Dr Emma McDonald PhD BSc CPsychol
Psychology Demonstrator & Associate lecturer
Qualifications & background
I am Chartered Psychologist currently I hold a teaching post in psychology, the majority of my time is spent teaching and supporting research methods and statistics on a number of modules. Prior to coming to Brookes I worked as a Scientific Officer at the University of Plymouth's School of Psychology. I conducted my PhD on Memory and Dyslexia at the School of Psychology Cardiff University. Before starting my PhD I lectured on the psychology modules of the Welfare Studies Diploma alongside GCSE Psychology at Coleg Morgannwg. I completed my BSc in Psychology at the University of Plymouth in 2003 where I investigated dyslexia and syllogistic reasoning strategies.
My research interests focus upon Dyslexia and Cognitive Psychology, especially upon short term memory and reasoning. My PhD was supervised by Bill Macken and Dylan Jones at Cardiff University, it provided a detailed characterisation of impaired and unimpaired short term memory performance in adult dyslexics (Summary). By examining the role of processes such as auditory perceptual organisation, speech planning and output, nonverbal spatial processing and the susceptibility of these processes to interference from irrelevant tasks and sound.
I am also interested in the teaching and learning of statistics at university. Statistics is at the core of most psychology research methods courses and forms a substantial component of accredited psychology degrees. However, teaching statistics has also been described as one of the biggest challenges in teaching psychology in the UK, it is often considered ‘troublesome knowledge’ by staff and students alike. I am particularly interested in looking at ways make the topic more pleasurable for both staff and students while improving theoretical understanding.
I am the current Deputy Chair of the West Midlands Branch of the British Psychological Society (BPS). The branch represents members living in the following postcodes: ST TF WS WV DY B CV HR WR GL OX SN. The aim of the branch is to provide information and to put on events for psychologists living in the West Midlands. We are always looking for members to get involved, please get in contact if you would like any more information. I am a tutor for the Open University's residential summer school teaching on the Cognitive psychology course (DD303).
- McDonald, E. L. (2013). Learn how to plug yourself into the matrix- without plugging in the computer (Statistices Unplugged). Times Higher Education: Textbook Guide 2013.
- McDonald, E. L., Cooper, L.H.K. & Booth, J. (2009). The MP who took on a mythical beast called Dyslexia with a magic bullet. PsyPAG Quarterly, 71(2), 4-9.
- Bacon, A.M., Handley, S.J & McDonald, E.L. (2007). Reasoning And Dyslexia: A Compensatory Spatial Strategy May Impede Reasoning With Visually Rich Information. British Journal of Psychology, 98 (1), 79-92.
Peer Reviewed Abstracts and Presentations
- Ninja cats, space invaders and zombies: lessons learned from teaching statistics. Poster to be given at The British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Harrogate 2013.
- Failure to adapt; a fatal flaw in dyslexics verbal Short-Term Memory? Talk to be given at BPS Cognitive Section Conference, University of Hertfordshire 1st September 2009.
- Semantic strategies the saving grace for dyslexics verbal Short-Term Memory. Talk to be given at BPS Cognitive Section Conference, University of Hertfordshire 1st September 2009.
- Semantic Short Term Memory and Dyslexia, Presentation given at PsyPAG Annual Conference, Manchester 2008.
- Dyslexics Interrupted: Evidence of Unimpaired Planning on the Tower of London Task. Poster given at Speaking of Science Conference Cardiff 2008.
- Executive Planning is Unimpaired in Dyslexics: Evidence from Interruption of the Tower of London Task. Poster given at The British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland 2008.
- Quantitatively different, but qualitatively identical: A comparison of verbal STM processing in dyslexic and control groups. Poster given at British Dyslexia Association International Conference, Harrogate 2008.
- Intact visuo-spatial STM in dyslexia. Poster given at British Dyslexia Association International Conference, Harrogate 2008.
- Short-term-Memory and Dyslexia. Presentation given at Spotlight on the Social Sciences Conference, Cardiff 2008. Awarded Prize for best oral presentation.
- Dyslexics serial STM performance: Quantitatively different but Qualitatively similar Poster given at European Society for Cognitive Psychology Conference, Marseille, France 2007.
- Adult dyslexics' visuo-spatial serial memory: Evidence of intact non-verbal encoding? Poster given at The Cognitive Science Society Conference, Nashville 2007.
- Memory and Dyslexia: The dots task used to assess visuo-spatial serial memory Presentation given at BPS PsyPAG Annual Conference, London 2007.
- Memory and Dyslexia: Seeing Spots: Presentation given at Speaking of Science Conference Cardiff 2007.
- Survival of Auditory Recency in Adult Dyslexics: Intact Automatic Processing Despite Phonological Encoding Deficits: Poster given at BPS Cognitive Section Conference, Lancaster 2006.
- Reasoning Strategies and Dyslexia: A bias towards a spatial strategy in a dyslexic population: Presentation given at BPS PsyPAG Annual Conference, Reading 2006.