Lauren Potter


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom


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Personal profile


I trained in Counselling before achieving a first class honours degree in Applied Psychology (Heriot-Watt, 2001). During this time I achieved awards of Outstanding Merit (Heriot-Watt, 2000), Distinction (The British Psychological Society, 2000), and The Watt Club Medal (2001; Heriot-Watt's Premier Award for the Highest Academic Distinction). I then undertook a PhD in the Psychology of Ageing (Strathclyde University, 2001-2005), before returning to Heriot-Watt as Lecturer in Applied Psychology (2005), where I qualified to teach and practice independently in Higher Education (2007), and achieved professional recognition as Chartered Psychologist (2008) and Chartered Scientist (2010). Upon the expansion of Heriot-Watt's Psychology programmes, and the international expansion of Heriot-Watt campuses to Dubai and Malaysia, I became Assistant Professor in Psychology (2014), followed by senior promotion to Associate Professor (2019).

Teaching Responsibility

I am Global Course Coordinator for Stage 1 C97RM Research Methods and Analysis 1, Stage 3 C99CL Cognition across the Lifespan, and Stage 3 C99RO Research Methods and Analysis 6 (Research Proposal). I also teach on Stage 2 C98RT Research Methods and Analaysis 4 (I run the ANOVA tutorials for the Quantitative half of the course).

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 business.

PhD Students

Panagiotis Dimitriou (completed 2018). “Resistance of fingertip force co-ordination to interference from common tasks”. Funded by James-Watt PhD Scholarship. 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”. Funded by James-Watt PhD Scholarship. Primary Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Second Supervisor: Alan Gow. 

Darren Reid (completed 2019). “The effects of age-stereotyped word primes on older people’s grip strength”. Funded by James Watt PhD Scholarship. Primary Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Second Supervisor: Mioara Cristea.

Kate Sullivan (completing 2022). "Through Lockdown and Beyond: Satisfaction, Well-Being, and the Commercialisation of Leisure (turning a hobby into a business) during a Pandemic". Primary Supervisor: Laura Galloway (Edinburgh Business School). Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter.

Malwina Niechcial (May 2021 - April 2025). Activity engagement as interventions to improve the cognitive ability, physical health, and psychological well-being of community dwelling older people. Funded by the School of Social Science's Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD programme. Primary Supervisor: Alan Gow. Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter.

Shaimaa Elhag (September 2021 - August 2024). The Intervention Factory: Advancing community-based activities as interventions for healthy ageing. PhD studentship externally funded by Velux Stiftung (£72,190.07). Principal Applicant and Primary Supervisor: Alan Gow. Co-applicant and Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Co-applicant: Malwina Niechcial.

Administrative Responsibility

Previous roles include Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator for Psychology, Disability Coordinator for Psychology, Research methods Global Working Group Coordinator for Psychology, reviewer for the University's Undergraduate Studies Committee, and Appeals Assessor for other Schools within the University. Currently, I am the Year Coordinator for Stage 4 Psychology honours students. 

Professional Recognition and Membership

2011: Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) of the British Psychological Society. This title is awarded in recognition of numerous years of 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 a high level 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 DARTP (Division of Academics, Researchers, and Teachers in Psychology). 

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

2007: Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (Heriot-Watt). This qualification recognises competence in leading teaching and research within Higher Education.

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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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