Psychology (Experimental)

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Run by Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD , MSc by research
Programme length PhD: Three years full-time or part-time equivalent
MSc: One year full-time or part-time equivalent
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

Studying in the School of Experimental Psychology will give you the opportunity to be part of a vibrant postgraduate community and a world class department. Our postgraduate students are a very important part of the departmental research culture and are a key component in our ability to maintain our international research reputation.

We recommend that potential applicants make informal contact with the member of academic staff whose research you are interested in before submitting an application.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Part time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

UK resident students may apply for research council funding including the quota studentships available.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or a related discipline.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Selection process Online application form
English language requirements Profile C
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
How to apply
Application deadline:

Not fixed

Research groups

Research activity in the school is organised into three research themes: cognitive processes; brain, behaviour and health; and decision-making and rationality. Within each theme, there are a set of focused research groups. An important feature of this research structure is the extent of collaboration across research groups and across the three themes. All groups address fundamental questions as well as looking at the impact of their work more broadly in industry, healthcare, education and society. Across these thematic research groups the school has particular and growing strengths in computational neuroscience and neuropsychology.

Cognitive Processes

Focused research groups in cognitive processes are:

  • Developmental (includes the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre and Bristol Autism Research Group);
  • Language (speech comprehension, speech production, reading and dyslexia, language and thought);
  • Memory (short-term memory, modelling, dynamics, lifespan memory);
  • Social (social cognition and evolutionary social psychology);
  • Vision (fusing cognitive science and information technology to tackle research problems that cannot be comprehensively addressed by the single disciplines alone).

Brain, behaviour and health

Focused research groups in brain, behaviour, and health are:

  • Neuropsychology (neural basis of both typical and pathological cognition, using a range of methodologies including EEG and fMRI);
  • Nutrition and Behaviour Unit (effects of substances on cognition and performance; appetite, weight control, and diet);
  • Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (social drugs and social cognition; plain packaging of tobacco products; carbon-dioxide inhalation model of anxiety).

Decision-making and rationality

Areas of current focus include: selecting the appropriate movement response; how properties of the environment shape decisions; structuring the world to facilitate good decisions; food choice and dietary decisions; the origins of supernatural beliefs.


Many of our PhD graduates work in academia; others work in the private sector or in government institutions.

Staff profiles

Dr Angela Attwood, (Research Fellow), Effects of social drugs and drug-related stimuli; psychological and biological factors that underline addiction and continued drug use.

Dr Roland Baddeley, (Reader), Computer modelling of neural and psychological function.

Dr Chris Benton, (Senior Lecturer), Visual perception, particularly the investigation of low-level visual processing through psychophysics and computational modelling.

Professor Jeff Bowers, (Professor), Connectionist modelling; memory and language; speech production; visual word recognition; word learning.

Dr Josie Briscoe, (Senior Lecturer), Developmental cognitive neuroscience; developmental disorders; episodic and event memory in children; language impairment; working memory.

Professor Jeff Brunstrom, (Professor), Biological psychology, especially learned and cognitive aspects of appetite control and food choice.

Professor Markus Damian, (Professor), Computational models of language; language production; numerical cognition; psycholinguistics; speaking; unconscious processing; visual word recognition.

Professor Colin Davis, (Chair in Cognitive Psychology), Computational modelling of cognition; reading and visual word recognition.

Dr Simon Farrell, Automation-induced complacency; computational modelling of cognition; recall latencies in short- and long-term memory; serial correlations in human performance; short-term memory, specifically memory for serial order.

Professor Iain Gilchrist, (Professor), Acute vision; decision-making; drawing; eye movements, neuropsychology; foraging; perception.

Professor Bruce Hood, (Professor), Cognitive development from a neuroscience perspective; face and gaze processing; inhibitory control of thoughts and actions; naive theories.

Professor Chris Jarrold, (Professor), Developmental psychopathology, particularly autism, Williams syndrome and Down' s syndrome; executive dysfunction; pretend play; working memory in special populations.

Professor Risto Kauppinen, (Chair in Imaging), Cerebral blood volume-based MRI techniques; development of MR techniques for imaging of normal and abnormal brain functions; use of MRI to define imaging biomarkers for early neurodegeneration.

Dr Nina Kazanina, (Senior Lecturer), Language acquisition; neurolinguistics; perception; sentence processing; speech.

Dr Chris Kent, (Lecturer), How perceptual encoding processes and retrieval processes interact; overlapping cognitive operations including identification, categorisation, object recognition, perceptual matching, visual search and memory search; perceptual cognition.

Dr Ute Leonards, (Reader), Neuronal mechanisms of visual perception and of higher vision-related cognitive processes, neuropsychology, fMRI, EEG, eye movements.

Professor Sven Mattys, Particular interest in the perceptual, cognitive, and physiological mechanisms underlying spoken word recognition; psycholinguistics and speech perception.

Professor Marcus Munafò, (Professor), Molecular genetic influences on addictive behaviour and the use of social drugs (primarily nicotine and alcohol), in particular the behavioural, cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate these relationships.

Professor Jan Noyes, (Professor, Head of School), Cognitive ergonomics, in particular the application of cognitive psychology in the interface design of advanced and emerging technologies, eg speech input/output.

Dr Justin Park, (Senior Teaching Fellow), Evolutionary social psychology; social perception and cognition.

Professor Ian Penton-Voak, (Professor), Evolutionary psychology; social perception of facial characteristics.

Dr Kit Pleydell-Pearce, (Senior Lecturer), Cockpit technologies; mental workload; neurophysiological and autonomic correlates of cognition (especially perception, attention and memory); real-time analysis of physiology and behaviour; slow cortical potentials; spectral and coherence analyses.

Professor Peter Rogers, (Professor), Motivation, learning and cognition, especially in relation to appetite and weight control, addiction, and caffeine psychopharmacology; nutrition, health and behaviour.

Dr Angela Rowe, (Reader), Social cognition with specific regard to person perception and interpersonal relationships.

Dr Nick Scott-Samuel, (Reader), Visual perception of motion in humans.

Dr Brian Stollery, (Senior Lecturer), Cognitive aging; effects of lead, aluminium, pesticides, organic solvents, anaesthetics on mood and cognitive performance; memory; metamemory; occupational stress; recovery of cognitive functioning following day-case surgery; relationships between aspects of cognition and health; risk perception and environmental pollution; workplace errors.

Dr David Turk, (Reader), Investigating the cognitive, neural, developmental and affective components of self-association, and how these impact on memory for the things we encounter. 

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 43% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 37% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Charlotte Powell Postgraduate Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8452 Email:

Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Bristol
12a Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU


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