School of Bioscience
My current interest lies in philosophical and ethical aspects of computer gaming and its effects on empathy and prosocial behaviour.
Main area of research
My area of expertise include human olfactory cognition and especially odour memory to increase the understanding how a fragrance can be engineered to enhance its memorability and how the presence of fragrance can enhance mood and learning. I have also examined aspects of the philosophy and psychology of medicine and healthcare through a parallel subsidiary interest. In later years my research focus has moved more towards philosophical and ethical aspects of life quality initially in relation to food and nutrition and more recently computer gaming and its effects on empathy and prosocial behaviour.
Born and educated in Northern Ireland, I graduated from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland in 1988 with BSc. Hons. Psychology (First Class) and in 1993 as DPhil (Psychology). During the period 1992 – 1997 I was a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Ulster and in August 1997, I joined Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, as a lecturer in the Division of Psychology, School of Life Sciences. In November 2007 I was appointed Guest Professor at the Department of Restaurant and Culinary Arts, Örebro University , Grythyttan, and moved to the Department of Cognitive neuroscience and philosophy at Skövde university in January 2011 as Guest professor.
The major focus of my earlier research has been human olfactory cognition, which has also diversified to encompass a range of pure and applied, commercially orientated psychology. A well as conventional cognitive research methodology, it utilised additional methodology more usually employed in behavioural analysis and psychobiological research. Examination of aspects of the philosophy and psychology of medicine and healthcare formed a parallel subsidiary interest. Since 2007 my research focus has moved from the commercially orientated to application of psychological principles to food and sensory analysis. This has included a more philosophical and ethical focus and my current interest lies in philosophical and ethical aspects of computer gaming and its effects on empathy and prosocial behaviour.
Publication of my first academic paper in the British Journal of Psychology in 1990 initiated interest in this work from the Director of Sensory Analysis Research and Development, Quest International, a multi-national manufacturing company providing fragrances and flavours to industry. A significant feature of my career path since then has been research collaboration and research consultancy with this company, leading to integration of ‘pure’ academic research with commercially oriented, applied research. Over a period of fifteen years Quest International funded a range of research programmes that I supervised. These have varied from fundamental studies of odour threshold values and intensity perception through to more exploratory work such as odour priming, which resulted in a Patent being granted in the US in 2001. I provided knowledge of the theoretical psychological aspects relevant to the work and designed and carried out experiments that apply this knowledge to more practical issues important for the fragrance industry. Key examples here include odour memory and understanding how a fragrance can be engineered to enhance its memorability, and understanding how the presence of fragrance can enhance mood and learning. Other collaborative work with Quest International has examined psychophysical properties of odours and odour interactions including inter-nostril asymmetry.
Annett, J & Berglund, S. (under review). A theoretical framework for empirical research on the effects of pro-social computer gaming on pro-social behaviour based on a social neurocognitive and neuroethical study of empathy Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society.
McAtamney G & Annett, J (2009a). Learning to associate compatible and incompatible pictures with food and non-food odours, within a stimulus equivalence paradigm. Food Quality and Preference., 20(3):259-267 (PDF)
Rapp E, Öström Å, Osika W, Englund A, Annett J and Gustafsson I-B (2009). Preference for full-fat over low-fat foods among individuals suffering from coronary heart disease and healthy controls. Physiology and Behaviour. (PDF)
Shaw, D. , Annett, J. , Doherty, B & Leslie, J.C. (2007). Anxiolytic effects of lavender oil on open field behaviour. Phytomedicine, 14.612-620.
Annett, J.M. & Leslie, J.C. (1996). Effects of visual and verbal interference tasks on olfactory memory: the role of task complexity. British Journal of Psychology, 87, 447-460. (PDF)
(1996/1997) Award of patent. Odour priming - implicit testing. Improvements in or relating to odour evaluation. US Patent No. US 6,463,786 B1.