Ian Tharp

Dr Ian Tharp BSc, MSc, PhD, PGCert, FHEA

Associate Professor of Psychology; Deputy Head (Teaching & Learning)

Key details

Dr Ian Tharp

Associate Professor of Psychology; Deputy Head (Teaching & Learning)

Dr Ian Tharp is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Deputy Head (Teaching & Learning) of the School of Human Sciences. Ian joined the university in 2010 as a Senior Lecturer and has held many roles including, Programme Leader (MSc Psychology-Conversion), Chair of the Departmental Ethics committee, undergraduate and postgraduate project lead. Ian has taught and led modules in Psychology at all levels (4-7), supervised PG Research students (4 completions to date) - including a nomination for supervisor of the year - and created/delivered university wide CPD courses.

In December 2016, Ian took up the role of Deputy Head of Dept. (Psychology, Social Work and Counselling) and supported the successful relocation from Avery Hill to the Greenwich Maritime campus (2018), the Faculty restructure and creation of the new School of Human Sciences in 2019.

In January 2021, Ian was appointed as Faculty Director of Learning & Teaching (Interim) and led the oversight of the Faculty’s portfolio, learning, quality and enhancement, and contributed to the University’s response to the Covid pandemic.

Ian's interests span a broad area concerning individual differences, cognitive and biological psychology.

Responsibilities within the university

Membership of Committees and Working Parties (in the past 5 years, most recent first) Committees & Working Groups (University)
-  Timetabling Scenario Planning (Covid19 Response Group, 2020)
-  University Assessment Policy Working Group (2018-2019)
-  Curriculum Framework Steering Committee (2021); Personalised Learning Working Group (2021)
-  Learning, Quality & Standards Committee (2021-2022 )
-  Programme Approval Committee (2021-2022)
-  Degree Apprenticeship Quality Assurance Group (2021-2022)
-  Student Regulations Committee (2021-2022)
-  Learning Technology Strategy Group (2021-2022)
-  University Complaints Panel (ad-hoc)
-  Faculty Management Group (2019 - )
-  Faculty Board (2021-2022)

Committees & Working Groups (Faculty/School)
-  Faculty Learning & Quality and Standards Committee (Chair)
-  Faculty Learning & Quality Sub-Group (Chair)
-  Faculty Portfolio Planning Group (Chair)
-  Faculty Extenuating Circumstances Panel (Chair)
-  Faculty Academic Offences Panel (Chair)
-  Faculty of Business Learning & Quality and Standards Committee (External member)

-  Chair-School Curriculum Portfolio Group (2017-2021)
-  Faculty Research Ethics Committee (2013-2017); ad-hoc University REC representative)
-  Departmental Research Ethics Panel (Psychology & Counselling; Chair, 2012-2017)
-  Faculty Research Degrees Committee
-  Student Experience Committee


    • Ad-hoc reviewer: Cognition; Developmental Science; Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; Journal of Cognitive Enhancement; Journal of Cognitive Psychology; Frontiers (Neuroscience); Motivation & Emotion
    • Founding member; Membership Officer for the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences (2010-2017)
    • External Examining (current posts only) and recent approval events (external)
      University of Salford / University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)
      Approvals: (MSc Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University, 2019; British University of Bahrain, 2021), Cyclical review: (University of Bedfordshire, 2019)

Research / Scholarly interests

Ian's general area of research concerns individual differences, particularly the interface of specific personality traits and aspects of cognition, emotion and motivation. For example, it has been suggested that the biological basis of certain core personality domains such as extraversion, may partially reflect variation in dopaminergic neurotransmission. Dopamine has been implicated in a variety of cognitive function including attention, memory and reward-dependent learning. It is therefore possible that predictable relationships between such personality domains and a range of cognitive processes may exist.

An additional area of interest concerns category-learning. The learning of novel categories appears to engage a variety of cognitive processes. Accordingly, recent research strongly suggests the differential involvement of distinct brain systems during such learning, dependent on the nature of the structure of the categories being learned. This paradigm offers a convenient method of exploring processes involved in categorisation, such as reinforcement-mediated learning, working-memory and selective attention.

Ian continues to collaborate on research with colleagues Professor Alan Pickering and Dr Andrew Cooper from the Personality Affect Cognition Motivation and Neuroscience (PACMAN) Lab at Goldsmiths, as well as former lab member Dr Luke Smillie, University of Melbourne, Australia. Ongoing research includes exploring whether the effects of positive mood on cognition are dependent on appetitive ("e.g. wanting") components and examining different motivational factors that affect academic progression.

Recent publications


Field, Jenny , Tharp, Ian, Gorgoni, Sara (2019), Appendix 3: University of Greenwich Assessment and Feedback Policy 2019. University of Greenwich. In: , , , . University of Greenwich, University of Greenwich (doi: ).