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  1. Arts and Social Sciences
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Department news


August 2020

Dr. Jutta Tobias contributed to a new publication by The Mindfulness Initiative, on “Mindfulness: Developing Agency in Urgent Times”.

Dr. Dimitrios Pinotsis got a paper accepted in the journal Communications Biology. The paper is titled “Differences in visually induced MEG oscillations reflect differences in deep cortical layer activity” and uses computational modelling to link neural activity dynamics at multiple scales: microscopic and macroscopic.

Prof Phillip Corr published an update of his major handbook of personality psychology (Corr, P. J. & Matthews, G. (2020, eds.): The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino and Prof Tina Forster published a paper in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews that revisit the role of sensorimotor processing in perception and memory: Beyond action observation: Neurobehavioral mechanisms of memory for visually perceived bodies and actions was published with former City PhD student Dr Alejandro Galvez-Pol.

Dr Pinotsis published Statistical decision theory and multiscale analyses of human brain data in Journal of Neuroscience Methods.

July 2020

Dr Elliot Freeman published Hearing what you see: Distinct excitatory and disinhibitory mechanisms contribute to visually-evoked auditory sensations in Cortex.

Dr Sebastian Gaigg published an eye-tracking study demonstrating absent repetition learning across the autism spectrum with collaborators at City, Sussex, Birkbeck and the UC Davis in Autism Research. The study demonstrates that a basic learning process that plays an important role in language development operates differently in those with a diagnosis of autism. Importantly, the study was designed to include minimally verbal autistic children, who represent approximately 20-30% of the autistic population, but who remain grossly underrepresented in the research literature.

Dr Ava Valashjardi published Recollections of parenting styles in the development of narcissism: The role of gender and Unmasking gender differences in narcissism within intimate partner violence both in Personality and Individual Differences.

Dr Dimitris Pinotsis co-organized a workshop oInformation-theoretic models in psychology and neuroscience together with colleagues from MIT and Rutgers. This was part of the Organization for Computational Neurosciences Annual Meeting and included speakers from Yale, Columbia, UPenn, UCL and elsewhere.

Dr Jutta Tobias gave an online lecture for the London Open University Psychological Society on Mindfull stress management, in which she “… delivered an innovative session which managed to foster a genuine sense of connection-through-sharing among participants while concurrently allowing private reflections and some moments of insight.”

June 2020

Congratulations to Shannon Horan, who submitted her PhD this year under the supervision of Dr. Paul Flaxman in the psychology department. One of Shannon’s studies has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology: The perfect recovery? Interactive influence of perfectionism and spillover work tasks on changes in exhaustion and mood around a vacation. The study explored changes in school teachers’ well-being as they transitioned into and out of a mid-term vacation. This journal is currently ranked 6th out of 239 journals in applied psychology (Scimago), and is graded 4 (top-ranked) by the Chartered Association of Business Schools.

We are pleased to have done well in the recent QS World University Rankings. The Department of Psychology was ranked one of the top 200 Departments in the world, and in London ranked fifth.

Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino and Prof Tina Forster published two research articles in Cortex as part of a special issue Understanding Others. One article Revealing the body in the brain: An ERP method to examine sensorimotor activity during visual perception of body-related information was published with former City PhD student Dr Alejandro Galvez-Pol, the other The somatotopy of observed emotions with former City post-doc Dr Alejandra Sel.

Dr Dimitris Pinotsis published Thalamocortical inhibitory dynamics support conscious perception in NeuroImage with colleagues at MIT. Dr Pinotsis also gave a keynote at Canadian Computational Neuroscience Spotlight and presented at an interdisciplinary workshop on Surprise.

Dr Corinna Haenschel took part in a research forum on improving well-being in refugees in Italy. The forum is part of an inter-disciplinary collaboration with Dr Sandra Denicke-Polcher (London Metropolitan University) and Dr Domenico Giacco (Warwick Medical School), and brought together researchers to discuss the possibility of regenerating under-populated areas through participatory architecture, raising social capital and creating a “home” for refugees.

