows and visiting professors, allows us to offer a stimulating and diverse postgraduate environment. Read more about Research Degrees at LSBU.

Contact us

Search our People Finder for academics working in the theme of psychology research.

To reach the Head of the Centre for Research in Psychology contact Prof Marcantonio Spada. Call 020 7815 5760 or email

Further information

Research Excellence at LSBU