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A history of the School of Psychology blog

  • The earliest work in environmental psychology in the Department reflected Terence Lee’s interests in urban planning.

     

    This came about through the research he undertook for his PhD at Cambridge on the concept of neighbourhood following his supervisor, Sir Frederick Bartlett’s interest in schemata. Terence could see from the outset the potential application of psychology to all aspects of the environment, and consequently he attracted to Surrey all the key researchers in the UK who were interested in this area of work, and was instrumental in developing new areas too. In the early years (1970s) there was active research on architecture and housing, forest recreation, museum and heritage education, road planning, and public participation in urban and structure planning, and perceptions and responses to micro-environmental influences such as heating, lighting and noise. The vestiges of these strands of research continued for several decades, some through to the present.

    From the earliest years of the department, the emphasis has been on applied research addressing some of the most important social and environmental questions of the day.  Research in the Department has sought to inform government policy-making from the local to the European levels. It is also a characteristic of the work in environmental psychology to be interdisciplinary. Disciplinary collaboration has been strongest with the architectural, planning and design professions, engineering, geography and environmental sciences, sociology, education and the health sciences. These characteristics were encouraged by Terence and have remained important through to the present day, as will be seen by the type of research undertaken in environmental psychology over the last four decades or more.

    It was Terence’s interest in risk perception during the 1980s’, in response to societal and government concerns about the siting of nuclear power stations and the disposal of nuclear and chemical waste, that formed the foundation of the department’s research on risk.  As a consequence of Terence Lee’s expertise in risk, he was appointed a member of Royal Society Committee on Problems of the Environment, The Royal Society Study Group on Risk Assessment, and the National Radiological Protection Board.  He was also a consultant advising both UNESCO and the IAEA on the social and psychological consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

    This interest and expertise in risk has continued through to the present day and has included research on accidents and safety in domestic settings (Peter Wood), risk and hazards in children’s play spaces (David Uzzell), in the countryside from zoonotic diseases (David Uzzell).  Some of the most influential work was led by David Canter on people’s behaviour in fires and emergency situations – most notably the Kings Cross underground fire (Canter, 1980; Fennell, 1988), and the Inquiry into crowd safety and control at sports grounds (Canter, Comber, & Uzzell, 1989; Popplewell, 1986), and the development of safety cultures in industry.  David Canter and Ian Donald left Surrey in the 1990s and both went on to be Professors of Psychology and Heads of the Department of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, where they are now both Emeritus Professors.

    Mention should also be made of Jonathan Sime, a PhD student, supervised by David Canter, a research fellow and subsequent Associate Lecturer in the Department who was also a notable researcher in the area of behaviour in fires.  Jonathan died in 2001, and the annual Jonathan Sime Award, administered from Surrey by Birgitta Gatersleben, is given to the undergraduate dissertation which a significant contribution to the field of people-environment research; this is a national award open to undergraduates in all psychology departments.

    David Canter, Professor of Applied Psychology, and 3rd Head of Department

    David Canter, Professor of Applied Psychology, and 3rd Head of Department

    It was Terence’s appointment of David Canter that enabled environmental psychology to expand to have both an international teaching and research significance.  David Canter’s early research, sat under the term Architectural Psychology. Not long before joining Surrey as one of Terence’s first appointment he had carried out his PhD on the psychological consequences of open-plan office design. He went on to undertake an evaluation of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, Glasgow (Architect’s Journal 1968). This coincided with his first lectureship appointment as a rare psychologist in a School of Architecture (the Building Performance Research Unit, University of Strathclyde).  Between 1969 – 71 he moved to Tokyo University on a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.  From there he came to Guildford in 1971.

    His background in the application of psychology to architecture perhaps inevitably led to him concentrating on research on hospitals, offices, schools, prisons, housing and other building forms.  A major study of prison buildings for the Home Office included an unusual survey of prisoners’ satisfaction with their prison’s built environment. Some decades later this work was the basis of his expert evidence in cases brought under EU Human Rights legislation by prisoners who claimed they had suffered cruel and unusual punishment in prison.

    David’s applied orientation to research that reached out to ordinary people in their daily lives, rather than students or mental patients as was so common at the time especially in North American research, encouraged David to seek funding from less obvious sources, such as the Alliance Building Society to support a series of studies into why and how people bought the houses they did and how they used the space inside their homes. This was the basis of Jennifer Brown’s PhD. David also developed a widely cited ‘theory of place’ (Canter, 1977) that provided a framework for considering how people relate to and make sense of their physical environment. In 1980, whilst on sabbatical at Berkley, California, he established the Journal of Environmental Psychology, which is now arguably the leading academic journal in the area.

