Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Robert Snowden  BSc York PhD Cantab

Yr Athro Robert Snowden BSc York PhD Cantab


Yr Ysgol Seicoleg

+44 29208 74937
Adeilad y Tŵr, Ystafell 5.14, Plas y Parc, Caerdydd, CF10 3AT
Sylwebydd y cyfryngau
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


My interests are in serious offending. I look at methods of understanding why this occurs at the cognitive and behavioural level (what are the thoughts and motivations behind these action) as well as the biological underpinnings of these behaviours.

My research mainly covers violence (including murder) and sexual violence (rape, child molestation, paedophilia, etc). I therefore have interests in concepts such as psychopaths, personality disorders and mental illness as it relates to offending and violence.

I run courses for professionals on risk assessment of violence in offenders and mentally disordered offenders.

I have an interest in human sexuality and sexual interests which include both normal interests (heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, etc) as well as deviant sexual interests (eg, paedophilia and other paraphilias).

I also conduct research of vision and visual perception and am the author of the textbook "Basic Vision" (OUP).





























Adrannau llyfrau



Forensic and clinical psychology

My laboratory investigates the origins and management of severe problem behaviours. These include violence to others, sexual offending, suicide and self-harming behaviours.

On-going projects include:

  • use of structured professional judgement and actuarial assessment of future violence in mentally disordered offenders
  • development of a clinical battery of tests for a Personality Disorder Service
  • RAPID (Risk of Aggression Protocol for Intellectual Disabilities): development of a screening tool for violence in learning disability services
  • self-esteem, parental bonding and sexual offending
  • self-esteem and aggression
  • self-harming behaviours in Borderline Personality Disorder
  • prediction of suicide using the RoSP (Risk of Suicide Protocol)
  • emotional processing and intelligence in psychopathic offenders
  • implicit measurement of sex-related cognitions in normal populations (hetero and homosexual men and women)
  • impulsivity, psychopathy and personality disorders
  • perceptual sensitivity, strength of the nervous system and psychopathology
  • use of implicit measures.

Vision and visual attention

My work here has slowed down in the past years due to the increasing load in the field of forensic and clinical psychology. Nevertheless, I still have projects looking at motion perception and of the effects of visual attention. I also have an interest in the effects of ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease on these processes.


  • Partnerships in Care
  • Pastoral Cymru.

Research collaborators

All the work in the domain of Forensic and Clinical Psychology is done in collaboration with a Chartered Clinical and Forensic psychologist (Professor Nicola Gray). We work closely with two independent providers of mental health services – Partnerships in Care (PiC) and Pastoral Cymru. They not only help provide the funds to do this work but aid greatly in access to participants. The work also involves many other hospitals (eg, Llanarth Court, The Dene, Cefn Coed, Caswell Clinic), prisons (HMP Usk, HMP Grendon, Parc Prison)  and other services (eg, Gwent Learning Disability Service).

I have a longstanding collaboration with Dr Andrea Tales (Bristol University) on visual attention and Alzheimer’s Disease.


Level 1 - module coordinator for PS1016 Introduction to Psychology. Lectures on 'What is Psychology?'  and Forensic Psychology.

Level 2 - module coordinator for PS2009 Perception. Lectures on visual perception.

Level 3 - module coordinator for PS3500 Forensic Psychology. Lectures on violence, sex offending, psychopathy and risk assessment.


Undergraduate education

  • York University – BSc Psychology (1985).

Postgraduate education

  • Cambridge University – PhD Experimental Psychology (1989).

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

  • Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy.

Safleoedd academaidd blaenorol

  • Post-doctoral research fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

Forensic and clinical psychology

My research aims to help understand, predict and manage patients with severe behavioural problems due to mental health issues (psychopathy, personality disorders, mental illness).

The major strands of my work are:

  • prediction and prevention of future violence and sexual violence to others
  • prediction and prevention of suicide and self-harm
  • understanding motivations and cognitions underpinning severe behavioural problems through the use of explicit and implicit methodologies
  • understanding neuropsychological deficits underpinning severe behavioural problems (eg,impulsivity).

The research is conducted in collaboration with a clinical and forensic psychologist (Professor Nicola Gray), and has strong links to secure units (Pastoral Cymru, and Partnerships in Care), as well as local hospitals, prisons and community services.

Motion perception

including the perception of speed, and how contrast effects (eg fog) and light interact to alter our perception of speed; The effects of old age on the visual system; Visual processes in various conditions (glaucoma, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease).

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly, or submit a formal application.

Current students

  • Suzana Ahmad - Self-esteem and violence: a cross cultural examination of models of violence
  • Daniel Burley - Pupillometry and personality disorder
  • Katie O'Farrell - Emotional processing and psychopathy.

Also adviser to:

  • Richard Benson Use of implicit measures of cognition in self-harm and personality disorders (University of Glamorgan)
  • Jenny Clarke Risk of Suicide Protocol (RoSP): an evaluation of reliability and validity (University of Glamorgan)