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Dr Vanessa Parson

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Senior Lecturer in Psychology

I graduated in 1998 with a BSc in Psychology from Bangor University, Wales. Following this I did my PhD at Aston University under the supervision of Dr Ian Holliday, looking at visuospatial attention, specifically distraction, using MEG (magnetoencephalography), graduating in 2003.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and the Faculty Pathway Leader for the Integrated Foundation Year in Health Sciences and Wellbeing, as well as the Combined Subjects Subject Lead. I teach across a wide range of subjects at all levels.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and designed the Academic Misconduct Awareness Course that runs as Penalty 1 within the Academic Misconduct regulations.

I am a member of various panels throughout the University:

  • Extenuating Circumstances
  • Academic Misconduct
  • Ethics Review (Lead Reviewer – local to Psychology)

Teaching and supervision

I teach across multiple areas, specialising in perception, attention, anomalistic psychology, and cyberpsychology. In addition, I also teach study and communication skills, social psychology, individual differences, biological psychology, research methods and statistics:

Module Leader and Lead Lecturer

  • PSY265 Anomalous Psychology: a critical introduction
  • PSY372 Cyberpsychology
  • PSY385 Digital Humans: the psychology of online behaviour
  • FDN008 Foundations of Health Sciences and Wellbeing


  • BSc Empirical Project
  • MSc Postgraduate Literature Review 
  • MSc Research Project 

  • PhD – Director of Studies for Alice Thompson

Research interests for potential research students

  • Technology and learning
  • Motivations for use of technology
  • The Impact of technology
  • Social Media usage
  • Music and learning
  • Music and attention
  • Musical training and executive function


Originally from a neuropsychological background looking at attentional processing in the parietal and occipital cortices, my current research focuses on the impact of musical training on cognitive processing and the ways in which technological aspects of everyday life can enhance the learning experience (using both qualitative and quantitative approaches).

While I still love my attention/perception roots, I am fascinated by how we are impacted by technology in everyday life and in education.


Number of items: 14.


Parson, Vanessa and Bain, Hannah (2021) Staff-Student Facebook groups promote collaborative learning and formation of a cohort identity. Journal of Social Media for Learning, 2 (1). pp. 40-54. ISSN 2633-7843

Parson, Vanessa and Bignell, Simon (2017) An investigation into cooperative learning in a virtual world using problem-based learning. Online Learning, 21 (2). ISSN 2472-5730

Reddy, Peter, Greasley, Alinka, Parson, Vanessa, Talcott, Joel, Harrington, Katherine and Elander, James (2009) Becoming a Psychology Undergraduate; Integrating Study Skills and Integrating Students. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 7 (2). pp. 38-41. ISSN 1475-7257

Parson, Vanessa, Reddy, Peter, Wood, Jon and Senior, Carl (2009) Educating an iPod generation: undergraduate attitudes, experiences and understanding of vodcast and podcast use. Learning, Media and Technology, 34 (3). pp. 215-228. ISSN 1743-9884

Reddy, Peter and Parson, Vanessa (2007) Student response to a pub quiz style first year psychology assessment. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 6 (2). pp. 154-159. ISSN 1475-7257

Parson, Vanessa and Holliday, I E (2001) Parietal and Occipital Evoked Magnetic Responses vary with Attentional Load in a Cued Visual Orientation Discrimination Task. Neuroimage, 13 (6). s334. ISSN 1053-8119

Book Section

Parson, Vanessa and Bignell, Simon (2011) Problem-Based Learning in Virtual Worlds. In: Click to edit publication descriptionImmersive and collaborative virtual worlds can offer educationalists a future-focused solution to enhancing the learning experience they provide. Problem-based learning (PBL) is one option by which virtual worlds can p. Emerald, Bingley, West Yorkshire, pp. 241-261.

Parson, Vanessa and Bignell, S (2011) Using Problem-Based Learning within 3D Virtual Worlds. In: 3D Virtual World Learning Handbook. Cutting-edge Technologies in Higher Education (4). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 241-261. ISBN 978-1-78052-052-0

Conference or Workshop Item

Bignell, S and Parson, Vanessa (2010) Best Practices guide for PBL and Second Life. In: The fifth biennial Psychology Learning and Teaching Conference organised by the Psychology Network, 30 Jun - 2 Jul 2010, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh , Scotland. (Unpublished)

Bignell, Simon and Parson, Vanessa (2010) Psychology learning and teaching in virtual worlds: The PREVIEW-Psyche project. In: PLAT2010 (Psychology Learning and Teaching Conference), 30 Jun - 2 Jul 2010, Edinburgh Napier University, UK. (Unpublished)

Bignell, Simon, Parson, Vanessa, Wood, Jon, Silber, Kevin, Reddy, Peter and Senior, Carl (2008) Second Life: another world in which to teach and learn. In: Higher Education Academy - PLAT2008: Psychology Learning and Teaching Conference, 1 - 3 Jul 2008, University of Bath, Bath, England. (Unpublished)

Reddy, P, Parson, Vanessa, Wood, J and Senior, C (2007) Podcasting trials in a UK psychology degree. In: “Locating Learning: Integrative Dimensions in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning”: International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference, 2-5 Jul 2007, Sydney, Australia. (Unpublished)


Parson, Vanessa (2018) Communication and Study Skills in Psychology (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, UK. ISBN 9780198786122

Parson, Vanessa (2012) Communication and Study Skills for Psychology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959348-4

This list was generated on Thu Feb 9 06:42:52 2023 GMT.
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Perception
  • Attention
  • Anomalistic Psychology and the Psychology of Belief
  • Study and communication skills
  • Academic writing
  • Academic misconduct
Find me on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/vanessaparson/

Last updated 04 January 2022