    David built a formidable group of researchers to pursue people-environment studies.  A number of whom are now senior members of universities and consultancies around the world.  His interest in developing analytic tools of value in non-experimental contexts led him to meet Louis Guttman, when they were both on fellowships in Japan in 1970. This encouraged his interest in non-metric, multi-dimensional statistical scaling techniques. This resulted in an invitation to Louis Guttman, to present a series of lectures and workshop for students in Facet Theory and multi-dimensional scaling which was to become a signature feature of Surrey’s analytical approach to data analysis.  Sean Hammond continued this tradition in later years by introducing Correspondence Analysis.

    The expertise in environmental psychology led David Canter to establish the first MSc in Environmental Psychology in the world at Surrey in 1973, one of only two specialist postgraduate programmes – the other being the Doctoral Program at City University New York (CUNY).  It remains the only such Masters’ course in the UK and still one of very few internationally.  Over the 45 years of the course’s history approximately 400 students from over 30 countries, and from many different disciplines – as varied as interior design, landscape architecture, health sciences, geography, the law and of course psychology, have been welcomed onto and have successfully graduated from the course. The MSc course has produced a number of graduates who went on to do PhDs and/or work as professional environmental psychologists, e.g., Clare Twigger-Ross (Environment Agency and Collingwood Environmental Planning Limited, Linda Groat University of Michigan), Dan Iacofano (MIG and Berkeley) to name just a few.

    Peter Stringer

    Peter Stringer

    Other early members of the environmental psychology ‘team’ were Peter Stringer (died 2001), Ian Griffiths (died, 1996) and Stephen Tagg – one of David Canter’s first PhD students at Strathclyde University (who recently retired as Reader in Marketing at the University of Strathclyde, and one of Chris Fife-Schaw’s lecturers when he was at Strathclyde).  Peter Stringer, who had read for a degree in Classics at Oxford, came from the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL.  He was particularly interested in the application of social psychological perspectives to environmental psychology issues and was involved in a major study to advise the Government on the most effective methods to encourage public participation in planning.  Peter eventually left the Department to become Professor and Head of the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, an appointment he was particularly pleased to tell people that required the approval of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Peter’s PhD students included a number of social and environmental psychologist who went on to become well-known names in the field, including, now Professors Jonathan Potter, Fathali Moghaddam and Sue Wilkinson.

    Ian Griffiths had read Psychology as an undergraduate with David Canter in Liverpool and had previously worked with John Langdon at the Government’s Building Research Establishment (BRE) and WS Atkins. He was one of the first psychologists to work on projects related to environmental policy and brought his invaluable experience of the application of psychology in the commercial world.

    It is perhaps noteworthy that two Universities in particular have strong links with Surrey staff: Strathclyde where Glynis Breakwell, David Canter, Harry McGurk, Stephen Tagg, and Chris Fife-Schaw all studied, and where David Uzzell was for a time Visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture.  The second is Liverpool University (David Canter; Sandra Canter, Ian Griffiths; David Uzzell were all alumni).

    David Uzzell

    David Uzzell

    The longest serving member of the Department, David Uzzell came to Surrey in 1974 having graduated in Geography from Liverpool. He worked with Peter Stringer and then Terence Lee in the late 1970s and 80s in the area of public participation in urban and road planning, and environmental risk. In the late 1980s he also worked briefly with David Canter undertaking research for the Popplewell Inquiry into safety at sports grounds. A Watford FC supporter all his life and years of experience of standing on the terraces brought particular ‘ethnographic’ insights into the project! Through the 1980s, David also undertook research on heritage interpretation including the evaluation of visitor learning in museums and interpretive centres.  He developed the concept ‘hot interpretation’, based on Abelson’s concept of ‘hot cognitions’, in which he argued that the interpreted past should be understood not just as a cognitive engagement, but an emotional as well.  These ideas influenced the design of museum exhibits and thinking around the world. This work, along with his writings on collective memory and the effects of time has led to a long-term research and teaching relationship with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.

