Professor Paschal Sheeran MA, PhD
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.
My research interests lie in social and health psychology.
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.
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.
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
- Keynote Speaker at the 20th Conference of the European Health Psychology Society (Warsaw, August 2006), the National Cancer Institute Health Cognitions Group Meeting (Tucson, May 2006), and the BPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference (September 2005).
- I am on the Editorial Boards of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2006- date), Psychology and Health (2001- date), Health Psychology Review (2006-date), the British Journal of Social Psychology (2004-date), and the European Journal of Social Psychology (2006-date).
- My ex-PhD student, Tom Webb won the BPS Social Psychology Section Award for Outstanding Thesis in 2004.
- My research has been covered in the Times, Daily Mail, Yorkshire Post, Daily Express, local papers, and magazines, as well as on radio.
- Becky Ciesielski - PhD student
- Janine Chapman - PhD student
- Jilly Gibson - PhD student
- Hilary Maxwell (DClin Psy - joint supervisor with Dr Stephen Kellett)
- Rachel Clements (DClin Psy)
A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of publications please click here
- Sheeran P, Gollwitzer PM & Bargh JA (2013) Nonconscious processes and health.. Health Psychol, 32(5), 460-473.
- Webb TL, Miles E & Sheeran P (2012) Dealing With Feeling: A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Strategies Derived From the Process Model of Emotion Regulation. PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN, 138(4), 775-808.
- Varley R, Webb TL & Sheeran P (2011) Making self-help more helpful: a randomized controlled trial of the impact of augmenting self-help materials with implementation intentions on promoting the effective self-management of anxiety symptoms.. J Consult Clin Psychol, 79(1), 123-128.
- Martin J, Sheeran P, Slade P, Wright A & Dibble T (2011) Durable effects of implementation intentions: reduced rates of confirmed pregnancy at 2 years.. Health Psychol, 30(3), 368-373.
- Gollwitzer PM, Sheeran P, Webb TL & Trötschel R (2011) Self-regulation of priming effects on behavior. Psychological Science, 22(7), 901-907.
- Brown I, Sheeran P & Reuber M (2009) Enhancing antiepileptic drug adherence: a randomized controlled trial.. Epilepsy Behav, 16(4), 634-639.
- Gollwitzer PM, Sheeran P, Michalski V & Seifert AE (2009) When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?. PSYCHOL SCI, 20(5), 612-618.
- Achtziger A, Gollwitzer PM & Sheeran P (2008) Implementation intentions and shielding goal striving from unwanted thoughts and feelings. PERS SOC PSYCHOL B, 34(3), 381-393.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2007) How do implementation intentions promote goal attainment? A test of component processes. J EXP SOC PSYCHOL, 43(2), 295-302.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2006) Does changing behavioral intentions engender bahaviour change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. PSYCHOL BULL, 132(2), 249-268.