Dr Leanne Proops
Associate Head (Research and Innovation)
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. I’m also interested in the perception of emotional signals, human-animal interactions and animal welfare.
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 and human attitudes affect the welfare of companion and working equids using questionnaires, 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.
I teach on our undergraduate BSc Psychology and Forensic Psychology courses. I coordinate the Level 4 module Perspectives in Psychology and am a tutor for Level 4 & 5 students. I also supervise PhD students, Masters students and undergraduate project students.
I am currently Associate Head for Research and Innovation in the Psychology Department, having joined Portsmouth in 2016. Prior to this, I 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.