Case Studies

ABS provide Psychology-specific support for consultancy as well as helping develop new consultancy work, training opportunities and external partners for research funding.

Providing training in psychology of crowd safety management

The Event Safety Academy came to us looking to solve the problem of providing enhanced training on crowd safety for professionals involved in the events industry. We worked with them for 5 months, designing a training solution. We delivered this in the form of a Masterclass package in March 2019. Clients say that the use of Psychology in their work has improved their practice and enhanced safety at their events.

Evaluating ‘Dry January’

Alcohol Change UK wanted to know how well the annual “Dry January” alcohol abstinence challenge was working. Dr Richard de Visser helped them by surveying participants in follow-up periods ranging from 1 to 6 months. These assessed the impact of participation on well-being and drinking patterns, and assessed responses to the various sources of support provided to Dry January participants. Interview studies have also been run alongside the surveys to further explore these issues, and to generate ideas for how to improve the Dry January website, email support, and mobile phone app.

Improving road safety

Brighton and Hove Council were concerned about road safety along Lewes Road, a busy main street with several junctions where cyclists seemed too often have problems with drivers emerging from junctions. Why were these junctions particularly problematic? Was it especially hard for drivers to see, as they pulled out, or was there some other reason? We performed a detailed observational study, analysing using many hours of CCTV footage. This showed that the main problem was really traffic volume rather than drivers’ difficulty in seeing oncoming cyclists. Drivers were waiting a long time to emerge onto Lewes Road from side turnings. As a result, they often crept forward into the cycle lane in front of them, as a way of “asking” road-users on the main road to let them out. This left oncoming cyclists with no option but to leave their cycle lane and join the main flow of traffic, to the surprise and annoyance of other drivers on the main road. This study shows how a detailed, rigorous analysis of behaviour can pick up problems that intuition might easily overlook  –  in this case, a problem of “cyclist conspicuity” turns out to have more to do with drivers trying to get out of busy junctions and not regarding the cycle lane in front of them as  part of the main highway to be kept  clear for oncoming cyclists.

Support for special needs and well-being in school

Brighton & Hove City Council asked Professor Nicola Yuill’s Children and Technology Lab to help with the council’s Just Right emotion regulation intervention, to support students’ well-being in schools. Together we are designing and implementing evaluations to show how the programme can best support students and teaching staff in class, and its possible impacts on students’ home lives. The aim is to make sure that students are in the right frame of mind to learn and to achieve their potential.

Changing health behaviours and evaluating behaviour change interventions

The team behind “Meat-Free Mondays” wanted to evaluate the impact of the campaign. Dr Richard de Visser helped them an online survey of people who have registered on the Meat-Free Mondays website. This uses validated measures of beliefs and behaviour to determine what motivates people to engage. It will also assess ideas for how to make the website more appealing and useful. The findings will help Meat-Free Mondays to more effectively and more efficiently focus their efforts.

Helping with widening participation

Realising Opportunities (RO) is a widening participation organisation working closely with research-intensive universities.  Dr Matt Easterbrook has been working with RO for the last three years to help them incorporate psychological evidence and theory into their work practices.  He has delivered workshops to RO staff about how to communicate effectively to disadvantaged students and has worked with RO to design a bespoke psychological intervention that aims to increase student retention and engagement with the RO programme.  Dr Easterbrook and RO are currently working closely together to evaluate the intervention.

Developing employability skills

Finding Rhythms is a charity that develops organisational and employability skills among prisoners through a series of music workshops.  Dr Matt Easterbrook and Arabella Kyprianides worked with Finding Rhythms to evaluate the impact of the music workshops on prisoners’ social connections and mental health.  The evaluation found that the workshops dispelled pre-existing rivalries between those who took part, and improved their social relationships, wellbeing and mental health. The evaluation report will be used by Finding Rhythms to promote their services and to continue to attract funding.