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Welcome to Psychology

From childhood to old age.

Psychology at Heriot-Watt focuses on providing
excellent learning experience combined with strong
and active research culture

PhD, MRes, BA(Hons)

Peter completed both his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Research at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) between 2007-2012. In 2017, Peter was awarded a doctorate in Psychology by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Research interests

A technophile, avid gamer and sci-fi fan, Peter’s research interests lie in the psychological and societal impact of technology. This includes the mediatory effects of videogame play on cognition, human-robot interaction, and technologies for special populations such as autism-spectrum disorder (ASD).

Peter is currently a research associate on the EPSRC funded SoCoRo project (www.socoro.net). He and the team are developing a socially competent robot to teach adults with an ASD social and employment skills.

Funding Awards

James-Watt PhD Studentship 2013-2016 (Approx. 60K)
BPS Developmental Section Annual Conference Bursary 2014: Student Bursary Award (£160)
EPS Grindley Grants for Conference Attendance 2014 (£500)

Presentations

  • McKenna, P. (2017, August). Embodied Metaphors and Computing Education.EARLI Conference, Tampere (Finland).
  • McKenna, P. (2014, July). Planning to move or moving to plan? Children's embodied executive functioning and gestural interfaces. 29th Annual PsyPag Postgraduate Conference, Cardiff.
  • McKenna, P., & Rajendran, G. (2014, April). Methodical frog hopping. Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh.
  • McKenna, P. (2013, September). Are childhood executive functions embodied? Children and Technology Talk, Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge.

Publications

  • Manches, A. McKenna, P.E., Robertson, J., & Rajendran, G., (in preparation, 2017). Embodied Metaphors for Computing Education.
  • McKenna, P.E. Aylett, R.S., Broz, F., Ghosh, A., Lim, M., & Rajendran, G. (submitted, 2017). Do you think I approve of that? Designing facial expressions for a robot. Ninth International Conference of Social Robotics (ICSR; Tsukuba, Japan).
  • McKenna, P. E., Glass, A., Rajendran, G., & Corley, M. (2015). Strange words: Autistic traits and the processing of non-literal language. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(11), 3606-3612. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2508-4
  • McKenna, P., Lemon, O., Corley, M., Boa, D., & Rajendran, G. (2014). One step at a time: Multimodal interfaces and children's executive functioning. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the IEEE conference on development and learning and epigenetic robotics (IEEE ICDL-EPIROB 2014).
  • McKenna, P. Are executive functions embodied? A brief theoretical and empirical discussion. (2014). PsyPag Quarterly, 91, 34-39.”

  • peter

    p.mckenna[@]hw.ac.uk


    Edinburgh Campus
    Room 2.07
    Lord Balerno Building
    +44 (0) 131 451 8009