Psychology's Head of Department to Play Key Role in Major National Assessment of Research Excellence
Our Head of Department, Professor Richard Crisp, has been appointed to assess the quality of psychological research across the UK in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Congratulations Dr Hue San Kuay!
Hue San (Josephine Butler College) has successfully completed her Ph.D. In Psychology! The title of her thesis: "Understanding Adolescents’ Aggression towards Parents: A Study on the Role of Callous-Unemotional Traits in Predicting Aggression."
"I’m glad I chose to do my PhD in Psychology at Durham University. I was surrounded by hardworking, intelligent, friendly, and supportive people – thus I am not exaggerating when I said I had fun during my PhD!"
(27 Apr 2018) » More about Congratulations Dr Hue San Kuay!
Congratulations Dr Hoshiar Muhammad!
Dr Hoshiar Muhammad (Grey College) has successfully completed his PhD in Psychology. The title of his thesis: "Parenting styles and their impact on children’s academic self-concept, behavioural problems and executive functions”. Hoshiar has published three papers in peer-reviewed journals and he will continue his academic career in his native Kurdistan. The department wishes him all the best for his future career.
(26 Apr 2018) » More about Congratulations Dr Hoshiar Muhammad!
Queen's Campus Relocation Update
In October 2018 the Department of Psychology will benefit from both a refurbishment of our existing Durham City building, as well as the addition of new space in Rowan House, adjacent to the existing building.
(19 Mar 2018) » More about Queen's Campus Relocation Update
Interdisciplinary 'Computational Neuroscience Group' launched at Durham University at inaugural meeting in the Psychology Department
Computational neuroscience is the field of study in which mathematical tools and theories are used to investigate brain function. Represented in the Computational Neuroscience Group at Durham University are: Biosciences, Chemistry, Computer Science/Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology. The Impact & Business Development Manager in the Department of Computer Science/Institute of Advanced Research Computing is also a member of the Computational Neuroscience Group.
Congratulations Dr. Birch!
Dr Yan K. Birch (Ustinov College) has successfully completed his PhD in Psychology. The title of his thesis: "Re-examining rumination: An investigation into the relative contributions of reflective and brooding ruminative processes to problem solving”.
(19 Dec 2017) » More about Congratulations Dr. Birch!
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).
(19 Nov 2017) » More about 1.1 Million Euro Multi -Site Project
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.
(19 Nov 2017) » More about Rising Stars Research Symposium
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.
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.
(19 Jun 2017) » More about Employability Retreat 2017
Students and staff celebrated the end of the exam period at the annual Finalist Party. What a relief … for students and staff!
(19 Jun 2017) » More about Mission Completed!
Postgraduate student 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!
Psychology Department has entered the top 10!
The Psychology Department has entered the top 10 in the Guardian league table for 2018 and was ranked 7th up from 16th last year.
(17 May 2017) » More about Psychology Department has entered the top 10!
Congratulations Dr. Hodgetts!
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."
(19 Mar 2017) » More about Congratulations Dr. Hodgetts!
Dr Nicholas David Thomson (Ustinov College) has successfully completed his PhD in Psychology. The title of his thesis: "A Multidisciplinary Approach to Predicting Aggression in Children, Adolescent, and Adults: Exploring the Role of Cardiovascular Psychophysiology, Neuropsychology, and Psychopathy." Nicholas will continue in our department as Teaching Fellow.
(9 Nov 2016)
Durham University held a 1-day conference entitled 'What Can We Learn about the Mind from Brain Imaging Evidence?'
DUNIC invited eminent speakers to address current issues in brain imaging, with particular emphasis on discussing what is good and bad science in this area, what constitutes safe evidence that can be relied upon in making inferences about the brain, and what the future may hold for advances in brain imaging technology.
Undergraduate Employability Retreat
We are well into the planning of this year’s Psychology Employability Retreat where we take our second year students away for two days to get to know each other, chat to staff and discuss issues around employability
(18 Apr 2016) » More about Undergraduate Employability Retreat
Echolocation in the news
Lore Thaler interviewed for ‘New Scientist’ about her work on human echolocation. Read the online article at
Also available in the magazine issuehttp://www.newscientist.com/issue/3020
(17 Jun 2015) » More about Echolocation in the news
Congratulations to Helen Knight, Emma Grisdale and David Smailes who have all recently passed their viva and been awarded their PhD.
(2 Apr 2015) » More about PhD Success
Left-handed fetuses could show effects of maternal stress on unborn babies
Fetuses are more likely to show left-handed movements in the womb when their mothers are stressed, according to new research.
