The University of Sheffield
Department of Psychology

Professor Paschal Sheeran MA, PhD

Paschal SheeranAddress
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S10 2TP, UK
Tel: (+44) 0114 222 6578
Fax: (+44) 0114 276 6515
Room: WB C14


MA (University College Dublin), PhD (Sheffield)

Teaching and administrative duties

I am module organiser for module PSY242: Social and Health Psychology. I also teach on modules PSY302: The Social Psychology of the Self, PSY110, PSY330: The Psychology of Goals and Goal Striving and PSY239: Psychological Research Methods.

In addition, I am the Director of Research and sit on the Social Science Research Board. I also sit on the Psychology Management Group.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in social and health psychology.

Self regulation
My overarching concern is with self-regulation—how people direct their thoughts, feelings, and actions so that strivings to obtain goals are effective. Using a variety of paradigms, my colleagues and I have shown that people's goal intentions (e.g., "I will exercise for 30 mins at least five times this week!") are only modestly associated with subsequent behaviour and goal attainment, and we have analysed the types of self-regulatory problems (e.g., failures to initiate action or shield ongoing goal pursuit from unwanted influences) that give rise to the intention-behaviour 'gap'.

Factors affection intention-behaviour consistency
Related studies investigate whether factors such self-schemas, anticipated regret, or intention stability influence intention-behaviour consistency.

Implementation intentions
My research also examines the effects of forming if-then plans or implementation intentions in helping people to translate their intentions into action. Findings indicate that spelling out the when, where and how of goal striving in advance makes it much more likely that people will reach their goals. Our work on the mechanisms of these effects suggests that if-then plans make pre-selected opportunities to act highly accessible, and produce strong associations between these opportunities and intended behaviours.

Non-conscious action
Finally, I am also interested in non-conscious routes to action, and particularly the impact of automotives (goals activated outside of awareness) and prototypes (stereotypes regarding, e.g., the typical smoker) in determining behaviour in 'real world' settings.


ESRC (RES-000-22-1769) T. L. Webb (PI), P. Sheeran, M. Onanaiye, & J. Reidy: "Using implementation intentions to modify attentional biases in social anxiety" (May 2006-August 2007). £97,175.

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Research & Development Fund A. Thompson (PI) & P. Sheeran: "Gaining control over anxious thoughts via implementation intentions" (April 2006-June 2006). £5395.

ESRC (RES-000-22-0847) P. Sheeran (PI), C. J. Armitage, A. Rivis, & T. L. Webb: "Does changing attitudes, norms, or self-efficacy change intentions and behavior?" (Nov 2004-Oct 2005). £47,734.

ESRC (RES-000-22-0260) P. Sheeran (PI), C. J. Armitage, & A. Rivis: "Unconscious effects of prototypes on young people´s health and social behaviour." (May 2003-June 2004). £41,092.

Activities and Distinctions

Postgraduate Students


A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of publications please click here

Journal articles