Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

ARU Centre for Mind and Behaviour

A hand holding a simulation of the brain with the sunset as a backdrop

The Centre for Mind and Behaviour at ARU (ARU-CMB) is concerned with advancing our understanding of cognition in the healthy human brain and the nature of impairment in clinical populations.

We also conduct applied research in order to improve diagnosis and clinical management of people with developmental and acquired psychological and neurological disorders.

Primary areas of interest include intelligence, memory, cognitive development and ageing, bodily self-consciousness and psychometric assessment. Our research incorporates multiple methods, including classic experimental cognitive approaches, EEG and fMRI, cortical stimulation and functional near infra-red spectroscopy.

Research activities are centred on the following groups, all of which draw in additional staff from across the centre and the school:

We offer a Psychology PhD. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

For enquiries and further information, please contact either of the Centre’s Co-Directors: Prof Peter Bright at [email protected] or Dr Sharon Morein-Zamir at [email protected].

Read more about .

Pearson, D. (2024) 'Mental Imagery and Creative Cognition'. In: Ball, B. and Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2024), The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Cognition. 1st edn. Abingdon: Routledge.

Morein-Zamir, S. and Ahluwalia S. (2023) 'Hoarding disorder: evidence and best practice in primary care', British Journal of General Practice, 73 (729), pp. 182-183. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp23X732513

Hodgetts, C. J., Close, J. O. E. and Hahn, U. (2023) 'Similarity and structured representation in human and nonhuman apes', Cognition, 236, 105419. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105419

Anastasiades, E., Todd, J., Argyrides, M. and Swami, V. (2023) 'Psychometric properties of a Greek translation of the Functionality Appreciation Scale (FAS) in adults from the Republic of Cyprus', Body Image, 45, pp. 25-33. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2023.01.010

Kuppen, S. (2023) 'Supporting Students in School. BACP Children, Young People and Families', British Association for Counselling Psychologists, June 2023, pp. 26-28.

Zühlsdorff, K., Dalley, J. W., Robbins, T. W., and Morein-Zamir, S. (2023) 'Cognitive flexibility: neurobehavioral correlates of changing one's mind', Cerebral Cortex. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac431

Melegkovits, E., Blumberg, J., Dixon, E., Ehntholt, K., Gillard, J., Kayal, H., . . . Bloomfield, M. (2023) 'The effectiveness of trauma-focused psychotherapy for complex post-traumatic stress disorder: A retrospective study', European Psychiatry, 66(1), E4. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1192/j.eurpsy.2022.2346

Belcher, H. L., Morein-Zamir, S., Stagg, S. D. and Ford, R. (2022) 'Shining a Light on a Hidden Population: Social Functioning and Mental Health in Women Reporting Autistic Traits But Lacking Diagnosis', Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-022-05583-2

Morein-Zamir, S., Kasese, M., Chamberlain, S. R. and Trachtenberg, E. (2022) 'Elevated levels of hoarding in ADHD: a special link with inattention', Journal of Psychiatric Research, 145, pp. 167-174. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.09.20126490

Todd, J. and Aspell, J. E. (2022) 'Mindfulness, Interoception, and the Body' (Editorial), Brain Sciences, 12(6), pp. 696. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci1206069

Geva, S., Schneider, L. M., Khan, S., Lorca-Puls, D. L., Gajardo-Vidal, A., PLORAS team, Hope, T. M. H, Green, D. W. and Price, C. J. (2022) 'Enhanced left superior parietal activation during successful speech production in patients with left dorsal striatal damage and error-prone neurotypical participants', Cerebral Cortex. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac282

Todd, J., Swami, V., Aspell, J. E., Furnham, A., Horne, G. and Stieger, S. (2022) 'Are Some Interoceptive Sensibility Components More Central than Others? Using Item Pool Visualisation to Understand the Psychometric Representation of Interoception', PLOS ONE, 17(12), e0277894. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-022-01977-7

Filippi, R. and Bright, P. (2022) 'A cross-sectional developmental approach to bilingualism: Exploring neurocognitive effects across the lifespan', Ampersand, 10, 100097. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amper.2022.100097

