Meet people in the School

Introducing new academics in the School: Dr Lee Curley

This week we introduce one of the new academics in the School, Dr Lee Curley, Lecturer in Psychology.

Tell us about your interests and the area of psychology that you work in.  

My main area of interest relates to decision science and rationality. Since my undergraduate degree I’ve been fascinated in the ways with which people deviate from rational norms. This passion fuels my interest in applied psychology, as a number of disciplines (law, medicine and finance) traditionally assume expert decision makers within their field to be mostly rational beings. Psychology papers that highlight the subjectivity of these decision makers have always interested me greatly. 

Since my PhD, my investigations of rationality and biases have mostly been applied to jurors. I’ve studied and published on topics relating to how individual differences (i.e., pre-trial biases), cognitive structures, and different verdict options (Anglo-American two-verdict system vs. Scottish three-verdict system; guilty, not guilty and not proven) influence the rationality of jurors within homicide trials. 

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a number of projects. I won’t discuss them all just now as some are still in the design phase, but I’ll speak about them more, hopefully on this blog, in the coming months. I do currently have three papers submitted to journals and I’m waiting to hear whether they’ve been accepted, which is exciting. One of these papers focusses on the effects that bilingualism has on rationality. This was a really interesting project to have worked on, and my research team and I have found some unexpected results although I don’t want to disclose them until the paper has been published. I’m also working on a paper in collaboration with the Scottish Ambulance Service, on the decision making process of paramedics. My team and I are currently in the data analysis stage, so it will be another couple of weeks at least before we have a greater understanding of the results. 

What were you doing before you came to the Open University?

Before coming to the Open University, I was working at Edinburgh Napier University as a teaching associate. I had been at Edinburgh Napier University in some capacity (Undergraduate, PhD student and staff) since 2010. Despite leaving, I still have a couple of projects in the pipeline with some of the academics there, so it will be nice to see some Collaboratory papers between the Open University and Edinburgh Napier University. 

What are your plans for teaching and research in the School? 

I’ll be teaching on Investigating Psychology 1 (DE100), Investigating Psychology 2 (DE200) and Living Psychology (DD210). I hope to bring to these modules my knowledge surrounding the core areas of psychology and my expertise relating to research methods and statistics. I can’t wait for the new presentations to begin. For my research groups, I’ve joined the Forensic Cognition research group, and I’m part of two research projects that are currently being set up with other members of the group. I’ll be giving a talk in September at the Centre for Policing Research and Learning, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m also planning on joining the Harm and Evidence Research collaborative. I believe that my expertise in how jurors evaluate and integrate evidence will fit very well with their interests. 

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