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The UNIQUE Research Group

             UNIQUE-TEAM-2                                                     Members of UNIQUE research team                                                                            

The majority of people with psychosis and a substantial minority of the healthy population report psychotic-like anomalous experiences, such as hearing voices. What factors determine whether such experiences lead to a pathological or benign outcome? Are the psychological processes identified by cognitive models of psychosis involved in leading to a ‘need-for-care’? How can research involving individuals with psychotic experiences who do not cross the psychosis threshold inform psychological interventions for psychosis?

These are the questions we are seeking to address in the UNIQUE research group. A range of studies involving  people who experience persistent, full-blown psychotic experiences but are not in need of care, are being carried out. These individuals are an ideal group for identifying both potential risk and protective factors in the development of psychosis. As therapists, we have much to learn from this unique group, who can help us to pinpoint what psychological processes are at play in keeping anomalous experiences benign.

Lead Investigator

Dr Emmanuelle Peters
Team Members

Philippa Garety

Mike Jackson

Craig Morgan

Tom Ward

Raphael Underwood 

Bernice Wright 

Charlie Heriot-Maitland

David Baumeister

Kat Tibble

Sarah Fielding-Smith 

Geraldine Davies 

Justine Walker

Past Research Students

Caroline Brett (DClinPsy)

Tom Ward (DClinPsy)

Monica Charalambides (DClinPsy)

Charlie Heriot-Maitland (DClinPsy)

Keith Gaynor (DClinPsy)

Anna Lovatt (DClinPsy)

Elizabeth Marks (DClinPsy)

Collaborators and Visiting Researchers

Current Collaborators (internal):

Philippa Garety

Elizabeth Kuipers

Paul Chadwick

Veena Kumari

Louise Johns

Juliana Onwumere

Suzanne Jolley

Til Wykes

Oliver Howes

Philip McGuire

Current Collaborators (external):

Mike Jackson (Bangor University)

Kathy Greenwood (University of Sussex)

Max Birchwood (Warwick University)

Inez Myin-Germeys  (Maastricht University)

Research Projects
UNIQUE Research Study

How do we make sense of, and respond to, unusual experiences? Cognitive and social processes in the pathway to psychosis

Funded by MRC; grant held by Dr Peters, Professors Garety, Morgan and Jackson.

Study Staff: 

Research Workers: Eleonore Bristow (London site until August 2013), Emma Saddleton (London site from July 2013), Justine Walker (Bangor site), Paul Green (Bangor site until March 2014)

Project Co-Ordinator: Dr Tom Ward. 

Brief Summary: 

We compared the differences in interpretations in response to simulations of unusual experiences between 3 groups: people with unusual experiences and a ‘need for care’, those with unusual experiences but no need for care and people without any unusual experiences.

We also investigated a number of psychological and social factors to investigate what distinguishes between people whose unusual experiences are positive from those whose experiences become distressing.

Current Research Projects

Tom Ward: The Role Of Response Style And Belief Flexibility In Maintaining Distress In The Context Of Psychosis.

Raphael Underwood: Cognitive and neural pathways to psychosis

Bernice Wright: Noise, Stress and Cognitive Function in Schizophrenia. 

Charlie Heriot Maitland: The role of social factors in dissociation and threat processing in psychosis

David Baumeister: Stress-reactivity and mindfulness in non-clinical and clinical voice-hearers

Kat Tibble: Poor-me and bad-me paranoia

Sarah Fielding-Smith:  What can the Experience Sampling Method tell us about psychotic experiences?

Past Research Projects

Caroline Brett: Anomalous experiences, cognitive processing and the development of psychosis 

Tom Ward : The role of appraisals and response style in distinguishing between psychotic experiences with and without a ‘need for care’

Monica Charalambides: Appraisals of Anomalous Experiences in Need for Care versus Non-Need for Care Groups: Examining the Cognitive Route of Impact of Victimisation Life Events

Charlie Heriot-Maitland: The role of social factors in dissociation and threat processing in psychosis

Keith Gaynor: The role of safety-seeking behaviours in maintaining pathological appraisals in psychosis

Anna Lovatt: Psychotic-like experiences, appraisals and trauma.

Elizabeth Marks: Intrusions in trauma and psychosis: information processing and phenomenology.


