Following Friday's successful PGR Research Day, we are delighted to announce the Faculty PhD Prize winners: Dr Anita Lenneis (Thesis Prize), Dr Ahuti Das-Friebel (Impact Prize). Read about their, and Julie Eyden's highly commended research. here:
Dr Anita Lenneis, Faculty PhD Thesis Prize in Psychology
Dr Ahuti Das-Friebel, Faculty PhD Thesis Impact Prize in Psychology
The members of the Departmental Judging Panel (Dr Suzanne Aussems, Professor James Tresilian, and Professor Kim Wade (Chair)) found all the candidates to be eminently qualified—each candidate had produced an impressive, high-quality, insightful thesis with important theoretical and practical applications. Moreover, the examiners’ testimonials were evidence of the importance of each candidate’s contribution to their specific field.
The Judging Panel believed that Dr Anita Lenneis' thesis entitled "Sleep Timing: Variability and Stability, Influences, and Outcomes" was a particularly suitable candidate for the Faculty PhD Thesis Prize due to its theoretical depth and breadth, and innovativeness. Anita cleverly combined a variety of methods and measures to address the serious, real-world issue of how changes in sleep timing interact with subjective well-being. Anita has published her PhD work in two papers in highly respected, international journals, and her work has already been cited by broadsheet newspapers and international media outlets. In the words of the panel, she richly deserves this award.
Anita submitted her PhD thesis on 15th January 2021 and had her viva on 9th March 2021 which she passed with no corrections. Anita's PhD research was supervised by Professor Anu Realo and Professor Sakari Lemola.
In addition to the Faculty Thesis Prize, The Judging Panel asked that the Department recognised Dr Ahuti Das-Friebel’s outstanding achievements by awarding her an impact award. Professor Derrick Watson kindly agreed to finance the additional award from the Departmental funds.
The Committee deemed Ahuti's novel research on adolescent sleep and school start times to be well-considered and impactful. There has been a long-running debate around delaying the start of school times, and, as the external examiner notes, Ahuti's work provided compelling new evidence that “this challenging logistical task may not necessarily result in increased sleep for teenagers”. Ahuti's findings also speak to the popular belief that technology causes sleep issues and many have important implications for policy makers and practitioners working in education and clinical settings across the globe.
Ahuti submitted her PhD thesis entitled "Sleep and Mental Wellbeing in Young People: The Role of Electronic Media Use and School Start Times" on 12th May 2021 and passed her viva with no corrections on 1st September 2021. Ahuti's PhD supervisors were Professor Sakari Lemola and Professor Dieter Wolke.
Last but not least, the Judging Panel also commended Dr Julie Eyden for her outstanding contribution to research on mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder. The Panel was deeply impressed by the immense scale of Julie's work and the extraordinary efforts she went to to gather data from a particularly hard-to-reach clinical population. She is a shining example of what can be achieved when researchers don’t shy away from tackling difficult but important issues in the clinical psychology domain.
Julie submitted her PhD thesis entitled “Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder: Parenting Knowledge, Perceptions, and Emotional Availability” on 23rd September 2021 and passed her viva with minor corrections on 16th December 2021. Julie’s PhD supervisors were Dr Fiona MacCallum and Professor Dieter Wolke.
2021 PhD Publication Award winners announced: Congratulations to Michael Hattersley and Aleksandra Krogulska. Read about their work here:
The competition was open to all articles that were published in international peer-reviewed journals in 2021, either electronically (must have a doi number) or in print, by Warwick Psychology PhD students on the condition that (a) the student is the first author of the article; (b) the student did not submit their PhD thesis before 2021; and (c) the publication is based on research that was conducted during the student’s doctoral studies at the University of Warwick.
Four nominations for the award were received this year, and the Judging Panel, and the Judging Panel (Dr Liz Blagrove, Professor Thomas Hills, Professor Anu Realo - Chair) was asked to rate the nominated papers considering their novelty, contribution to the field, the quality of theoretical and/or empirical work, and potential impact. The work of the jury was not easy because all submissions were of high quality! After long and careful consideration, the jury decided to award the following publications while also recognising the excellent quality of all submissions.
Hattersley, M., Brown, G. D. A., Michael, J., & Ludvig, E. A. (2022). Of tinfoil hats and thinking caps: Reasoning is more strongly related to implausible than plausible conspiracy beliefs. Cognition, 218, 104956. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104956. Published online on 20 November 2021.
Hattersley and colleagues' (2021) paper in Cognition demonstrates how cognitive psychology can inform the timely issue of conspiracy beliefs. They propose an 'overfitting hypothesis' for conspiracy beliefs and then, using detailed experiments and analysis, show how belief in implausible conspiracy theories is associated with reduced sampling in information foraging tasks.
The work is sophisticated and novel, employing existing cognitive theory in new ways to offer new insights into this complex sociocultural phenomenon. Written accessibly for the expert and non-expert alike, it warns against the pejorative usage of the term and offers new strategies to reduce conspiracy beliefs.
Krogulska, A., Golik, K., Barzykowski, K., Cox, J., Jakubiak, A., & Maylor, E. A. (2021). Should I keep studying? Consequences of a decision to stop learning in young and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 36(2), 158–171. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000594
Krogulska and colleagues' (2021) paper in Psychology and Aging shows how metacognition does not differ across the old and young, but it serves both groups equally poorly. When offered time to learn new things, people---both young and old---tend to overestimate their learning rate, and as a result they under invest in their own learning, oblivious to the negative consequences of their decision to stop learning too soon. The work is thorough and statistically savvy, and replicates findings across different experiments, languages, and countries. Moreover, it provides timely insight into metacognitive mechanisms relevant to current educational policy and practice (e.g., Educational Endowment Foundation), enabling psychological science to inform and influence real world contexts.