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Motivation, competition, collaboration and goal-setting – How can we improve post-stroke rehabilitation?

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Engaging with brain injury rehabilitation is critical in improving the quality of life and maximising the functional improvements that survivors, such as those post-stroke, can make. However, the extent to which these improvements can be enhanced by factors such as motivation, goal-setting and competition is at present an untested commodity. This project aims to quantify the improvements that can be made using each of these factors. Computer-based compensatory training can improve exploratory eye-movements, thereby ameliorating a life-changing consequence of brain injury; visual field defects which affect daily activities and quality of life. This experimental project aims to implement experimental paradigms in both neurotypical participants and stroke survivors to create effective rehabilitation paradigms, pinpoint the optimal methods to promote participation in rehabilitation and therefore increase the outcomes and the quality of life that survivors can experience. The project is grounded in cognitive and health psychology.


The project aim is to create and investigate different rehabilitation strategies/paradigms in neurotypical populations that can be implemented in stroke and brain injury survivor populations to develop possible interventions for improving health, wellbeing and quality of life for stroke and brain injury survivors.

Potential Applications

The research findings have potential to impact a range of fields including clinical psychology and public health. This research also has the potential to produce policy change within the NHS in regards to the effective rehabilitation of those suffering with stroke/brain injury.

Entry Requirements

Proposals are invited from self-funded full time applicants. The normal entry requirement for a research degree in psychology is a UK honours degree in Psychology (first or 2:1) or a UK Master’s degree in Psychology (or an international qualification that is regarded as equivalent). Overseas applicant must supply IELTS (British Council) Test: Minimum score level 6 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking with overall minimum score 6.5 issued within the last 2 years or degree certificate from UK or other English-language university awarded in last 2 years.

Information on PhD study, university fees, and making an application can be found at Start dates are 1 October, 1 February, and 1 May.

All international students studying at postgraduate level are awarded a £1,500 scholarship in each year of study. You do not have to apply for this scholarship; it is automatically applied to reduce your total annual tuition fee. The University of Sunderland is an eligible institution for U.S. (Federal School Code: G35073) and Canadian (EI Code: PUFL) Student Finance Programmes.


Dr. Stephen Dunne
Lecturer in Psychology
School of Psychology
University of Sunderland
City Campus
T: 0191 515 3070

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