Emeritus Professor Christopher Spencer MA DPhil

Christopher SpencerAddress
Department of Psychology
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S10 2TP, UK

Tel: (+44) 0114 222 6556
Fax: (+44) 0114 276 6515
Room: 2-17
Email C.P.Spencer@sheffield.ac.uk


MA Psychology and Philosophy (Oxford)
DPhil Social Psychology (Oxford)Research Interests
From my initial training with Henri Tajfel as a social psychologist, I had worked in the fields of small group decision making and attitudes, when I realized how little attention psychology had paid to the physical environment, both natural and architectural.

My main research foci within the newly founded Environmental Psychology were initially: children´s environments; cognitive maps; and their implications for the mobility of the blind. Work with colleagues in Architecture and Landscape developed further applications of Environmental Psychology to design and planning. And with colleagues in Music, we have recently been studying the effects of concert venue design on the experience of audiences and performers; and the career progression of classical musicians.

Activities and Distinctions

Co-founder of the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 1981, which remains the leading journal in the field; and editorial board member throughout Editorial board of Children´s Geographies. Within the University of Sheffield I have been Chair of the Department of Psychology and subsequently its deputy head; three times elected to the University´s Academic Development Committee.

Key Publications

Environmental psychology
Stephanie E. Pitts and Christopher Spencer (2008) Loyalty and longevity in audience listening: investigating experiences of attendance at a chamber music festival. Music and Letters 89: 227-238

Eddie Edgerton, Ombretta Romice and Christopher Spencer (2007) Environmental Psychology: Putting Research into Practice, Cambridge Scholars Press ISBN: 9781847182180

Children and their Environments: Learning, using and designing spaces. (2006) Christopher Spencer and Mark Blades (editors), Cambridge University Press.

Children and the Environment
Special issue editors Christopher Spencer and Mark Blades. Journal of Environmental Psychology 2002, 22, 1-220

Maps and aerial photographs
Young Children´s recognition and representation of urban landscapes: from aerial photographs and in toy play. Mark Blades, Christopher Spencer, Beverley Plester and Kathryn Desmond. In G Allen (ed) Human Spatial Memory: remembering where. Erlbaum (2004)

Interviewing children
A.H.Waterman, M.Blades and C.P.Spencer (2000) Do children try to answer nonsensical questions? British Journal Of Developmental Psychology, 2000, Vol.18, pp.211-225

A.H. Waterman, M. Blades, & C.P.Spencer (2001) Interviewing children and adults: The effect of question format on the tendency to speculate. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, 521-531

How do children respond to different types of questions?
A.H. Waterman, M. Blades & C.P.Spencer (2002). In H. Westcott, G. Davies & R.
Bull (Eds.), Children´s Testimony: Psychological research and forensic
practice. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Amanda H Waterman, Mark Blades and Christopher Spencer (2004) Indicating when you do not know the answer: The effect of question format and interviewer knowledge on children's 'don't know' responses. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, Volume 22, Part 3, September 2004,

Social psychology
Bipasha Ahmed, Paula Nicolson and Christopher Spencer (2000) The Social Construction of Racism: The case of second generation Bangladeshis. Journal of Community and Applied Psychology, 10, 33-48

Irina Anderson, Geoff Beattie and Christopher Spencer (2001) Can blaming victims of rape be logical?Attribution theory and discourse analytic perspectives. Human Relations, 54, 445-467, 2001

Georgiou, A.J., Spencer, C.P., Davies, G.K. & Stamp, J. (2000) Electrical Stimulation Therapy in the treatment of cigarette smoking. Journal of Substance Abuse 10: 265-274.

View an expanded list of Chris Spencer's publications

Research Students

  • Kate Gee: careers of brass musicians
  • Melissa Dobson: audiences for classical music