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Jean Underwood


Staff Group(s)


Professor Underwood has had many major Divisional duties but currently serves on the psychology executive and the research committees. She is the Co-ordinator of the REF UoA A4 psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience group and leads the Development, Interaction and Social Relations research group within the Division.  She serves on the School and College Research Committees.

Research areas

Jean's current research focuses on:

  • The impact of digital technologies on behaviour in formal and informal education settings including maladaptive behaviours and also support for learners with special educational needs (autism).
  • The development of expertise with particular reference to computer gaming.
  • Risky behaviour in social networks.
  • Risky behaviour in on the roads with specific reference to child pedestrian behaviour and motorcycle rider behaviour.
  • Reading development in young children with and without technology.
  • Professor Underwood’s (with Dillon) research into the behavioural impacts of good and poor models of transition from primary to secondary school for children on the Autistic Spectrum has been received with enthusiasm from the community.
  • She has developed a Maturity Modelling approach to capture institutional and individual behavioural patterns, which is now being used by Nottingham and Sheffield Hallam Universities and has been adopted as a core tool by the Department for Education and Skills, the National College of School Leadership and Ofsted.
  • Her empirical work on adaptive and maladaptive behaviours with technology led to her appointment as the key advisor on academic dishonesty to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (report published December 2006) attracted extensive media attention and was the focus of a QCA strategy seminar (December 2006).
  • She was seconded to BECTA to aid the development of their digital research strategy in 2010/11.

External activity

  • RAE 2001 Unit 68 panel member
  • Elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce
  • Senior Research Fellow Economic and Social Science Research Council CREDIT Designated Research Centre, Department of Psychology, Nottingham University 1993-2000
  • Chairperson of the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (1995-1997)
  • Chair of the BJEP Current Trends Conference June 2006
  • Advisor to the QCA

Member of:

  • Quality and Curriculum Authority's coursework working group (2006)
  • British Educational Technology Agency's Consultative Group (1994-1996); Information Consultative Group (1991-1994), member of ILS Steering Group (1993-1998)
  • Teacher Training Agency ITT Steering Group (1996-1997) and ICT Research Steering Group (1997-1999)


  • Editor Computers and Education 1998
  • Board member: Contemporary Issues in Education, eLearning, I.J.Cognitive Peformance Support, Qwerty, TPED
  • Guest editor British Journal of Educational Psychology Current Trends Monograph 2007, e-Learning 2010

Visiting professor eLearning University of Auckland 2007

Award for best oral presentation (2004) from the Traffic and Transport Psychology ICCTP 2004 Conference

Recent keynotes:

  • The Digital Divide Futures of Learning Conference, Paris, November 2005
  • Digital Technologies and Academic Dishonesty, London, December 2006

Sponsors and collaborators

Jean's major sponsors outside of Nottingham Trent University have been:

  • The Baily Charitable Trust
  • British Council
  • British Educational Technology Agency (BECTA)
  • Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
  • Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC)
  • European Union (EU) 3rd, 4th and 5th framework programmes
  • Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC)
  • National Council for Educational Technology (NCET)
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
  • Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)

Her current major collaborators outside of Nottingham Trent University are:

  • Professor A Antoinetti, Catholic University of Milan
  • Professor A Bartolome University of Barcelona
  • Professor J Beiheizen, Vrie University of Amsterdam
  • Dr K Steffens, University of Koeln
  • Professor G Underwood, University of Nottingham


(2011) Underwood, J., Kerlin, L. & Farrington-Flint, L.The Lies We Tell and What They Say About Us: Using Behavioural Characteristics to Explain Facebook Activity, Computers in Human Behaviour, 27, 1621-1626.

(2011) Coyne, E., Farrington-Flint, F., Underwood, J. & Stiller, J. Sensitivity to Rime Unit Frequency and Children's Early Word-reading Strategies, Journal of Research in Reading, 35:4, 393-410.

(2012) Banyard, P. & Underwood, J. E-learning: The Dark Side? eLearning Papers No 28. paper=116112

(2012) Dillon, G. & Underwood, J. School Transition for Children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 27(2), 111-121.

(2012) Dillon, G. & Underwood, J. Computer Mediated Imaginative Storytelling in Children with Autism: Capturing the Imagination of the Autistic Mind. Human Computer Studies, 70(2), 169-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2011.10.002

(2013) Underwood, G, Ngai, A. & Underwood, J. Driving experience and situation awareness in hazard detection. Safety Science.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2012.05.025

Underwood, J. & Stiller, J. Does Knowing Lead to Doing in the Case of Learning Platforms? Teachers and Teaching. In press.

See all of Jean Underwood's publications...