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School of Psychology - Research

UEL’s School of Psychology has a strong commitment to research with longstanding expertise in theoretical and applied research. 

Psychology group seminar psy01

About our research

In the School of Psychology our research integrates cross disciplinary expertise from experimental, developmental, health, clinical and social psychology. Our researchers have interdisciplinary collaborations at the local, national and international levels.

  • How we rate

    In the most recent 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 25% of our research in the School of Psychology was recognised with the highest accolade of being "world leading" and 43% of our research is "internationally excellent".

  • World-class research

    Our research also received the highest 4.00 out of 4.00 ratings for Impact, demonstrating how the research goes beyond academia and has direct benefits to health, quality of life, public policy, and to society.

  • Great career move

    Our courses have a strong accent on diversity and community, and our record of employability is almost 100%. Your future career is central to our teaching.

PhD research highlights

Athletes' triumph over trauma

The complex, post-traumatic journey of athletes who become disabled towards recovery and sometimes new sporting success - think of the triumphs at the London 2012 Paralympic Games - is the subject of PhD student Hanna Kampman’s research.

Who cares for the elderly?

Sima Sandhu’s PhD looked at care worker motivations, and their implications for social policy and the future care workforce. With an ageing population, and limited budgets, understanding the mutually supportive relationships between colleagues will be ever more crucial in future.

Language, culture and wellbeing within Nigerian communities

PhD student Dung Jidong is studying Nigerian languages, culture, and mental health and wellbeing.  His project directly builds on his participation in the UEL London Scholars’ project on working as an interpreter and cultural broker in communities.  Dung has achieved full support for his project from the UEL Excellence PhD Studentship.

Does mindfulness improve clinical care?

PhD student Amy Spatz has joined the School from being a Lecturer at St. George’s University of London in order to study the impact of mindfulness in trainees.  Amy will be investigating the recent advances in mindfulness theory and whether the practice of mindfulness could benefit health care delivery, and her project had been selected for full funding from an UEL Excellence PhD studentship.

Research themes

In the first assessment of the impact of research beyond academia, research from the School of Psychology received the highest 4* Outstanding rating for Impact in the most recent 2014 HEFCE Research Excellence Framework.  Impact is defined as a benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia, both within the UK and overseas.

In our research, we apply advanced neuroimaging techniques, including eye tracking, high density electroencephalography (EEG), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), along with observational and qualitative methodology.

Researchers in the Cognition and Neuroscience Research Group examine human cognitive processes in individuals with a variety of mental health disorder, neurological impairments, and from the general community. 

Research strengths include: face and object processing, sports neuroscience, multisensory perception, synaesthesia, mental imagery, cognitive enhancement using neuromodulation techniques, neuropsychopharmacology and neurophysiology of psychosis, thinking styles and paranormal beliefs, decision making models, language production, object processing and attention, pain perception and bodily illusions.

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This research strand explores brain, cognitive and social development throughout the human life span. Our projects actively engage with the East London community and are designed to improve the wellbeing and development of local children and adults - particularly those facing social economic disadvantage. 

Active projects include: early-years brain and cognitive development, social and communication development, developmental difficulties, and wellbeing and lifespan development.

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This group builds on our tradition of studying the neuropsychological effects of recreational drugs, such as illegal drugs and so-called illegal highs, as well as behavioural addictions. Examples include: nicotine, tobacco and electronic cigarettes, novel psychoactive substances, ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, gambling and sexual addiction.

Active research areas include: psychological and cognitive effects of legal and illegal psychoactive substances and their impact on users; and the causes and consequences of drug and behavioural addictions, including withdrawal effects and pathways out of addictive behaviours.

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This research is designed to address real-world problems in local communities and to produce knowledge that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. The research examines all aspects of health, such as acute and chronic illness, mental and physical health, cognition and behaviour, and gender-related aspects of health.

Research areas include: hydration, physical activity, psychological wellbeing, diet, body image and motivation, positive psychology, resilience and cancer.  Our researchers collaborate with many other institutions, including the University of Southampton, Homerton Hospital, the Royal Brompton Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital, the European Hydration Institute, the Natural Hydration Council and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

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This group’s community research focuses on: digital media, space and place, mental health, therapeutic service delivery, emotion, social justice, unusual beliefs and experiences, youth unemployment and resilience, surveillance, and qualitative and visual methodologies.

Much of our activity involves our active engagement with non-academic stakeholders such as MIND, East London NHS Foundation Trust, mental health service users, mobile app developer Virtually Free, South London andMaudsley NHS Trust, and several east London community projects, including the Canning Town Soup Kitchen, and Mental Health Activity Trust.

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Members of this group carry out applied research, scholarly activity and knowledge exchange in pedagogy or the practice of teaching, employability, and the impact of technology on education and modern living.  

The group is starting a major study of predictors of academic achievement - taking into account socio-economic and individual measures, as well as traditional measures such as the previous level of education.  Additional research projects include: therapeutic and psychiatric practice, health and reproduction, domestic and sexual violence, critical pedagogy, sexuality and intimate relationships, emotion and affect, social embodiment, and digital learning in higher education.

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Educational Psychology Research and Practice

Educational Psychology Research and Practice is an open access periodical published twice a year by the School of Psychology, University of East London. It offers a forum for informed debate and discussion of Educational Psychology research and training as well as a wider focus on issues of social justice and civic engagement in applied psychological practice. EPRaP is open to publishing research findings, literature reviews, commentaries, methodology papers, reflection on practice and book/resource reviews. It is part of a research and learning culture that recognises the importance of knowledge exchange and impact for partners in the community.

 If you are interested in contributing please contact us at

 You can also follow us on Twitter @UEL_EPRaP