Our 2012 research grants announced

The Society’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme provides up to 10 researchers with the opportunity to give an undergraduate ‘hands on’ experience of research during the summer vacation. The Scheme marks out a student as a future researcher and potential academic: it is hoped that the senior researcher, to whom the award is made, will develop the Research Assistant’s potential and interest in research. The project must provide real benefits to the student and give them tangible training and career development support.

There were ten recipients of the award this year. All received the maximum individual funding available under this assistantship.

Dr Akira O’Connor (University of St Andrews) received support to fund an Assistantship for Rachael Millar. The project, 'Personal Memory Cues: Can People Serve as Memory Aids?', will explore how people who have viewed film clips with another person then retrieve information from those stimuli in a variety of different social contexts. This has direct applications to professions in which collaborative training is normal, such as law enforcement, and could extend to recommendations for memory rehabilitation. 

Dr Elizabeth Kirk (University of Hertfordshire) was successful in her application to fund an Assistantship for Emily Stears. The project, 'An exploration of the relationship between symbolic gesture and pretend play', will investigate whether the use of symbolic gestures within mother-infant dyads promotes earlier and more frequent pretend play.

Dr Ceri Phelps (Swansea Metropolitan University) had her application to Fund Emma Fitzgerald’s Assistantship accepted. Emma will be Exploring the influence of implicit attitudes towards different genetic conditions on mate selection choices. Does knowledge of the severity of a genetic condition (for the potential mate and any potential offspring) influence explicit and implicit attitudes towards health, reproductive decision-making and potential mate selection?

Dr Simon Durant (University of Lincoln) was successful in his application to fund an Assistantship for Amy Holloway for the project, 'The role of sleep in directed forgetting of emotional words'. The study is designed to test a long-standing theory in cognitive sleep research: that sleep enables emotional (and potentially traumatic) memories to be selectively removed. This is not only of great theoretical interest, but there is also considerable potential in terms of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and associated conditions such as depression.

Dr Lucy Betts and Ms Rowena Hill (Nottingham Trent University) submitted a successful application to fund an Assistantship for Sarah Gardner. The project is entitled 'Loneliness and social isolation in Silver Surfers' and it will collect data to explore if older adults’ loneliness and social isolation can be reduced by the facilitation of social networks and the promotion of social contact through these groups. In particular, the research will examine the extent to which participation in Age UK Cheshire’s Silver Surfers groups develops social networks, predicts loneliness and well-being, and impacts on resilience, personal growth and interdependence as antecedents of older adults’ loneliness.

Professor Peter Rogers (University of Bristol) will be able to fund an Assistantship for Claire Lancaster for the project 'Hungry for the taste: Understanding motivational and hedonic influences on food reward and consumption.'

Professor Glyn Humphreys and Dr Jack Rogers (University of Oxford) will support Daniel Yon’s project, 'Using TMS to Prime Feature Specific Somatotopic Representations in Motor Cortex during Speech Perception.'

Dr Rachael E Jack (University of Glasgow) had her application accepted to fund Rebecca Pratchett’s Assistantship for the project 'Mapping the Cultural Landscape of Emotions for Social Interaction'. Highlighting knowledge gaps, Rachael’s work raises several questions. Six basic emotions are Western Caucasian-specific, but which emotions are basic in different cultures? Social interactions rely on numerous emotions e.g. grief, jealousy. How do different cultures represent these emotions as facial expressions?

Dr Markus Bindemann (University of Kent) had his application accepted to fund Julien LeBlond’s Assistantship. The project, 'Can a gaze-contingent eye-tracking paradigm reverse undesirable attention biases in smokers?', seeks to investigate whether smoking-related attention biases can be reversed more effectively when observers generate such behaviours intrinsically, by the smokers themselves, in a gaze-contingent paradigm.

Finally, Dr Rebecca Greenaway (Great Ormond Street Hospital) made a successful application to fund an Assistantship for Julia Fernando entitled 'Cognitive and behavioural outcomes following multiple subpial transaction in Landau Kleffner Syndrome'.
For an example of the scheme in practice, see an article from the November 2009 ‘Careers’ section of The Psychologist. For future schemes, keep an eye on our website.