May 2020

Prof Dermot Bowler published Memory in autism spectrum disorder: a meta-analysis of experimental studies in Psychological Bulletin with a former City PhD student Dr Melanie Ring.

The Department recently completed interviews for PhD studentships. Congratulations to Miss Jasmeena Genç who was awarded the PhD bursary and to Dr Andreas Kappes who will be supervising. We had 18 applicants, 6 of whom excelled and were interviewed, many of which will be taking up unfunded studentships next term. Thanks to Prof Dermot Bowler, Prof James Hampton and Dr Marie Poirer for running the panel.

April 2020

Dr Sebastian Gaigg published Self-guided mindfulness and cognitive behavioural practices reduce anxiety in autistic adults: A pilot 8-month waitlist-controlled trial of widely available online tools in Autism with among others two former City Cognitive Neuroscience MSc students (Gracie McLaven and Ritika Shah).

Dr Lucia Garrido was awarded £3500 from the Experimental Psychology Society to investigate the memorability of faces.

March 2020

Emeritus Prof Jill Boucher won the BPS Book Award for the best Practitioner Text Book. The book covers the history of autism, tailoring education and care to people with autism and discusses conceptualisation of autism.

Dr Andreas Kappes featured heavily in media across the globe discussing his work and its relation to the COVID epidemic: including Al Jazeera, Inside story, and TalkRadio, , and in various papers including the New York Times.

February 2020

Dr Sebastian Gaigg and Dr Anna Remington were awarded an Autistica grant (£127k) to build resources to accelerate high quality research involving autistic individuals with complex needs, who are currently grossly underrepresented in research. The grant will support 2 PhD studentships, one of which is partly funded by City, UoL.

Catch Dr Andreas Kappes discussing ‘Why don’t we care about facts?’ on The Inquiry on BBC News World Service.

One of our third-year students Leeza Ahmed published a short book review of ‘The man who couldn’t stop’ by David Adam in the BPS student psych-talk magazine

January 2020

Dr Dimitris Pinotsis has been awarded an ESRC grant (£152k) to work for the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative. This is a collaboration (total £1.2M) with colleagues from UCL, Kings, Toronto, Ottawa and McGill that will build computational psychiatry tools using state of the art deep neural networks. The goal is to come up with new ways to characterise psychiatric state and help schizophrenia patients.

Dr Carsten Allefeld published Inverse transformed encoding models – a solution to the problem of correlated trial-by-trial parameter estimates in fMRI decoding in NeuroImage. in NeuroImage.


December 2019

Dr Andreas Kappes published Confirmation bias in the utilization of others’ opinion strength in Nature Neuroscience.

Dr Anne-Kathrin Fett published on long term trajectories of cognitive functioning in psychosis in JAMA Psychiatry.

Dr Jutta Tobias-Mortlock wrote an article for Psychology in Practice More than meditation: how to make mindfulness work for you.

November 2019

Dr Anne-Kathrin Fett published in Schizophrenia Research and in Psychiatry Research.

Dr Andreas Jarvstad published How to change the weight of rare events in decisions from experience in Psychological Science.

Dr Lucia Garrido published Faces and voices in the brain: A modality-general person-identity representation in posterior superior temporal sulcus in Neuroimage.

Congratulations to Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino, who has received the Early Career Award from the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience for her high-standard and pioneering work on action and emotion perception.

Dr Andreas Kappes research, showing that not all types of uncertainty are bad for cooperation, and that some types of uncertainty might actually be useful for fighting vaccination hesitancy, was featured on BBC’s Woman’s Hour.

Prof James Hampton gave a keynote on Combining prototype concepts, at Tricolore: Creativity, Cognition and Computation. Conceptual and Cognitive Modelling Research Group (CORE) Research Centre for Knowledge and Data (KRDB) Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy.

