Dr Amy Isham


Research Fellow
BSc Psychology, MSc Psychology of Advertising, PhD Psychology

Biography

Amy is an Environmental Psychologist with an interest in the impact of consumer culture upon personal and societal well-being. Her research aims to find more rewarding, sustainable ways of living that do not rely on having ever more income and every more stuff. Amy's PhD research examined the relevance of psychological 'flow' to the relationship between materialism and reduced personal well-being.

Prior to starting her PhD, Amy completed an undergraduate degree of the University of Warwick in 2015 before moving straight on to begin her master’s at Lancaster University. Up to this point her research had focused on the area of consumer psychology, and in particular she conducted research projects examining the factors that led people to buy impulsively online. When completing her master’s course Amy's interests altered slightly and this is when she became interested in the negative impacts of advertising, and consumer culture in general, on society.

My qualifications

2019
PhD Psychology
University of Surrey
2016
MSc Psychology of Advertising
Lancaster University
2015
BSc Psychology
University of Warwick

Research projects

My teaching

Courses I teach on

Undergraduate

Postgraduate taught

My publications

Publications

Isham, A., Gatersleben, B., & Jackson, T. (2018). Flow Activities as a Route to Living Well With Less.
View abstract View full publication
Research suggests that the excessive focus on the acquisition of material goods promoted by our consumer society may be detrimental to well-being. Current Western lifestyles, which promote unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, therefore risk failing to bring citizens the happiness they seek. Csikszentmihalyi suggested that engaging in challenging, flow-conducive activities is a means by which individuals can improve well-being without substantially affecting the environment. In this article, we test this proposal by examining data concerning the daily experiences and well-being of 500 U.S. families. We show that individuals who experience stronger characteristics of flow in their leisure activities tend to have greater momentary well-being, whereas those experiencing flow more frequently report greater retrospective well-being. Moreover, a small negative relationship was found between an activity’s flow score and its environmental impact. The analysis allows us to identify a specific group of high-flow, low–environmental impact activities.
Isham, A., Mair, S., & Jackson, T. (2020). Wellbeing and Productivity: A Review of the Literature
View abstract View full publication
The UK is currently facing two inter-related socio-economic challenges. One is the now well-documented ‘productivity puzzle’; the crisis of persistent low productivity growth across the economy. The other is low levels in the mental and physical health of the working population, in particular. Wellbeing has been considered as a driver of higher levels of productivity and thus a means of solving the productivity puzzle. However, the relationship between productivity growth and wellbeing is complex and involves many moderating or mediating factors. This report reviews the relationships between the different aspects of wellbeing, productivity, and productivity growth. It is the culmination of a desk-based evidence review, survey, and a mapping workshop held with experts from backgrounds including psychology, sociology, economics, and design. The focus is on wellbeing and labour productivity, although resource productivity and multi-factor productivity are also touched upon at relevant points within the report.