Lauren Potter


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


My Further Education studies in 'Advice, Guidance and Counselling' and 'Counselling' inspired me to pursue psychology at the Higher Education level, where I achieved a First Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology (Heriot-Watt, 2001). I achieved awards of Outstanding Merit (Heriot-Watt University, 2000), Distinction (British Psychology Society, 2000) and upon graduation the Watt Club Medal (2001; Heriot-Watt University's Premier Award for the Highest Academic Distinction).

I then undertook a multidisciplinary EPSRC-funded PhD (Strathclyde University, 2001-2005) where I researched perceptuo-motor functioning (on everyday-based manual activities) with older age, and psychological factors which may impact this (e.g., capability beliefs).

Following my doctoral research, I returned 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 Stage 1 C97RM Research Methods and Analysis 1, Edinburgh Course Leader for Stage 3 C99CL Cognition across the Lifespan, and Global Course Leader for Stage 4 C90CP Counselling Psychology.

I have been shortlisted for a range of student-nominated awards (Heriot-Watt University's 'Learning and Teaching Oscars'), including ‘Lecturer of the Year’, ‘Guiding Hand’ and ‘Thinkers’ awards, the coveted ‘Student Voice Award' (2021; for supporting students and their learning online during the covid-19 pandemic), and 'Most Supportive Member of Staff Award' (2023; for "going above and beyond to support the progress of students" during the transition back to in-person teaching and assessment). In 2024 I was nominated again for the 'Most Supportive Member of Staff Award'.

Staff-nominated awards: I received Heriot Watt's 'Global Values Award' (2021; for demonstrating excellence in promoting the HW value of 'Belonging' while learning was remote during the covid-19 pandemic). In the first School of Social Sciences Executive Dean's Awards, I received the award of 'Highly Commended Teacher' (2023; for "consistently demonstrating excellence" in supporting students and their learning). In 2024 I was nominated for Heriot-Watt's 'Celebrating our Values in Action Award' for 'Inspiring' colleagues with my work in supporting students.

Administrative Responsibility

Department level (Edinburgh Campus): I have successfully led a number of previous administrative roles for the Psychology Department, including repeated cycles as Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator, Student Disability Coordinator, Honours Year Coordinator (and currently Year 2 Coordinator for continuing and Direct Entry students).

Department Level (across Global Campuses): As the Lead of the Psychology Department's first Global Research Methods Working Group, I led a subject review of our Research Methods stream of courses (mandatory throughout all Heriot-Watt undergraduate psychology degree programmes, and across all global campuses), to inform and begin the process of monitoring, reviewing and improving our Research Methods teaching and assessment.

University level: I have supported other subject disciplines and Schools within the University as a Student Appeals Assessor (for second stage appeals), and contributed to wider University administration by completing numerous of cycles as a member and reviewer for the University's former Undergraduate Studies Committee (latterly the University Studies Committee).

Professional Recognition and Membership

2011: Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) of the British Psychological Society. This title is awarded to recognise experienced contributors to the professional 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 high standards of competence in the independent practice of professional scientific research.

2008: Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol). British Psychological Society. This is a legally recognised title awarded in recognition of the highest standards 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 leadership and impact in teaching and learning within Higher Education. 

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

Research interests

My earlier studies in Counselling and Applied Psychology helped me to appreciate the importance of applying psychological knowledge to help tackle real world issues, and the value of multidisciplinary and mixed method approaches to research and interventions in the real world.

This led me to seek a multidisciplinary PhD on psychology and ageing with an emphasis on the psychological as well as the perceptuo-motor factors that can affect performance on everyday tasks with older age. My research (underpinned by neuropsychological theories of ageing) found links between psychosocial factors (e.g., beliefs about ageing) and level of perceptuo-motor ability in older age.

This led to further studies investigating age differences in 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 implicit 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 choices and behaviour 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.

I have supervised to successful completion more than 100 undergraduate honours-level research projects. I supervise honours research 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 have supervised to successful completion more than 50 masters-level research projects for postgraduates on the Masters in Business Psychology programmes (including Business Psychology with Human Resource Management, and with Inter-Cultural Communication). I supervise masters research projects across topics related to age and/or culture, gender roles, personality, leadership, well-being, engagement, and performance in the workplace.

PhD Students:

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

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

Kate Sullivan (completed 2024). “'Passion to Profession: A longitudinal study of hobby-based entrepreneurship in the COVID-19 pandemic".
Primary Supervisor: Professor Laura Galloway. Second Supervisors: Dr Sue Cowan and Dr Lauren Potter. Funded by internal James Watt PhD Scholarship (in collaboration with the Edinburgh Business School).

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: Professor Alan Gow. Second Supervisors: Professor Adele Dickson and Dr Lauren Potter. Funded by the University's new internal Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)/PhD Scholarship programme.

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

I provide peer review for original psychology research and multidisciplinary research for numerous high quality international science journals, including but not limited to: Experimental Brain Research; Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition; Journal of Clinical Neuropsychology; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; Motor Control; Human Development; Acta Psychologica; Journals of Gerontology; Age and Ageing; Psychology of Ageing. 


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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