Dr. Richard Stephens

Title: Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Phone: +44 (0)1782 733600
Email: r.stephens@keele.ac.uk
Location: Dorothy Hodgkin Building 1.75
Role: Research Leader of the Psychobiology Research Laboratory; Director of Psychology BSc courses; Workplace Safety Advisor.
Contacting me: My office hours in semester 1 are Mondays 1-3pm.
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Latest News

My research on the psychology of swearing was featured on Have I Got News For You in May 2017.

My popular psychology book, Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, was published to a rave review in New Scientist. I'm pleased to say that it was the WINNER of the British Psychological Society Book of the Year Award, 2016, in the popular science category.

Here are some of my TV appearances: BBC Breakfast 19.06.2015, The One Show 01.06.2015, BBC TV's The Truth About Alcohol 18th June 2016, ITV THis Morning 16.12.2016.

Read my pieces on Apologising (Mail Online), swearing fluency (The Independent)the psychology of swearing (The Independent), physical attraction (The Observer), smiling (The Guardian), and near death experience (The Guardian).

I was the winner of the fourth Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, 2014.

For latest updates follow me on twitter: @psychologyrich

Interested in doing a PhD in my areas of psychology? The research institute at Keele has an annual competition for fully funded PhD studentships. Please get in touch by email if you are interested.


 

Career History

I've been a professional psychologist for over 20 years. I've been at Keele University since 1999, first as a Post-Doc, then a Lecturer, and now a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Currently I lead the Psychobiology Research Laboratory in the School of Psychology and I am the Senior Tutor. Beyond Keele I am Chair of the British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section and external examiner at Queen Mary University London and at Surrey University. My previous psychology jobs were with the Health and Safety Executive and the University of Birmingham Institute of Occupational Health. My PhD, 'Chronic neuropsychological health effects in sheep dippers', was supervised by Dr Anne Spurgeon and awarded by Birmingham University in 1996. My first degree, Life Sciences (Psychology) BSc (Hons) was awarded by Westminster University (formerly the Polytechnic of Central London) in 1992.

Swearing

Our article "Swearing as a response to pain" published in 2009 received international media coverage including BBC television's The One Show ,  CBS television news, BBC Radio 4, Scientific American , ABC news , The Guardian, The Independent, and many others. Subsequently the research has been honoured, if that's the right word, by the receipt of an Ig Nobel prize in 2010. Ig Nobel prizes are awarded for research that "first makes you laugh then makes you think". A follow up paper appeared in Journal of Pain in September 2011. You can see me on Sky TV's Duck Quacks Don't Echo talking about swearing as a response to pain here.

 

Alcohol Hangover

Despite being the most prevalent and commonly recognised problem experienced in relation to alcohol, alcohol hangover has been a neglected part of the alcohol research scene until recently. In collaboration with Dr Joris Verster of Utrecht University, I was awarded £4,886 by the Alcohol Education and Research Council to fund speaker travel expenses and room hire for a one-day meeting on alcohol hangover research at the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting, June 26-30, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas. It was enjoyable, thought provoking and inspirational to meet hangover researchers from around the world. A brief report of the meeting is available to download here. For more information on alcohol hangover research, please click here.

 

The private car as a means of mass transport

I have recently become interested in the problems associated with the private car as a means of mass transport and how people experience ceasing or reducing driving. Researching the latter question has prompted me to seek training in qualitative research methods. To that end I have been supported via an ESRC Research Resources Board training bursary.

MSc and PhD Supervision

I'd be very pleased to speak to prospective MSc or PhD students about supervising dissertation research in any of the above areas.

In January 2011 I visited the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus to take part in some TV filming with Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed. The sequence, in which I ran through some of my psychological experiments on swearing with Stephen and Brian, will be included in Fry’s documentary “Planet Word” to be aired on BBC television in Autumn 2011. Click here for a (slightly blurry) picture.

Selected Publications

  • Stephens R, Rutherford A, Potter D, Fernie G. 2010. Neuropsychological consequence of soccer play in adolescent U.K. School team soccer players. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, vol. 22(3), 295-303. link> doi>
  • Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A. 2009. Swearing as a response to pain. Neuroreport, vol. 20(12), 1056-1060. link> doi>
  • Robertson O, Robinson SJ, Stephens R. 2017. Swearing as a response to pain: a cross-cultural comparison of British and Japanese participants. Scandinavian Journal of Pain. doi> link>
  • Stephens R, Holloway K, Grange JA, Owen L, Jones K, Kruisselbrink D. 2017. Does familial risk for alcohol use disorder predict alcohol hangover?. Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 234(12), 1795-1802. link> doi>
  • Stephens R and Zile A. 2017. Does Emotional Arousal Influence Swearing Fluency?. J Psycholinguist Res, vol. 46(4), 983-995. link> doi>

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Stephens R. 2015. Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad. Hachette UK.

