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Dr Darren Van Laar

Reader in Applied Psychology

Darren Van Laar


I have a BSc in Psychology from Manchester Polytechnic, an MSc in Information Processing from York University, and a PhD in 'How to Use Colour in Computer Displays' from Imperial College, London University.

I am a Reader in Applied Psychology and have three strands of research – how to make people happier at work, the use of colour to structure information in computer displays and the career destinations of psychology students. Although these areas might sound unrelated - they are all concerned with applying psychology to the real world.

Since 2011 I have also been seconded for part of my time to be the Director of the University of Portsmouth Graduate School.

Research Interests

My research is situated in the fields of Human Factors and Organisational Satisfaction.

My PhD investigated how best colour coding can be used in control rooms and other complex information displays. This is an aspect of Human Factors, also known as Ergonomics or Human-Computer Interaction.

I love the whole area of colour research and have had students conduct projects in all sorts of areas including colour naming, colour overlays, colour synaesthesia, colour and personality and even the colour of football kits!

My recent research focuses on the development of the Work-Related Quality of Life (WRQoL) scale which is a psychometric tool to measure Stress and the Quality of Working Life in employees. The scale has been translated in may languages and is used by organisations and researchers around the world (more information). My other research interests include the Careers Destinations of Higher Education students and what makes an effective PhD supervision team.

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