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My general research interests are in environmental and lifestyle determinants of health and well-being across the lifespan. While my academic research has focused mainly on healthy ageing, I am interested in how the lived environment (including physical and social factors) can support healthy and happy development across the lifespan.
My undergraduate research focused on neuropsychology and on how clinical settings can promote quality of life for people with neurodegenerative disorders. During my postgraduate research I instead used an ecological approach to investigate the factors which support or hinder attachment to the place of residence in healthy community-dwelling older adults.
My PhD research looked at whether urban or rural living have a differential impact on cognitive health in ageing. This is a topic of primarily importance given increasing ageing and urbanisation worldwide, with dementia and cognitive impairment becoming a primary cause for morbidity and reduced quality of life in older age.
During my PhD, I began to work on a multidisciplinary project exploring subjective and objective dimensions of the built environment which can support healthy cognitive ageing. This research, which is ongoing, adopts a mixed-methods approach using experimental testing, neurophysiological assessment, qualitative methods (walking interviews, focus groups), and environmental audits. The project is conducted by the School of Applied Psychology, UCC, in collaboration with the School of Applied Social Sciences, UCC, and the Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health (REACH), University of Exeter (UK). For more details check "Outdoor Lived Environment as “Brain Training”, https://www.researchgate.net/project/Outdoor-lived-environment-as-brain-training.
I am also involved in a collaboration between the School of Applied Psychology UCC and the School of Natural and Social Science, University of Gloucestershire (UK) to investigate the impact on health of using green spaces.
I am currently conducting a Post Doctoral project exploring individual and environmental factors of accident risk in young drivers. The project is led by Liberty Insurance Ltd. and the School of Applied Psychology, UCC.
https://tinyurl.com/nx8f3o6) In January 2017 I won the second prize at the FameLab Munster regional heat and qualified for the national final, for describing the concept of "affordances" and their application to design user-friendly environments in three minutes by using a moka pot as a prop (see talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u00tf-yoIwQ)
I have taught part of the undergraduate modules AP2013 - Cognitive Psychology, and AP1110 - Psychology as Science, as well as the Cognitive Psychology section of Higher Diploma in Psychology introductory course. I have worked as a demonstrator for the modules AP1105 – Experimental Design and Statistical Application, and AP1108 – Research Methods in Psychology. I have also mentored and provided statistical support to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.