Explore our research

Health and wellbeing in a survival context

Examining the impact of life-threatening events.

This programme of work investigates psychobiological and cognitive processes under threat. Specifically, looking at changes in HPA axis activation (cortisol), S-IgA (Secretory Immunoglobulin A) and cognition during simulated emergencies as well as evaluating possible nutritional interventions.

  • Investigation into changes in immune functioning during Helicopter Underwater Evacuation
  • The benefits of chewing gum on cognitive and physiological recovery after a simulated fire rescue exercise
  • Changes in mood, cortisol, s-IgA and cognition during survival training.


Project Lead


Dr Sarita Robinson


Collaborators and Partners


Dr John Leach, Centre for Intelligence Studies, Norwegian Armed Forces, Oslo.

Dr Mike Rennie, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Surry.

Flt Lt John Hudson, Flight Lieutenant, RAF St. Mawgan, Cornwall.

Joe Bottomley, Fleetwood Nautical College, Fleetwood.




Part funded by Norwegian Armed Forces


Public Outputs

Robinson, S. J., Leach, J., Owen –Lynch, P. J. and Sünram-Lea. S. (in press). Reactivity and Cognitive Performance in a Simulated Emergency (Firefighting). Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Robinson, S. J. and Porter. H. (in press). Barriers to Compliance with Emergency Warnings. Alert - The Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management Practitioner Journal (non-peer reviewed).

Robinson, S. J. and Higgs. T. (in press). When Disaster Strikes: Human behaviour in emergency situations. Alert - The Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management Practitioner Journal (non-peer reviewed).

Sünram-Lea, S. I., Owen-Lynch, J., Robinson, S. J., Jones, E and Hu, H. (in press). The effect of energy drinks on cortisol levels, cognition and mood during a fire-fighting exercise. Psychopharmology.

Robinson S. J. and Rollings, L. J. L. (2011). The effect of state-context on visual recognition and recall memory. Journal of General Psychology. 138(1), 66-79.

Robinson S. J and Bridges, N. (2011). Survival – mind and brain. The Psychologist .24 (1), 30-33.

Robinson S. J., Sunram-Lea, S., Leach, J. and Owen-Lynch P. J. (2008) The effects of exposure to an acute naturalistic stressor on working memory, state anxiety and salivary cortisol concentration. International Journal on the Biology of Stress. 11:2, 115 -124