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Dr Beth Richardson

Senior Lecturer in Experimental Social Psychology
School of Psychology and Computer Science

Beth's research explores the mechanistic underpinnings of social behaviour within a broad integrative framework. Her research focuses on joint action and forms of human cooperation, in particular, how potential deficiencies in communication can be used to understand these processes. In her research, Beth has explored the impact of social/cultural schemas and interaction context on our conscious and unconscious communication. She has also examined communication as a strategic behaviour through focusing on processes of priming and disruption. Her research has strong impact in its emphasis on communication as a diagnostic tool, for example in decision making and information gathering contexts.

Beth has published in a number of experimental psychology journals including Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Law and Human Behaviour. She has previously held three research grants exploring language markers of interpersonal cohesion and threat. Through this, and related projects, Beth has built up at network of academic and stakeholder collaborators.

Beth graduated from the University of Stirling in 2008 with a First Class honours degree in Psychology, followed by an MSc in Psychological Research Methods in 2009. She started her PhD at Lancaster University in 2009 supervised by Prof. Paul J. Taylor. Beth’s PhD examined the moderating influence of power and context on verbal mimicry and the potential for certain circumstances to engender cooperation, particularly in the arena of negotiation and information gathering interviews. In 2012, Beth started as a post-doctoral researcher at Lancaster University where she ran lab-based experiments to test language priming as a cue to deception. Following this, she worked as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Emotions, Credibility and Deception research at UCLan, before beginning her lectureship in 2015.

Her research interests span social cognition and cognitive psychology, with a focus on social signals (most notably language style matching\models of language alignment), behavioural disruption (processes of distraction and repair) and cooperation. She typically addresses these issues in face-to-face interactions and has a particular interest in situations where communication is difficult. For example, she has explored effective techniques for eliciting confession during police interrogations with colleagues at Lancaster and Memorial University, Canada and is interested in how interpersonal dynamics can impact cues to deceit. Beth is particularly interested in how verbal mimicry can work to either facilitate or impede these types of interactions. Beth co-directs the 'Social Interaction and Performance Science' research lab with Dr. Edson Filho (UCLan).

Current Projects include: ‘Neural Markers of Synchrony' with Dr. Filho; 'Techniques to Improve Witness Interviews' with Professor Frowd and Dr Nash (Aston University) and; 'Cognitive Bias and Behavioural Indicators in Decision Making' with Dr Marsh and Professor Ball. Beth would be happy to supervise PhD students in these, or related, areas.