Neil Kirk
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Personal profile

Personal profile

I’m a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a Lecturer in Psychology. Before joining the teaching staff at Abertay in 2016, I worked for the Medical Research Council and the Scottish Government in various research roles. 

My primary research interest involves investigating the cognitive mechanisms which underpin bidialectalism, or closely related varieties such as Scottish English and Dundonian Scots. This research has received significant media attention with coverage in the Financial Times, BBC News, BBC  Timeline and local and national radio.  I’m actively involved in promoting public understanding of science and have been a demonstrator at the Edinburgh Science Festival, the Dundee Science Festival, the MRC Mini Scientists exhibition and the Big Bang Science Festival.


I currently teach on the following modules:

Term 1

PSY103: Evidence-Based Thinking: Scientific Approaches to Studying Human Behaviour

PSY202: Psychology Mythbusters: Separating Breakthroughs from Fake News (Module Leader)

PSY210: Research Methods - Direct Entrants (Module Leader)

PSY307: Psychology in the Real World

Term 2

PSY206: Essential Research Methods and Analysis for Psychology 

PSY408: Advanced Social and Cognitive Psychology

AH012: Introduction to Social Science


I also supervise students on the PSY410: Psychology Honours Project module across both terms.


Research interests

My primary research interest involves investigating the cognitive mechanisms which underpin bidialectalism.  My PhD investigated whether speakers of (Scottish) Standard English and Dundonian Scots displayed any of the same cognitive effects that have been observed in bilinguals.  I am also interested in the role of language, dialect and accent in conveying non-referential social information about a speaker and how listeners use this information to make social judgements.


Prizes and Funding

'Bilingual Minds, Bilingual Machines’ Summer School: Fee Waiver (£400) (June 2013)

Leverhulme Trust: PhD Studentship: Named Candidate (£67,897) (Sept 2012 – Sept 2015)

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: Travel Grant (£750) (May 2011)

Alexander D G Kydd Memorial Prize, awarded for outstanding academic performance on a postgraduate course (£100) (Nov 2010)


I am a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) with the British Psychological Society (BPS).


Public Engagement and Science Communication (Selection)

• Demonstrator at several science festivals including: The Edinburgh Science Festival, The MRC “Mini-scientists” exhibition, the Dundee Science Festival and The Big Bang Science Festival (Birmingham).
• Editor and Article Writer (“Let’s talk about (Gay) sex!”) for the GIST magazine (Glasgow Insight into Science and Technology). Available online at:

Media Coverage of Research (Selection)

• Media coverage on national radio, television, broadsheets and digital magazines including:
o BBC Radio Scotland
o Radio Foyle (Northern Ireland)
o BBC Alba
o The Financial Times ("Being Bilingual May Not Boost Brain Power")
o Aeon Magazine  ("Do dialect speakers get the same benefits as bilinguals?")
o BBC News Online ("Older Gaels Sought for Abertay 'Mental Agility' Study")


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