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Anne Ferrey

Psychologist and Behavioural Scientist

I’m Anne, a senior researcher and Course Director in the Department of Primary Care Health sciences at Oxford. I grew up in a small town in Canada, where I spent a lot of time reading. This gave me a sense of how peoples’ own perspectives and perceptions influence how they act. I was really interested in how the brain mediates perception and emotion – the brain “fills in” so much information that we are not even aware of, and we can be influenced in ways we don’t realise by things as subtle as the background music that is playing.

I did my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Alberta and then an MSc in Consumer Psychology in Wales, planning to go into a more applied area. However, the lure of research was too great, and I went off to do a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, exploring ways in which the brain’s attentional focus can affect how we feel and act.

At the moment I work in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford, researching a number of aspects of health and mental health. I am the Course Director of the MSc in Translational Health Sciences, which is all about how to get new innovations used in practice. My teaching mostly focusses on how to help people change their health behaviours for the better. On the research side, I’m interested in innovative work around the use of arts and creative activities to improve health and wellbeing, and am involved in a number of projects related to the effects of creative activities and music on wellbeing.