Department of Psychology


Psychology, the interdisciplinary study of mind and behaviour, seeks to objectively explore how and why people behave the way they do. At Liverpool Hope, the psychology staff are a vibrant, supportive and dynamic academic community. We are all research active, regularly publishing in peer reviewed journals. We also use our research to inform our teaching in several core disciplines such as developmental, forensic, personality, social, evolutionary, cognitive, political and clinical psychology. By joining us, you will engage in a scientific career supported by an enthusiastic team and will learn to use the cutting-edge, professional equipment (EEG, Eye tracker) housed in our numerous laboratories. We are student focused and feedback from student surveys frequently highlights how accessible and approachable we are, especially compared to larger universities.

All our degree programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS); and successful completion of our programmes confers eligibility for Graduate Basis of Chartered Membership (GBC). This professional accreditation will give you access to the postgraduate training courses of the BPS and will be your first major step in becoming a professional psychologist. The single honours course offers a flexible range of seminar options, allowing you to focus on the topics you enjoy or find more relevant to your prospective career path. There are also a wide range of combined degree programmes in which you can study the core psychological topics, along with your other chosen subject, and still qualify for graduate registration with the BPS.


Members of the department of Psychology

As a Liverpool Hope psychology student you will be able to follow your own area of interests and conduct you own research studies. All academic staff are engaged in supervising and supporting the research activities of psychology students and are on hand to offer advice and support as you develop your projects.  If you wish, you also have the option of actively assisting in the research undertaken by members of staff. Current research undertaken at Liverpool Hope encompasses a wide array of interesting concepts and theories - utilising traditional or innovative approaches and various methodologies across the whole department - from undergraduates to professors. The broad range of sub-disciplines within Psychology is reflected in the diverse departmental research interests and our performance is mirrored in our scientific publications.

Psychology has a major impact on society in many aspects of public life, including health, education, occupation, economy and justice.  That is why studying psychology influences the person at two levels. On a personal level, studying psychology is immensely rewarding as it deals with the fundamental question of what it is that makes us who we are. On a professional level it provides highly marketable skills such as problem definition and project planning, statistical and inferential analysis, information synthesis, methodological rigour, complementary teamwork and effective communication.


  Undergraduate Postgraduate
Subject BSc Psychology MSc Psychology
  BSc Sport Psychology MSc Research Methods


For further information about the courses available, or any questions concerning the application process, please contact the student recruitment team:

Student Recruitment

Phone: +44 (0) 151 291 3111



Prof Michael Ziessler - Head of Department

Location: HCA EW 018

Phone: +44  (0) 151 291 3882


Pauline Bray – Psychology Department Administrator

Office hours – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Location: HCA EW 019

Phone: +44 (0) 0151 291 3418


The professional research interests of the faculty members reflect the diverse and interdisciplinary nature of scientific psychological inquiry. Quantitative and qualitative research methods are employed to explore psychological processes from a variety of perspectives including cognitive, evolutionary, developmental, biological and social.

You can see a list of all the publications published by the Psychology department in the Psychology Publications document or you can read about the areas of research interest below. 

Motor behaviour, vision, memory and other low-level processes

Central aspects of our cognition such as memory, perception, emotion, and attention are researched extensively in the department from a cognitive perspective. For example, the assumption that the necessities and demands set by the control of behaviour determine many low level processes is the basis behind Prof Michael Ziessler’s research into motor actions and control. His work with Dr Neil Harrison concerning motor behaviour has shown that our cognitive system learns via anticipation of effects. The effect of emotional stimuli on cognition, specifically how spatial attention is modulated by emotional information, and multisensory integration (how the brain integrates conflicting auditory and visual information) is also researched by Dr Harrison along with the associated topic of how salient cues in the environment direct our attention. Decoding of emotions from facial expressions is also investigated by Prof Galina Paramei.

In a related field Dr Sue Aitken is interested in the area of adaptive memory, particularly location memory and whether people remember adaptively relevant stimuli in the environment better than less relevant stimuli. Along with colleague Dr Dan Clark, who is interested in how multiple memory representations interact to influence recall accuracy in spatial long term memory, Dr Aitken is currently working on a survival processing study looking at location memory for food and predators in different survival scenarios.

Dr Philippe Chassy is interested in how perception and memory contribute to expertise, intuition and numerical cognition (the cognitive, developmental and neural bases of numbers and mathematics). Also interested in memory processes is Dr Davide Bruno whose main research areas are episodic memory, metacognition, emotion and cognitive/brain aging, including dementia.

