Dr Rachel Grenfell-Essam is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Suffolk, having joined the team in August 2017. Rachel also acts as the BPS liaison for the University and is the Executive editor for the Journal of Suffolk Student Research. Rachel was awarded Fellow status of the HEA in July 2014, and is also a chartered member of the BPS. Before joining the University of Suffolk, Rachel has previously worked as a Lecturer at the University of Essex and Loughborough University. Rachel completed a BSc in Psychology at University of Essex for which she was awarded the highest mark in second year statistics (A.T. Welford Memorial Prize). She was awarded a 1+3 ESRC competitive scholarship to fund her Masters and PhD. She completed a Masters in Research Methods in Psychology for which she was awarded a prize for the highest dissertation mark, and a PhD in Psychology at the University of Essex under the supervision of Professor Geoff Ward.
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Rachel’s teaching expertise focuses on cognitive psychology, biological psychology, and quantitative research methods.
At present, Rachel teaches on the following modules:
Everyday Psychology (Module leader)
Foundations of Biological and Cognitive Psychology (Module leader)
Social Science Research Skills
Questionnaire Design and Analysis
Experimental Design and Analysis (Module leader)
Additionally, Rachel supervises final year dissertation students.
Rachel’s research area is cognitive psychology with a focus on immediate memory. Her previous research has primarily centred on the effect of list length and output order on two specific immediate memory tasks (immediate free recall and immediate serial recall).
Rachel has extensive quantitative skills regularly performing three-way ANOVA in her research and has expertise in in-depth analysis of performance measures using Excel and SPSS.
Rachel is also supervisor to a part-time PhD student.
Grenfell-Essam, R., Ward, G., & Cortis Mack, C. (2019). Temporal isolation effects in immediate recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2019.104049
Grenfell-Essam, R., Hogervorst, E., & Rahardjo, T. B. (2018). The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test: An in-depth analysis of recall patterns. Memory, 26, 385-405. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2017.1349804
Brinkley, A., McDermott, H., Grenfell-Essam, R., & Munir, F. (2017). It's Time to Start Changing the Game: A 12-Week Workplace Team Sport Intervention Study. Sports Medicine – Open, 3(1), 30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-017-0099-7
Grenfell-Essam, R., Ward, G., & Tan, L. (2017). Common Modality Effects in Immediate Free Recall and Immediate Serial Recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(12), 1909-1933. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000430
Grenfell-Essam, R. & Ward, G. (2015). The effect of selective attention and a stimulus prefix on the output order of immediate free recall of short and long lists. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(1), 1-16. doi.10.1037/cep.00045.
Grenfell-Essam, R., Ward, G., & Tan, L. (2013). The role of rehearsal on the output order of immediate free recall of short and long lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 317-347. doi: 10.1037/a0028974.
Grenfell-Essam, R., & Ward, G., (2012). Examining the relationship between free recall and immediate serial recall: The role of list length, strategy use, and test expectancy. Journal of Memory and Language, 67, 106-148. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2012.04.004.
Ward G., Tan, L., & Grenfell-Essam, R. (2010). Examining the relationship between free recall and immediate serial recall: The effects of list length and output order. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 36, 1207-1241. doi: 10.1037/a0020122.
PhD Title and Abstract
“Examining the similarities between immediate serial recall and immediate free recall: the effects of list length and output order”
This thesis examines the similarities and differences between two widely-used immediate memory tasks: immediate serial recall (ISR) and immediate free recall (IFR). Until recently these two tasks were explained by separate theories, but recent researchers have encouraged greater integration by showing considerable similarities under identical list lengths (LL) and methods. Eight experiments are presented in three chapters. Chapter 2 examines strategy use in the two tasks. Participants were shown not to use LL-specific strategies in IFR (Experiment 1) or ISR (Experiment 2). Indeed, encoding strategy use was similar in both tasks: participants showed no effect of test-expectancy (Experiment 3). These findings show that participants encode ISR and IFR in similar ways, irrespective of knowledge of the LL, and that differences between the tasks are due to retrieval. Chapter 3 examines why participants tend to initiate IFR of short lists with the first word in the list. I looked at three putative mechanisms for generating the primacy effect in IFR: covert rehearsal (Experiment 4), selective attention (Experiment 5), and temporal distinctiveness (Experiment 6). I found that no manipulation abolished primacy. Chapter 4 showed similar effects of modality (Experiment 7) and temporal isolation (Experiment 8) on ISR and IFR when examined under the same methodology. In summary, this thesis has shown that when LL is equated ISR and IFR are more similar than previously thought. Due to the growing evidence that both tasks are underpinned by common memory mechanisms I conclude that there is a need for greater theoretical integration between the two tasks. I relate my results to different theories of ISR and IFR, and provide a verbal description of a preferred explanation of the data.
Rachel is the Executive editor of the Journal of Suffolk Student Research. The Journal of Suffolk Student Research is an online, open access, academic, peer-reviewed journal. It is dedicated to the publication of high-quality undergraduate and taught postgraduate student research undertaken by University of Suffolk students. It aims to showcase the most outstanding primary or secondary data analysis student research undertaken at the University of Suffolk. The journal seeks to promote and recognise the exceptional student research undertaken by our students by offering valuable early experience of academic publishing and the peer review process. The journal is open to the public with the aim of providing engaging content for a non-specialist readership. In addition, an annual graduate conference, open to the public, will be held to coincide with the publication of the journal volume. If you would like to find out more about the journal please visit the journal’s website https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/journals/studentresearch. There is also a dedicated email address for any enquires: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel holds the following Professional Memberships:
Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society
Member of the Experimental Psychology Society