Journal Articles

  • Robertson O, Robinson SJ, Stephens R. 2017. Swearing as a response to pain: a cross-cultural comparison of British and Japanese participants. Scandinavian Journal of Pain. doi> link>
  • Stephens R, Holloway K, Grange JA, Owen L, Jones K, Kruisselbrink D. 2017. Does familial risk for alcohol use disorder predict alcohol hangover?. Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 234(12), 1795-1802. link> doi>
  • Stephens R and Zile A. 2017. Does Emotional Arousal Influence Swearing Fluency?. J Psycholinguist Res, vol. 46(4), 983-995. link> doi>
  • Grange JA, Stephens R, Jones K, Owen L. 2016. The effect of alcohol hangover on choice response time. J Psychopharmacol, vol. 30(7), 654-661. link> doi>
  • Stephens R, Grange JA, Jones K, Owen L. 2014. A critical analysis of alcohol hangover research methodology for surveys or studies of effects on cognition. Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 231(11), 2223-2236. link> doi>
  • Heffernan T, Clark R, Bartholomew J, Ling J, Stephens R. 2013. 'Does binge drinking in teenagers affect their everyday prospective memory?' (vol 109, pg 73, 2010). DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, vol. 132(3), 694. link> doi>
  • Read S, Nte S, Corcoran P, Stephens R. 2013. Using action research to design bereavement software: engaging people with intellectual disabilities for effective development. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil, vol. 26(3), 195-206. link> doi>
  • Tolstrup J, Stephens R, Gronbaek M. 2013. Does the severity of hangovers decline with age? Survey of the incidence of hangover in different age groups. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. doi>
  • Stephens R. 2013. Is love a drug?. The British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section Newsletter, 5-6.
  • Stephens R. 2013. Swearing - the language of life and death. The Psychologist, vol. 26(9), 650-653.
  • Partington S, Partington E, Heather N, Longstaff F, Allsop S, Jankowski M, Wareham H, Stephens R, Gibson AS. 2013. The relationship between membership of a university sports group and drinking behaviour among students at English Universities. Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 21(4), 339-347. doi>
  • Stephens R and Allsop C. 2012. Effect of manipulated state aggression on pain tolerance. Psychological Reports, vol. 111(1), 311-321. link> doi>
  • Stephens R. 2012. Rat Park – challenging ideas about addiction. The British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section Newsletter, 7-9.
  • Stephens R. 2012. Sun, Sea Shakes. The British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section Newsletter, 7-9.
  • Stephens R. 2011. Do Individual Differences Moderate the Cognitive Benefits of Chewing Gum?. Psychology, vol. 2(8), 834-840. doi>
  • Stephens R and Umland C. 2011. Swearing as a response to pain-effect of daily swearing frequency. Journal of Pain, vol. 12(12), 1274-1281. link> doi>
  • Ling J, Luczakiewicz K, Heffernan TM, Stephens R. 2010. SUBJECTIVE RATINGS OF PROSPECTIVE MEMORY DEFICITS IN CHRONIC ALCOHOL USERS. PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORTS, vol. 106(3), 905-917. link> doi>
  • Ling J, Stephens R, Heffernen TM. 2010. Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance During Alcohol Hangover. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, vol. 3, 80-87. doi>
  • Heffernen T, Clark R, Bartholomew J, Ling J, Stephens R. 2010. Does binge drinking in teenagers affect their everyday prospective memory?. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 109(1-3), 73-78. doi>
  • Stephens R and Verster JC. 2010. Editorial: The Importance of Raising the Profile of Alcohol Hangover Research. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, vol. 3, 64-67. doi>
  • Stephens R, Rutherford A, Potter D, Fernie G. 2010. Neuropsychological consequence of soccer play in adolescent U.K. School team soccer players. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, vol. 22(3), 295-303. link> doi>
  • Verster JC, Stephens R, Penning R, Rohsenow D. 2010. The Alcohol Hangover Research Group Consensus Statement on Best Practice in Alcohol Hangover Research. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, vol. 3, 116-126. doi>
  • Jenkinson PM, Edelstyn NMJ, Stephens R, Ellis SJ. 2009. Why are some Parkinson’s disease patients unaware of their dyskinesias?. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. doi>