Dr Anke Plagnol and PhD student Lucia Macchia co-authored a comment in Harvard Business Review: Why Do People Tolerate Income Equality?

October 2019

Dr Ansgar Endress published Duplications and Domain-generality in Psychological Bulletin.

Dr Dimitris Pinotsis gave a panel talk Physics, Nous and Computation at the Institute of Physics, Physics in the spotlight conference, and a Departmental Seminar at the Department of Engineering, University of Bristol.

September 2019

Dr Stian Riemers gave a Guardian Masterclass on Money and the Mind. The event, held at Guardian HQ in King’s Place, covered behavioural economics and financial decision making, and gave attendees research-driven insights into their own decisions and how to improve them. He’ll be repeating the class on 9 March 2020.

Dr Jutta Tobias-Mortlock gave a public lecture at the Open University Psychological Society at London School of Economics.

Nareg Khachatoorian won the poster prize at the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience 2019 Meeting for Changes in brain oscillations during recognition real-world autobiographical episodic memory (with Prof Haenschel, Prof Poirer and Dr Dima.

Dr Jennifer Gerson, who completed her PhD in psychology at City in 2018 under the supervision of Dr Anke Plagnol, won the Best PhD Dissertation Award from the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.

August 2019

Prof James Hampton gave keynotes at two international workshops: “The functions of concepts and the value of generic truths. The concept of concept is a prototype.” Concepts and Explanation Conference, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf; “What do people feel about the concepts they use?”. LOGOS BW11 workshop on Conceptual Ethics and Engineering. Universitat de Barcelona.

Dr Andreas Jarvstad published Cognitive control of saccadic selection and inhibition from within the core cortical saccadic network in Journal of Neuroscience.

June 2019

Prof Carla Willig has been awarded the BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section's ‘Lifetime Achievement and Contribution to Qualitative Methods’ researcher prize. This prize is awarded to a researcher who has done something exceptional with qualitative methods and has moved qualitative methods forward in innovative ways. Congratulations Carla!

May 2019

Dr Dimitris Pinotsis published Sensory processing and categorization in cortical and deep neural networks in NeuroImage.

March 2019

Dr Mehdi Keramati published Optimizing the depth and the direction of prospective planning using information values in PLoS Computational Biology.

February 2019

Dr Mehdi Kermati published Retrospective model-based inference guides model-free credit assignment in Nature Communications and Improving the reliability of model-based decision-making estimates in the two-stage decision task with reaction-times and drift-diffusion modelling in PLoS Computational Biology.

January 2019

New book!! Fiona Patterson, Lara Zibarras (Eds.) - Selection and Recruitment in the Healthcare Professions: Research, Theory and Practice This book questions what the evidence tells us about how best to select those most suited to a career in healthcare, ensuring that the approaches used are relevant and fair to all who apply. The editors take a comprehensive look at the latest research relating to recruitment and selection into healthcare roles. Evidence from role analysis studies as well as the effectiveness of different selection methods including aptitude and situational judgment tests, personality assessment and interviews are examined.


December 2018

Last year ‘fake news’ was the phrase on everybody’s lips, but just how susceptible are we to its influence, how does it spread, and what are best ways of limiting its impact on us as individuals and as a society? These questions were addressed in this ESRC social science festival event by City’s Saoirse Connor Desai and Dr Andreas Kappes as well as Jens Koed Madsen from the University of Oxford.

Check out the videos for the event on Youtube hereherehere, and here.

Dr Stian Reimers gave a keynote speech at the Finance@Google event held at Google’s Dublin headquarters. He spoke to an audience of 350 financial sector marketers from across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, about how understanding the way in which people think about money can help improve the consumer experience.

Check out the full information at the Finance at Google website.

Dr Jessica Jones-Nielsen, Dr Fran Smith, Dr Julianna Challenor and Dr Trudi Edginton were awarded a BPS Division of Counselling Psychology (DCoP) small research grant (£9,997,55.) for their project entitled, “A Randomised Controlled Trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Groups for University Students: A Pilot Study”.

