I am a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist and Professor of Psychology. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Stirling, my MSc at the University of Strathclyde and then my PhD at the University of West of Scotland in 2007. My PhD was on the topic of social psychology and substance use, looking particularly at misperceptions of peer norms. Following this I worked on an AERC funded post-doc position at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before moving onto a lecturing post at the University of Bradford in 2008. I joined the Department of Psychology here at Bournemouth in 2014. I lead the Cyberpsychology research group, and are Programme Leader for the BSc Cyberpsychology degree. Outside of the University I act as a Trustee for the Gordon Moody Association, which provides treatment for individuals with problem gambling.
My research focuses on social psychological aspects of behaviour change, and how this is informed by group dynamics and perceptions of peer behaviour. I have been extensively involved in the development of the social norms approach in the UK, which aims to bring about positive change through challenging misconceptions and negative stereotypes. I am particularly interested in applying this research to areas that involve risk based decision making.
Since joining Bournemouth University I have also been working with colleagues from the Department of Computing on several aspects of socio-technical systems. This includes exploring how social psychology research may be used to better understand the role of human factors in cybercrime, hacktivism and online social protest; as well as how system may be designed to address the potential psychological factors associated with excessive use of digital technologies (i.e. digital addiction). I also conduct research on problematic gambling and how this can be addressed with the help of technology to detect, predict, prevent and intervene with harmful gambling behaviours. More broadly I am interested in how socio-technical systems transform and enhance social processes, including for example issues such as the spread of fake news.
A common element of all of my research activity is engagement with stakeholders to ensure that real-world benefits are achieved. This includes industry, charities and Government organisations.