  • STEPHENS R and Nte S. 2009. Development and evaluation of an interactive visual workspace to aid the intuitive understanding of ANOVA (Analysis of Variance). Psychology Learning and Teaching, vol. 8, 14-20. link> link>
  • Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A. 2009. Swearing as a response to pain. Neuroreport, vol. 20(12), 1056-1060. link> doi>
  • Stephens R and Kaufman A. 2009. The role of long-term memory in digit-symbol test performance in young and older adults. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn, vol. 16(2), 219-240. link> doi>
  • Jenkinson PM, Edelstyn NMJ, Stephens R, Ellis SJ. 2009. Why are some Parkinson disease patients unaware of their dyskinesias?. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, vol. 22, 117-121. doi>
  • Rutherford A, Stephens R, Fernie G, Potter D. 2009. Do UK university football club players suffer neuropsychological impairment as a consequence of their football (soccer) play?. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol, vol. 31(6), 664-681. link> doi>
  • Stephens R, Ling J, Heffernan TM, Heather N, Jones K. 2008. A response to the paper 'investigation of the "Hangover" effects of an acute dose of alcohol on psychomotor performance' by Lemon. ALCOHOL AND ALCOHOLISM, vol. 43(4), 499. link> doi>
  • Stephens R, Ling J, Heffernan TM, Heather N, Jones K. 2008. A review of the literature on the cognitive effects of alcohol hangover. Alcohol Alcohol, vol. 43(2), 163-170. link> doi>
  • Woolmore J, Stone M, Holley S, Jenkinson P, Ike A, Jones P, Fryer A, Strange R, Stephens R, Langdon D, Hawkins C. 2008. Polymorphisms of the cannabinoid 1 receptor gene and cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler, vol. 14(2), 177-182. link> doi>
  • Stephens R. 2006. Age-related decline in Digit-Symbol performance: eye-movement and video analysis. Arch Clin Neuropsychol, vol. 21(1), 101-107. link> doi>
  • Stephens R, Rutherford A, Potter D, Fernie G. 2005. Neuropsychological impairment as a consequence of football (soccer) play and football heading: a preliminary analysis and report on school students (13-16 years). Child Neuropsychol, vol. 11(6), 513-526. link> doi>
  • Rutherford A, Stephens R, Potter D, Fernie G. 2005. Neuropsychological impairment as a consequence of football (soccer) play and football heading: preliminary analyses and report on university footballers. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol, vol. 27(3), 299-319. link> doi>
  • STEPHENS R and Sreenivasen B. 2004. Neuropsychological effects of long-term low-level organophosphate exposure in orchard sprayers in England. Archives of Environmental Health, vol. 59(11), 566-574. doi>
  • Stephens R and Tunney RJ. 2004. How does chewing gum affect cognitive function? Reply to Scholey (2004). Appetite, vol. 43(2), 217-218. link> doi>
  • Stephens R and Tunney RJ. 2004. Role of glucose in chewing gum-related facilitation of cognitive function. Appetite, vol. 43(2), 211-213. link> doi>
  • Stephens R. 2003. To head, or not to head? What was the question?. PSYCHOLOGIST, vol. 16(12), 655. link>
  • Rutherford A, Stephens R, Potter D. 2003. The neuropsychology of heading and head trauma in Association Football (soccer): a review. Neuropsychol Rev, vol. 13(3), 153-179. link> doi>
  • Stephens R and Sreenivasan B. 2002. Analysis of substitution test performance using eye movement and video data. Appl Neuropsychol, vol. 9(3), 179-182. link> doi>
  • Stephens R. 2001. Feasibility of the use of eye movement data in the analysis of neurobehavioral test performance. Environmental Research. doi>
  • Stephens R and Barker P. 1998. Role of human neurobehavioural tests in regulatory activity on chemicals. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, vol. 55(3), 210-214.
  • STEPHENS R, Spurgeon A, Berry H. Organophosphates: The relationship between chronic and acute exposure effects. NEUROTOXICOLOGY AND TERATOLOGY, vol. 18(4), 449-453.
  • Beach JR, Spurgeon A, Stephens R, et al. 1996. Abnormalities on neurological examination among sheep farmers exposed to organophosphorous pesticides. OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE, vol. 53(8), 520-525.
  • STEPHENS R, Spurgeon A, Calvert IA, et al. 1995. NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM EXPOSURE TO ORGANOPHOSPHATES IN SHEEP DIP. The Lancet, vol. 345(8958), 1135-1139.
  • Stephens R, Spierer DK, Katehis E. Effect of swearing on strength and power performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

