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Dr Zarah Vernham

Senior Lecturer

Zarah Vernham


In 2009, I graduated from the University of Surrey with a BSc (hons) in Psychology. My BSc dissertation explored the general public’s knowledge of, and attitudes towards the sentencing of rape cases in England and Wales. I remained at the University of Surrey and, in 2010, I completed an MSc in Forensic Psychology in which I was awarded a distinction. My MSc dissertation was conducted within Broadmoor High-Security Hospital and investigated whether observer ratings of interpersonal behaviour can accurately predict institutional incidents of verbal and physical aggression, and self-harm in male forensic inpatients. In 2015, I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a PhD in Psychology. My PhD research applied a collective interviewing approach, in which groups of individuals are interviewed together at the same time, to the detection of deception.

In addition to completing my PhD, I was a Research Associate, under the supervision of Professor Aldert Vrij, working on two research projects. The first project was funded by the FBI and evaluated training into cognitive lie detection, and the second project was funded by the EPSRC and explored the deterrence of deception.

Following the completion of my PhD I was awarded a lectureship in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. Before starting the lectureship in June 2015, I went to the University of Gothenburg for five weeks to work alongside the research group for Criminal, Legal and Investigative Psychology.

Research Interests

I am a member of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (ICRFP) within the Department of Psychology. My main research interests are in the area of investigative interviewing, deception detection and offender behaviours. I continue to conduct studies into detecting deception using a collective interviewing approach, whilst also completing projects exploring offender expertise and offender risk assessment. I remain in contact with those I worked with at Broadmoor Hospital and will continue to work on research projects within this institution.

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