Female psychology student laughing with colleagues

Department of Psychology

Explore the teaching and research activities taking place within our Psychology department

Our Department of Psychology has been guiding students in the field since 1969 and is the 7th best school for graduate prospects for UK psychology undergraduate courses (2020 Complete University Guide).

The department offers degrees covering a wide range of psychological topics, making graduates especially attractive to future employers – 95% of our students are in employment or further study 15 months after graduation (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019). In a 2017 survey by the Economist, we were ranked 6th out of 104 British universities for boosting our students chances at getting higher salaries.

We hold an Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to gender and social equality in the workplace, and a National Union of Students Green Impact Gold Award for our voluntary green practices.


We pay particular attention to supporting our students outside of lectures so they get the best out of our degrees.

For example, during level 4 and 5 of the courses students meet in small groups, during the first and second year of our courses, students meet in small groups and individually with their personal tutor on a regular basis – and in their final year students get one-on-one supervision while they work on their chosen psychological research project.

We pride ourselves on offering excellent student support which creates a pleasant and helpful environment.

You can see all the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer at the Psychology subject area page.

Dr Lucy Akehurst – Department of Psychology

Dr Lucy Akehurst, Head of Department of Psychology, talks about the exciting facilities available to current and future students.

Dr Lucy Akehurst: When our first year undergraduate students arrive at the Department of Psychology, I think they feel part of the community straight away.

We pride ourselves on our tutorial system at the University of Portsmouth. Staff are working with students from the word go.

We have a number of laboratory facilities and each of them house specialist equipment. We've got a baby and infant lab. We have a suite of labs, there's observation facilities, one way mirrors and recording equipment. We also have a Psychophysiology lab which has an EEG machine and eye tracking. We also have a motion capture laboratory. We have special cameras that pick up the sensors that the students have placed on their participants just to see how the human body moves when we perform particular actions.

The nice thing about coming to Portsmouth is that undergraduate students from the word go have access to those facilities. 


Psychologists play an important role in understanding the world, and our research aims to improve the lives of people around the world.

Our recent projects include innovative work on predicting high-risk offenders, and studies exploring how to protect victims and support witnesses. Other projects include 'increasing mammal release success rates and reducing the impact of tourism on wildlife' and 'developing tools to enhance employment prospects of adults on the autism spectrum'. Our research portal, Pure, has a full list of staff and researchers working within the department.

In our submission to the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021), 70% of our overall research quality was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour (REF 2021). 100% of our research impact case studies were rated as outstanding or very considerable in terms of their reach and significance. This included research enhancing lie detection in security, military and forensic settings, research enhancing employers’ provision of person-centred support for autistic people and research contributing to the discovery and protection of a new orangutan species.

We've received funding from many prestigious organisations, including the Economic & Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, Federal Bureau of Investigation, British Academy and the British Psychological Society.

Our research entities

Take a closer look at the work we're doing across our research entities in Psychology.

Research project highlights

  • Cognitive research leads to improved lie detection

    Our researchers developed the innovative Cognitive Load (CL) technique – based on cognitive theory – which yields significantly superior lie detection results by devising interviews that are more difficult for liars than truth-tellers.

  • Improving public engagement with science through primate research

    Our researchers have established a primate research centre in a zoo environment (Marwell Zoo), where visitors can watch the science taking place – this led to significant increases in their perception of the zoo as a place of learning; increased their knowledge about the specific research being conducted; and improved children's attitudes to science as an exciting subject.

  • Promoting justice, protecting victims and supporting witnesses

    Developed in the laboratory and tested in the field, the Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) is an evidence-based investigative interviewing tool designed to elicit comprehensive initial statements from multiple witnesses and victims – particularly in time- and resource-critical situations – which is now being used by police forces internationally. 

  • Improving the well being of employees

    Our researchers created the quality of working life (WRQoL) – a psychometric scale to understand and improve the quality of working life of working people in the UK and across the world, which is now being used by universities, NHS Trusts, Trade Unions, schools, and major organisations including the Police, and the BBC.

Our staff

View all staff

Image of Dr Lucy Akehurst

Dr Lucy Akehurst

  • Job Title Head of Department
  • Email Address lucy.akehurst@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Mark Turner

Dr Mark Turner

  • Job Title Associate Head (Academic)
  • Email Address mark.turner@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Leanne Proops

Dr Leanne Proops

  • Job Title Associate Head (Research and Innovation)
  • Email Address leanne.proops@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
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Dr Roger Moore

  • Job Title Associate Head (Students)
  • Email Address roger.s.moore@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Eszter Somogyi

Dr Eszter Somogyi

  • Job Title Associate Head (Global Engagement and Partnerships)
  • Email Address eszter.somogyi@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Julie Udell

Dr Julie Udell

  • Job Title Associate Head (Employability and Placements)
  • Email Address julie.udell@port.ac.uk
  • Department Department of Psychology
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor

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Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.

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