Dr Thomas Webb BA, MSc, PhD
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 and the road to hell is likely paved with good intentions.
As a result, much of my research to date has investigated how the effects of motivation can be boosted by strategies such as monitoring progress, responding with self-compassion to lapses, or forming specific plans - known as "implementation intentions" - that link good opportunities to act with suitable responses to those opportunities.
I work with a number of organisations on promoting behaviour change in various contexts. For example, I am developing and testing an intervention to help the owners of overweight dogs and cats to manage how they feed and exercise their pet. You can read about our work here. I am also interested in strategies for reducing single use plastics as part of a large multidisciplinary project that brings together scientists from across the University (read more here) and I lead the behavioural component of the Healthy Lifespan Institute, which seeks to help everyone to live healthier, independent lives for longer.
I'm also developing an action control perspective on emotion regulation (see here) and (i) investigating why people struggle to regulate their emotions and (ii) what influences the strategies that people choose to regulate their own and others emotions. Finally, I have am working on a project with Dr Fuschia Sirois, funded by the ESRC, to investigate how to overcome the barriers to being self-compassionate.
To watch a video of me talking at a Sheffield Salon event on behaviour change, click here. To hear me speculate about why the owners of pets may not protect them against fleas, click here. Click on the following links to hear me talk about my research on when people take action, self-monitoring, and how to feel happier at the weekend.
Teaching and administrative duties
I am module organiser for PSY350: Self-regulation, Chair of the Department Ethics Subcommittee and also oversee research participation. I am also external examiner for the undergraduate BSc Psychology programme at the University of Exeter.
I am currently Associate Editor for the British Journal of Social Psychology and am on the Editorial Boards of Psychological Bulletin, Cognition & Emotion, the British Journal of Health Psychology, Psychology & Health, Health Psychology Review, and Motivation and Emotion. I was formerly Associate Editor at the European Journal of Social Psychology (2010-2014) and Frontiers in Personality and Social Psychology (2016-2017).
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
- Scott AJ, Rowse G & Webb TL (2017) A structural equation model of the relationship between insomnia, negative affect, and paranoid thinking.. PLoS One, 12(10). View this article in WRRO
- Scott AJ, Webb TL & Rowse G (2017) Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open, 7(9), e016873-e016873. View this article in WRRO
- Baird HM, Webb TL, Martin J & Sirois FM (2017) The relationship between time perspective and self-regulatory processes, abilities and outcomes: a protocol for a meta-analytical review. BMJ Open, 7(6). View this article in WRRO
- Reynolds JP, Webb TL, Benn Y, Chang BPI & Sheeran P (2017) Feeling bad about progress does not lead people want to change their health behaviour. Psychology and Health. View this article in WRRO
- Chang B, Webb T, Benn Y & Stride CB (2017) Which Factors Are Associated with Monitoring Goal Progress?. Frontiers in Psychology. View this article in WRRO
- Webb TL, Lindquist KA, Jones K, Avishai A & Sheeran P (2017) Situation selection is a particularly effective emotion regulation strategy for people who need help regulating their emotions. Cognition and Emotion. View this article in WRRO
- Chang BPI, Webb TL & Benn Y (2017) Why Do People Act Like the Proverbial Ostrich? Investigating the Reasons That People Provide for Not Monitoring Their Goal Progress. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. View this article in WRRO
- Rennie LJ, Harris PR & Webb TL (2016) Visualizing actions from a third-person perspective: effects on health behavior and the moderating role of behavior difficulty. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. View this article in WRRO
- Sheeran P & Webb TL (2016) The Intention–Behavior Gap. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10(9), 503-518. View this article in WRRO
- Miles E, Sheeran P, Baird H, Macdonald I, Webb TL & Harris PR (2016) Does self-control improve with practice? Evidence from a six-week training program.. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 145(8), 1075-1091. View this article in WRRO
- van Genugten L, Dusseldorp E, Webb TL & van Empelen P (2016) Which Combinations of Techniques and Modes of Delivery in Internet-Based Interventions Effectively Change Health Behavior? A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6). View this article in WRRO
- Benn Y, Webb TL, Chang BPI & Harkin B (2016) What is the psychological impact of self-weighing? A meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 10(2), 187-203. View this article in WRRO
- Pakpour AH, Gholami M, Gellert P, Yekaninejad MS, Dombrowski SU & Webb TL (2016) The Effects of Two Planning Interventions on the Oral Health Behavior of Iranian Adolescents: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50(3), 409-418. View this article in WRRO
- Toli A, Webb TL & Hardy GE (2016) Does forming implementation intentions help people with mental health problems to achieve goals? A meta-analysis of experimental studies with clinical and analogue samples. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55(1), 69-90. View this article in WRRO
- Hanson K, Webb TL, Sheeran P & Turpin G (2016) Attitudes and Preferences towards Self-help Treatments for Depression in Comparison to Psychotherapy and Antidepressant Medication. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 44(2), 129-139. View this article in WRRO
- Prestwich A, Webb TL & Conner M (2015) Using theory to develop and test interventions to promote changes in health behaviour: evidence, issues, and recommendations. Current Opinion in Psychology, 5, 1-5. View this article in WRRO
- Scott AJ, Webb TL & Rowse G (2015) Self-help interventions for psychosis: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 39, 96-112. View this article in WRRO
- Koole SL, Webb TL & Sheeran PL (2015) Implicit emotion regulation: feeling better without knowing why. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 6-10.
