Dr Thomas Webb BA, MSc, PhD
Address Room 2-43, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TP, UK
Tel: (+44) (0)114 22 26516
I am a social psychologist, interested in self-regulation and behaviour change. Specifically, I am interested in how people achieve their goals and make changes to their behaviour.
The usual answer is that people need to be motivated. However, even medium-to-large changes in people's intentions seem to have only a small-to-medium effect on their behavior. In short, motivation is not enough. As a result, much of my research to date has investigated how the effects of motivation can be boosted by forming specific plans - known as "implementation intentions" - that link good opportunities to act with suitable responses to those opportunities.
In Summer 2011 I was awarded an ERC Starting Independent Researcher Grant (£700k) to investigate the role of monitoring (and not monitoring) in goal striving. The project proposes that there is an 'ostrich problem' such that people bury their heads in the sand and fail to monitor the relation between their current behaviour and their desired behaviour.
I also co-lead (with Dr Chris Jones) the psychology node of a large (£7 million) ERDF grant called 'The Big Energy Upgrade'. Our part of the project investigates the behavioural aspects of household energy efficiency interventions.
Finally, I am involved in grants funded by the John Templeton Foundation (£272k) titled 'Enacting virtue, controlling vice: Testing three strategies for overcoming unconscious influences and translating good intentions into action' (lead by Prof Paschal Sheeran), the MRC National Prevention Research Initiative (£486k) titled 'Time to change! Using the transition from school to university to promote healthy lifestyle habits in young people' (lead by Prof Paul Norman), and the European Foundation for Alcohol Research (£60k) titled 'A brief online psychosocial intervention to reduce binge drinking in new University students' (lead by Prof Paul Norman).
Teaching and administrative duties
I am module organiser for PSY330: The Psychology of Goals and Goal Striving. I am also Learning and Teaching Development Champion and responsible for student evaluation of teaching. In addition, I am a member of the Psychology Teaching Committee and Ethics Sub-Committee.
As part of a team of Sheffield Leaders, I was recently awarded a grant from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (£10k) to investigate how we can promote greater mutual appreciation and understanding between students, academics, and professional services staff.
I am Associate Editor at the European Journal of Social Psychology and on the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Health Psychology, Psychology & Health, Health Psychology Review, and Motivation and Emotion
Current Postgraduate Students
Links to other web profiles
A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of publications please click here
- Maidment CD, Jones CR, Webb TL, Hathway EA & Gilbertson JM (2014) The impact of household energy efficiency measures on health: A meta-analysis. Energy Policy, 65, 583-593.
- Niven K, Totterdell P, Miles E, Webb TL & Sheeran P (2013) Achieving the same for less: improving mood depletes blood glucose for people with poor (but not good) emotion control.. Cogn Emot, 27(1), 133-140.
- Epton T, Norman P, Sheeran P, Harris PR, Webb TL, Ciravegna F, Brennan A, Meier P, Julious SA, Naughton D, Petroczi A, Dadzie AS & Kruger J (2013) A theory-based online health behavior intervention for new university students: study protocol.. BMC Public Health, 13, 107.
- Taylor C, Webb TL & Sheeran P (2013) 'I deserve a treat!': Justifications for indulgence undermine the translation of intentions into action.. Br J Soc Psychol.
- Webb TL, Chang BPI & Benn Y (2013) 'The Ostrich Problem': Motivated avoidance or rejection of information about goal progress. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(11), 794-807.
- Scott FL, Jones CR & Webb TL (2013) What do people living in deprived communities in the UK think about household energy efficiency interventions?. Energy Policy.
- Webb TL, Sheeran P & Pepper J (2012) Gaining control over responses to implicit attitude tests: Implementation intentions engender fast responses on attitude-incongruent trials.. Br J Soc Psychol, 51(1), 13-32.
- Webb TL, Sheeran P, Totterdell P, Miles E, Mansell W & Baker S (2012) Using implementation intentions to overcome the effect of mood on risky behaviour.. Br J Soc Psychol, 51(2), 330-345.
- 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.
- Webb TL, Sheeran P, Gollwitzer PM & Troetschel R (2012) Strategic Control Over the Unhelpful Effects of Primed Social Categories and Goals. ZEITSCHRIFT FUR PSYCHOLOGIE-JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY, 220(3), 187-193.
- Webb TL, Miles E, Sheeran P, Gallo IS & Gollwitzer PM (2012) Effective regulation of affect: An action control perspective on emotion regulation. European Review of Social Psychology, 23(1), 143-186.
- 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.
- Webb TL (2011) Advice-taking as an unobtrusive measure of prejudice.. Behav Res Methods, 43(4), 953-963.
- Gollwitzer PM, Sheeran P, Webb TL & Trötschel R (2011) Self-regulation of priming effects on behavior. Psychological Science, 22(7), 901-907.
- Webb TL, Joseph J, Yardley L & Michie S (2010) Using the internet to promote health behavior change: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of theoretical basis, use of behavior change techniques, and mode of delivery on efficacy.. J Med Internet Res, 12(1), e4.
- Webb TL, Ononaiye MS, Sheeran P, Reidy JG & Lavda A (2010) Using implementation intentions to overcome the effects of social anxiety on attention and appraisals of performance.. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 36(5), 612-627.
- Webb TL, Sniehotta FF & Michie S (2010) Using theories of behaviour change to inform interventions for addictive behaviours.. Addiction, 105(11), 1879-1892.
- Webb TL, Sheeran P & Luszczynska A (2009) Planning to break unwanted habits: habit strength moderates implementation intention effects on behaviour change.. Br J Soc Psychol, 48(Pt 3), 507-523.
- Goodman RL, Webb TL & Stewart AJ (2009) Communicating Stereotype-Relevant Information: Is Factual Information Subject to the Same Communication Biases as Fictional Information?. PERS SOC PSYCHOL B, 35(7), 836-852.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2008) Mechanisms of implementation intention effects: the role of goal intentions, self-efficacy, and accessibility of plan components.. Br J Soc Psychol, 47(Pt 3), 373-395.
- 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.
- Poliakoff E & Webb TL (2007) What factors predict scientists' intentions to participate in public engagement of science activities?. SCI COMMUN, 29(2), 242-263.
- Webb TL, Christian J & Armitage CJ (2007) Helping students turn up for class: Does personality moderate the effectiveness of an implementation intention intervention?. LEARN INDIVID DIFFER, 17(4), 316-327.
- 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.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2005) Integrating concepts from goal theories to understand the achievement of personal goals. EUR J SOC PSYCHOL, 35(1), 69-96.
- Sheeran P, Webb TL & Gollwitzer PM (2005) The interplay between goal intentions and implementation intentions.. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 31(1), 87-98.
- Sheeran P, Aarts H, Custers R, Rivis A, Webb TL & Cooke R (2005) The goal-dependent automaticity of drinking habits.. Br J Soc Psychol, 44(Pt 1), 47-63.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2004) Identifying good opportunities to act: Implementation intentions and cue discrimination. EUR J SOC PSYCHOL, 34(4), 407-419.
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2003) Can implementation intentions help to overcome ego-depletion?. J EXP SOC PSYCHOL, 39(3), 279-286.