Recent Group Publications


Predictors of distress associated with psychotic-like anomalous experiences in clinical and non-clinical populations.

Brett, C., Heriot-Maitland, C., McGuire, P., & Peters, E. (2014). British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 53, 2, p. 213 - 227

Cognitive Biases Questionnaire for psychosis.

Peters, E. R., Moritz, S., Schwannauer, M., Wiseman, Z., Greenwood, K.E., Scott, J., Beck, A. T., Donaldson, C., Hagen, R., Ross, K., Veckenstedt, R., Ison, R., Williams, S., Kuipers, E. & Garety, P.A. (2014) Schizophrenia Bulletin. 40, 2, p.300 - 313


Appraisals and Responses to Experimental Symptom Analogues in Clinical and Nonclinical Individuals with Psychotic Experiences.

Ward, T. A., Gaynor, K. J., Hunter, M. D., Woodruff, P. W., Garety, P. A., & Peters, E. R. (2013). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40 (4), 845-855. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbt094

The role of safety-seeking behaviours in maintaining threat appraisals in psychosis.

Gaynor, K., Ward, T., Garety, P. & Peters, E. (2013) Behaviour Research and Therapy.51, 2. p75 - 81


A qualitative comparison of psychotic-like phenomena in clinical and non-clinical populations.

Heriot-Maitland, C., Knight, M., & Peters, E. (2012). British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51, 37 - 53. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8260.2011.02011.x

Appraisals, psychotic symptoms and affect in daily life. 

Peters, E. R., Lataster, T., Greenwood, K., Kuipers, E., Scott, J., Williams, S., Garety, P., & Myin-Germeys, I. (2012). Psychological Medicine (42), 1013 - 1023. doi:10.1017/S0033291711001802

It's not what you hear; it's the way you think about it: appraisals as determinants of affect and behaviour in voice hearers. 

Peters, E. R., Williams, S. L., Cooke, M. A., & Kuipers, E. (2012). Psychological Medicine, 42, 1507 - 1514. doi:10.1017/S0033291711002650

Key Group Publications


A multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy to prevent harmful compliance with command hallucinations

Birchwood, M., Peters, E., Tarrier, N., Dunn, G., Lewis, S., Wykes, T., Davies, L., Lester, H. & Michali, M. (2011) BMC Psychiatry, 11, 155.


Psychotic-Like Experiences, Appraisals and Trauma. 

Lovatt, A., Mason, O., Brett, C., & Peters, E. (2010). Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198, 813 - 819.

CHoice of Outcome in Cbt for psychosEs (CHOICE): The Development of a New Service User-Led Outcome Measure of CBT for Psychosis.

Greenwood, K.E., Sweeney, A., Williams, S., Garety, P., Kuipers, E., Scott, J., & Peters, E. (2010) Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36, 1, p.126 – 135


The role of metacognitive beliefs in determining the impact of anomalous experiences: a comparison of help-seeking and non-help seeking groups of people experiencing psychotic-like anomalies

Brett, C.M.C., Johns, L., Peters, E., & McGuire, P. K., (2009) Psychological Medicine, 39, 6, P. 939 – 950

Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Activity Predicts Responseiveness to Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in Schizophrenia

Kumari, V., Peters, E. R., Fannon, D., Antonova, E., Premkumar, P., Anilkumar, A. P., Williams, S. C. R., & Kuipers, E. (2009) Biological Psychiatry. 66, 6. P. 594 - 602


The Appraisals of Anomalous Experiences interview (AANEX): a multi-dimensional measure of psychological responses to anomalies associated with psychosis 

Brett, C.M.C., Peters, E.R., Johns, L.C., Tabraham, P., Valmaggia, L. McGuire, P. (2007). British Journal of Psychiatry. 191:s23-s30.


Measuring delusional ideation: The 21-item Peters et al. delusions inventory (PDI)

Peters, E., Joseph, S., Day, S., Garety, P. (2004) Schizophrenia Bulletin 30, 4, p. 1005 - 1022


The assessment of delusions in normal and psychotic populations: - Introducing the PDI (Peters et al. Delusions Inventory)

E.R. Peters, S. Joseph & P.A. Garety (1999). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 25, 553 - 576

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