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Department of Psychology

Department of Psychology

We are amongst the Top 10 Psychology Departments in the UK with an outstanding academic staff highly rated for both teaching and research and are consistently ranked as one of the best Psychology departments for employability. In the REF 2014 ranking for Psychology, Neuroscience and Psychiatry, 83%
of our research was assessed as “internationally excellent quality” or “world leading". We are a collegiate and welcoming department committed to success for all who work here. One mark of our commitment is our Athena Swan Silver Award which the department received in 2013 and was renewed in 2017.

People who hear voices can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds

People who hear voices that other people can’t hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to new research.

The study, published in the academic journal Brain, found that voice-hearers could detect disguised speech-like sounds more quickly and easily than people who had never had a voice-hearing experience. The research was led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).

Mission completed!

Students and staff celebrated the end of the exam period at the annual Finalist Party. What a relief … for students and staff!

Employability Retreat 2017

The Employability Retreat 2017 was held in (sunny!) Allendale, Northumberland, where our undergraduate students and staff enjoyed three days of outdoor fun and informal, extra-curricular employability activities which, we hope, will make our students more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupation.

The Psychology Department has entered the top 10 in the Guardian league table for 2018 and was ranked 7th up from 16th last year.

Postgraduate student was awarded £1000 for bringing science into public.

Miss Emine Gurbuz, Global Citizenship Programme (GCP) scholar, and Ph.D. candidate in Psychology, was awarded £1000 for her contribution to the Café Scientifique at Ustinov College. The Café Scientifique brings science from the lab into the café. Congratulations Emine!


Dr Sophie Hodgetts (Ustinov College) has successfully completed her PhD in Psychology. The title of her thesis: "The neuromodulatory properties of gonadal steroid hormones with regard to individual differences in cognition and brain organisation." Sophie has also completed a BSc Hons Psychology (Applied) and MSc Cognitive Neuroscience in our department. Recently, she has accepted a new post at the University of Sunderland, where she will continue her academic career as a Lecturer in the Psychology Department.


Miss Jasmin Amber Strickland (Hatfield College), has successfully completed her Masters of Science by Thesis (MRES) in Psychology. The title of her thesis: “Multiple processes in the short-term reduction of palatability in mice”. Jasmin will continue to study for her PhD in the Department.

Rising Stars Research Symposium.

Harriet Welch (left), Naina Kant (middle) and Lauren Jeffers (right) presented research from their undergraduate dissertation projects at the Faculty of Science's research symposium. The event showcases the success and breadth of research within the faculty at undergraduate level.

1.1 Million Euro Multi -Site Project.

Dr Dan Smith (Centre) was the lead applicant for a consortium that was awarded 1.1m euros for the multi-site project "A motor bias theory of attention" funded by ESRC (Durham, UK), DFG (Munich, Germany) and NWO (Utrecht, Netherlands).

The Psychology Department is ranked highly in national and international league tables focusing on research power, teaching quality and student satisfaction. We are proud of our Athena Swan Silver Award which recognizes our sustained commitment to gender equality.

IAS Workshop on Structure and Symmetry

The Institute of Advanced Studies at Durham University has organised the first workshop on Structure and Symmetry. The workshop takes place on 4th and 5th October 2017, and will consider how one can characterise near symmetrical structures. Specifically, the aim will be to seek, test and quantify the concept of ‘mildly broken symmetry’ across all academic disciplines, including arts, chemistry, maths, philosophy, physics, psychiatry and psychology.

For more information on this workshop and registration please follow the below links:

Event Page:

Registration Page:

For further information contact Professor Tom McLeish ( or Dr Markus Hausmann (

Why are we so bad at face recognition?

Friday 13th October 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Prof Mike Burton, Psychology, York University

A fresh old look on Vision

Friday 20th October 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Prof Michael Herzog, Brain Mind Institute, Lausanne

The developmental origins of prejudice and dehumanisation

Friday 27th October 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Dr Harriet Over, York University

Integration of cognitive and behavioural functions in the hippocampo-prefrontal-subcortical circuit.

Friday 3rd November 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Dr Tobias Bast, Nottingham University

Music and language: similarities and differences

Friday 10th November 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Prof Bill Thompson, Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Turning bodily states into action: A social psychophysiological model of power and status

Friday 17th November 2017, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, L47, Dr Mario Weick

Contact Details

Durham City
Psychology Department
Durham University
Science Laboratories
South Road
Tel:+44(0)191 3343240

Queen's Campus
Psychology Department
Durham University
Queen's Campus
University Boulevard
TS17 6BH
Tel:+44(0)191 3340101

Durham subjects in QS World Subject Rankings Top 100

In May 2017 the Department of Psychology was delighted to achieve the 'Athena Swan Silver Award' recognising our commitment to advancing women's careers in STEMM academia. For more information please follow link.

World leading research across all Durham University subjects

Durham University REF results