The effects of aging are studied also by Professor Galina Paramei is an expert in visual perception. In the Colour Lab, modern computer-based tools are used for diagnostics of colour vision, including congenital or acquired colour vision abnormality. Currently she is investigating the decline of chromatic discrimination throughout the lifespan. In addition, she investigates  colour cognition (naming and categorisation)in cross-cultural studies.

 Additional departmental research into the field of vision is conducted by Dr Simon Davies who has studied visual short term memory (VSTM), in particular the nature of the representations that are supported and maintained in VSTM  which integrates with his research into visual perception and the nature of perceptual completion. Visual memory is also considered to be important in the development of early writing skills and Dr Lorna Bourke is currently researching this area in an extension to her work on the role of working memory and reading in explaining individual differences in the progress young children make in writing.

Dr Rosanna Cousins is a member of the TONiC research project (Trajectories of Outcomes in Neurological Illness) based at the Centre for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Liverpool. Her current work on face perception in Parkinson's Disease focuses on the role of configural processing in the recognition of emotional expressions. Dr Cousins' research also focuses on promoting psychological health in neurological illness, recognising the influence of caregiving variables, as well as patient variables on outcomes for both.

Decision making, problem solving, discursive reasoning and other high-level processes

In the area of learning and pedagogy Dr Cathal O’Siochru researches the factors that can influence the studies of undergraduates such as such as personal epistemological beliefs, approaches to learning and perceptions about feedback. Personal beliefs and perceptions also feature predominantly in studies examining the topic of mate choice and Dr Aitken has researched the link between male Machiavellianism (manipulativeness) and female mate choice. Dr Minna Lyons has also researched Machiavellianism and the other components of the Dark Triad (psychopathy and narcissism) in a number of personality studies dealing with attachment styles, empathy, friendship formation and lie detection.  

From an evolutionary perspective, decision making processes and individual differences in personality and behaviour are studied by Dr Lyons with particular reference to Life History Theory (the theory that life events are shaped by natural selection to produce the maximum amount of surviving offspring). Dr Aitken also researches adaptive traits and is currently working on a project looking at response times to decisions about food, predator and neutral pictures following emotive pictures, and the relationship to score on the autism quotient in order to investigate the theory that autism may have adaptive value as the ability to be unaffected by the emotions of others may aide survival.


Social, cultural, political and other inter-individual processes

Organizational processes and issues, health and well-being, and learning and teaching pedagogy are the research interests of Dr Sal Watt who takes a social constructionist perspective.  In collaboration with Dr Wakefield, Sal is currently engaged in research looking at the psycho-social and socio-economic issues that underlie lifestyle choices around exercise and diet motivation. Also examining the effects of socio-economic issues on behaviour is Dr Lyons who is researching the ultimate and proximate aspects of inequality, poverty and subjective social status. Specific research into health and well-being is conducted by Dr Jane McCagh whose main areas of interest are clinical and neuropsychology with particular emphasis on social cognition in clinical samples. Dr McCagh has previously researched socio cognitive processes in relation to social functioning in patients with focal epilepsy.

Over the next few years the Journal of Moral Education Trust aims to offer scholars an opportunity to further their research. The project budget is up to £50,000. Please contact Prof Neil Ferguson for budget and administrative queries. The complete call is available here: Call Journal of Moral Education.

Social identity is a prominent area of research in social psychology and lecturer Mrs Julienne McGeough researches this area in online learning situations amongst online support groups. Social identity is a major research interest of Dr Eve Binks whose work also focuses on the psychology of religion – including the use of religion as a coping mechanism - and the psychological impact of impact of exposure to traumatic events. She has carried out research with migrant groups assessing the identities, religious beliefs and practices, and traumatic experiences of these groups. Dr Eve Binks also collaborates with Prof Neil Ferguson on research in these areas. The impact of political violence, especially on children, has been researched by Prof Neil Ferguson whose work also encompasses moral development, peace building and challenging violence with particular focus on conflict, division and the peace process in Northern Ireland.  Dr Lorna Bourke also investigates the prosocial and personality factors that encourage people to take active citizenship within a social justice framework.  This supports the University’s main citizenship programme, the Service and Leadership Award and the charitable work of Global Hope.  Dr Lorna Bourke and Dr Simon Davies have the unique opportunity to conduct ethnographic research on the development of identity with the Tibetan diaspora in India. They are completing this project in conjunction with the World Museum in Liverpool who will be holding a major exhibition of Tibetan art in 2015.


