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Stefano Belli

I am a DPhil student working with Dr Jennifer Lau and the REDD group. I’m also dangerously close to becoming part of the furniture in the Experimental Psychology department given that I also did both my BA in Experimental Psychology and my MSc in Psychological Research here. When I started my undergraduate degree in 2005 I was a bright-eyed teenager who loved Carl Jung and was terrified of any form of biology or maths. So it is testament to the department’s excellent and enthusiastic teaching that I now have far healthier obsessions with statistics and experimental methodology.

As a DPhil student I have used a variety of approaches to look at associations between negative patterns of reasoning about social situations and symptoms of emotional disorders across development. This has included behavioural genetics and longitudinal models of interpersonal and emotional functioning, simple social games influenced by behavioural economics, and experimental methods of encouraging positive styles of information-processing influenced by clinical and cognitive psychology.  My use of this array of techniques is informed by material I covered in my MSc in Psychological Research, and fostered by my hands-on supervisor and a very supportive wider research community in the department who are always happy to answer questions and provide feedback.

I also spent 3 months of my DPhil working as a Research Fellow in the Cabinet Office of the UK Civil Service, as part of an internship offered by the Economic and Social Research Council. I worked as part of the Behavioural Insights Team, who are a relatively autonomous group in government styled after the Dirty Dozen (if the Dirty Dozen’s mission was to increase scientifically-informed policy and provide support to departments trying to evaluate their ideas using scientific methods and randomised control trials). This was a great opportunity to use psychological science in an applied setting as a complement to the lab-based research that I was more familiar with.