Dr Lauren M Potter

    MA(Hons), PhD, CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, FHEA

    Associate Professor


    I trained in Counselling before achieving a first class honours degree in Applied Psychology (Heriot-Watt, 2001), along with the University’s Premier Award for the Highest Academic Distinction, The Watt Club Medal (2001). I then undertook a PhD in the Psychology of Ageing (Strathclyde University, 2005), before returning to Heriot-Watt as Lecturer in Psychology (2005), where I qualified to teach and practice independently in Higher Education (2007), and achieved professional Chartered recognition as Psychologist (2008) and Scientist (2010). Upon the international expansion of Heriot-Watt campuses to Dubai and Malaysia, I became Assistant Professor (2014), followed by senior promotion to Associate Professor (2019).

    Teaching responsibility:

    I am Global Course Coordinator for/teach on Stage 1 C97RM Research Methods and Analyses 1, and Stage 3 C99CL Cognition across the Lifespan.

    I supervise honours research projects across a range of topics, specialising in issues of ageing that impact everyday life, e.g., from the effects of age-stereotypes on cognitive ability and perceptuo-motor control, to the challenges facing today’s older people in the workplace.

    I supervise research projects for postgraduates on the Masters in Business Psychology, including topics related to age, gender roles, personality, and leadership in the workplace.


    PhD Students:

    Panagiotis Dimitriou (completed 2018). “Resistance of fingertip force co-ordination to interference from common tasks”. Primary Supervisor: Gavin Buckingham/Thusha Rajendran. Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter.

    Lorraine Douglas (completed 2018). “Stress, Coping and Self-Efficacy: Designing an intervention to support informal caregivers of people with dementia”. Primary Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Second Supervisor: Alan Gow.

    Darren Reid (completing 2019). “The effects of age-stereotyped stimuli on older people’s grip strength”. Primary Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Second Supervisor: Mioara Cristea.


    Administrative responsibility:

    I am the Year Coordinator for Stage 4 Psychology honours students, the Disability Officer for Psychology, and Appeals Assessor for the University.


    Professional Recognition and Membership:

    2011: Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) of the British Psychological Society. This title is awarded in recognition of numerous years’ experience contributing to the field of Psychology.

    2010: Charted Scientist (CSci). The British Psychological Society is licensed by the UK Science Council to award this title in recognition of competence and experience in practising science professionally.

    2008: Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol). British Psychological Society. This is a legally recognised title which is awarded in recognition of the highest standard of psychological knowledge and expertise.

    2008: Member of the British Psychological Society's Division of Academics, Teachers and Researchers in Psychology. 

    2007: Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy. This title is awarded in recognition of practice, impact, and leadership of teaching and learning. 


    Research interests

    My earlier studies in Counselling and Applied Psychology helped me to appreciate the value of multidisciplinary and mixed method approaches to research and interventions in the real world, and the importance of applying psychological knowledge to help solve real world problems. This led me to seek a multidisciplinary PhD on ageing, with an emphasis on the psychological as well as perceptuo-motor factors affecting performance on everyday manual tasks. This research, which found links between perceptuo-motor ability and older people’s beliefs about their abilities, led to further studies investigating age differences in different factors which influence manual perceptuo-motor control with older age, from perceptual (e.g., the use of visual cues about an object’s appearance) to psychosocial factors (e.g., the effects of exposure to age-stereotypes on perceptuo-motor control). My interests have also branched out to other areas of ageing pertinent to today’s increasingly ageing society, including the challenges and opportunities that affect older people’s behaviour and choices in the workplace. Furthermore, my work with younger and older research participants and students has also inspired an interest in mental health and well-being across the lifespan, particularly the ways in which we can better manage anxiety, stress and well-being during key stages and events in our lives.


    Selected Publications:

    • Reid, D., Cristea, M., Parra-Rodriguez, M., & Potter, L.M. (under review). The effects of age-stereotyped word primes on older adults’ grip strength during a precision grasping task.
    • Potter, L.M., & Grealy, M.A. (2019). Aging and the prevalence of ‘ironic’ action errors under avoidant instruction.  Plos One, 14(3): e0213340. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213340
    • Stirzaker, R.J., Galloway, L., & Potter, L. (2019). Business, Ageing, and Socioemotional Selectivity: A Qualitative Study of Grey Entrepreneurship.  Journal of Small Business Management, https://doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12516
    • Buckingham, G., Reid, D., & Potter, L.M. (2018). How prior expectations influence older adults’ perception and action during object interaction. Multisensory Research (Special Issue on Multisensory Processing and Aging), 31(3-4), 301-316.
    • Grajfoner, D., Harte, E., Potter, L.M., & McGuigan, N. (2017). “The effect of dog-assisted intervention on student well-being, mood, and anxiety”.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Special Issue on Animal Assisted Interventions), 14(5), 483.
    • Potter, L.M., Grealy, M.A., Elliott, M.A., & Andres, P. (2012). Aging and performance on an everyday-based visual search task. Acta Psychologica, 140, 208-217.
    • Potter, L.M., Grealy, M.A., & O'Connor, R.C. (2009). Healthy ageing, perceived motor-efficacy, and performance on cognitively demanding action tasks. British Journal of Psychology, 100, 49-70.
    • Potter, L.M., & Grealy, M.A. (2008). Aging and inhibition of a prepotent motor response during an ongoing action. Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, 15, 232-255.
    • Potter, L.M., & Grealy, M.A. (2006). Aging and inhibitory errors on a motor shift of set task. Experimental Brain Research, 171, 56-66.


    Lauren Potter


    Edinburgh Campus
    Room G.50
    Mary Burton Building
    +44 (0) 131 451 8439

    Research Profile

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