Dr. Sarita Robinson

Dr. Sarita Robinson

Principal Lecturer

School of Psychology

+44 (0) 1772 89 4494


Sarita Robinson earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lancaster University, before completing her MSc in Cognitive Sciences at Manchester University. Sarita returned to Lancaster to undertake her PhD before joining the School of Psychology at UCLan in 2005. Sarita’s research interests mainly focus on cognitive neuropsychology and psychobiology in relation to people under threat.

Sarita is research active within the area of psychology and is a member of the Health Psychology Research Group.

Research Activities

Sarita’s research interests are broadly located within the domain of health and forensic psychology, looking at the impact of acute environmental events on health and well-being. Using a cognitive neuropsychology and psychobiology approach Sarita is especially interested in how exposure to acutely stressful situations can impact on both immune function and cognition. Sarita is currently undertaking several research projects which monitor cognition, HPA axis activation (cortisol) and immune function (s-IgA) in people exposed to threat. Furthermore, Sarita is also keen to investigate psychosocial and nutritional intervention which could stop negative effects of stressful events.

Sarita has written an article on The Conversation about surviving stressful situations, specifically relating the group who were trapped in the cave in Thailand, entitled ‘Thai cave boys: the psychology of surviving underground’

Sarita had another article published on The Conversation in January 2019 about the effects of isolation, entitled ‘What are the effects of total isolation? An expert explains’


Harris, Rebecca, Qualter, Pamela and Robinson, Sarita Jane (2013) Loneliness Trajectories from Middle Childhood to Pre-Adolescence: Impact on Perceived Health. Journal of Adolescence, - (-). ISSN 0140-1971

Robinson, Sarita Jane, Leach, John, Owen-Lynch, P Jane and Sunram-Lea, Sandra I (2013) Stress Reactivity and Cognitive Performance in a Simulated Firefighting Emergency. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 84 (6). pp. 592-599. ISSN 0095-6562

Sünram-Lea, Sandra I., Owen-Lynch, Jane, Robinson, Sarita Jane, Jones, Emma and Henglong, Hu (2012) The effects of energy drinks on cortisol levels, cognition and mood during a fire-fighting exercise. Psychopharmology, 219 (1). pp. 83-97. ISSN 0033-3158

Robinson, Sarita Jane, Sünram-Lea, S. I., 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 concentrations. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 11 (2). pp. 115-124. ISSN 1025-3890

More publications


Foundering Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management

Chartered Member of the British Psychology Society and Psychobiology Section Committee member

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching., University of Central Lancashire, 2008

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Student Supervision, 2012

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2008


Ph.D. Psychology - Cognitive and Neuroimmune Factors in Human Survival, Lancaster University, 2005

MSc. Cognitive Science , Manchester University, 1998

BSc. (Hons.) Psychology with Globalisation Studies , Lancaster University, 1996

External Roles

Referee for the Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine


Current Projects

The benefits of chewing gum as an aid to stress reduction post fire-fighter training

In collaboration with the Norwegian Armed Forces and Fleetwood Nautical College. Research into executive function and immune function changes during exposure to helicopter evacuation training.

In collaboration with Fleetwood Nautical College: An investigation into the impact of individual differences (optimism and social support) on people undergoing helicopter underwater evacuation training and fire-fighter training.

In collaboration with RMS Sandhurst: An investigation into resilience in officer cadets undergoing exercise LONGREACH.

In collaboration with Health Protection Agency: An examination of cognitive failures and cortisol reactivity in people during decontamination procedures.

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Module leader: Topics in Psychology module
Module leader: Neuroscience: Organism and the Environment
Module leader: Brain, Language and Memory module for the Blended learning Masters in Emotions, Creditability and Deception.

Sarita lectures on the undergraduate psychology and neuroscience degree programmes. In addition, Sarita lectures on performance under pressure and survival psychology on the Forensic, Sport and Health Psychology Masters programmes.

In addition, Sarita supervises a number of undergraduate (Cognitive, Forensic, Health) and post-graduate research (Forensic, Health, Sport) projects.

Ph.D Supervision

Kerry Manning (Ph.D. Director of Studies) Cognitive factors in Jury recall and understanding.

Rebecca Harris (Ph.D. Second Supervisor) Loneliness and Health: Physiological and Cognitive Functioning.

Denis Gallagher (Ph.D. Second Supervisor) The effects of drug use on cognitive functioning.

Sarita is an active member of the School of Psychology's Learning and Teaching Committee and of the University's Pedagogic Research.