PhD Studentship: Determinants of functional outcome in psychosis: role of cognition, metacognition and anomalous experience

University of Sussex - School of Psychology

Supervisors: Dr Kathryn Greenwood (University of Sussex/Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), Dr Sarah Garfinkel and Professor Hugo Critchley (Brighton and Sussex Medical School).

Psychosis underlies a set of disabling conditions, affecting approximately 2-3 in 100 people. Psychosis is characterized by cognitive changes, unusual perceptual experiences and poor functional outcome. While effective interventions exist for these unusual experiences, progress is more limited in improving functioning. Theoretical models suggest contributing roles for cognition and metacognition on functional outcome. Correspondingly, cognitive remediation programmes show promise.

Our own work also suggests that anomalous experiences, such as dissociation, play an important part in changes in metacognition and functional outcome.

The current PhD will; (i) undertake a systematic review to characterize the relationship between dissociation and psychosis; (ii) explore further the relationship between anomalous experiences, dissociation, and functional outcome in psychosis; (iii) develop new paradigms for inducing and treating anomalous experiences in a non-clinical and schizotypal populations, and; (iv) pilot this approach in psychosis patients .

Dr Greenwood, is a clinical psychologist and senior clinical lecturer, specializing in psychosis from perspectives of cognition, psychosocial functioning and the development of interventions. Dr Garfinkel is a senior lecturer in psychiatry and consciousness, and Professor Critchley is chair in Psychiatry (neuroscience and imaging) and co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science. Both have interests in brain-body interactions underlying perception, cognition and emotion, relevant to psychosis.

  • Studentship awards will be based on a competitive process, including interview. There are two types of awards available: +3 studentships, which fund a three-year full-time PhD, and 1+3 studentships, which fund a one-year Master’s degree followed by a three-year full-time PhD. Full-time studentship covering tuition fee, and a maintenance allowance (currently £14,553 per annum).
  • The competitive awards are funded by the School of Psychology (+3, eligibility: Home or EU residency); the ESRC (1+3 or +3, eligibility at South-East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS); or the Chancellor’s International Research Scholarship (+3, eligibility at Chancellor's International Research Scholarship (2018).
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master's degree in Psychology or a related discipline.

Guidance for applicants:

  • Application procedures can be found here.
  • Please submit your application online for the ‘PhD in Psychology’ programme for September 2018 through this link
  • In the ‘Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section of your application form, please put name of supervisor
  • In the ‘Proposed source of funding’ as School of Psychology and/or SeNSS, or CIRS) 

Candidates should provide:

  • A research proposal that outlines your knowledge of the research area, hypotheses that could be addressed in your PhD, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10-font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
  • An up-to-date CV.
  • Current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses.
  • Two academic references.

For queries with respect to the application process please send an email to 'Postgraduate Coordinator' to:

If you wish to discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Dr Greenwood:

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South East England