Victor Kovalets is a PhD researcher at Southampton University while collaborating with UCL researchers and collecting data at UCL. He completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London (2010) and then a Master of Science (MSc) in Psychological Research Methods, University College London (2014). He was a research assistant during 2015 with Prof Chris Brewin at UCL who is an expert on Trauma and PTSD. In 2016, Victor began his PhD.
His research is supervised by Prof Lusia Stopa and Prof Matt Garner at Southampton University. Victor collects data for his PhD at UCL through a collaborative project with Dr. Hugo Spiers, an expert in neuroscience and navigation as well as the lead for the Sea Hero Quest which is a mobile app that collects research data on navigation. A further collaborator on one of Victor's PhD projects is Prof Emily Holmes who is at the Karolinska Institue in Stockholm. She is an expert in mental imagery in psychopathology. With his team of supervisors, Victor is interested in using various selectively taxing cognitive tasks that are able to reduce intrusive mental imagery.
PhD & Associate Researcher
Sirma graduated from UCL BSc Psychology in 2018 with a dissertation titled: The effect of a two-week intervention through a mindfulness-based mobile application on the level of autistic symptoms in healthy individuals: a randomized control trial. The project aimed at providing additional information on whether mindfulness exercises from the mindfulness-based mobile application (MBMA) ‘Mindful Gnats’ would be effective in reducing the level of autistic symptoms in healthy individuals. The study showed that this MBMA was not effective in reducing autistic symptoms, and that still further technological improvements are needed before using MBMAs in the treatment of clinical populations. Her third year project was supervised by Dr. Julian Edbrooke-Childs and based at the Anna Freud Centre.
Furthermore, during her Bachelors degree she volunteered at the Phoenix School as an assistant in the care for children with ASD. Sirma's experience in ASD at the school and her third year project encouraged her to work towards a PhD in Clinical Psychology while assisting in Victor's research.
Gwen graduated from UCL’s BSc Psychology programme in 2017 with a dissertation titled ‘Singaporean and United Kingdom cultural differences in reward allocation when causal structures differ’. The project was based on cultural differences in reward allocation (i.e. perceptions of fairness) and abilities to respond to complex causal structures. Her study revealed cultural differences only emerged in later childhood, and that even 5-year-olds were able to recognise different complex causal structures.
After completing her undergraduate studies, Gwen enrolled into UCL’s Masters of Research in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology. As part of this UCL-Anna Freud Centre and Yale-Child Study Centre collaboration, her first year was based at the Anna Freud Centre and her second year will be based at the Yale Child Study Centre. Her masters’ thesis will be focused on the field of addiction research. During her time in London until she leaves for Yale, Gwen will be assisting Victor on the project.
Tanya is a third-year BSc Psychology student at UCL. She pursued her interest in mental health by investigating in her second year mini-project how image intrusions can be prevented in PTSD patients by engaging in visuospatial tasks such as Sea Hero Quest. Tanya wants to extend this line of research this Summer and also during her third year by further examining if the existing level of visuospatial ability influences the effectiveness of visuospatial activities in preventing image intrusions.
Currently, she is working as a research assistant to Dr. Clare Press at Birkbeck University, where she is involved in investigating the kinematic qualities of infants that are related to autism. She has also previously interned for Dr. Konstantino V. Petrides, where she engaged in secondary research about the TEIQue.
Xiang is a final year UCL BSc Psychology undergraduate student. She worked with Victor for her second year research project, investigating the effectiveness of the visuospatial game Sea Hero Quest at reducing intrusive memories as a result of watching a trauma film.
She will be assisting Victor over the summer of 2018 with data collection of the ongoing Sea Hero Quest project. This project aims to explore how effective Sea Hero Quest gameplay is, compared to Tetris, at reducing post-trauma intrusive memories. Additionally, it explores the possible mechanisms underlying Sea Hero Quest that lead to the reduction of intrusive memories. Findings from this study could be crucial for the development of early intervention following a traumatic encounter as a preventative means against a full-blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Xiang is interested in the fields of clinical, cognitive, and developmental psychology, and she is considering a career in clinical psychology.
XIANG QIN FOONG
Siying is a BSc Psychology student at UCL. She is assisting with the research on the impact of existing level of visuospatial ability on the effectiveness of visuospatial activities such as Sea Hero Quest in preventing post-trauma intrusions. She has a genuine interest in mental health and has volunteered for a DClinPsy student’s thesis research project on evaluation of a film-based training for collaborative work between support workers and family carers in learning disability settings in London.
Hira is a 2nd Year Psychology student from Karachi, Pakistan. She is an aspiring Clinical Psychologist. Her main areas of interest within Clinical Psychology are the treatment of mental health and developmental disorders, particularly depression and autism respectively. Outside of academics, Hira spends her free time either competing in football tournaments, or playing the drums or guitar.
Nicholas is a BSc Psychology student at UCL who is working towards a career in clinical psychology with a particular interest in mood and personality disorders. He is currently working on his second year research project under the supervision of Tanya Garg and Victor Kovalets which follows up on the ongoing research examining how Sea Hero Quest (a mobile game involving visuospatial tasks) can help prevent image intrusions in PTSD patients. The project investigates how individual differences in visuospatial ability influences the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing these intrusions.