Chapters

  • Nte S and Stephens R. 2008. Videogame aesthetics and e-learning: a retro-looking computer game to explain the normal distribution in statistics teaching. In Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Games-Based Learning. Connolly T and Stansfield M (Eds.). Reading: Academic Conferences Ltd..
  • Rutherford A and Stephens R. 2007. Does football heading impair cognitive function?. In Cognitive Disorders Research Trends. Sentowski HC (Ed.). New York: Nova Science Pub Incorporated.
  • Stephens R and Rutherford A. 2007. Expert Commentary: Does football heading impair cognitive function?. In Cognitive Disorders Research Trends. Sentowski HC (Ed.). Nova Science Pub Incorporated.

Other

  • Owen L, Parry E, Grange J, Stephens R. 2013. HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF THE ALCOHOL HANGOVER PRELIMINARY FINDINGS FROM AN EU 7TH FRAMEWORK MARIE CURIE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP. ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH (vol. 37, p. 86A). link>
  • Read S and Stephens R. 2010. Bereavement and people with ID: developing a tool to support practice. JOURNAL OF APPLIED RESEARCH IN INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES (vol. 23, p. 416). link>
  • Ling J, Stephens R, Hodges K. 2008. Hydration and cognitive performance of secondary school children. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY (vol. 43, p. 502). link>
  • Ling J, Minos K, Stephens R. 2008. Cognitive effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY (vol. 43, p. 255). link> doi>
  • Nte S and Stephens R. 2008. Videogame Aesthetics and e-Learning: A Retro-looking Computer Game to Explain the Normal Distribution in Statistics Teaching. 2ND EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON GAMES BASED LEARNING (pp. 341-348). link>
  • Stone MJ, Woolmore JA, Jenkinson P, Stephens R, Mihalova T, Langdon D, Fryer AA, Strange R, Hawkins CP. 2007. Cognitive impairment and polymorphisms of cathepsin D in multiple sclerosis. JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY (vol. 254, p. 163). link>
  • Woolmore JA, Jenkinson PM, Stephens R, Weatherby SJ, Payton A, Fryer AA, Strange RS, Ollier WER, Jones PW, Langdon D, Hawkins CP. 2005. Neuropsychological outcome and apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 polymorphism in multiple sclerosis. JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY (vol. 252, p. 131). link>
  • Woolmore JA, Ike A, Jenkinson RM, Stephens R, Holley S, Fryer AA, Strange RS, Jones RW, Langdon D, Hawkins CP. 2005. Neuropsychological outcome and cannabinoid receptor 1 polymorphism in multiple sclerosis. JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY (vol. 252, p. 66). link>
  • Woolmore JA, Jenkinson PM, Stephens R, Weatherby SJ, Fryer AA, Strange RC, Payton A, Ollier W, Jones P, Langdon D, Hawkins CP, Keele MS. 2005. Neuropsychological outcome and APOE polymorphism in multiple sclerosis. JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY NEUROSURGERY AND PSYCHIATRY (vol. 76, p. 158). link>
  • Woolmore JA, Jenkinson P, Stephens R, Payton A, Weatherby SJ, Strange RC, Fryer AA, Ollier W, Jones PW, Langdon DW, Hawkins CR. 2004. Neuropsychological outcome and APOE polymorphism in multiple sclerosis. MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (vol. 10, pp. S207-S208). link>
  • Clapp S, Sreenivason B, Stephens R. 2001. The use of eye movement data in the analysis of neurobehavioural test performance.
  • Stephens R, Rutherford A, Potter D. 2001. Heading the ball in amateur adult football (soccer) and neuro-psychological impairment. Some preliminary results. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society.
  • Stephens R, Rutherford A, Potter D. 2001. Is heading the ball in football a cause of neuropsychological impairment in amateur adult players?. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society.
  • Stephens R. 2000. Analysis of WAIS-R Digit Symbol performance using eye movement data.
  • Stephens R. 2000. No evidence of Chronic sub-clinical neurobehavioral effects in orchard sprayers in England with long-term, low-level organophosphate exposure: Preliminary results of a cross-sectional study.

Year 1

  • PSY-10016 Research Methods 2 (Module Leader)

Year 2

  • PSY-20018 Cognitive & Biological Research Methods in Psychology (Lecturer)
  • PSY-20005 Biological Psychology, Perceptions and Cognition (Lecturer)

Year 3

  • PSY-30061 Final Year Project (Project Supervisor)
  • PSY-30199 Making a difference with psychology (Lecturer)

Psychobiology Research Laboratory

Research Leader: Dr Richard Stephens
PhD students: Kara Holloway and Olivia Robertson

Previous successes

2009/10 final year undergraduate student and Psychobiology Research Lab member Claire Allsop won the 2010 British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section Undergraduate Project Prize for her project entitled "The effect of manipulated levels of state aggression on pain tolerance".  Claire presented her project at the September 2010 meeting of the BPS Psychobiology Section.