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Our impact

Below you will find some examples of how our research in the School has impacted upon human health, professional services and society.

Maggie and individual at PC.Maggie Ellis carries out research on the communicative abilities of people with dementia and has been involved in developing the Computer Interactive Reminiscence and Conversation Aid (CIRCA) system. This system, which runs on a touch-screen computer, substantially aids communication between people with dementia and their caregivers. Ellis and her colleague, Arlene Astell (Universities of Sheffield and Toronto), have also developed a skills-based training programme, Dementia GOLD, which helps caregivers to develop person-centred, best practice techniques for communicating with individuals across all stages of dementia.

For further information, contact Dr Maggie Ellis (

Bathing in the GangesSteve Reicher has carried out research at the Prayag Magh Mela, which is the Hindu festival that is celebrated every year in spring at the conjunction of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. The event can attract tens of millions of devotees and has been dubbed 'the greatest show on earth'. In collaboration with colleagues in the UK and India, Reicher has investigatedsome simple but fundamental questions about the role of collective events in our lives, for example, whether participation in the Mela affected the way people see themselves and their sense of well-being. Their findings are changing our understanding of the importance of the collective for individual lives.

For further information, contact Prof. Steve Reicher (

NHS Education for ScotlandMartin Campbell’s research has shown that professional staff in care services have difficulties in the treatment and management of adults with learning disabilities who have difficult or challenging behaviours. In response to requests from NHS boards for advice on commissioning psychological therapies, Campbell has been involved in devising The Psychological Therapies Matrix: a Guide to Delivering Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies in Scotland, published by Scottish Government and NHS Education for Scotland. Campbell also sits on a number of boards and advisory committees involved in national policy, practice and care provision.

For further information, contact Dr Martin Campbell (

School children make observations of the monkey's behaviour.The University’s ‘Living Links to Human Evolution’ Research Centre, in the heart of Edinburgh Zoo, houses two species of monkeys, capuchins and squirrel monkeys, in large social groups that have access to large outdoor enclosures. Our researchers study the behaviour and cognition of these animals, for example, studying how foraging information is transmitted socially between individuals, and members of the public can watch all research live, as it happens in the Centre. The facility also contains high-quality, interactive exhibits for visitors that explain our research and the Zoo’s conservation efforts.

For further information, contact Prof. Andy Whiten (

Oakland the chimpanzee in BudongoOur researchers conduct studies of wild chimpanzees and other primates at the Budongo Conservation Field Station, Uganda; for example, we are learning about how chimpanzees use vocal and gestural communication, and about 'cultural' variations in the behaviour of different groups. The field station is the centre for chimpanzee health monitoring in Uganda, and offers training and internships to Ugandan veterinary students. The station also supports local conservation projects. Core funding is provided by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, and Edinburgh Zoo houses the Budongo Trail chimpanzee exhibit and public engagement activities.

For further information, contact Dr Catherine Hobaiter ( or Prof. Klaus Zuberbühler (