Skip to main content
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Discrimination, cognitive biases and mental health in students

This project involving a Psychology PhD student Anastasia Vikhanova, Dr Isabelle Mareschal at SBCS and Dr Francesco Fasani at the School of Economics aims to establish a link between three concepts: mental health, discrimination and cognitive biases. They are currently recruiting participants where you can earn £7 for 45 minutes of your time.


In this study, we are interested in seeing how students from different ethnic backgrounds and migration status recognize and respond to different types of social stimuli, such as faces and social interaction situations. This type of information is particularly important to help us establish the cognitive link between perceived discrimination and some mental health difficulties that students may or may not experience. This research is significant, as results of this study could be useful for the design of social programs aimed at improving your university experience and well-being.

How to get involved

If you decide to take part, you will be asked to complete questionnaires online (before coming to the lab) measuring your well-being and perceived ethnic discrimination (takes just under 10 minutes), and then complete 3 quick and fun computer tasks in a lab (around 35 minutes overall), where you will be asked to identify an emotion of a face, detect a letter on a computer screen, or judge gifs as threatening or friendly. The testing takes place in Queen Mary's Mile End campus, Fogg building, 2nd floor, room 219b.

Eligibility Criteria

We are interested in particular groups, so please do check your eligibility before you sign up.

You are eligible if you are:

  1. A student aged 18-35
  2. You are a first- or second-generation migrant who considers yourself as a member of an ethnic minority (we particularly welcome participants from South Asian, Black African and Black Caribbean backgrounds) OR you are a first-generation White/Caucasian migrant from EU

If you are unsure if you can be considered a first- or second-generation migrant, the definitions are presented below:

First-generation migrant - both of your parents and you were born outside the UK, and you are the first one to live in the UK either for your studies or for work (or you moved here together with your parents/other family members)

Second-generation migrant - you were born and live in the UK, and one or both of your parents were born elsewhere but they migrated to the UK and currently live here


If you have any questions or if you would like to sign up please contact the researcher Anastasia Vikhanova ( Feel free to pass this information on to any friends who might be interested – they don’t have to be psychology or SBCS students to participate. The study is expected to run until the end of April 2020, so get in touch whenever you have spare 45 minutes. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in our lab.