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Dr Rachel Grenfell-Essam

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Rachel Grenfell-Essam UoS webpage picture

Dr Rachel Grenfell-Essam

e-mail:  r.grenfell-essam@uos.ac.uk

Career Overview

Rachel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Suffolk, having joined the team in August 2017. 

At present, Rachel is Module Leader for the Everyday Psychology module (Level 4), the Foundations in Biological and Cognitive Psychology module (Level 4) and the Experimental Design and Analysis module (Level 5).  Furthermore, Rachel lectures on the Academic Development module (Level 4), the Social Science Research Skills module (Level 4) and the Questionnaire Design and Analysis module (Level 5). Additionally, Rachel supervises final year dissertation students.  Rachel also acts as the BPS contact within the University.

Rachel completed a BSc in Psychology at University of Essex (2005-2008) 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 (2008-2009) for which she was awarded a prize for the highest dissertation mark, and a PhD in Psychology (2009-2012) at the University of Essex under the supervision of Professor Geoff Ward. Her PhD thesis title was “Examining the similarities between immediate serial recall and immediate free recall: the effects of list length and output order”.

During her PhD she worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Upon completion of her PhD Rachel acted as Seminar Leader at the University of Essex and London South Bank University and as a Research Assistant on two separate projects at the University of Essex. She then worked as Teacher at the University of Essex until her appointment as an Assistant Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University (June 2014). Rachel was awarded Fellow status of the HEA in July 2014. She was appointed as a Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University in June 2015. Rachel taught over a range of modules including biological, cognitive and statistics. She has been part of various administrative teams such as recruitment and admissions, academic offences, progress monitoring, programme committee as well as holding some administrative roles such as Assessment Coordinator for two Psychology BSc programmes and a mentor for HEA teaching qualifications. Rachel is also a chartered member of the BPS.

Professional Memberships

Rachel holds the following Professional Memberships:

  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society.

Teaching

Rachel is currently teaching on the following modules:

Level 4

  • Academic Development (IMDPSY110)
  • Social Science Research Skills (IMDPSY110)
  • Foundations in Biological and Cognitive Psychology (IMDPSY111; Module Leader)
  • Everyday Psychology (IMDPSY122; Module leader)

 Level 5

  • Questionnaire Design and Analysis (IMDPSY224)
  • Experimental Design and Analysis (IMDPSY233; Module Leader)

Research Interests

Rachel’s research area is cognitive psychology with a focus on immediate memory. Her previous research has primarily centered 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.

PhD Abstract

“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.”

Publications

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.

Grenfell-Essam, R., Hogervorst, E., & Rahardjo, T. B. (2017). The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test: An in-depth analysis of recall patterns. Memory, 1-21.

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. Advance online publication. 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.