- Hallam GP, Webb TL, Sheeran P, Miles E, Wilkinson ID, Hunter MD, Barker AT, Woodruff PWR, Totterdell P, Lindquist KA & Farrow TFD (2015) The Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation by Implementation Intentions. PLOS ONE, 10(3), e0119500-e0119500. View this article in WRRO
- Kaklamanou D, Jones CR, Webb TL & Walker SR (2015) Using Public Transport Can Make Up for Flying Abroad on Holiday. Environment and Behavior, 47(2), 184-204. View this article in WRRO
- Benn Y, Webb TL, Chang BPI & Reidy J (2015) What information do consumers consider, and how do they look for it, when shopping for groceries online?. Appetite, 89, 265-273. View this article in WRRO
- Christou-Champi S, Farrow TFD & Webb TL (2015) Automatic control of negative emotions: Evidence that structured practice increases the efficiency of emotion regulation. Cognition and Emotion, 29(2), 319-331. View this article in WRRO
- Webb TL, Benn Y & Chang BPI (2014) Antecedents and consequences of monitoring domestic electricity consumption. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 40, 228-238.
- Epton T, Norman P, Dadzie A-S, Harris PR, Webb TL, Sheeran P, Julious SA, Ciravegna F, Brennan A, Meier PS , Naughton D et al (2014) A theory-based online health behaviour intervention for new university students (U@Uni): results from a randomised controlled trial.. BMC Public Health, 14, 563. View this article in WRRO
- Hallam GP, Webb TL, Sheeran P, Miles E, Niven K, Wilkinson ID, Hunter MD, Woodruff PWR, Totterdell P & Farrow TFD (2014) The neural correlates of regulating another person's emotions: an exploratory fMRI study.. Front Hum Neurosci, 8, 376. View this article in WRRO
- Rennie LJ, Harris PR & Webb TL (2014) The impact of perspective in visualizing health-related behaviors: First-person perspective increases motivation to adopt health-related behaviors. Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
- Taylor C, Webb TL & Sheeran P (2014) 'I deserve a treat!': justifications for indulgence undermine the translation of intentions into action.. Br J Soc Psychol, 53(3), 501-520.
- Maidment CD, Jones CR, Webb TL, Hathway EA & Gilbertson JM (2013) The impact of household energy efficiency measures on health: A meta-analysis. Energy Policy.
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- Miles E, Sheeran P & Webb TL (2013) Meta-analytic estimates predict the effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies in the "real world": Reply to Augustine and Hemenover (2013). Psychological Bulletin, 139(3), 730-734.
- Martijn C, Sheeran P, Wesseldijk LW, Merrick H, Webb TL, Roefs A & Jansen A (2013) Evaluative conditioning makes slim models less desirable as standards for comparison and increases body satisfaction. Health Psychology, 32(4), 433-438.
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- Epton T, Norman P, Sheeran P, Harris PR, Webb TL, Ciravegna F, Brennan A, Meier P, Julious SA, Naughton D , Petroczi A et al (2013) A theory-based online health behavior intervention for new university students: study protocol.. BMC Public Health, 13, 107. View this article in WRRO
- 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.
- Lavda AC, Webb TL & Thompson AR (2012) A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psychological interventions for adults with skin conditions.. Br J Dermatol, 167(5), 970-979.
- 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 & 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, 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, Gallo IS, Miles E, Gollwitzer PM & Sheeran P (2012) Effective regulation of affect: An action control perspective on emotion regulation. European Review of Social Psychology, 23(1), 143-186.
- Webb TL (2011) Advice-taking as an unobtrusive measure of prejudice.. Behav Res Methods, 43(4), 953-963.
- 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.
- Gollwitzer PM, Sheeran P, Trötschel R & Webb TL (2011) Self-regulation of priming effects on behavior. Psychological Science, 22(7), 901-907.
- Webb TL, Sheeran P, Totterdell P, Miles E, Mansell W & Baker S (2010) Using implementation intentions to overcome the effect of mood on risky behaviour.. Br J Soc Psychol.
- Webb TL, Sniehotta FF & Michie S (2010) Using theories of behaviour change to inform interventions for addictive behaviours.. Addiction, 105(11), 1879-1892. View this article in WRRO
- Webb TL, Ononaiye MSP, 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- Poliakoff E & Webb TL (2007) What factors predict scientists' intentions to participate in public engagement of science activities?. SCI COMMUN, 29(2), 242-263. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- Sheeran P, Webb TL & Gollwitzer PM (2005) The interplay between goal intentions and implementation intentions.. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 31(1), 87-98. View this article in WRRO
- 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. View this article in WRRO
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2004) Identifying good opportunities to act: Implementation intentions and cue discrimination. EUR J SOC PSYCHOL, 34(4), 407-419. View this article in WRRO
- Webb TL & Sheeran P (2003) Can implementation intentions help to overcome ego-depletion?. J EXP SOC PSYCHOL, 39(3), 279-286. View this article in WRRO
- Benn Y, Webb TL, Chang BPI, Sun Y-H, Wilkinson ID & Farrow TFD () The neural basis of monitoring goal progress. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8. View this article in WRRO