    In 1990, at the invitation of the then Chair of the ESRC, Professor Howard Newby, David Uzzell gave the first paper by a psychologist in the UK on behaviour change and the public understanding of climate change.  This was the beginning of the Department’s 25-year history of working on the psychology of climate change, and sustainable consumption and production.  The particular contribution and perspective taken by David Uzzell was recognised in 2008 by an invitation to represent the American Psychological Association at the United Nations in New York at the Annual Psychology Day. In 2010, he was invited to give the Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Annual Lecture. David has always been interested in the role of participation and social action by groups and collectives in influencing governments and industry, as well as in transforming themselves.  With his colleague, Professor Nora Räthzel at the University of Umeå, he has been responsible for bringing together academics working in various disciplines in countries across the Global North and South to investigate, under the heading of environmental labour studies, how organised labour and the trade union movement are contributing to the international debate and action on climate change (Räthzel & Uzzell, 2013).

    Birgitta Gatersleben

    Birgitta Gatersleben

    The work on sustainable development was enhanced hugely with the arrival of Birgitta Gatersleben from the University of Grongingen in 1998.  Birgitta came to Surrey as one of the first Surrey Scholars, a new Post-Doc position funded through a scheme initiated by the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Dowling. Birgitta is now a Reader, and Head of the Social and Environmental Section in the School. In addition to work on sustainable consumption, transport and energy use, she has made an important contribution to research on environmental restoration and the therapeutic value of nature and outdoor environments for health and well-being.

    Within the last year, the environmental psychology ‘team’ has been strengthened with the arrival of Kayleigh Wyles as a lecturer, from the University of Plymouth where she has been researching psychological factors in relation to threats facing the marine environment (e.g. microplastics, marine litter, and overfishing), and people’s use and experience of this natural setting. Dr. Chris Jones recently joined the School from the University of Sheffield, where he brings his interests and expertise in assessing attitudes and behaviour towards established and emerging supply and demand side energy technologies options (e.g. nuclear power, wind power, carbon dioxide storage and utilisation, smart metering), and assessing the factors that facilitate and inhibit action on environmental issues and the promotion of more sustainable lifestyles.

    Canter, D. V. (1977). The psychology of place. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
    Canter, D. V. (1980). Fires and human behaviour. John Wiley & Sons.
    Canter, D. V., Comber, M., & Uzzell, D. L. (1989). Football in its place: an environmental psychology of football grounds. London: Routledge.
    Fennell, D. (1988). Investigation into the King’s Cross Underground fire: presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Transport by command of Her Majesty, November 1988. London: H.M.S.O.
    Popplewell, O. (1986). Committee of inquiry into crowd safety and control at sports grounds: Final report. HM Stationery Office.
    Räthzel, N., & Uzzell, D. (2013). Trade Unions in the Green Economy: Working for the Environment. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/715194/

  • In 1986 David Canter was asked to assist a major police investigation into a number of rapes and murders around London. One had been the horrific killing of a 15-year-old Dutch girl, Maartje Tamboezer. She had been found raped and murdered in Surrey woodland close to the railway in West Horsley in April 1986. The Surrey Police were therefore put in charge of this large-scale investigation.  A Surrey clinical psychology student Lorraine Nanke, working with David on the study of alternative medicine, (she later took up a senior teaching and research role at the British School of Osteopathy). Lorraine had met senior police officers from Scotland Yard in discussions about helping alcoholics arrested by the police.  These police officers were curious about the possibility of psychologists contributing to police investigations.

    Lorraine introduced David to the investigation team and the man in charge of the investigation into the rapes and murders, Detective Chief Superintendent Vince McFadden of the Surrey Police asked David to help. In doing so David produced what was in effect the first, systematic, empirically based, offender profile to be used by the police. (He was predated by a clinical assessment of Jack the Ripper by the queen’s physician, Dr Thomas Bond, who had penned a portrait of Jack in Ripper in 1888.) The police approached David because of his earlier work (with Jonathan Sime and John Breux) on human behaviour in buildings on fire and other emergencies, funded for a decade by the Fire Research Station.

    These studies of emergencies had led him to work with police statements taken when there was a fatality in a fire. It had also made him a member of the Popplewell Enquiry into the fire at Bradford City Football ground. That work was presented in his book with David Uzzell and Miriam Comber Football in Its place (1989). David also contributed to the Taylor Enquiry following other football related disasters. He was therefore well placed to work with the police on the rapes and murders. He brought to this his experience of studying people in everyday settings. This included a robust research methodology that allowed him to find patterns in police data of which they were not aware.  He also brought his background in studying people’s use of places, overviewed initially in his seminal book The Psychology of Place (1977), to consider the locations of the crimes and how they may indicate the familiarity of the killer.   This approach which he subsequently developed, became known as ‘Geographical Offender Profiling’ reviewed in David’s popular book Mapping Murder (2003) and the six-part TV documentary series of the same name (now available as a box set) that he wrote, presented and helped produce.

