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Dr Vanessa Parson

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Associate Head of School of Psychology (interim); Learning and Teaching Enhancement Project Lead

I am one of the Associate Heads of School with the School of Psychology. I also work half-time in CELT as a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Project Lead. My subject specialisms are cognitive psychology (specifically perception and attention) and the psychology of learning, although I teach across a wide spectrum of subjects including the psychology of belief, cyberpsychology, and study skills. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Within my CELT role, I am part of the team leading the Assessment Innovation Programme, leading Supporting Student Academic Integrity (SSAI) working group, and working closely with Claire Hoy in the project around assessment change: Principles to Practice. I am working with academics across the institution to facilitate and support changes in practice in line with the AIP principles and the challenges artificial intelligence poses to education.

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:

  • PSY272 – The Psychology of Belief
  • PSY372 – Cyberpsychology


  • ProfDoc – Director of Studies (Use of video technology in learning)
  • PhD – Director of Studies (cyberstalking and obsession)

Research interests for potential research students

  • The impact of technology on learning
  • Music and learning
  • Music and attention
  • The impact of AI on assessment and learning


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, predominantly around the impact of technology on learning and education. 

I am also interested in the impact of assessment and artificial intelligence on the learning journey for students and academics.


Number of items: 15.


Thompson, Alice and Parson, Vanessa (2024) "I knew the stranger that I’ve never spoken to was paying attention to me" Exploring the variation and differences in surveillant behaviours on social media. BPS Cyberpsychology Bulletin. p. 211.

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 Mon Jul 22 07:06:22 2024 BST.
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Perception
  • Attention
  • Study and communication skills
  • Academic writing
  • Academic misconduct
  • Assessment

Last updated 28 February 2024