Robert Willson

Dr Robert Willson BSc, MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Psychology

Dr Robert Willson joined the University of Greenwich in February 1998, having completed a 4-yr Wellcome Trust Fellowship at The University of St. Andrews.  Prior to that he had been an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow within the Department of Zoology, The University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Sir John Krebs.  Originally from Canada, Robert completed his PhD at The University of British Columbia under the supervision of Prof. Don Wilkie.

Robert's original training was in Animal Cognition, doing behavioural research into learning and memory in non-human species, predominantly with a focus on spatial memory in pigeons and food-storing birds.  Although Rob retains an interest in these areas, his research now focuses on a variety of issues across Evolutionary Psychology, Sport Psychology and Social Psychology.

Robert teaches across all levels of our degree programmes focusing on brain and behaviour at levels 4, 5 & 7, Applied psychology at Level 4, and Evolutionary Psychology at Level 6.

Posts held previously:

  • 1992-1993 - NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow – The Department of Zoology, The University of Oxford – conducted an independent research programme investigating spatial memory in food-storing birds under the supervision of Prof. Sir John Krebs.  Also collaborated with Dr M.G. Stewart from the Brain & Behaviour Research Group at The Open University on a project examining the effects of transient cerebral ischaemia on memory in day-old chicks.
  • 1994 – Laboratory Demonstrator – The School of Psychology, The University of St. Andrews – taught laboratory classes in Research Method to Psychology students.
  • 1994-1997 – Wellcome Teaching and Research Fellow.

Responsibilities within the university

  • Marketing and Publicity Officer for the School of Human Sciences
  • Events and Outreach Officer for the School of Human Sciences
  • Module Leader for Introduction to Applied Psychology (Level 4)
  • Module Leader for Evolutionary Psychology (Level 6)


  • Chartered Associate Fellow of the BPS

Research / Scholarly interests

  • Evolutionary Psychology – human mate choice
  • Sport Psychology – Performance under pressure, mental toughness/resilience, mental health.
  • Social Psychology – Using role play to study complex social issues; racism & inequality.
  • Education – Students’ understanding of feedback. Creating an inclusive curriculum.