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Psychobiology Section

Psychobiologists research how psychological factors like cognition, mood and appraisal combine with biological events like stress physiology, changes in brain function, and pharmacological effects, to shape the human experience.

About

The Psychobiology Section of the BPS provides a forum for the discussion and professional issues for people with interests in biological aspects of psychology.

Members of the BPS Psychobiology Section comprise psychologists across the health service, industry, colleges and universities.

Their interests cover many areas of biological psychology and related topics.

Current members are conducting research in such exciting fields of psychobiology as:

  • the impact of psychological stress on health and well-being,
  • the relationships between nutrition, brain function and behaviour
  • the benefits of swearing for pain tolerance
  • the effects of mindfulness on cortisol levels
  • the therapeutic benefits of expressive writing
  • the psychology of music
  • the interactions between tinnitus and stress hormones

The section's activities include our annual scientific meeting, a two-day event usually held in September; and one or more specialist events (e.g. workshops) throughout the year.

Psychobiology Section

News

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Psychobiology Section

Events

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Awards

Undergraduate Award

Closing date: 31 May 2024

Our Undergraduate Award (UGA) recognises an applicant's outstanding research conducted in the course of producing a dissertation as part of an undergraduate degree, in the area of Biological Psychology.

The applicant should currently be based in the United Kingdom but they need not be a BPS member.

Eligibility and assessment

The award will be judged on the basis of the quality of the dissertation, which will be submitted to the Award Panel. The dissertation must have been submitted in the academic year 2023-24

The Award Panel will prioritise the role of the applicant in the conduct of the research, rather than research quality which may predominantly be attributable to the student being in a strong research environment.

The Award Panel will comprise a subgroup of the Psychobiology Section Committee, in consultation with expert assessors if necessary.

It is customary for the winner of the award to present an oral presentation at the Annual Psychobiology Section Annual Scientific Meeting which will take place in Cambridge on 5-6 September 2024.

The value of the award is £500, which is expected to cover travel and accommodation costs associated with attending this event.

How to Apply

An electronic copy of the dissertation should be submitted, along with a supporting statement of not more than 500 words from the applicant.

An additional statement of a similar length is required from the dissertation supervisor.

You will need the following information:

Applicant
  1. Name
  2. Title
  3. Organisation/affiliation
  4. BPS membership number (if applicable)
  5. Email address
Supervisor
  1. Name
  2. Title
  3. Organisation/affiliation
  4. BPS membership number (if applicable)
  5. Email address

Submit an application

In summary, the required attachments to your application are:

  • An electronic copy of the dissertation
  • Statement from the applicant in support of their application (500 words)
  • Statement from the supervisor in support of the application (500 words) 

Early Career Researcher Award

Closing date: 31 May 2024

The Psychobiology Section's Early Career Award recognises an applicant's outstanding published contributions to research in the area of Biological Psychology.

The applicant should currently be based in the United Kingdom but they need not be a BPS member.

The award will be judged on the basis of one journal article, authored or co-authored by the applicant, which will be submitted by the applicant in support of their application.

Eligibility 

Eligible publications for an applicant are limited to peer-reviewed scientific journal papers reporting novel observations and providing significant theoretical insight into the physiological and biological bases of behaviour.

The Award Panel will give preference to studies with broad appeal and widespread implications, particularly studies that address longstanding problems and that advance conceptual understanding in unexpected or counterintuitive ways.

The publications submitted in support of an application for the 2024 award should have a publication date of 2022, 2023 or 2024, and should not have been submitted previously as part of an application for this award.

'Online first' articles with a DOI which can be downloaded as full published text are also eligible.

The applicant must hold a postgraduate research (PGR) qualification (e.g. PhD) and must have worked for no more than three years (FTE) in the Higher Education Sector, or in relevant employment of some other form, since their PGR graduation.

The date of their PGR graduation must not be before 2020 and the article submitted must not be part of the original PGR thesis, but must instead represent further novel investigation.

It is customary for the winner of award to present an oral presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the Psychobiology Section which will take place in Cambridge on 5-6 September 2024.

The value of the award is £500, which is expected to cover travel and accommodation costs associated with attending this event.

All eligible, nominated publications will be considered by the Award Panel, comprising a subgroup of the Psychobiology Section Committee, in consultation with expert assessors if necessary.

How to submit

An electronic copy of the relevant publication should be submitted, along with a supporting statement of not more than 500 words from the applicant.

Submit an application now

In summary, the following information will be needed when submitting an application.

 Applicant:

  1. Name
  2. Title
  3. Organisation/affiliation
  4. BPS membership number (if applicable)
  5. Email address

You will also need to provide:

  • a 500 word statement by the applicant in support of their application
  • a journal article in support of the application

Postgraduate Award

Closing date: 31 May 2024

The Psychobiology Section's Postgraduate Award recognises an applicant's outstanding research conducted in the course of producing a thesis either a PhD or a taught doctorate in the area of Biological Psychology.

The applicant should currently be based in the United Kingdom but they need not be a BPS member.

Eligibility

The award will be judged on the basis of ONE publication in a peer-reviewed journal arising from thesis-related research, which provides significant theoretical insight into the physiological and biological bases of behaviour.