Lucia Macchia, was awarded £4,961 from the Industry Engagement Fund of the ESRC Southeast Network for Social Science (SeNSS) to conduct research on employee rewards and employee well-being in collaboration with researchers from Harvard University. Lucia is a PhD student in the psychology department. She is writing her dissertation on subjective well-being in Latin America under the supervision of Dr Anke Plagnol.

The Royal Navy have provided an extension of £9999 to Dr Jutta Tobias Mortlock and City University’s Organisational Psychology team to fund field research linking mindfulness with resilience and attainment across multiple Royal Navy/Royal Marines training sites. In particular, we will explore mindfulness-related factors in their potential impact on performance-related outcomes for Royal Marine Commando Trainees at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone; for senior Royal Navy Officers training to become Submarine Commanding Officers at HMNB CLYDE in Faslane; and for Royal Navy Officers training to become Principal Warfare Officers at HMS COLLINGWOOD in Fareham.

November 2018

Congratulations to Prof Dermot Bowler for joining the editorial board of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology is the foremost journal in its field, publishing articles on basic research and theory in the broad field of psychopathology and other abnormal behaviours, their determinants, and correlates (Impact factor 4.642; 5-year impact factor 6.127).

October 2018

Dr. Beatriz Calvo-Merino has received the Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Award of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) for her outstanding contributions to the field of empirical aesthetics in her research on psychology and the arts and, especially, on neuroaesthetics. She gave a keynote talk and collected her award in the annual IAEA meeting in Toronto, Canada.

Professor Emmanuel Pothos received £115,613 for 36 months, from the Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG), to study “Anticipating decisions and Bell’s bound.” The project will be conducted collaboratively with P. Blasiak, & B. W. Wojciechowski.

Exciting new book The Career Coaching Toolkit (Routledge) by Dr Julia Yates.

“Researchers have developed some interesting new techniques which have been shown to help people with their career planning, but, as we know, academic articles aren't always very easy for practitioners to access or understand. In this book I have brought together 40 different, evidence-based career coaching tools, drawn from counselling, coaching and career guidance, and I offer both a summary of the theories which underpin the techniques, and some suggestions of how career coaches can incorporate the tools into their practice”.

September 2018

We are delighted to announce Professor Martin Conway has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Psychological Society

Read about it on the City news page or the British Psychological Society website.

Congratulations Martin, and well-deserved!

July 2018

Dr Andreas Kappes wins preregistration challenge prize

The Center for Opens Science (COS) set out to improve research practices in science in general and psychology in particular. One important part of better research practices is to encourage scientists to pre-register their studies: to commit to a specific plan before gathering the data. To encourage such pre-registrations, COS decided to reward the first 1000 published studies that preregistered their research and analysis plan with $1000. Andreas Kappes preregistered his research on vicarious optimism, published in Psychological Science earlier this year and just received the preregistration challenge prize for this paper.

New research from Andreas Kappes shows when uncertainty, ally of selfishness, works for good

Uncertainty is the ally of selfishness, most psychology studies show. For instance, people donate less to charity when they aren’t sure their donation will reach its target, and companies skirt safety regulations when it’s not certain doing so will harm employees. Uncertainty, psychologists say, provides cover for people to behave selfishly without feeling fully responsible. However, researchers at City, University of London, Yale, and University of Oxford have found an exception, they report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. Their findings show that people tend to act with more generosity when they are uncertain about the impact of their actions on others. In divvying up experimental spoils, for example, subjects tend to be more generous when they are made uncertain whether or not the other party is poor and will suffer because of their decision. The researchers speculate that in this case uncertainty works by activating narratives that focus on harm, leading people to adopt behaviours that preserve others’ welfare.

Read more here

Dr. Lara Zibarras was interviewed about her current research project (using psychometric methods of assessment in loan underwriting) for the Economist. The article explored how mobile financial services are becoming more ubiquitous, which is great news for people who may be otherwise excluded from financial institutions. The full article can be found here.

