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Dr Sue Aitken

0151 291 3454

I obtained my doctorate in November last year in Cognitive Psychology, specifically in Conjunction Memory.  I found that for colour-form and pattern-form feature conjunctions, stimuli can be automatically encoded and retained in memory without the intention to do so, but only with repetition of stimuli and when the features were both perceived to be part of the same object.  However, this was not the case for brightness-form conjunctions.  I suggested that this may be because brightness is a less reliable cue to objectness than colour or pattern.  I have a first class honours degree in Psychology from The University of Liverpool, and a 2(i) in Biochemistry from Sheffield University.

 My research has looked at personality, such as the Dark Triad of personality traits consisting of Machiavellianism, Narcissism and psychopathy, and how this impacts on female mate choice and friendships.  I have published in both these areas.  This is an aspect of Darwinian medicine i.e. the application of evolutionary principles to physical and mental health issues.  I am currently working on a project looking at the usefulness of being higher on the autistic spectrum for some tasks. I have had papers published on Machiavellianism and friendship and Machiavellianism and mate choice and am ready to submit a further paper in this area.  I have also had a paper accepted on the advantages of psychopathy in the car sales environment.  I have recently begun to develop experiments in the area of adaptive memory, particularly adaptive location memory, where we are looking to see if people remember the location of predators and food better than the location of less adaptively relevant stimuli such as chairs or tables.

 My tutoring includes running the Applied Psychology element at Hope Park and co-running the Evolutionary Psychology element.  I will be running the Psychopathology element in the second Semester.  I also contribute to first and second year statistical teaching, and have a full complement of dissertation students.