Research

Areas of Research

2015-present: Social identities and safety culture

My role as Postdoctoral Research Officer at the LSE is to examine how social identities affect the perception of safety culture in safety-critical organisations. As these organisations increasingly become more multinational, safety culture is simultaneously being examined across nations. Increasingly, research shows that national culture meaningfully impacts safety culture perceptions. For example, reporting unsafe practices by colleagues conflicts with national collectivist values. I use social identity theory to examine the interaction of national and occupational identities so that we can inform the development and administration of safety culture workshops.

2015-present: Social identities and wellbeing

A simple and inexpensive intervention for reducing depression is to increase the number of meaningful social identities one holds. Using Social Identity Theory as a framework, my work with my collaborators focuses on two questions: (1) whether there is a time-lag between identity loss and poor mental health, and (2) how personality interacts with social identity to affect depression – do the principles of meaningful identities protect introverts from depression? The results of these projects will help inform best-practice for group-based interventions.

2014-present: The role of information in forming scientific beliefs

People routinely make judgements about the value of various forms of evidence, scientists especially. As scientists, we design experiments to test specific ideas, concluding an idea is ‘correct’ when the experiment turns out as planned (i.e. a positive result). What’s interesting to us is how people (non-scientists and scientists) treat negative results, that is, those that do not reject the null hypothesis. Work in the field of judgement and decision making can help inform how we should expect people to treat negative results. Confirmation bias is the tendency for us to preferentially treat evidence that confirms our prior beliefs, whereas we tend to ignore or miss evidence to the contrary. In the context of experimentation, we want to evaluate if laypeople and scientists are susceptible to confirmation bias when evaluating both positive and negative results of experimentation.

2011-present: Violent video games and aggression: Providing context for thinking about violent games

The interactive nature of violent video games is thought to make them more likely to influence children’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviour than other forms of media. As such, there is an extensive experimental literature detailing the negative effect that violent video games have on aggressive thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours in adults. My research aims to identify whether violent video games uniquely increase aggression compared to other conceivably violent leisure activities (e.g. contact sports), whether the aggressive effect of violent video games can be suppressed under specific social contexts, and whether violent video games increase aggression in children in the same way that adults are affected.

 

2009-2011: Revealing structure in images: Assisting identification in forensics

Little research has been conducted on the cognitive and perceptual process forensic experts undertake in their work. For this sort of research to progress, forensic experts must take part in experiments assessing these processes. My work focuses on the design and maintenance of a repository of biometric information for use in psychological experiments.