Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Department of Psychology and will be supervised by Dr Renan Saraiva and Professor Lorraine Hope.

The work on this project will involve:

  • Review of the literature
  • Research design and project management
  • Experimental design and implementation
  • Quantitative data analysis

Although ageing is typically associated with memory ability decline, there are considerable individual differences in the rate and timing of these changes. Some individuals exhibit decline, while others continue to perform at high levels of cognitive functioning as they age (Valentijn et al., 2006). Considering the rapidly increasing population of older adults, it is important to achieve a better understanding of factors that contribute to different patterns of change in cognitive functioning with aging. Of particular interest are factors that may contribute to memory success, as such factors may represent potential avenues for interventions to promote and enhance successful cognitive functioning among older adults. One such factor is metacognition: our knowledge and beliefs about our mental processes (Veenman et al., 2006). Metacognition includes individuals’ beliefs about their own memory ability, self-efficacy regarding their abilities, and awareness of strategies that may improve memory performance. Interventions based on increasing self-efficacy and encouraging the use of memory strategies such as association, organization, and imagery use, have shown promising results in improving older adults’ memory ability (Gross et al., 2012). However, this literature is sparse and has not yet focused on valid assessments of metamemory to understand how such interventions can change older adults’ beliefs about their memory. The current project aims to: 1) develop a valid assessment of metacognitive awareness for older adults; and 2) test the effectiveness of targeted interventions based on the promotion of self-efficacy and strategy-use in improving memory performance, with a focus on memory accuracy.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Self-funded PhD students only

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Psychology postgraduate research degrees and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.