The Award Panel will give preference to studies with broad appeal and widespread implications, particularly studies that address longstanding problems and that advance conceptual understanding in unexpected or counterintuitive ways.

Applicants may still be registered for the postgraduate award relevant to thesis. However, no more than two years may have elapsed since their graduation from the award for which the thesis was generated.

The publication submitted in support of an application for the 2024 award should have a publication date of 2022, 2023 or 2024, and should not have been submitted previously as part of an application for the award.

'Online first' articles with a DOI which can be downloaded as full published text are also eligible.

It is customary for the winner of award to present an oral presentation at the Annual Psychobiology Section Annual Scientific Meeting which will take place in Cambridge on 5-6 September 2024.

The value of the award is £500, which is expected to cover travel and accommodation costs associated with attending this event.

All eligible, nominated publications will be considered by the Award Panel, comprising a subgroup of the Psychobiology Section Committee, in consultation with expert assessors if necessary.

How to submit

 An electronic copy of the relevant publication should be submitted, along with a supporting statement of not more than 500 words from the applicant.

An additional statement of a similar length is required from the chief supervisor/Director of Studies.

Submit an application now

Please note: you will need to supply the following information:

Applicant:

  1. Name
  2. Title
  3. Organisation/affiliation
  4. BPS membership number (if applicable)
  5. Email address

Supervisor:

  1. Name
  2. Title
  3. Organisation/affiliation
  4. BPS membership number (if applicable)
  5. Email address

In summary, the required attachments to your application are:

  • Peer reviewed journal article based upon research from the applicant's thesis
  • Statement from the applicant in support of their application (500 words)
  • Statement from the supervisor in support of the application (500 words)

Previous award winners

2019
  • Olly Robertson – Keele University.
2016
  • Claire Kelly – Lancaster University
    "The ability to continually apply self-control: the role of both glucose and motivation on self-control performance"

Research Award

The objective of the Psychobiology section within the BPS is to offer financial support for the research endeavours of researchers in psychobiology based in the UK.

Each applicant may receive awards of up to £400, providing valuable assistance for their research projects.

Undergraduate project prize

About the award

The Psychobiology Section Undergraduate Project Prize recognises outstanding research conducted by undergraduate students in the area of Psychobiology.

Eligible projects can use any methodology, but the research must be grounded in psychobiological theory.

The lack of opportunity for students to conduct face to face testing during the pandemic will be taken into account when selecting a winner.

How to apply

You will be asked for the following information:

  • Name
  • Name of Supervisor
  • Institution
  • Student Email Address
  • Title of Project

You will also be asked to upload the following documents as a file attachment. We advise that you save your submission on a document before you start the online form.

  • Letter of support from Supervisor
  • Fully assessed dissertation

The prize winner will receive a bursary to attend the Section's ASM, and must be available to present their work via an oral presentation at the meeting.

The winner will also be expected to write up their work as a short article for the Section Newsletter.

Applications/nominations are currently closed.

Previous award winners

2023
  • Lovell Jones – Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
    "Exploring the effect of ASMR on biomarkers and interpersonal space"
2019
  • James Evans – Queen Mary University, London
    "The Relationship Between Anxiety and Healthy Ageing: Telomere Shortening   in Anxious Zebrafish"
2018
  • Matthew Danvers
    "Investigating electrophysiological markers of atypical attention in ten-month olds at high risk for either autism or ADHD"
2016
  • Derry Taylor – University of Portsmouth
    "Specific rapid facial mimicry in sun bears (Herlarctos malayanus): A broader perspective on emotional behaviours"
2015
  • Anika Smith – University of York.
    "Does Marmite Increase GABA Concentration?"

Committee

Chair: Kyla Pennington

Honorary Treasurer: Richard Stephens

Honorary Secretary: Catherine Loveday

Bursary Award Lead: Philip Murphy

Research Integrity Lead: Michael Smith

Social Media Lead: Sarah Allen

Events Lead: James Jackson

EDI Lead: Eimear Lee

Student Representative: Lovell Jones

Join

Membership of the Psychobiology Section is only open to members of the British Psychological Society.

If you are not already a member, you can join the Section at the same time as applying for membership of the society.

Apply to join the society

Benefits of belonging

Benefits of Psychobiology Section Membership

  • Eligibility to apply for a range of awards and bursaries. 
  • Reduced registration fees for the Psychobiology Annual Scientific Meeting. 
  • Regular issues of the Section newsletter.
  • Regular updates via our membership announcement e-mail list. 

Member Announcement Email List

The Psychobiology Section uses its membership announcement email list to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues. 

By becoming a member of the Section you are automatically added to the announcement list.

To receive these emails you will need to:

  1. become a member of the Psychobiology Section
  2. opt into receiving email communication and provide a working email address

These preferences can be updated by logging into your member portal.

If you have any queries, please contact Member Network Services.

To assist us in responding to your query please make sure to include your membership number and quote 'Psychobiology Section announcement email' in the subject line.

Getting involved with Psychobiology Section Committee

The Psychobiology Section relies on a wide range of people getting involved, and the work of the Section is largely achieved through the dedication of unpaid volunteers.

Our volunteers come from a wide range of different backgrounds, whether they be practitioners or academics, or full members or student members, and together form an open and inclusive community.