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Cognition in Context (CiC) Research Group

Mission Statement

The mission of the Cognition in Context research cluster is to, i) conduct world-class, psychological research in both pure cognition and applied/real-world contexts, ii) generate external income, iii) foster a supportive and collaborative research environment, and iv) advance the national and international reputation of psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. 


 Based on the above mission statement, the aims of the Cognition in Context (CiC) research cluster are:  

  1. To provide a forum for research which is inclusive, supportive and collaborative, which is open to all staff (both aspiring/early career as well as currently research active) and students.
  2. To support the research ambitions of staff and students by offering appropriate training and mentoring, thereby enhancing the quality of research outputs in line with the requirements of Research Excellence Framework 2020 (REF 2020).
  3. To provide a research environment which will support and encourage members’ career progression toward Reader and Professor.
  4. To build research capacity, output and external non-HEFCE income.
  5. To contribute towards (the University’s first) Psychology submission to REF 2020.
  6. To maximize the likelihood of funding success by offering pre-submission quality assurance review.
  7. To increase the number of Doctoral Students, and enhance the timeliness of Doctoral completions.
  8. To build a national and international reputation for conducting high-quality, psychological research.      


The remit of CiC encompasses pure cognitive research on mental processes such as memory, thinking, language and attention. Additionally, the scope will incorporate research into the importance and role of such processes within applied or real-life contexts such as forensic and criminal settings, health and clinical work, and education.


Dr Niall Galbraith (Senior Lecturer and CiC lead)

Professor Coral Dando (Professor and deputy CiC lead)

Manpal Bhogal (PhD Student)

Dr David Boyda (Lecturer)

Ben Bridgwater (PhD Student)

Dr Jo Chen-Wilson (Senior Lecturer)

Claire Jones (PhD Student)

(PhD Student)

Tom Mercer (Lecturer)

Professor Tom Ormerod (Honorary Member)

(PhD Student)

Claire Tranter (PhD Student)

Dr Alex Sandham (Honorary Member)

Professor Hiroshi Yama (Honorary Member)

CiC Publications

Ikwuka, U., Galbraith, N., Manktelow, K., Chen-Wilson, C-H., Oyebode, F., Muomah, R. C., & Igboaka, A. (in press). Pathways to mental healthcare in south-eastern Nigeria: manning the crossroads. Transcultural Psychiatry.

Boyda, D., & McFeeters, D. (2015). Childhood maltreatment and social functioning in adults with sub-clinical psychosis. Psychiatry Research. 

Boyda,D., McFeeters, D., & Shevlin, M. (2015). Intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, and the mediating role of loneliness on psychosis. Psychosis Journal. 

Dando, C. J., Bull, R., Ormerod, T. C., & Sandham, A. L. (2015). Helping to sort the liars from the truth‐tellers: The gradual revelation of information during investigative interviews. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 20, 114-128.

Ormerod, T. C., & Dando, C. J. (2015). Finding a needle in a haystack: Veracity testing outperforms behaviour observation for aviation security screening. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 76-84. 

Galbraith, N.D., Manktelow, K.I., Chen-Wilson, C-H, Harris, R.A., & Nevill, A.M. (2014). Different combinations of perceptual, emotional and cognitive factors predict three different types of delusional ideation during adolescence. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 202, 668-676.

Galbraith, N. D., Morgan, C. J., Jones, C. L., Ormerod, D. R., Galbraith, V. E., & Manktelow, K. I. (2014). The mediating effect of affect: Different pathways from self and other schemas to persecutory ideation. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 46, 497-505.

Mercer, T., & McKeown, D. (2014). Decay uncovered in nonverbal short-term memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(1), 128-135.

Rhodes, S.K., & Jones, C. (2014). Affect, dual processes and some pertinent questions about delusional reasoning. In N. Galbraith (Eds), Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning:Aberrant Beliefs and Reasoning. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

McKeown, D., & Mercer, T. (2012). Short-term forgetting without interference. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38, 1057-1068.

Manktelow, K.I. (2012) Thinking and Reasoning: Psychological Perspectives on Reason, Judgment and Decision Making. Hove: Psychology Press.

CiC Research Projects

International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague 

Prof. Coral Dando and colleagues from Cognition in Context Research Group, and the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group have designed and delivered Level 1 basic investigative interview training to over 80 investigators in the ICC Office of The Prosecutor in The Hague. ICC investigators are tasked with, among other things, gathering information from some of the most vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime to help end impunity for the perpetrators of some of the most serious crime of concern to the International community. For example, war crimes such as genocide. 

