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) as well as the Watt Club Medal (the University's Premier Award for the Highest Academic Distinction). I completed my PhD in psychology and ageing (Strathclyde University, 2001-2005), before returning to Heriot-Watt as Lecturer in Applied Psychology (2005), where I qualified to teach 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, my role developed into Assistant Professor in Psychology (2014), followed by senior promotion to Associate Professor (2019).

Teaching Responsibility

I am Global Course Leader for and teach Stage 1 C97RM Research Methods and Analysis 1, and Stage 3 C99CL Cognition across the Lifespan. I am the Edinburgh Course Leader for Stage 3 C99RO Research Methods and Analysis 6 (Research Proposal). I have been nominated for numerous Learning & Teaching awards, from ‘Lecturer of the Year’ and ‘Best Supervisor’, to ‘Guiding Hand’ and ‘Thinkers’ categories in the Heriot-Watt Learning & Teaching Oscars. In 2021 I was shortlisted for the coveted ‘Student Voice Award’ for my work supporting students and their learning during the covid-19 pandemic. 

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 programmes, across topics related to age and/or culture, gender roles, personality, leadership, well-being, engagement, and performance in the workplace.

PhD Students

I have supervised 3 PhD students to successful completion. I am currently supervising 4 PhD students.

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

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. Funded by James Watt PhD Scholarship.

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

Kate Sullivan (completing 2023). “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. Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Third Supervisor: Sue Cowan. Funded by James Watt PhD Scholarship collaboration between the Edinburgh Business School and the Psychology department.

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". Primary Supervisor: Alan Gow. Second Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Funded by Heriot-Watt's Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) PhD programme.

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

Mark Ewing (May 2022-May 2026). "How are Academics Thought of by Society (HATS)? Societal representations of academics based on class, age, nationality, gender, and ethnicity (ChANGE). Primary Supervisor: Louise Delicato. Second Supervisor: Mioara Cristea. Third Supervisor: Lauren Potter. Funded by Heriot-Watt's Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) PhD programme.

Administrative Responsibility

Previous administrative roles for the Psychology Department include Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator, Disability Coordinator, Global Research Methods Working Group Coordinator, and Honours Year Coordinator. I have further contributed at School level, e.g., Appeals Assessor for other subject disciplines, and University level, e.g., reviewer for the Undergraduate Studies Committee. From 2022-23 I take on the role of Year Coordinator for Stage 2 Psychology 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 inspired an interest in promoting inclusivity, mental health and well-being across the lifespan, including 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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