The department offers both a single honours course (BSc) and a range of combined honours courses (BA & BSc depending on the combined subject) in Psychology and a single honours (Sc.) Sports Psychology course. All courses take three years full-time study (part-time study is also available) and feature a comprehensive and diverse range of topics which explore all aspects of mind and behaviour. For example, cognitive (thinking processes) and biological perspectives are taught alongside areas such as social and evolutionary psychology in order to provide a balanced and extensive understanding of how psychology is researched and applied.  All courses, single and combined honours, are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) which means that successful completion confers eligibility for graduate membership. The Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) is an entry requirement for all Society accredited postgraduate training courses and is also required to work towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Critical thinking and effective research skills are a very important component of our degree programmes. The ability to critically evaluate and apply the theories and claims which arise from psychological research is encouraged and developed throughout the course. One of the aims of this development is help you arrive at the point where you are capable and confident enough to independently undertake your own empirical research project in your third year. A scientific training in psychology is thus an invaluable asset on the job market today.


BSc in Psychology (3 years)

By undertaking psychology with us, you will see a wide range of disciplines that combine to explain human behaviour. Hereafter is a sample of what you will learn.

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Individual Differences
  • Political Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Psychology and Education.

The course directly links educational theory to practice within the school classroom and the professional area of educational psychology. Topics include typical child development and achievement on curriculum based subjects such as reading and writing as well as atypical development including dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADD. There are timetabled opportunities to discuss the notions of inclusion. The course also focuses on the social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (e.g. autism, bullying and school phobia) that children face and which can impede their academic progress. It includes a critical review of theories of education thus providing you with the opportunity to add to a broader understanding of this area.

You will access first class equipment and receive training in a wide range of methods so as to investigate psychological reality.  We have an EEG that enables the scientist to monitor the brain’s activity in real time. One of our labs hosts an eye-tracker permitting the investigation of perceptual processes. With respect to social, developmental and clinical psychology we have an observation suite that enables watching and recording individuals while they interact or undergo psychological testing.


Postgraduate courses

Psychology (MSc) – 12 months full time or 24 months part time

This is a conversion course for graduates from other subjects or Psychology graduates who completed a course elsewhere that did not have British Psychological Society accreditation. This course enables students to attain Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and therefore apply for accredited Psychology postgraduate training courses. The course covers the key topics of Psychology such as Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Personality and Individual Differences while at the same time underpinning these topics with research carried out in the Department. It has a strong component of Research Methods and Statistics which enables the successful candidates to design and conduct research not only in Psychology but also in other areas of social sciences.


Research Methods (MSc) – 12 months full time

This course provides excellent academic and practical training in quantitative and qualitative research methods and provides a foundation for graduates in Psychology or Health/Biomedical Sciences who want to progress to PhD studies. The MSc Research Methods can act as a bridge between taught degrees and the intensive philosophical, theoretical and practical research skills needed at doctorate level as it gives the opportunity to produce original academic research. It also stands alone as an internationally recognised qualification for students who, instead of choosing PhD studies, wish to pursue research careers in government, public sector, independent organisations, academic institutions or research centres. 


Our courses:

  Undergraduate Postgraduate
Subject BSc Psychology MSc Psychology
  BSc Sport Psychology MSc Research Methods



Why Liverpool Hope University?

We have been praised by the British Psychological Society for the support we give students, as well as the range of courses available. We also achieved a high rating from the Quality Assurance Agency for our provision of up-to-date research-led teaching. The Psychology team is enthusiastic and will provide high quality academic and pastoral support.

We offer many opportunities to become involved in extra-curricular activities within and outside of the department, such as: 

  • Participating in current research studies led by departmental staff
  • There is a guest speaker series to enable students to listen to recent research in psychology 
  • Why not also join the Psychology Society, which is recognised by the BPS?  This is student-led but supported by a member of the Psychology staff
  • Students can become actively engaged in making a difference to the learning experience of their fellow students by becoming a representative for their current year on the Staff Student Liaison Committee 
  • There are many societies run through the Students’ Union which we recommend you think about joining
  • Psychology students also have the opportunity to participate in the Service and Leadership Award scheme, which provides students with leadership training and volunteering opportunities. Global Hope, which is a charitable organisation based at Liverpool Hope, aims to deliver high quality teacher training programmes, and students on the Service and Leadership award can volunteer in schools in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Brazil.  The charity works closely with SOS Children’s Villages.


What is Psychology?

Psychology is a fascinating subject and can be defined as the study of mind and behaviour in people and animals.  The study of psychology involves the use of scientific methods to systematically investigate the processes of the mind (eg thoughts and emotions) and to analyse behaviour. The BA/BSc Combined Hons programme confers eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) needed to enter postgraduate professional training (conditions are necessarily attached for unit choices for GBC).  


Will I be able to specialise in Psychology?