The training includes the ‘Sketching to Remember’ technique (see Dando, 2013; Dando et al., 2011; 2009a; 2009b), a method for supporting all witnesses and victims to maximize the retrieval of episodic information. Sketching to remember was designed for use ‘in the field’ and then extensively evaluated by Prof. Dando and colleagues with reference to contemporary psychological theory and the empirical literature concerning the retrieval of information from long term memory. Research has consistently found the technique to be more effective, and more user friendly than currently available methods for typically developing children, vulnerable populations (older adults; children with ASD), and typically developed adults from the general population. In addition to the ICC, Sketching to remember is currently being taught in some police force areas, to Ministry of Justice Intermediaries, and other professional interviewers. 

High Value Detainee Interview Group (HIG), US Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Prof. Coral Dando has been successful in gaining funding from the HIG for a 2-year research project investigating Persuasion, and Cognitive Style. The project will examine how the modified Cognitive Interview MCI fares as a persuasive interviewing tool, compared to a novel alternative designed to maximize the elicitation and veracity of information obtained from interviewees, namely Controlled Cognitive Engagement (CCE). CCE is a psychologically-informed technique for information gathering and veracity testing that reduces unwarranted biases arising through passive observation, creates opportunities to generate information ‘hotspot’ markers, and provides a structured timeline to develop an interpersonal working relationship (see Ormerod & Dando, 2015). 

Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL), UK Ministry of Defence 

Prof. Coral Dando and colleagues were successful in securing funding to investigate social cognition in virtual environments, the aim being to move towards avatar-mediated communication to increase cooperation and enhance information gain by exploring the potential of virtual worlds for innovation in real-world, cross cultural intelligence-gathering interview settings. The intelligence-gathering interview framework represents a contemporary and significant move away from historical approaches, which have often focused on using coercive techniques to ‘gain’ cooperation. Conversely, intelligence interviews are non-coercive, dynamic, intelligence/information-gathering interactions, which bring together interviewing professionalsand interviewees in a carefully managed fashion to countenance cooperation. This 3-year project, which is nearing the end of its second year, has funded a full-time PhD student, Claire Tranter, who s completing a systematic programme of research investigating synthetic environments and cross-cultural persuasion. Our approach, and findings to date have been reported at several international conferences, in international peer reviewed journals, and a book chapter (see Cognition in Context Research Group publications). 

Active HERE, Herefordshire Council and Sport England 

Dr Niall Galbraith and colleagues from Tiller Research were awarded a grant to evaluate an intervention to improve physical activity. The Active HERE project is aimed at adults from Herefordshire who are physically inactive. Recruitment to the programme will be conducted through various community organisations and through health centres. Over the course of 12 weeks, an intervention based on motivational interviewing will help participants to establish personal goals on increasing physical activity and to find appropriate activities to achieve those goals. Measurements of physical activity and psychological wellbeing will be taken at baseline, at 6 months and 12-months. The data collection begins in early 2016. It is expected that this project will significantly impact on public health in Herefordshire and the findings will be reported in high impact academic journals as well as international conferences. 

Building for Progression: A Foot on the Ladder, ASDAN and the Progression Trust 

Together with independent research company Tiller Research, Dr Niall Galbraith is working on an evaluation of an education intervention, funded by ASDAN and the Progression Trust. The intervention is a set of learning activities or challenges for years 5, 6 and 7 being developed by the Progression Trust and ASDAN. These activities develop generic personal qualities which underpin growth and achievement, such as resilience, confidence, determination and self-esteem. We will be carrying out an evaluation of the programme in schools across central England and will be collecting data from both children and teachers. We are addressing research questions such as: Does participating in challenge-based learning help the children to prepare for the transition to secondary school? What are teachers’ perspectives on teaching in this way and what benefits does challenge-based learning bring to the classroom? The intervention is on-going and the evaluation is longitudinal. The project has the potential to deliver a holistic, person-centred approach to classroom education and to provide robust evidence for future funding applications, dissemination and further research and development. 

Psychological factors associated with belief in and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) 

With colleagues from the University of the West of England, Dr Niall Galbraith is currently running a project on the psychological factors which predict belief in and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). A recent systematic review by two of the authors (Galbraith, Moss and Galbraith, in prep.) established that people who have an intuitive thinking style (a propensity for rapid, instinctive, effortless thinking) are more likely to believe in the effectiveness of CAM. One of the weaknesses of the literature, identified in our systematic review, was that most of the studies which measured thinking style, did so with self-report measures rather than robust reasoning paradigms such as syllogisms or Wason’s Selection task. Another weakness in the literature, identified by our review, was the absence of a valid and reliable measure of CAM use and belief. The aims of the current study are to address these gaps in the literature by firstly: developing a new questionnaire of belief in and use of CAM. And secondly: to test whether the previously reported relationship between intuitive thinking and belief in CAM’s effectiveness, is replicated when using more robust cognitive tests of thinking. Further analyses will also test for relationships between CAM use/belief and other important variables (such as personality). Data collection begins in January 2016.