Department of Psychology


Dr Lucy Akehurst

  • Qualifications: PhD, BSc
  • Role Title: Interim Head of Department
  • Address: King Henry Building, King Henry 1st Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2DY
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6337
  • Email:
  • Department: Department of Psychology
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree and commenced research for a PhD programme (HEFCE funded) at the University of Portsmouth. My PhD research involved liaison with legal professionals, police officers and social workers. Five empirical studies investigated numerous issues regarding the detection of deception including nonverbal cues to deceit, the analysis and application of Criteria-Based Content Analysis and the perceptions of people with regard to cues to deceit. Subsequently, I took a Research Associate post at the University of Wales, Swansea working on a Leverhulme Trust funded project  entitled, 'The influence of sleep loss, personality and confidence on eyewitness suggestibility'.

Teaching Responsibilities

I co-ordinate a postgraduate unit on our campus-based MSc Forensic Psychology programme namely Investigative Psychology and the Legal Process and also a unit on our distance learning MSc Child Forensic Studies: Psychology and Law course namely Interviewing Child Witnesses and the Detection of Deception. The latter is also a stand-alone, credit bearing, short course. I also give lectures on undergraduate units including Forensic Psychology in Context and Introduction to Forensic Psychology. I supervise final year research projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level on the detection of deception, investigative interviewing and jury decision making. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


I am the Deputy Director of the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (ICRFP) within the Department of Psychology. My research interests include:

  • Interviewing and assessing the credibility of vulnerable interviewees in a legal setting (e.g. children, the elderly, non-native language speakers)
  • Detecting malingering in the medico-legal setting
  • The effects of cognitive load on the performance of investigative interviewers
  • Jurors’ perceptions of the credibility of vulnerable witnesses and suspects
  • The analysis and application of Statement Validity Assessment (and more specifically Criteria-Based Content Analysis) as a method for judging credibility in written accounts
  • Eyewitness suggestibility (especially the impact of nonverbal behaviour and rapport during interviews)


I deliver a CPD course to police officers in England and Wales who interview vulnerable victims and witnesses. The Self-Assessment of Specialist Interviews (SASI) course is a one-day training programme to help investigative interviewers to objectively rate their interviewing skills, to highlight best practice and areas for development. For more information please go to


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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