Skip to content

About Sam Ashcroft

Sam uses PsychoPy experiments and psychophysiology in his research. His work builds on Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Meaningfulness and Behaviourism generally.

Sam is interested in behaviourist research that looks at how humans respond to coherence. He is also interested in well-being, meaning, Cognitive Dissonance Theory and behaviourism generally. He enjoys teaching about methodology and data analysis and alongside SPSS, Sam uses R for gathering, cleaning, analysing and presenting data.


Sam’s research revolves around Relational Frame Theory (RFT), a behaviourist theory that stems from Contextual Behavioural Science (CBS). 

Sam studies behavioural and physiological responses to the level of coherence, incoherence and ambiguity within ‘relational frames’. Empirical findings in this area may lead to new insights into how humans use language and symbolic learning to ‘make sense’ of the world. In the future, Sam hopes to extend this basic behavioural account to more complex phenomena such as how humans find meaning in their day to day lives.

Sam has also been part of numerous other research projects, including: studying whether ACT, CBT or a placebo work best for increasing pain tolerance; investigating variables that influence British perceptions of foreigners; looking at whether nightmare content is different across various groups; assessing how prior learning of information can affect the learning of successive information; and how best to teach mindfulness to ensure the training generalises outside of the training environment.

Published Work

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., Mulhern, T., & Ashcroft, S. (2019). Technical Notation as a Tool for Basic Research in Relational Frame Theory. The Psychological Record, 1-8.

Birney, M., Rabinovich, A., Morton, T., Heath, H., Ashcroft, S. (2019). When Speaking English Is Not Enough: The Consequences of Language-Based Stigma for Non-native Speakers. Journal of Language and Social Psychology

Hochard K., Ashcroft S., Carrol J., Heym N. & Townsend E. (2017). Nightmare content is not associated with immediate self-harm risk. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior.

Conference Presentations

Ashcroft S., Hulbert-Williams L., Hochard K. & Hulbert-Williams N.J. CBS Consistent Definitions of Relational Coherence, Incoherence and Ambiguity. ACBS Conference, Seville, June 2017 (poster).

Ashcroft S., Hulbert-Williams L., Hochard K. & Hulbert-Williams N.J. Relational Coherence and Ambiguity: Behavioural and Affective Responses within a Novel Training Paradigm. ACBS Conference, Seville, June 2017 (oral).

Ashcroft S., Hulbert-Williams L., Hochard K. & Hulbert-Williams N.J. The Important of a Contextual-Behavioural Scientific (CBS) Approach to the Coherence of Relational Frames. Postgraduate Conference, University of Chester, June 2016 (oral).

Ashcroft S., Hulbert-Williams L., Hochard K. & Hulbert-Williams N.J. Studying Coherence from a Relational Frame Theory Perspective. Postgraduate Conference, University of Chester, June 2017 (oral).

Hochard K., Ashcroft S., Heym N. & Townsend E. Nightmares and Self-harm: An Exploratory Comparison of Linguistic Frequency in Negative Dream Reports from Self-harming and Control Participants. International Academy for Suicide Research (IASR) world congress, Montreal, Canada, June 2013 (poster).

Hulbert-Williams N.J., Hulbert-Williams L. & Ashcroft S. Implementing evidence-based principals: training non psychologists in ACT-enhanced communication skills in the cancer care setting. IPOS World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, Dublin, October 2016 (poster).

Hulbert-Williams N.J., Hulbert-Williams L. & Ashcroft S. Implementing evidence-based principals: training non-psychologists in ACT-enhanced communication skills in the cancer care setting. European Oncology Nursing Society Annual Conference, Dublin, October 2016 (poster).


Sam completed his undergraduate degree in BSc Psychology with International Study (Hons) at the University of Nottingham. His international study year took place at the University of Hong Kong. He has been studying for his PhD since 2015. At the University of Nottingham, Sam completed three research internships. At the University of Chester, Sam has been a Research Assistant on four different projects. He has also previously lectured on several modules such as Work-Based Learning and Research Methods and Skills (PS4005). Now, Sam is a Data Analysis Coach, training employees in businesses both national and local to become data analysts.