I've been fascinated by Psychology since I read Oliver Sacks' "Awakenings" when I was a teenager. I went on to get a BA in Psychology from Sussex University but wasn't able to carry on with my studies at the time. After a spell in retail management, I found myself longing for the challenge of academic study again and signed myself up with the Open University - one of the best decisions I've ever made!
I was a post-graduate student with the OU from 2001, and since then I've completed two MSc's, taught on two of the online psychology modules and even moved to work for the OU full-time, albeit in a very different capacity. (I look after research sampling for the institution, and manage our online survey system.) I started a part-time PhD in October 2006 and took the scenic route through my studies, finally completing my PhD in the summer of 2015.
For my thesis I looked into the phenomenon of the uncanny valley. This is the sense of disquiet and unease that we get when looking at something which is almost but not quite human. Good examples are androids, dolls and computer game characters. I'm fascinated by the effect in general, but more specifically I'm looking at the question of what qualities make 'uncanny' faces different from human and non-human faces of all kinds.
My broader research interests are in cognitive psychology, face perception, and emotions. I've developed a keen interest in the theory of research methods and am always looking for new and interesting ways to analyse, visualise and present results. I'm currently preparing several of my thesis chapters for publication, and enjoying talking to different audiences about my findings.