    Up until that point Forensic Psychology had been mainly an area for Clinical Psychologists working with patients sent to them through the courts. They focussed on such issues as ‘fitness to plead’ and whether a defendant had any mental problems. Surrey had been at the forefront of this area of clinical psychology because of the work of Professor Lionel Haward, appointed in the 1970’s to a chair in Surrey, who was the father of forensic psychology in the UK, writing the first overview book of the field and giving expert evidence in many important legal cases. He was supported by his colleague Iraj Motahedin, who established the effective use of forensic hypnosis for interviewing witnesses. One of Lionel’s students at Surrey was Gisli Gudjonnssen who followed up the work of his later associate Hans Eysenck, to develop a test of suggestibility that was used in many court cases to support the defendant’s claim that his confession was false.

    Against this background, with the support of Lionel and Iraj, David was encouraged to contribute to the police request for what was then becoming known as an ‘offender profile’.  In doing this he brought a rather different perspective than the then dominant clinical one, that regarded criminals as mentally disturbed in some way. Instead David regarded them as carrying out actions that could be understood like those of other people even though their reasons (or ‘motivations’) may be difficult to fathom.

    Professor David Canter while making the TV documentary Mapping Murder

    This approach enabled David to propose a number of likely traits of the man who carried out the rapes and murders. These contributed to the arrest and conviction of John Duffy dubbed ‘the railway rapist’.  David was subsequently involved in a number of investigations, such as a double murder on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Footpath; details of these appeared in this book Criminal Shadows (Canter, 1994) and also featured in a six part TV series for Channel 5, Mapping Murder (subsequently published as a book in 2003),which he co-produced, wrote and presented.

    It was quite clear that David’s expertise in environmental psychology was a major factor in some of the early analytical tools developed in investigative psychology. The success of his contribution to the major police enquiry and his awareness that there were many areas of psychology that could contribute to many forms of investigation led him to describe and name a new area of psychology he termed Investigative Psychology.  This overlaps with many aspects of Forensic Psychology in general, but has its own distinct set of issues. It is now a recognised chapter in books of Forensic Psychology or more general books of Crime Psychology. David set up the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling which is now well established with a high impact rating. MSc courses in Investigative Psychology often combined with more general Forensic Psychology now exist in a number of universities.

    A police constable, Rupert Heritage, had assisted David in developing his recommendations for the investigation into the railway rapes and murders. Rupert was so impressed with the results that he enrolled on an MPhil with David as his supervisor. The result of his studies led Surrey Police to enable Rupert to establish a database ‘Badman’ of violent crime that was used to assist many investigations.  This was eventually transferred to the Police College at Bramshill and the establishment of a professional cadre of behavioural investigative advisors (BIAs).  Two Surrey alumni are still associated with the quality assurance of the BIAs, Professors Gisli Gudjonnsson and Jennifer Brown, and the Assistant Chief Constable of Hampshire, John Stevens.  John Stevens became the chair of a newly established Association of Chief Police Officers’ Sub-Committee on Offender Profiling.  This group played a key role in professionalising offender profiling and establishing a permanent capability for the UK police service to draw upon.  Jennifer was later to work with Lord Stevens on the Independent Commission into the future of Policing.

    Jennifer Brown, Professor of Forensic Psychology, and 7th Head of Department

    David established the MSc in Investigative Psychology in 1990, when he was Head of Department. A year later he moved to his alma mater, Liverpool University to take up the Chair of Psychology  and establish an MSc and PhD programme in Investigative Psychology there. The MSc course at Surrey was taken over by Robert Edelman who convened the first MSc in Forensic Psychology in the UK.  Jennifer Brown, who had been one of David Canter’s PhD students and had worked in the Department in the 1980s as an environmental psychologist with Terence Lee on issues of environmental risk, returned to Surrey in the early 2000’s after her position as Research Manager for Hampshire Constabulary.  She became the Course Director for the MSc in Forensic Psychology and consolidated its links with Broadmoor Hospital.  She subsequently became Head of Department in 2005.  Her research focussed on police occupational culture (Brown & Campbell, 2010) especially with reference to stress experienced by officers, sexual harassment (working with Chris Fife Schaw and Elizabeth Campbell) and diversity particularly women’s role and coping strategies.  With Elizabeth and Chris she conducted the first major study of stress in policing as well as the first detailed investigation into the discrimination and harassment of women officers.  While at Surrey, Jennifer also held a major research grant to evaluate Dovegate Prison, the first purpose-built therapeutic community prison of its kind in the UK in order to acquire an evidential base to support investment into prison-based therapeutic communities.  Findings are published in a book What works in therapeutic prisons (Brown, Miller, Northey, & O’Neill, 2014) written by Jennifer and three of the researchers most closely associated with the project.

