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Research

Psychology is one of the leading research departments in the UK. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) we were ranked 6th out of 82 Psychology departments for our world-leading and internationally excellent research.

During the 2014-2020 period, we supported the research potential of our colleagues with the values of inclusivity, equality, transparency and shared endeavour in mind. We succeeded in consolidating our research excellence in existing areas of strength such as cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, but also invested in the development of new areas such as social neuroscience. In parallel, we led or played a key role in large cross- and inter-disciplinary projects to expand our research capabilities (e.g. STORYFUTURESBIAS).

As part of the newly-founded School of Life Sciences and Environment (LSE) and looking ahead to the future, our Department will continue to strengthen our world-leading research in our areas of expertise, but we will also be making strategic investments in people and infrastructure in three key areas:

  1. In a new Neuroimaging Unit for Decision-Making & Choice that will allow us to address timely societal and policy questions, collaborate with colleagues, and fund projects across disciplines, both within our School and beyond.
  2. In cross-departmental collaborations within the LSE to address pressing societal issues. For example, in collaboration  with Geography and Earth Sciences we will concentrate on an integrated understanding of the impact that climate change has on people as well as on how attitudes and behaviours can change addressing therefore the cross-councils' (ESRC, NERC) strategic aims on environment.
  3. In multi-disciplinary research across RHUL schools and beyond. Thanks to our research excellence and the unique diversity of psychological disciplines, we are uniquely positioned to lead on the development and successful delivery of major research projects that cut across life science, social sciences and humanities and focus on key societal challenges, such as the transformative role of technology from social interactions and human-machine interactions to work and politics. As an example, our members of staff were able to respond fast during the COVID-19 pandemic and develop new research projects tackling the challenge of understanding better the behavioural science around COVID-19 as you can see in these examples

When you study here or collaborate with us as a researcher, you can look forward to exceptional research facilities, a supportive environment and the opportunity to work at the frontiers of psychological knowledge.

Our research areas

Research in the Health and Well-Being Group conducts basic and applied psychological research in clinical and health psychology. Members conduct research with many clinical groups, including those with depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, psychosis, autism, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and HIV, as well as non-clinical samples. Research covers a wide range of topics, such as psychological treatments, wellbeing, cognitive abilities, social and emotional processes, and discrimination. 

The Language, Memory, and Attention Research Group focuses on cognition with a strong focus on language, as well as memory and attention. Across the group, members investigate cognitive performance from its early development in infancy and up to adulthood. The group pursues both fundamental questions such as why and how language evolved and why different languages differ from each other, and applied questions with consequences for policy such as how to teach children to read or how to make airplanes safer.

The Perception, Action, and Decision-Making Group (PAD) undertakes cutting-edge research into how the human brain supports cognition, perception and action, and how these key abilities may be affected in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Using tools from neuroscience and experimental psychology, we explore a range of fundamental and applied questions, such as how zero gravity impacts cognition, how the brain constructs representations of places and events, and the interplay between decision-making and depression.

The Social and Affective Processes Research Group is a dynamic group of researchers employing a variety of behavioural, developmental and neuroscientific techniques to investigate social and affective processes. Members investigate a wide variety of questions, including delusions, mental health service delivery, brain mechanisms underpinning the perception of social and emotional information, social and emotional development in childhood and adolescence, motivational goals and personal values, intergroup relations, social identity, and acculturation.

For a look at our research facilities, click here

The Open Science Working Group (OSWG) aims to improve transparency, replicability and reproducibility in research. Through partnerships with other institutes in the UK and abroad such as the UK Reproduciblity Network, the OSWG is facilitating plans to make data collected in the department open to public scrutiny from other members of the scientific community, and to promote the pre-registration of scientific projects on public servers.

StoryFutures and StoryFutures Academy: The National Centre for Immersive Storytelling place innovative storytelling at the heart of next generation immersive technologies and experiences. Both initiatives are funded by the UK government. Click here for further information

The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law is a new multidisciplinary research hub of Royal Holloway academics from the departments of Psychology, Law, Sociology, Criminology, Media Arts, History, Geography, Politics, Social Work and Information Security. The centre will explore complex links between ‘emotion’ and the law including how ’emotion’ affects individuals and their fair treatment by legal frameworks, institutions, bureaucratic structures and processes. Click here for further details.

We are a group of multidisciplinary researchers dedicated to the study of pain. Our aim is to improve outcomes in people who suffer from persistent pain conditions, such as back pain, headache, knee and shoulder pain.

We believe that the experience of pain is influenced by many factors that go beyond immediate injury and damage- for example, mood, beliefs and expectations. We also think that how practitioners behave and relate to their patients will impact on patient’s well-being and that communication during consultation is an important area for study.

It is important to us that our research is used in the real world, and we spend time presenting our findings and coaching practitioners. For more details, go to: http://www.painresearch.rhul.ac.uk/

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