I completed my degree in psychology from the University of Southampton in 2000 and stayed on to do a PhD which I completed in 2004. I joined the School of Psychology at Keele University in 2009 as a lecturer, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2020.
Before this, I was employed at the University of Nottingham as a post-doctoral research fellow and at the University of Bristol as a research assistant. I have also spent a year out of academia teaching English in Japan.
Research and scholarship
My current research interests centre on cyberpsychology. My main areas of study are:
- Video games. I look at how gaming can be used to promote pro-social behaviour in players. My work has demonstrated that playing games with people in other groups (outgroup members) can reduce feelings of prejudice and animosity towards that group as a whole. I am interested in how this can be applied to real-world groups to reduce long-term prejudicial attitudes
- Safe social media use. I am interested in how social media sites such as Instagram can impact body image – particularly in men – and how we can develop tools to reduce these effects and promote safer use.
- Using social media positively. I am investigating how we might use social media to distribute positive materials and stimuli to improve people’s lives. For example, can viewing photos of nature online improve people’s wellbeing?
- Virtual reality. With collaborators in the Midlands Partnership NHS Trust, I am investigating how VR can be used to give older adults exciting experiences in the outside world, to improve their well-being
- The immediacy of video stimuli and self-control. I have recently started to look into how the ready accessibility of videos through sites such as Tik-Tok may have implications for self-control in users.
For any prospective PhD students, I would be interested in projects on any of these topics but would also consider anything looking at the impact of the Internet, gaming, or technology on our lives from a quantitative perspective.
I teach across all three years of undergraduate study, and also at Masters level. My topics are in the areas of social psychology, and cyberpsychology. I also teach quantitative research methods, focusing mainly on survey methodology.
- Assessment and progression officer
- Senior academic mentor