    Jennifer left Surrey in 2008, and was appointed the Co-Director of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology in the Department of Social Policy at the LSE, publishing a new text on Forensic Psychology (Brown, 2015).  Kevin Browne also taught on the Forensic Psychology course, before moving to Leicester, Birmingham and Liverpool and now finally at Nottingham where he is Chair of Forensic Psychology and Child Health, and then became Head of the Institute for Work, Health & Organisations (I-WHO). Another ex-environmental psychologist who had worked with David Canter, Margaret Wilson, also returned to Surrey to teach on the MSc course.  When Jennifer left Surrey in 2008, the MSc in Forensic Psychology closed, and so came to an end two decades of teaching and research in this area.

    Particular thanks to David Canter who contributed to this chapter.

     

     

  • Developmental Psychology is another branch of psychology that has been an active area of research in the Department since the earliest days.  

    Harry McGurk was the first developmental psychologist to be appointed, joining the Department in 1979.  Harry’s background was more unconventional than many who have come into the Department.  After training at the University of Glasgow, Harry became a probation officer in Edinburgh, but then moved to West Africa with his wife who was working for a Church of Scotland mission in Nigeria. Harry became involved with the management of a school and hospital, and the African experience had a lasting effect on his views.  On his return to the UK, Harry studied psychology at the University of Strathclyde, gaining a BA, MSc, and a PhD for his work on infant perception.  This was followed by a period as a Research Fellow at Princeton, before he came to Surrey in 1972 as a lecturer in child development.  In 1976 he, together with his PhD student John MacDonald, published a paper in Nature (hearing lips and seeing voices, 264, pp746-748) describing the ‘McGurk’ effect.  This was the report of a previously unrecognised influence of vision upon speech perception.  It had come about as an accident in which a video of a person repeating syllables was wrongly dubbed such that the viewer misheard the sound because they were also responding to visual cues.  Harry left Surrey as Professor of Developmental Psychology in 1990 to take up the Post of Director of the Thomas Coram Research Foundation at the University of London.  Harry died in 1998 in Australia having emigrated to take up the post of Director of the Institute of Family Studies at the University of Melbourne.

    One of Harry McGurk’s first PhD students was Peter Blatchford who, having been awarded his PhD from Surrey moved to the Thomas Coram Research Unit to study pupil progress in inner London schools.  Since 1989 he has been based at the UCL Institute of Education (in the Department of Psychology and Human Development) where he has built an international reputation for his research on social development processes in school settings.

    Alyson Davis was appointed to a lectureship in developmental psychology in the early 1990s, and was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader during her time at Surrey. Alyson was a well-known and widely respected figure in the field of experimental child psychology. She worked on children’s drawings, the development of mathematics, and the educational implications of contemporary understandings of children’s cognitive development. Alyson left the Department in 2009, to work for the Open University.

    The teaching in the Department in developmental psychology was further strengthened in the early 1990s by the appointment of Martyn Barrett as Reader in 1993, promoted to Professor in 1996. Martyn had studied Experimental Psychology at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and subsequently undertook his DPhil at the University of Sussex where he focused on early language development. He initially worked at Roehampton Institute and then at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, but by the time he joined the Surrey Department, his interests were shifting away from child language towards developmental social psychology, and he soon formed a very productive collaboration with the social psychologists in the Department, especially Evanthia Lyons. This collaboration resulted in a succession of three major research grants from the European Commission. The first two of these (the so-called CHOONGE and NERID projects) examined the development of national, ethnolinguistic and religious identities and attitudes during childhood and adolescence. This work was undertaken together with partners in Scotland, Spain, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The third EC grant was awarded for a large multidisciplinary project (the PIDOP project) which investigated political and civic engagement among youth, women, minorities and migrants in nine European countries – Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

    Martyn edited the British Psychological Society’s flagship journal in developmental psychology, the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, for a six-year period from 2003-9. In addition, his multidisciplinary interests led him to co-found the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM) together with colleagues from the Departments of Politics and Sociology at Surrey and the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Roehampton. This was a lively multidisciplinary research centre which began operating in 2004, drawing on psychology, politics, sociology and anthropology. CRONEM attracted research grants from bodies such as the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. CRONEM’s operations were wound up in 2012, when all the leading academic staff who were running the centre (Martyn Barrett, Chris Flood and John Eade) retired.

