I gained BSc and MSc degrees in Psychology from Goldsmiths, University of London, before completing my PhD in Environmental Psychology at University of Surrey in 2015. I then undertook two postdoctoral research positions: first in the Department of Psychology, University of Tampere (Finland), funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and second at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London (UK). In 2019 I returned to University of Surrey as Lecturer in Environmental Psychology.
As an environmental psychologist I focus mainly on restorative environments, place experience, and links between environment and wellbeing, including in the workplace. I also conduct research on consumer and user experience, especially with regard to improving perceptions and behaviours around goods and services. I am increasingly interested in links between consumer behaviour and sustainability. Before becoming a psychologist I trained in art and design, and I combine aspects of my work in environmental psychology with design thinking and research.
In the course of my work I have collaborated with a number of non-academic organisations, including the National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, the Cabinet Office, and Nestlé.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Senior Professional Training Year (PTY) Tutor
- School of Psychology Research Committee (Early Career representative)
Affiliations and memberships
In the media
My primary area of research concerns restorative environments, or those which help people to recover from stress and/or cognitive fatigue. These are often, but not exclusively, places in nature. I focus particularly on sensory experiences of these environments; e.g., how natural sounds such as birdsong can be perceived as restorative, and how we experience nature through touch and smell. I am also exploring how natural environments are related to creativity, and the extent to which urban settings can be perceived as restorative. I have collaborated with organisations such as the National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust, British Science Association, and Cabinet Office on links between environment and restoration/wellbeing, and am currently part of the Tranquil City project.
Place attachment and favourite places
Favourite places are examples of everyday settings towards which people feel a sense of attachment or emotional bond. I have published articles on how these places, and concepts of place attachment more widely, can be related to feelings of happiness, reduced stress, and perceived restorative potential. I am particularly interested in how memories of places that people are attached to can be involved in restoration. In my work I try to integrate understanding of place attachment and individual relationships with place into examination of the restorative benefits achievable in those places. Much of this work is conducted in collaboration with the EnviWell group at University of Tampere, Finland.
Consumer perceptions and behaviour
I have been conducting academic and applied research on consumer perceptions and behaviour since 2009. This mostly relates to experience of retail and service spaces, digital services, and consumer goods such as food and drink. I have worked with public, private, and third sector organisations such as i2 media research, Nestlé Research, RNIB, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.
- 2018 - present, Tranquil City: Tranquillity in the urban environment
- 2017 - 2018, Nestlé Research and Imperial College London: Consumption rituals associated with food and drink
- 2015 - 2017, University of Tampere: Links between place memory, place attachment, and restorative environments (collaboration with Prof. Kalevi Korpela, funded by the Leverhulme Trust)
- 2015, National Trust: Sleep, mood, and coastal walking (consultancy project)
- 2013, Cabinet Office: Links between socio-environmental factors and national wellbeing (funded by ESRC)
- 2012 - 2013, British Science Association and University of Salford: 'Calls of the Wild' mass participation experiment for National Science and Engineering Week
- 2011 - 2015, National Trust and Surrey Wildlife Trust: Restorative perceptions and outcomes associated with listening to birds (funded by an ESRC CASE award)
- 2010 - 2011, London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports: Passenger experience of airside environments
I regularly review manuscripts for academic journals such as Journal of Environmental Psychology, Health and Place, Environment & Behavior, Landscape and Urban Planning, and Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. I am an Associate Editor of Psyecology, Bilingual Journal of Environmental Psychology.
I primarily conduct teaching on the MSc Environmental Psychology programme, particularly in relation to restorative environments, aesthetic appraisals of environments, and place attachment.
- Sadhana Jagannath, PhD thesis on wellbeing and residential environments (2nd supervisor)
- Zoe Schoenherr, MSc dissertation on how visually impaired people experience hospital environments
- Rachel Nasland, MSc dissertation on preferences for window design
Undergraduate supervision: (sensory experiences of) restorative environments, place attachment, lighting, consumer experiences of retail settings, social media use.
I often give guest lectures on environmental psychology at the following venues:
- Center for Urban & Real Estate Management (CUREM), University of Zurich
- Institute of Facility Management (IFM), Zurich University of Applied Sciences
- Real Estate Center, Polytechnic University of Milan