Surrey Psychology Blog

The blog of the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey

Research Seminar: 7 March 2017

Bullying Immigrant versus Non-Immigrant Peers:
Moral Disengagement and Participant Roles in the two Contexts

Young people with migration experiences constitute an increasing number of students in many European schools. To foster social cohesion and to prevent potential intergroup tensions in schools, it is of high importance to better understand the complexities of bullying episodes in immigrant contexts. Bandura’s cognitive theory of moral agency (1999, 2002) offers a promising framework to study this topic.

Although most young people evaluate bullying and social exclusion of ethnic or national minority peers as wrong, self-justification processes might allow them to morally disengage and to perform a behaviour which is in contrast with their moral standards. Yet, no study to date investigated whether these self-justification processes differ in hypothetical bullying situations of a newcomer peer depending on his or her immigrant status.

Research Seminar: 21 February 2017

Using food to soothe
Attachment orientation and overeating

Several studies report a relationship between body mass index (BMI) and disinhibited eating (a failure to restrict intake and to overeat). However, the aetiology of disinhibited eating is not well understood. In a series of studies, we considered a role for ‘attachment orientation’, a trait that reflects the quality of bonding in early life and remains stable throughout adulthood. One possibility is that disinhibited eaters are seeking to mitigate the anxiety associated with poor interpersonal attachments. An initial questionnaire study showed that attachment anxiety was a good predictor of disinhibited eating. Furthermore, mediation analysis confirmed that through this relationship, attachment anxiety also predicts BMI. In a follow-up experimental study, we primed attachment orientation (security and anxiety) and showed that individuals consumed more cookies following an anxious prime compared to a secure prime. Finally, a study concerned with attachment orientation in a clinically obese population was conducted. Attachment anxiety was significantly higher in the clinical group compared to age and gender matched lean controls. In this talk, these findings and their implications will be discussed alongside proposed future work.

Research Seminar: 28th February 2017

Cognitive processes in creative thinking

Creative thinking is the source of amazing novel ideas and original products, which enrich everyday life and represent valuable contributions to arts and sciences. But what cognitive processes are involved in creative thought? This talk presents recent research investigating memory and attentional processes underlying creative idea generation from a cognitive and neuroscience perspective. It specifically covers studies exploring the relevance of associative processes and memory structure, internally-oriented attention, and executive control. Together, the findings highlight some of the ordinary processes contributing to the extraordinary outcome of creativity.

Citizen Panel: Public Engagement in Science

proso_logoResearchers at School of Psychology, University of Surrey, have organised a second panel of citizens randomly recruited to debate and discuss public engagement in science, in particular in three broad  topic areas: Food and Health, Nanotechnology and Synthetic Biology.

The panels are part of a series of events run under the auspices of an EU funded project PROSO (Promoting Societal Engagement in Research and Innovation,, and organised across 5 countries: the UK, Portugal, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria. These events gather citizens to discuss and debate motivation to take part in the decisions about the future of science.

Annette Karmiloff-Smith

Sadly, one of the most influential developmental psychologists of recent times Annette Karmiloff-Smith died just before Christmas.

Born in 1938, Annette obtained her doctorate in Geneva under the supervision of Jean Piaget.

Her work took her to the Institute of Child Health at UCL, and eventually to Birkbeck where she was a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development.

See here:

..and here for a memoriam page for comments:

Professor Derek Moore, PhD
Head of School

Dr Naomi Winstone, National Teaching Fellowship Award

Dr Naomi Winstone has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Award from the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Dr Winstone joins an elite group of academics who have been honoured with this fellowship. Every recipient of the award has a proven track record in individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence in tertiary institutions.

Dr Winstone said:
“I am thrilled to have received this award from the Higher Education Academy. The legacy of a student’s educational experience is about so much more than just the quality of teaching, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute to learning and teaching at a University where students’ personal and professional development is so highly valued. We have amazing students at Surrey and I have learnt so much from their involvement as partners in my research projects.”


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