    Martyn’s interests eventually led him to undertake work for the Education Department of the Council of Europe, inputting concepts from developmental psychology into the design of educational materials and using evidence from developmental and social psychology to inform European policy on intercultural education and citizenship education. He took early retirement from his academic post in 2012, when he was appointed to the honorary position of Emeritus Professor, to concentrate on his work for the Council of Europe. He is currently leading a flagship Council of Europe project entitled ‘Competences for Democratic Culture’. This project is developing a European framework of reference of the competences that citizens require for participating in democratic culture and intercultural dialogue, and it will provide detailed recommendations and guidelines for European ministries of education on how all levels of formal education, from pre-school through to higher education, can be harnessed for the preparation of pupils and students for life as competent democratic citizens. The framework was endorsed by the Education Ministers from 50 European states at a ministerial conference in 2016, who called on the Council of Europe to assist the member states in implementing the framework in their national education systems.

    The next appointment to the Department in the field of developmental psychology took place when Alison Pike was appointed to a lectureship. She had just completed her PhD on children’s social development at the Institute of Psychiatry, where she worked with Judy Dunn and Robert Plomin. Alison’s speciality was using behaviour genetics to study adolescent siblings to disentangle genetic and environmental effects on their social development. However, her interests soon branched out into all aspects of social development and family relationships. Her work adopted a family systems approach, which examines the interdependence of relations among family members as well as the broader contexts of work, school, neighbourhood and culture. Alison left Surrey to move to the University of Sussex in the mid 2000s.

    Meenakshi Menon was appointed to a lectureship in developmental psychology in 2008. She worked on social and personality development from middle childhood to early adolescence, focusing on three main aspects of children’s development: their self-perceived gender identity, their self-concept, and their close relationship styles. Meenakshi left the Department to take up a post at the University of Maine at Farmington in the USA in 2011.

     

     

    The Surrey BabyLab

    The Surrey Baby Lab was set up by Anna Franklin in 2000 to investigate how babies and toddlers see colour. Anna came to Surrey as a PhD student in 1997, working alongside Professor Ian Davies. Following her PhD Anna progressed as a research fellow and then a Lecturer through to Reader. Anna is now a Professor in Psychology at the University of Sussex, and leads the Sussex Colour Group and the Sussex Baby Lab. Her research has received international acclaim and she is one of the leading researchers in the field of infant colour perception and cognition.

    The Surrey Baby Lab is now run by Alexandra Grandison.  Ally originally joined the Surrey Baby Lab team in 2002 as an Undergraduate placement student, working alongside Anna and Professor Ian Davies After graduating from the University of Bath with first class honours, she returned to Surrey to work as a research assistant and study for a PhD. During this time Ally conducted research investigating the nature and development of colour categories, which led her to securing a lectureship in 2010. Ally is now a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology and has taken over as the Director of the Surrey Baby Lab. Her research continues to explore aspects of colour perception in infancy and early childhood such as colour preference, colour associations, colour term acquisition and colour salience.

    The work of the Surrey Baby Lab has frequently been featured in the mainstream media and Ally and her team regularly contribute to magazine articles, radio and

    television programmes and a range of public engagement events and activities ensuring that the research of the lab has

    both theoretical and applied impact.

Research highlights

Eating ‘on the go’ could lead to weight gain, new research finds

Researchers from the University of Surrey have found dieters who eat ‘on the go’ may increase their food intake later in the day which could lead to weight gain and obesity. 

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Labels on the front of food packaging can enable healthier choices, new research finds

A team of researchers led by the University of Surrey, has found that front of package nutrition labels can enable consumers to make healthier food choices.

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Latest news

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Prof David Uzzell evidence to the Commission for the Study of Climate Change in Spain

On 30 November 2017 in Madrid, Prof David Uzzell gave evidence to the Commission for the Study of Climate Change of the Congress of Deputies of the Spanish Parliament. He was asked to discuss future legislative measures on climate change and energy transitions.  This was attended by members of all the Spanish political parties.

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Recent History of Lesbian and Gay Psychology: From Homophobia to LGBT

Peter Hegarty's ground-breaking new book has recently been published.

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Jonathan Sime Winners Announced

Robert Hickman, from the School of Psychology, Cardiff University has won this year’s prestigious Jonathan Sime Award.

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