Research Activities

Collaborative research projects

Attitudes and experiences of air quality monitoring in Cork City

Nov 2020 – Ongoing. I am a collaborator in a project led by the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC lab) at UCC and Cork City Council, which aims to work towards the improvement of air quality in the city. The collaboration comprises of two projects: 1) air quality forecasting; 2) air quality around schools. I am leading the development of surveys to understand people’s attitudes towards air quality and perceived enablers/barriers for promoting more sustainable behaviours with regards to air quality.

Envisioning Happy Places for All – The role of urban planning and design for wellbeing

Feb 2020 – Ongoing. This interdisciplinary cross-national project aims to enhance our understanding of how the built environment contributes to wellbeing, particularly in vulnerable populations. I am co-leading the project with Dr. Sara Biscaya, Lecturer in Architecture University of Salford, and Dr. Sina Shahab, Lecturer in Planning and Environmental Policy at Cardiff University. We are currently working on a systematic review of the perceived impact of transformations in urban planning and design on wellbeing in vulnerable populations; the protocol is registered in Prospero. Co-editors of Sustainability MDPI special issuePlanning and Design Interventions for Improving the Well-Being of Vulnerable Groups”. The collaboration has received funding support from the British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Network Seed Funding.

Douglas Shopping Centre Fire Study

Dec 2019 – Ongoing. Drawing from theories of place attachment and place loss, I am leading this cross-departmental collaborative project investigates the experiences and impact of a major fire that caused the closure of a local shopping centre in Douglas, Cork City (Ireland). The project sees the collaboration from researchers at the School of Applied Psychology and the School of Applied Social Studies, UCC. Data collection of the first wave (after the fire and before re-opening) was completed in June 2020, with data analysis ongoing. The second wave of data collection will take place after the centre reopening (expected November 2020). The project has been partly supported by Seed Funding from the School of Applied Psychology, UCC.

Pedestrian Cork Survey

January-July 2020. As a member of the Pedestrian Cork community group, I have led the co-development of a survey to explore experiences of walkability of outdoor spaces in Cork City and County. The findings inform the group’s advocacy activities and have been adopted by Cork City Council as informing document for the Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028.

OutLET (“Outdoor Lived Environment as Brain Training”)

Apr 2016 – July 2020. As a member of the ACME lab (https://www.acmelab.science/) at UCC, I have co-led a multidisciplinary mixed-methods project exploring how the built environment can support cognitive wellbeing in older age. The project sees the collaboration of researchers from Environmental Psychology, Cognitive Sciences and Social Studies at UCC. Methods include walk-along interviews, focus groups, survey and experimental design to capture the multidimensional nature of the environmental impact on cognition.

Health x Nature

I am a collaborator in an interdisciplinary cross-national project between the School of Applied Psychology, UCC and the School of Natural and Social Science, University of Gloucestershire (UK) to develop a multidisciplinary approach to green spaces and health with the aim to better understand the dynamics driving the health/nature relationship.

ACME Lab

Jun 2017 – Ongoing. I am a Co-PI of the Ageing, Cognition, Multisensory perception and Environments (ACME) research Lab (PIs: Dr. Annalisa Setti and Dr. Jason Chan), School of Applied Psychology, UCC. Ongoing projects: Brain impact of nature (wearable EEG); community impact on cognitive wellbeing.

Research Supervision

2019-2020

Gratitude and pro-environmental behaviourStudent: Nicole Lee, M.A. Positive and Coaching Psychology, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. The observational study explored gratitude as a potential catalyst for pro-environmental behaviour, looking at the moderating role of values and nature relatedness. The study employed an online survey open to all adults aged 18+. Status: Write-up ongoing.

Workplace green and employees’ outcomesStudent: Paul Murtagh, M.A. Work and Organisational Psychology, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. This survey study looks at associations between multiple forms of exposure to green in the workplace and employees’ satisfaction, wellbeing and cognition. The study tests a potential cumulative effect of exposure to green on employee outcomes. Status: Data analysis ongoing.

The impact of walking in nature vs. urban places on vitalityStudent: Topaz Shrestha, M.A. Positive and Coaching Psychology, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. In this pilot randomised controlled trial, we tested the impact of walking in nature vs. built environment on vitality and wellbeing, looking at the moderating role of individual differences in dispositional zest. Status: Data analysis ongoing.

Experiences of workplace Diversity and Inclusion among migrants living in IrelandStudent: Sin Yee Kerk, M.A. Positive and Coaching Psychology, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. This qualitative study used interviews with non-Irish nationals currently living and working in Ireland to explore their experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and their views on the role of diversity coaching for organisations. Status: Data analysis ongoing.

The impact of working in an emergency shelter environment on employees’ mental healthStudent: Darragh Long, M.A. Applied Psychology Mental Health, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. This observational study is one of the first to investigate the environmental influences on mental health for individuals working in emergency shelters in Cork city. Status: Data analysis started.

Multilingualism and Cognitive EmpathyStudent: Alina Venjakob, B.A. Applied Psychology, School of Applied Psychology, UCC. This survey study replicated a previous investigation of the association between multilingualism and cognitive empathy, applied to a population of higher education students.

Previous years

2018-19M.Sc. in Advanced Healthcare Studies, UL, 1 student, primary supervisor
M.Sc. in Occupational Therapy, UL, 1 student, co-supervisor
2015-16M.Sc. in Applied Psychology, UCC, 2 students (Cognitive Psychology), co-supervisor