Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience

Centre for Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience

This centre draws together the recognised expertise of a number of researchers within the department.

There is a strong and particular focus on the existing research groups focused on cognitive neuroscience, occupational and health psychology, mindfulness-based interventions, and cognitive impairments associated with mental health problems. The Centre benefits from a close and explicit partnership with City's local branch of Mind (the mental health charity), and an applied Psychology Training and Research Clinic.

Academic experts teach on undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees offered by the Psychology Department. Their teaching is informed by their research and the close links with external partners.

About the centre

Aims of the centre

We aim to support the transformation of local community mental health services through:

  • active partnerships with City and Hackney Mind, City and Hackney CCG, East London NHS Trust, Shoreditch Trust & other local community organisations
  • ongoing knowledge transfer events
  • future partnerships with local community organisations wishing to improve mental health services and develop evidence-based practices.

We aim to bring innovation and best practice to Hackney and (East) London by:

  • supporting the improvement of mental health services and wellbeing in the community and workplace
  • developing and disseminating evidence-based practices
  • offering Interdisciplinary research: bringing frontline work, applied psychology and neuroscience into dialogue with one another
  • facilitating research-led education through talks, events and the newly created MSc in Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience.

Research themes

  • Examining brain mechanisms activated by mindfulness-based interventions in clinical and general populations
  • Exploring and reducing cognitive (e.g., memory and attention) impairments associated with mental health disorders (e.g., schizophrenia)
  • Examining links between underlying personality vulnerabilities (e.g., perfectionism), worry and rumination, sleep impairments, and cognitive functioning
  • Evaluating outcomes and processes of change within a range of interventions designed to improve mental health among clinical, employee, and other selected populations.


At City, the diversity and breadth of research interest into Mindfulness and Mindfulness-based interventions was prominently featured at the launch of the Centre for Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience in 2014, and in 2019 the dedicated Centre for Excellence in Mindfulness Research (CEMR) was established.

The team of Mindfulness researchers are actively investigating the real-life benefits of Mindfulness, and engaging in cutting-edge research on weight loss, autism, mental health, neurological conditions, and employment. We are in dialogue with Mindfulness researchers across disciplines, as well as commissioners, service users, and practitioners with experience of Mindfulness and other evidence-based interventions for improving wellbeing.

We have active research partnerships with the local branch of the mental health charity Mind and with Wellmind Media who provide the online Mindfulness course.

Academic experts at City engaged in Mindfulness Research and their particular interests:

Fran Smith is interested in how people experience, make sense of and apply mindfulness skills in both mental health and physical health settings. Current research projects include how anxiety is experienced following mindfulness training and relationship to food in people with type 2 diabetes following mindfulness training.

Katy Tapper is interested in mindfulness and behaviour change. Current research projects include the effects of different types of mindfulness strategies on eating behaviours and decision making. She is also interested in the mechanisms underlying such effects and the ways in which they may be enhanced or limited by certain personality or physiological traits.

Lynsey Mahmood is interested in experimental research that investigates the use of mindfulness in altering social judgements and perceptions of others. Current research projects include the effects of mindfulness in reducing attribution bias and stereotype threat. She is also interested in the use of mindfulness in the workplace, particularly the effect mindfulness has on implicit bias and group dynamics.

Tina Forster is interested in the cognitive and neural changes associated with mindfulness training; in particular, changes related to body perception and interoception.

Paul Flaxman is interested in the beneficial effects, for example stress reduction, of mindfulness in employees.

Sebastian Gaigg is interested in the effect of mindfulness on emotion, and in particular, alleviation of anxiety in people with ASD.

Angeliki Bogosian is interested in the application of mindfulness in long-term neurological conditions.

photo of Katy Tapper

Dr Katy Tapper

Applied Psychology Training and Research Clinic

About the research clinic

The research clinic carries out applied psychology research with the aim of addressing research questions related to therapy processes and outcomes, assessment, and clinical training targeted at late adolescence/young people within a university context. Housed in the Department of Psychology, the research clinic also provides facilities for academics and doctoral students at City to gain training in a range of therapeutic and research methods and approaches. This will include access to the latest research equipment and technology to enhance the quality and rigour of treatment delivery and future research impact in clinical and non-clinical settings.

Aims of the research clinic

  • Improve understanding of the development and maintenance of mental health issues in late adolescents/young people in a university setting
  • Examine the effectiveness of different psychological interventions/prevention methods
  • Examine therapy processes in order to understand the association between process and outcome, including the importance of client and therapist variables
  • Provide a high-quality research and training environment.

Research themes and topics of the research clinic

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Self-management in chronic illness
  • Aetiology, assessment and treatment of depression and anxiety
  • Cross-cultural considerations of mental health beliefs and attitudes
  • Health promotion
  • Health service research focussing on access to healthcare
  • Identity, social influence and health behaviours
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Disordered eating
  • Positive psychological interventions
  • E-Health and technological.

People in the research clinic


Associate Directors