Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search
Post Nominals SFHEA
Biography I am a Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology and Programme Lead of MSc Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology. Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier in December 2014, I worked at the University of Central Lancashire as Lecturer (2004-2008) and then Senior Lecturer in Psychology.

With a PhD in face recognition, I am broadly interested in the psychology of evidence (including perception, memory, and decision-making in forensic contexts) and miscarriages of justice. I investigate ways of improving police facial composites ('E-FITs') in terms of how to recover information from memory, best practice for system use, and ways of improving recognition of the final image (e.g. by caricature). I am currently working on three externally funded projects, one (BA/Leverhulme) exploring the experiences of persons who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned (working with MOJO Scotland), a Royal Society of Edinburgh Network Grant addressing fake news (misinformation and disinformation), and another investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Scottish Justice Voluntary Sector (working with the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum). Beyond research impact my work has impact via knowledge exchange with stakeholders including police, government, other statutory, and voluntary sector organisations.

I am a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and a member of the British Psychological Society and American Psychological Association. I have served as External Examiner for BPS-accredited undergraduate psychology programmes at the University of Lincoln (2014-2018) and the University of the West of England (2019-2023) and have examined multiple PhDs and other research degrees externally and internally. I currently supervise six PhD students, three as part of interdisciplinary teams working with colleagues in the School of Health and Social Care and Arts and Creative Industries.

I enjoy taking my work out to the public and as well as writing for The Conversation I have written and delivered shows for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, Northern Ireland Science Festival, Cheltenham Science Festival, as well as several Skeptics Societies and other specialist groups. I have also contributed to podcasts including the popular BBC Witch Hunt series (2019) and most recently for the New Zealand-based Smooth Brain Society.
Research Interests I am broadly interested in the psychology of evidence (including perception, memory, and decision-making in forensic contexts) and miscarriages of justice. I investigate ways of improving police facial composites ('E-FITs') including how to recover information from witness memory, best practice for system use, and ways of improving recognition/accurate naming of the final image (e.g. by caricature). Most recently I published a paper demonstrating that for optimal recognition of the final composite the witness interview (to recover memory of the seen face) must be cognitively aligned with the mental processes used during facial composite construction.

I am currently working on three externally funded projects, one (BA/Leverhulme) exploring the experiences of persons who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned (working with MOJO Scotland), a Royal Society of Edinburgh Network Grant addressing fake news (misinformation and disinformation), and another investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Scottish Justice Voluntary Sector (working with the Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum).
Teaching and Learning I have ~20 years experience teaching psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including all core BPS areas as well as particular expertise in cognition applied to forensic contexts.

Currently I lead two MSc modules: Evidence and Investigation focuses on the psychology of evidence and how human errors and biases (as witnesses, victims, or decision-makers) can lead to miscarriages of justice. Practical Forensic Psychology includes application of psychological theory to working with witnesses, including witness interviewing, constructing police facial composites, face recognition from CCTV and police line-ups.

At undergraduate level my teaching mostly focuses on social cognition, including face perception, consciousness, and understanding others.

I supervise students on Honours Project in Psychology, MSc Dissertation (forensic psychology and criminology projects) and Advanced Research in Psychological Practice (BPS-accredited MSc forensic psychology projects). I also supervise PhDs spanning cognitive, forensic, and health psychology.
Scopus Author ID 24167157400
PhD Supervision Availability Yes
PhD Topics Miscarriages of justice
Face recognition, including forensic applications such as police facial composites, eyewitness testimony, and police line-ups
Individual differences in face perception, including prosopagnosia and so-called 'Super-Recognisers'
W