Rocha, S. and Addyman, C. (2022) 'Assessing sensorimotor synchronisation in toddlers using the Lookit online experiment platform and automated movement extraction', Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 897230. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.897230

Wyman, D. L., Butler, L., Cooper, C., Bright, P., Morgan-Trimmer, S. and Barber, J. (2022) 'Process evaluation of the New Interventions for independence in Dementia Study (NIDUS) Family stream randomised controlled trial: protocol', BMJ Open, 12(6), 54613. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054613

Todd, J., Aspell, J. E., Lee, M. C. and Thiruchelvam, N. (2022) 'How is pain associated with pelvic mesh implants measured? Refinement of the construct and a review of current assessment tools', BMC Women’s Health, 22, pp. 396. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-022-01977-7

Swami, V. and Todd, J. (2022) 'Rural-Urban Differences in Body Appreciation and Associations with Life Satisfaction in Adults from Sabah, Malaysia', Body Image, 43, pp. 385-392. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2022.10.007

Read more about .

A big congratulations to Dr Jane Aspell, Prof Peter Bright and Dr Alex Clarke who received the 2023 Faculty Award for Best PhD Supervisory Team.

Congratulations to Emily McKendrick who successfully defended her PhD viva on 1st September, supervised by Prof David Pearson, Dr Mike Pake, and Dr Helen Keyes. Her examiners were Tony Craig (James Hutton Institute) and Matt Bristow (ARU).

Congratulations to postgraduate student Komal Ramlagun, supervised by Dr Cathrine Jansson-Boyd of the cognition group, who successfully passed her viva with some small amendments. Well done Komal!

Dr Elena Sakkalou has helped to organise and run two Mary Kitzinger Trust workshops in 2023 for professionals, clinicians, and researchers, working with children with visual impairment, in her role as a Mary Kitzinger Trust Workshop Organiser.

Rathna Seetharaman, supervised by Prof David Pearson, won Best Abstract Award for her presentation at the 3rd Annual FSE Postgraduate Research Awards in 2023.

Congratulations to postgraduate student, Li-Huan Tan, for the completion of their PhD entitled “Exploring Preference and Attention Towards Social Mimicry in the Broader Autism Phenotype”, supervised by Dr Steven Stagg and Dr Ruth Ford.

Congratulations to postgraduate student, Fiona Howe, for the completion of their PhD entitled “Sensory Processing in Autistic University Students”, supervised by Dr Steven Stagg, Dr I.van der Linde, and Dr Mick Finlay.

In June 2023, Dr Steven Stagg gave a talk entitled “What is Autism and Why Does it Matter?” at the Nehru Centre for British Indian Charity.

Congratulation to *Dr* Caroline Davenport! Following a successful defence of her thesis, Caroline has passed her PhD viva with minor revisions. Double congratulations are also in order, as Caroline has secured a lectureship at the University of Hull. Caroline was supervised by Dr John Lambie, Dr Craig Owen, and Prof Viren Swami.

In 2023, Dr Elizabeth Kirk (lead of the Development and Lifespan Group) and Dr Sinead Rocha ran an interactive workshop for the under-2s and their caregivers - ARU Kids presents Baby Club – at both Chelmsford and Cambridge Science Festivals.

Dr Jane Aspell is very happy to share that, after a successful defence of his thesis, Piers Grey passed his PhD viva with minor corrections. Many congratulations Piers! Thanks and congratulations also to Dr Steven Stagg and Dr Ruth Ford for co-supervising.

Dr Sharon Morein-Zamir, co-lead of the Clinical and Wellbeing Group, for being awarded £21,000 for research entitled “Cambridgeshire Hoarding Forum: a case study of supporting front line service providers working for a marginalised community” by ARU Health Performance and Wellbeing.

Congratulations to Prof David Pearson, lead of the Cognition Group, for his recent promotion to Professor. David gave his inaugural lecture entitled “Tracking the mind's eye: The Psychology of attention and memory” on 10th May, 2023, to celebrate his academic success.