Yes – we offer a BSc Single (Hons) in Psychology course.  In addition, for those students who are registered for BA/BSc Combined (Hons) we offer the flexibility to major in Psychology from Year Two (i.e. take ¾ units in Psychology).  In Year Three it is possible for all students to 100% major in Psychology (i.e. take all units in Psychology).  There are many topics to choose from, including: Psychology and Criminal Behaviour; Counselling Psychology: Theory and Applications; Human Development, Personality and Individual Differences; Perspectives on Clinical Disorders; Social and Political Psychology, Parapsychology; Anomalistic Psychology; Anthrozoology; Psychology of Health and Disability; Psychology of Education and Adult Learning (the non-compulsory for BPS units are subject to availability). 


How will I be taught?

As you would expect from a University that has its roots in teacher training we are at the forefront of delivering courses using innovative teaching practices. Learning will be facilitated through lectures, seminars, workshops based in laboratories, group work and independent study time. Consistently, decisions we make regarding the implementation of learning, teaching and assessment strategies are research led from within our Department. 

Projects that have informed our teaching and learning strategy include: student expectations of, and adaptation to, Higher Education; encouraging students to become more effective learners: essay writing; assessment; course evaluation; disability theory and the experiences of disabled students in Higher Education; development of critical thinking skills; transferable skills; reasons why some students opt to plagiarise; development, management and usage of virtual learning environments.  Earlier this year we were successful in a collaborative bid to receive funding (£3.1M) from the Government to set up a Centre of Excellence for Scientific Literacy here and at another university.


Employment prospects

Students who complete the GBC (see above) route through their studies will be eligible for further training with a view to becoming a professional psychologist in areas such as: Forensic, Clinical, Occupational, Counselling, Health and Education (for Education they have to make sure they do 50% of a national curriculum subject, will need to do a PGCE and teach for two years minimum).

A psychology degree is attractive to more employers because of its unique combination of humanities and science. For those who complete GBC and those who do not there are a wide variety of occupations in for example, Human Resource Management, Probation Services, Management, Social Work, Social Research, Marketing and Education.





0260 Prof Michael Ziessler

Professor Michael Ziessler 

Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Head of Department

Attention, Perception, Motor Control, Concept Formation, Implicit Learning


0151 291 3882


 0005 Ms Sue Aitken

Dr Sue Aitken


Personality, Cognitive & Evolutionary Psychology


0151 291 3454


 0021 Dr Eve Binks

Dr Eve Binks

Senior Lecturer

Social, Political & Cultural Psychology


0151 291 3814


 0028 Dr Lorna Bourke

Dr Lorna Bourke

Senior Lecturer

Working & Visual Memory, Cognitive & Developmental Psychology


0151 291 3077


 Dr Davide Bruno

Dr Davide Bruno


Neuroscience, Emotion, Dementia, Depression, Cognitive Psychology


0151 291 3832


 0045 Dr Phillipe Chassy

Dr Philippe Chassy 


Emotion, Perception, Memory, Intuition, Expertise, Cognitive Psychology


0151 291 3508

0051 Dr Daniel Clarke

 Dr Dan Clark 


 Memory, Cognitive Psychology, Memory for Object Location


 0151 291 3820 

 Dr Cousins

Dr Rosanna Cousins

Associate Professor of Health Psychology

Neurological illness, Health, Parkinson


0151 291 3178

 0064 Dr Simon Davies

Dr Simon Davies


Visual Short Term Memory, Visual Perception, Cognitive Psychology


0151 291 3049

 0075 Dr Neil Ferguson

Prof Neil Ferguson

Professor in Psychology

Moral Development, Political & Social Psychology


0151 291 3754

 0094 Dr Neil Harrison

Dr Neil Harrison 

Lecturer in Psychology

Perception, Emotion, Attention, Cognitive Neuroscience


0151 291 3504

 ‌Prof Joachim Hoffmann

Professor Joachim Hoffman

Professorial Fellow - Cognitive Psychology

 0131 Dr Minna Lyons

Dr Minna Lyons 


Evolutionary Psychology, Individual Differences, Personality


0151 291 3907

 0140 Dr Jane McCagh

Dr Jane McCagh 


Clinical, Health & Neuropsychology


0151 291 3518

 0144 Ms Julienne McGeough

Julienne McGeough 


Personality, Social Identity Theory, Social Psychology


0151 291 3072

 0174 Dr Cathal 0'Siochru

Dr Cathal O'Siochru

Senior Lecturer

Educational & Social Psychology


0151 291 3254

 Prof Galina Paremei

Professor Galina Paramei

Professor in Psychology

Colour Vision, Face Perception, Colour Discrimination


0151 291 3534

0247 Dr Sal Watt

Dr Sal Watt

Lecturer in Psychology

Social, Organisational & Cultural Psychology


0151 291 3644