Philip Corr and Anke Plagnol published a book on behavioural economics for students and anyone looking for an accessible introduction to the topic. It aims to provide a rigorous yet accessible overview of the growing field that attempts to uncover the psychological processes which mediate all the economic judgements and decisions we make.

Book reference: Corr P, Plagnol A (2018) Behavioral Economics: The Basics. Routledge. For more information see behavioraleconomicsbasics.net or

June 2018

Excellent invited lecture delivered by our former student Irena Arslanova!

Irena Arslanova gave an invited lecture on the findings of her final year undergraduate research project at the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) meeting in Leicester (18-19th of April 2018) following which she was presented with the EPS/British Science Association Undergraduate Project Award. Irena project was supervised by Prof. Tina Forster (Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit, CNRU). Irena completed her BSc Psychology in 2017, and she is now a PhD student at UCL! Congratulations Irena and good luck on your scientific career!

Prof James Hampton won the Research Supervisor Award!

Prof James Hampton was awarded the Research Supervisor of the Year at the Academic Impact Awards run by the Student's Union and the Learning Enhancement & Development (LEaD). These are very special awards where students nominate those members of the faculty whose supervision they especially enjoyed. Very well deserved James! Congratulations!

Dr Andreas Kappes won the Teaching Excellence Award!

Every year, the Student's Union and the Learning Enhancement & Development (LEaD) team awards celebrate people from the University, people who contributed to the flourishing of the students at City. Importantly, the people are nominated by the students, so that students can highlight the people that they felt help them along the way. One of the categories is the Teaching Excellence Award: students nominate those members of the faculty whose teaching they especially enjoyed. This year, we are happy to announce that in this category for SASS, Andreas Kappes (lecturer in Psychology) won. Andreas was naturally very happy about the award, and is especially grateful to the students who came and enjoyed his lectures. Congratulations Andreas!

May 2018

International presentations of our PhD candidates: Amanda Roestorf

Amanda Roestorf, PhD candidate in the Autism Research Group working with Prof Dermot Bowler was invited to present her work on Prospective Memory and Ageing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), at the 5th International Conference of Prospective Memory (ICPM5) in January 2018. The conference was hosted at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne Australia. Amanda's research showcased a series of studies with a group of younger and older autistic adults and typically ageing adults, in lab-based and naturalistic settings. Her work highlighted the importance of prospective memory in everyday functioning, and the potential impacts for health-related quality of life in ASD.

Amanda presented also other aspects of her PhD research at the 17th International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Annual Meeting (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, May 2018). The first two presentations in the overall INSAR programme, were in symposia on "Well-being and Quality of Life" in which Amanda presented findings from her longitudinal research on ageing in ASD; and "Diagnostic Outcomes" where she presented findings about the utility of self-reported and observer-rated diagnostic measures from collaborative work with colleague Dr. Sebastian Gaigg from the Autism Research Group and Professor David Williams from the University of Kent. Amanda's third, invited presentation, was in a Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting on Memory in ASD, hosted by Professor Marjorie Solomon from UC Davis MIND Institute, California USA, and co-leader Dr Melanie Ring, a former PhD student at the Autism Research Group, who now works at the Technische Universiät, Dresden Germany. In this SIG, Amanda outlined the profile of strengths and differences in memory of autistic adults across the lifespan and the potential consequences for the wellbeing of autistic adults.

Have a look here at Amanda's Podcast interview with UK autism research charity, Autistica.

April 2018

Third year undergraduate student Isla Jones has won an all expenses paid place on a competitive undergraduate summer school at the Centre for Vision Research at York University, Toronto, Canada. This prestigious programme encourages learning through hands-on experience using techniques such as fMRI and TMS, as well as exposure to leading vision research through talks given by experts in the field. Isla hopes to go on to study for a PhD in neuroscience in the future. Well done Isla!