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Dr David Atkins

Lecturer in Psychology


Dr David Atkins


telephone:  01473 338072


Dr David Atkins joined the University of Suffolk in autumn of 2018 as Lecturer in Psychology for the School of Psychology and Education.



Diverse Patterns of Development

This module provides an introduction to the study of atypical development in children. It explores a range of different perspectives, methodologies and current debates within the field of atypical development in children.

Foundations of Social and Developmental Psychology

Social Psychology is concerned with the scientific study of human social behaviour, experience and thought. Developmental Psychology is concerned with the scientific study of systematic changes in human psychology across an individual’s lifespan, particularly cognitive, perceptual, social and emotional development in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Social and Developmental Psychology

This module will build on the broad introduction at Level 4 and seek to provide research-based accounts of social and developmental behaviour in key areas, such as people in groups, prejudice and discrimination, aggression, social influence, emotional and social development, life-span adult development and developmental social psychology.

Social Science Research Skills: Academic Development

Social Science Research Skills aims to give students an introduction to social science research methods, in addition to progressing important study skills during Level 4. Social Science Research Skills provides the foundation for the Level 5 Quantitative and Qualitative Data modules.

Psychology Project

Research is an important and integral part of your degree, and the Research Dissertation gives students the opportunity to expand learning and develop interests in a particular topic. Students will critique research by others and will reflect on their own work, moving students from a theoretical knowledge of research toward a more informed level of skill and application.


Clinical and Educational Psychology with Children and Adolescents 

The Clinical and Educational Psychology with Children and Adolescents module will guide students through the role of a psychologist working with children and young people whilst contributing towards their mental health, care and safe guarding and/or educational needs. The module will direct students through behavioural, emotional, developmental and learning disorders.

Research Interests

David’s research is two-fold.  Firstly, David is interested in our ability to understand how others think and feel (i.e., empathy), and the boundary conditions that influence the associated cognitive and affective states (e.g., cultural background).  Secondly, David has explored the psychological barriers and facilitators that enhance/impede learning amongst students in higher education.  In fact, he has a proven track record of developing initiatives that result in student success.  The social psychologist in David aims to explore research on the areas of interpersonal communication, social cohesion, and culture.  However, David’s emerging interest in the psychology of education, aims to steer his career towards developing our understanding of learning in higher education – particularly in regard to understanding student attainment gaps in higher education. 


Doctor of Philosophy – Social Psychology (University of Kent, 2015) – The Role of Culture in Empathy: The Consequences and Explanations of Cultural Differences in Empathy at the Affective and Cognitive Levels

MRes – Research Methods in Psychology (University of Essex, 2011)

BSc (Hons) – Psychology (University of Essex, 2010)

Professional Memberships

Charted member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society (BPS)


Otterbacher, J., Ang, C. S., Litvak, M., & Atkins, D. (2017). Show Me You Care: Trait Empathy, Linguistic Style and Mimicry on Facebook.  ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, 17(1).

Atkins, D., Uskul, A.K., & Cooper, N. R. (2016). Culture shapes empathy in response to physically and socially painful events. Emotion, 16, 587-601.

Conference or Workshop Presentations

Paper Presentations

Atkins, D. S., Uskul, A. K., & Cooper, N. R. (2018). Culture Shapes Cognitive and Affective Empathy in Response to Suffering. Paper to be presented at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) 30th Annual Convention, San Francisco California, USA.

Atkins, D. S. (2018). Student Success: An Action Research Case Study. Paper presented at the Association of University Administrators (AUA) 2nd South Regional Symposium: Engaging with the Wider Context, Canterbury, UK

Atkins, D.S. (2016). Profiling Progress and Navigating University Resources: Developing & Optimizing a Succinct Academic Progressing Management system and Resource Finder. Closing the gap: Research and Practice on Black and Minority Ethnic Student Attainment in Higher Education, University of Kent, UK.

Poster Presentations

Atkins, D.S. (2015). School of Engineering and Digital Arts: Student Success. Student Success Project: Staff Symposium, University of Kent, UK.

Atkins, D. S., Uskul, A. K. & Cooper, N. R.  (2014). Culture Shapes Empathy in Response to Physically and Socially Painful Events.  The Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin Texas, USA.

Workshop Presentations

Atkins, D. S., & Vance, E. M. (2017). Student Success: Breaking the Threshold. Workshop presented at the Kent Business School at University of Kent, UK.

Atkins, D. S. (2016). Your Degree: Maximize your Learning. Workshop presented at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at University of Kent, UK.

Atkins, D. S. (2016). Learning how to Learn. Workshop presented at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at University of Kent, UK

Atkins, D. S. (2016). Cultural Awareness Training. Workshop presented for EDI activities at University of Kent, UK.


Economic and Social Research Council PhD Studentship 1+3 Scheme (£13,290 per annum)


National Awards

Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. (2016). Outstanding Departmental Administration Team.  Award presented at The Grosvenor House, UK.

Internal Awards

Innovation Creativity and Enterprise (ICE) Innovation Award. (2016). Most Innovative Staff Project. Award presented at University of Kent, UK.