Researchers at Durham and Lancaster universities say their findings are an indicator that maternal stress could have a temporary effect on unborn babies, adding that their research highlights the importance of reducing stress during pregnancy.
However, the researchers emphasised that their study was not evidence that maternal stress led to fixed left-handedness in infants after birth. They said that some people might be genetically predisposed to being left-handed and that there are examples where right and left-handedness can switch throughout a person’s life.
Using 4d ultrasound scans, the researchers observed 57 scans of 15 healthy fetuses, recording 342 facial touches.
The fetuses were scanned at four different stages between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Researchers also asked the mothers of these babies how much stress they had experienced in the four weeks between each of the scans.
The researchers found that the more stress mothers reported, the more frequently fetuses touched their faces with their left hands. They added that a significant number of touches by the fetuses of stressed mothers were done with their left, rather than right hands - therefore fetal touches of their own faces, indicated a left-handed tendency.
As right-handedness is more common in the general population, the researchers had expected to see more of a bias towards right-handed movements in the fetuses as they grew older. The high percentage of left-handed behaviour, observed only when mothers reported being stressed, led them to conclude that maternal stress has an effect on the lateral behaviour of the babies they scanned.
The findings are published in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition.
Top psychology honour for Durham University expert
Dr Deborah Riby has been awarded the 2014 Margaret Donaldson Prize by the British Psychological Society.
The prize is awarded for outstanding contribution within the field of developmental psychology, specifically impacting upon theory development, originality and innovation in methodology, and providing indicators of esteem within the field.
Deborah’s research concerns typical and atypical development, and has focused on the social and cognitive characteristics of children with developmental disorders such as Autism and the rare genetic disorder Williams Syndrome.
(10 Mar 2014) » More about Top psychology honour
Radio Piece featuring research done by Lore Thaler, lecturer in the Psychology Department at Durham University.
Link to the audio feature: http://www.prx.org/pieces/100076-seeing-with-sound
The story explores the ways that blind people can use echolocation to navigate spaces and look at what's around them, and the neurological connections between visual and spatial perception.
The radio piece is part of the STEM Story Project, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Presented by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.
(26 Jul 2013)
Worries of family and friends could affect recovery of brain haemorrhage patients
More support is needed to ease the fears of family and friends of brain haemorrhage patients after new research suggested that their worries could inadvertently affect the recovery of their loved ones, scientists said today (Tuesday July 23).
The research team from Durham University and the University of Liverpool, in the UK, and the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Germany, found that patients who have suffered from subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) might not recover physically and socially as well as expected if their partner or friends are overly worried that the illness will happen again.
Happy Graduation 2016!
Our students and staff enjoyed a lunch in the sun to celebrate students completing their undergraduate degree. The finalist lunch happens every year in the department and is a great way for students to have one last get together and chat with staff. The department wishes all graduated students all the very best for their future career!
(7 Jul 2016) » More about Happy Graduation 2016!
Opening of BRAIN Zone at the Centre for Life featuring research by Dr Debbie Riby
Opening of BRAIN Zone at the Centre for Life featuring research by Dr Debbie Riby
The new BRAIN Zone at the Centre for Life science museum in Newcastle was formally opened on 13th April 2016 by Baroness Manningham-Buller, Chair of the Wellcome Trust.
The opening event was a fantastic opportunity to test out a range of new exhibits, from visual illusions to seeing a real human brain.
Television exposure directly linked to a thin body ideal in women
For the first time experts have been able to eliminate external factors and specifically pinpoint television as having a direct link with female body ideals.
It is known that the perception of a woman’s perfect body shape is influenced by images of celebrities and models seen in the media.
However, in the past, there has been little attempt to control variables in order to isolate the effects of media exposure from other cultural and ecological factors.
Anxiety in Williams Syndrome: Workshop for Parents and Professionals
On the 27th of February, Dr Debbie Riby, Dr Mary Hanley and Dr Jacqui Rodgers (Newcastle University) will be hosting a one day event in Dublin aimed at promoting understanding of anxiety in individuals with Williams syndrome.
1-day conference entitled What Can We Learn about the Mind from Brain Imaging Evidence?
· Jody Culham, Western University, Ontario, Canada
· Eleanor Maguire, University College London, UK
· Adrian Owen, Western University, Ontario, Canada
· Dick Passingham, Oxford University, UK
Raising funds for the North East Autism Society
Several staff, students and their family members have taken part in the Great North Run and the Colour Run in aid of the North East Autism Society this month, raising over £550 in total.
(25 Sep 2015) » More about Raising funds for the North East Autism Society