Dr Flavia Cardini (Principle Investigator), Dr Jane Aspell, Francesca Cavallerio and Elisa Ferre (Co-Investigators) were awarded the Leverhulme Trust Research Grant (2022) of £153,406 in June, 2022.

In February 2023, Dr John Lambie gave an invited seminar session and Q&A at the University of Kassel (Germany), relating to his publication: Lambie, J.A. (2020). The demanding world of emotion: A Gestalt approach to emotion experience. New Ideas in Psychology, 56.

Dr Elizabeth Kirk (lead of the Development and Lifespan Group) and Dr Sinead Rocha for were awarded £9323.40 through the Faculty Research Pump Priming Programme 2022/23 led by the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University.

Dr Julia Gillard, member of the Clinical and Wellbeing Group, delivered training for Op COURAGE Warm Welcome Afghan Service to national Op Courage Network on working with culture and mental health in 2023.

Dr Sharon Morein-Zamir, co-lead of the Clinical and Wellbeing Group, gave a talk entitled “Too much stuff in the house! Why do people hoard?” at the Cambridge Festival in 2023.

Dr Jennifer Todd of the Body and Self Group was a guest speaker at Body Image and Society (2022), University College Dublin, giving a talk entitled: “Turning Bodies Inside Out – Introception and Body Image.”

In 2022, Dr Jennifer Todd, member of the Body and Self Group, gave an invited talk at the Laboratory of neuropsychology, University of Verona, entitled: “Using digital tools to explore bodily awareness and pain in fibromyalgia.”.

Congratulations to PhD student Utkarsh Gupta, supervised by Dr Jane Aspell and Prof Peter Bright, who has been awarded a Brain Travel Award of £600 by the Guarantors of Brain. This will fund his attendance at the annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Amsterdam, where he will present his latest research findings.

In June 2022 Dr Debora de Vasconcelos e Sa and Associate Professor, Dr John Lambie, (Clinical and Wellbeing group) presented an outreach talk to CPFT Eating Disorders Carers’ Support Group entitled 'How to cope with emotions: for carers and their loved ones'.

Matt Gwyther gave a poster presentation at the Phenomenological Methods in Neuroscience & Consciousness Research workshop in Zurich (April 2022).

We had two events at the 2022 Cambridge Festival: Associate Professor, Dr Jane Aspell, gave a talk entitled 'Losing and Finding the Self in the Brain', and Matt Gwyther, Utkarsh Gupta and Dr Jenny Todd presented an interactive showcase of some of the group’s recent research.

A Special Issue on the topic 'Mindfulness, Interoception and the Body', guest edited by Dr Jenny Todd and Dr Jane Aspell, has been published in Brain Sciences.

Research co-authored by Prof Peter Bright has found that multilingual acquisition is not detrimental to cognitive and linguistic development and has been summarised in an article for the Institute of Education No harm to cognitive and linguistic development for second language learners. The full text is published by Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology and entitled 'Trajectories of verbal fluency and executive functions in multilingual and monolingual children and adults: A cross-sectional study'.

Dr Jane Aspell was interviewed about her research on the BBC Radio 4 programme 'All in the Mind'. (December 2021)

ARU recently hosted the online event European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition (EWIC), organised and led by Dr David Pearson (Co-Lead for the Cognition group). In addition to exciting oral and poster presentations from across our international community, we were pleased to have additional keynote talks by Robert Logie (University of Edinburgh) and Michel Denis (CNRS & Université Paris-Saclay).

A recent paper co-authored by Prof Peter Bright and Dr Ian van der Linde has been summarised in an article in Physician's Weekly (June 2020)

Sharon Buckland, recent PhD graduate under the supervision of Prof Peter Bright and Dr Emma Kaminskiy, published a study on the psychological repercussions of acquired brain injury, not only on the person with the injury, but also the wider family unit. The study is entitled 'Individual and family experiences of loss after acquired brain injury: A multi-method investigation'.

Read more about read more about what's going on in the aru centre for mind and behaviour.