Dr Yael Benn


University of Sheffield
Dept. of Psychology
Western Bank
Sheffield, S10 2TP
e.mail: y.benn@sheffield.ac.uk




2003, 1st class BSc Honours: Computer Science & Software Engineering.
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

2010, PhD Cognitive Neuroscience, Dept. of Psychology,
University of Sheffield

Research Interests:

  • Behavioural patterns and neural substrates of information seeking behaviour (including The Ostrich Effect)
  • Neural substrates of language
  • The role of language in cognition, particularly, mathematical calculation

Awards and distinctions:

2015: The Sax Institute (CI): $21,000 (Australian dollar)
2010: Wellcome Trust VIP Award - £15,000
2009: Experimental Psychology Society Grindley Grant award, £500.
2007: Highly Commended Poster Award: BACN conference in Dundee, Scotland
2006: University of Sheffield studentship, £40,000 for three years.
2001: Best 3rd year project award from Cadence, including a financial reward of £700. The prize is awarded annually to an undergraduate final year student for outstanding work in practical elements of their degree.
1998-2003: Dean’s Certificate for outstanding academic achievements.

In the popular press (a few examples)


  • Chang, B. P, Webb, T. L., & Benn, Y. (in press). Monitoring personal finances: Evidence that people check their balance more often when they perceive their funds to be low, Journal of Economic Psychology.
  • Reynolds, J., Webb, T. L., Benn, Y., Chang, P. I., & Sheehan, P. (2017). Feeling bad about progress does not lead people to want to change their health behaviour, Psychology & Health, Special Issue on Emotion, Health Decision Making, and Behaviour.
  • Chang, B. P., Webb, T. L., & 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, 152.
  • Chang, B. P. I., Webb, T. L., Benn, Y., & Stride, C. B. (2017). Which factors are associated with monitoring goal progress?. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 434.
  • Benn, Y., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. & Harkin, B., (2016). What is the psychological impact of self-weighing? A meta-analysis. Health Psychology Reviews.
  • Harkin, B., Webb, T. L. & Chang, B. P., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., Benn, Y., & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence, Psychological Bulletin, 142(2),198-229.
  • Benn Y., Bergman, O., Glazer, L., Arent, P., Varley, R., & Whitaker, S. (2015). Navigating through digital folders uses the same brain structures as real world navigation. Scientific Reports, 14719. A short visual summary of the paper
  • Benn, Y., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I. & Reidy, J. (2015). What information do consumers consider, and how do they look for it, when shopping for groceries online?. Appetite, 89, 265–273. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2015.01.025
  • Benn, Y., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I., Sun, Y-H., Wilkinson, I. D., & Farrow, T. F. D. (2014). The neural basis of monitoring goal progress. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00688
  • Webb, T. L., Benn, Y., & Chang, B. P. (2014). Antecedents and consequences of monitoring domestic electricity consumption. Journal of Environmental Psychology.40, 228-238. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.07.001
  • Chang, B. P., Webb, T. L., & Benn, Y. (2014). Teaching & Learning Guide for ‘The Ostrich Problem’: Motivated avoidance or rejection of information about goal progress. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 8(1), 41-44. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12081
  • Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P., & Benn, Y. (2013). ‘The Ostrich Problem’: Motivated avoidance or rejection of information about goal progress. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(11), 794-807. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12071
  • Benn, Y., Wilkinson, I. D., Zheng, Y., Kadosh, K. C., Romanowski, C. A., Siegal, M., & Varley, R. (2013). Differentiating core and co-opted mechanisms in calculation: The neuroimaging of calculation in aphasia. Brain and cognition, 82(3), 254-264.
  • Benn, Y., Zheng, Y., Siegal, M., Wilkinson, I. & Varley, R. (2012). Language in calculation: a core mechanism? Neuropsychologia, 50(1):1-10.
  • Willems, R.M., Benn, Y., Hagoort, P., Toni, I., & Varley, R. (2011). Communication without a functioning language system: Implications for the role of language in mentalizing. Neuropsychologia , 49 (11): 3130-3135

Book Chapters:

       Bergman, O., & Benn, Y. (in press). A Neuro-Cognitive Explanation for the Prevalence of Folder Navigation and        Web Browsing. In Information Systems and Neuroscience, Springer International Publishing.