Tag Archives: Psychology

University of Hull sleep expert reveals how to improve your slumber by switching off

Smartphone use at night

A sleep expert from the University of Hull has partnered with Vodafone Broadband to report upon a study of how digital devices are affecting the nation’s sleep.

The new research, commissioned by Vodafone Broadband, reveals we are a nation starved of sleep, with over 18 million Brits waking up every night to send emails or texts.

The study found that 30 per cent of commuters missed their stops on public transport, 35 per cent arrive at work with clothes inside out, and 28 per cent check emails or texts during the night.

Vodafone partnered with sleep expert Professor John Groeger, of the Department of Psychology, to evaluate the survey’s findings and offer expert opinion.

Professor Groeger said, “Most of us are overdrawn at the Bank of Sleep, and we simply can’t afford to spend precious sleep time on devices.”

“Device use just before bed, or when we wake in the night, can make restless sleep caused by stress at work even worse. Light from screens can delay sleep, and pre-sleep device use can increase worry, thus making it more difficult to fall asleep when we wish to.”

“Changing our pre-sleep routines, and what we do when we wake in the night, can hugely improve our sleep quality.”

Vodafone Broadband has introduced a new ‘app’ which allows users to remotely switch off internet access on selected devices connected to their home hub.

On October 26th and 27th John did 13 radio interviews* and also appeared on SKY’s Sunrise breakfast programme, discussing the findings and their implications.

*Sky News Radio, BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Hereford & Worcester, Viking FM, KCFM, Central (Stirling), Sunrise Yorkshire (Bradford), New Style Radio (Birmingham), British Forces Broadcasting Service, Manx Radio, Downtown Radio (Belfast), Big City Radio (Birmingham), SFM Radio (Sittingbourne).

False memories expert featured in BBC Radio 4 programme

Photograph montage

Professor Giuliana Mazzoni‘s work on false autobiographical memories will be among research featured in a new programme produced for BBC Radio 4.

The programme, entitled ‘Past Imperfect’, is focused on the growing understanding of how false personal memories are generated, both naturally and artificially, and their possible consequences on behaviour and decisions people make.

Professor Mazzoni’s research featured in the programme refers to the consequences of false memories on decisions about food intake.

In the programme, one of Professor Mazzoni’s studies is replicated on a small number of participants.

The original study, which was done in collaboration with Dr Alan Scoboria at the University of Windsor, CA, showed that participants who during the procedure develop false childhood memories about becoming ill after eating spoiled food, after a few weeks not only rate that food less appealing than before the procedure had taken place, but also eat that food less compared to a control food.

The programme will also discuss the general applicability of these results and the ethical implications of this type of studies.

Past Imperfect’ will be aired on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 22nd July 2015, 9pm.

Artificial recreation of happy memories may become the next big weapon against depression

Happy days

How happy days can be remembered as they really were. Surkov Vladimir/Shutterstock

By Giuliana Mazzoni, Professor of Psychology at University of Hull

Urging a depressed person to stay positive by remembering the good things in life is unlikely to be helpful advice. That is because depression blocks access to happy memories. But what if we could somehow artificially recreate such memories to allow for some more positive thinking? A study suggests that this is indeed possible – at least in rats.

Surprisingly, the psychology and physiology of rodents is not so distant from our own. And if the same effect could be observed in humans, it might help open depressed individuals up to positive general interpretation of life experiences that make it possible to lift the dark veil of depression. Read more

Grant awarded for research into itching, a multisensory phenomenon

The Departments of Psychology and Nursing have been successful in a grant application to the British Skin Foundation, entitled ‘A Multisensory Approach to Itch’.

Previous research has shown that itch is a multisensory phenomenon. Did you know that listening to the sound of someone scratching can make you itch?

Now researchers at the University of Hull are launching a study into whether multisensory stimulation can also counteract and even inhibit an acute physical itch.

This study could discover simple but effective behavioural techniques for patients suffering from chronic itch, often a symptom of eczema and psoriasis.

The awarded amount of £81k will also be used to fund a 3 year PhD project in the intersection of experimental psychology and dermatology.

The PI is Dr Henning Holle, Department of Psychology, and the Co-I Dr Fiona Cowdell, Department of Nursing.

More details about the PhD opportunity, including how to apply, can be found here.

Psychology graduate awarded experimental psychology prize

Zoe Lewis

A Psychology graduate has won the 2015 Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) / British Science Association (BSA) Undergraduate Project Prize.

Zoe Lewis graduated with a BSc Psychology degree from the University of Hull in 2014. Her final year project was entitled ‘Illusory Ownership over an Artificial Arm Decreases Itch Perception in the Real Arm’.

Zoe found that the illusion of ownership of a rubber arm decreases itch in one’s real arm.

The work was supervised by Dr Henning Holle from the Department of Psychology.

Read more