Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Stephen welcomes applications from potential PhD students, especially those interested in loneliness, psychological wellbeing and rehabilitation strategies, specifically in stroke and brain injury survivors.

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Personal profile


Stephen is a clinically focussed psychologist, passionate about the rehabilitation, health and wellbeing of stroke and brain injury survivors, and interested in factors that affect quality of life in these populations, such as loneliness and social isolation.

Stephen obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Durham in 2009. After working as an Assistant Psychologist for a charity providing vocational and community support for brain injury survivors, Stephen started his PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology at Durham in 2010, completing this in November 2014.

Stephen’s PhD explored the use of monetary rewards on eye movements in neuro-typical human participants extending previously held knowledge regarding the effectiveness of rewards as a tool for behaviour change in neuro-typical populations and the application of reward-based training for sufferers of visual field deficits such as hemianopia.

From 2014 to 2018, Stephen worked at Durham University as a postdoctoral researcher developing, disseminating and conducting research using an app to help compensate for visual loss associated with stroke.

Stephen’s involvement with the development and implementation of rehabilitation paradigms for stroke survivors with visual loss has led to question how factors such as motivation, competition and goal-setting can be manipulated to improve patient outcome. At best these psycho-social factors in rehabilitation are poorly evidenced and at worst, non-existent. Stephen’s research aims to understand the interaction between concepts such as competition, collaboration, motivation, reward and goal-setting in order to apply these findings to patient populations.

Following a stroke or brain injury, it is not unusual for individuals to be left with impairments of varying severity, all of which impact an individual’s self-esteem and identity, which in turn hinders social connections and engagement, placing these populations at greater risk of loneliness. Stephen is also interested in understanding and alleviating loneliness in these populations.

Stephen is a member of the Experimental Psychology Society, the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Want to learn more? You can follow Stephen’s updates on Twitter

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Neurosciences, PhD, Rewards have a transient and task-specific effect on saccade latency and accuracy, Durham University

1 Oct 20101 Nov 2014

Award Date: 25 Nov 2014

External positions

Animal Free Research UK

1 Jan 2018 → …


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