Dr Leanne Proops
I'm a comparative psychologist and ethologist interested in animal social cognition, communication and behaviour. I investigate the extent to which social species possess complex cognitive and communicative skills and how individual differences in social cognition relate to social behaviour and the development of social bonds. I’m also interested in the perception of emotional signals, multisensory processing and animal welfare.
I became a Lecturer at Portsmouth in 2016 and a Senior Lecturer in 2017, having held postdoc positions at Sussex University and The University of Tokyo. I completed my PhD in Psychology at Sussex University, have an MSc (dist.) in Animal Behaviour from Exeter University and a BSc (1st) in Experimental Psychology from Sussex. I also spent several years working in an acquired brain injury unit and a community mental health project before returning to academia to pursue my interests in animal behaviour.
I'm the Deputy Course Leader for our two undergraduate psychology degrees (BSc Psychology/ BSc Forensic Psychology). I teach on, and coordinate, the Level 4 unit Key Ideas in Human and Animal Behaviour and the Level 5 combined honours unit Contemporary Issues in Psychology. I'm a tutor for Level 4 & 5 students and I also supervise PhD students, Masters students and undergraduate project students.
I'm a member of the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology and my current research projects include:
Production and perception of emotional signals in animals. Understanding the behavioural and physiological indices of emotional states in animals and the extent to which species are sensitive to the emotional signals of others.
Comparative Social Cognition. Studying abilities in rats and domestic species, with a focus on comparative equid cognition (horses, donkeys and mules).
Equine Welfare: Determining how environmental challenges affect the welfare of companion and working equids using a range of behavioural and physiological measures.
Animal Assisted Therapy: Investigating the underlying mechanisms at work during therapy sessions and how positive outcomes can be achieved and improved for the human and animal.