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About Dr Sarah Vaughan

Prior to joining Chester University Sarah started her career path with a BSc in Psychology and Biology.  This was followed by MSc in Health Psychology. Most recently starting a PhD Studentship, within LJMU, investigating altered sensory profiles in Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Additionally Sarah worked as a Senior Intelligence Analyst at Public Health England and as a Researcher within the Monitoring and Evaluation Team at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine providing analytical and research support to a Global Fund project. 


Sarah supervises both undergraduate and MSc dissertations, alongside teaching core research methods across these.  Additionally, she teaches on Secrets of the Brain (PS4018), Topics in Applied Psychology (PS4021), Psychopathology (PS6007), Understanding Developmental Disorders (PS6011) and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (PS7309).


Sarah’s research focuses on exploring pain processing and pain communication in psychiatric conditions.  Though namely, this is focussed on Autism Spectrum Disorder and understanding the potential link to altered pain experiences in  this population.  She is interested in understanding:

1) the functioning of afferent fibres (sensory fibres)

2) pain motivation

3) pain communication through facial expression in a range of conditions.

A key part of this research is to establish insight into observations made in case reports and anecdotal evidence regarding pain in/sensitivities in this population.  Also working in the medical setting with the Dentistry Team at The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital to investigate pain in a real world setting with the aim at looking at ways to improve the experience of patients and minimise distress.  This work is conducted with collaborators at Liverpool John Moore’s university SomAffect group who’s collective aim is to focus on the neural mechanisms as well as the affective and cognitive consequences of painful and pleasant cutaneous sensations, in both healthy and clinical populations.

Published Work

Vaughan, S., Holt, G. A., Scudds, A., Wilkinson, H., & Lasikiewicz, N. (accepted 2021). Moving to remote working: a guide for traditional lab-based experiments.  SAGE Research Methods: Doing Research Online.

Vaughan, S., Faila, M.,  Poole, H., Forshaw, M. J., McGlone, F., Cascio, C. J., & Moore, D. J. (2019). Pain Processing in Psychiatric Conditions: A Systematic Review.  Reviews of General Psychology. doi:

Vaughan, S., McGlone, F., Poole, H., & Moore, D. J. (2019). A Quantitative Sensory Testing Approach to Pain in Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:


Sarah obtained a BSc in Psychology and Biology, and MSc in Health Psychology, at Liverpool John Moores University, focussing on the topic area of sensory issues in substance misuse disorder.  Her topic specifically looked at establishing pain and sensation thresholds in those identifying as recovering from alcohol misuse using a psychophysical methodology.

For her doctorate training, she completed a project entitled “Pain in Autism Spectrum Disorders” at Liverpool John Moore University.

Sarah is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy having completed a PGCert in Teaching in Higher Education.