Dr Peter Collins

Dr Peter Collins BA, MSc, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Peter Collins joined the School of Human Sciences as a lecturer in May 2020. He received his PhD in Psychological Sciences from Birkbeck, University of London, in September 2017. Since then, he has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and as a teaching fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has a background in both Psychology and Linguistics. He has also worked as a tutor to autistic children and young adults. Peter’s research focuses on judgment and decision making, reasoning, and psycholinguistics.

Peter has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Current teaching includes study skills, career development, health psychology, judgement and decision making, and the psychology of reasoning. He also supervises undergraduate and postgraduate projects.

Posts held previously
  • 2018-2020, Teaching Fellow, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • 2017-2018, Postdoctoral Fellow, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy
  • 2014-2017, Research Student/PhD Candidate, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2008-2017, Special-needs tutor

Responsibilities within the university

  • Employability Lead (Psychology)
  • Module co-leader for Introduction to Psychology for Criminology
  • Module leader for Psychology and Graduate Career Development


Reviewer for:

  • Climatic Change
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Science
  • Journal of Cognitive Psychology
  • Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
  • Journal of Memory and Language

Research / Scholarly interests

Peter's research focuses on judgement and decision making and psycholinguistics. He studies how we make judgements and decisions with information we receive from other people and, in particular, how these processes are influenced by trust and implicit information in language. Current projects include:

  • The goal framing effect in health communication: developing a new model to predict the persuasiveness of positive frames ('If you give up smoking, you'll reduce your risk of lung cancer') and negative frames ('If you don't…you won't…').
  • Pain communication: the challenges of communicating pain using standardised pain scales
  • Insinuation and evidence: how implicit meanings (e.g. 'some' to imply 'not all') are processed in forensic contexts, and whether they count as evidence/testimony.
  • Interpreting and reasoning with conditional ("If") sentences.
  • Interpreting and reasoning with verbal probabilities ("unlikely", "possible", "certain").

Key funded projects

  • 2014-2017, Doctoral Studentship, Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre (ESRC): the goal framing effect in healthcare communication

Recent publications


Evans, Thomas , Burns, Calvin, Essex, Ryan, Finnerty, Gina , Hatton, Ella , Clements, Andrew , Breau, Genevieve Marie , Quinn, Francis , Elliott, Helen , Smith, Lorraine (2023), A systematic scoping review on the evidence behind debriefing practices for the well-being/emotional outcomes of healthcare workers. Frontiers Media. In: , , , . Frontiers Media, Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14: 1078797 . pp. 1-10 1664-0640 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1078797).

Skovgaard-Olsen, Niels and , Collins, Peter (2021), Indicatives, subjunctives, and the falsity of the antecedent. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Cognitive Science, 45: e13058 (11) ISSN: 0364-0213 (Print), 1551-6709 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.13058).

Krzyżanowska, Karolina , Collins, Peter J., Hahn, Ulrike (2021), True clauses and false connections. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Memory and Language, 121: 104252 ISSN: 0749-596X (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2021.104252).

Collins, Peter J. , Krzyzanowska, Karolina, Hartmann, Stephan, Wheeler, Gregory , Hahn, Ulrike (2020), Conditionals and testimony. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Cognitive Psychology, 122: 101329 ISSN: 0010-0285 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2020.101329).

Collins, Peter J. , Renedo, Alicia, Marston, Cicely (2020), Communicating and understanding pain limitations of pain scales for patients with Sickle Cell Disease and other painful conditions. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Journal of Health Psychology, 27 (1) . pp. 103-118 ISSN: 1359-1053 (Print), 1461-7277 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320944987).

Collins, Peter and , Hahn, Ulrike (2019), We might be wrong, but we think that hedging doesn't protect your reputation.. American Psychological Association. In: , , , . American Psychological Association, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 46 (7) . pp. 1328-1348 ISSN: 0278-7393 (Print), 1939-1285 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000786).

Skovgaard-Olsen, Niels , Collins, Peter, Krzyzanowska, Karolina, Hahn, Ulrike , Klauer, Karl Kristoph (2018), Cancellation, negation, and rejection. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Cognitive Psychology, 108 . pp. 42-71 ISSN: 0010-0285 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2018.11.002).

Collins, Peter J. , Hahn, Ulrike, von Gerber, Ylva, Olsson, Erik J. (2018), The bi-directional relationship between source characteristics and message content. 1664-1078. In: , , , . 1664-1078, Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 18 1664-1078 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00018).

Krzyżanowska, Karolina , Collins, Peter J., Hahn, Ulrike (2017), Between a conditional’s antecedent and its consequent: Discourse coherence vs. probabilistic relevance. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Cognition, 164 . pp. 199-205 ISSN: 0010-0277 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.03.009).

Book section

Collins, Peter and , Hahn, Ulrike (2018), Communicating and reasoning with verbal probability expressions. Academic Press. In: , , In: Kara Federmeier (ed.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation. Academic Press, Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 69 . pp. 67-105 . ISBN: 9780128150856ISSN: 0079-7421 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.plm.2018.10.003).

Conference proceedings

Krzyzanowska, Karolina , Collins, Peter J., Hahn, Ulrike (2017), The puzzle of conditionals with true clauses: against the Gricean account. Cognitive Science Society. In: , , , Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, USA . pp. 2476-2481 . ISBN: 9780991196760 (doi: https://cognitivesciencesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/cogsci17_proceedings.pdf) NB Item availability restricted.