Associate Professor in Psychology & Director of Research (CHHS Health and Wellbeing Academy)
Telephone: (01792) 604561
Room: Academic Office - 707C
Seventh Floor
Vivian Building
Singleton Campus

Associate Professor Kemp is an interdisciplinary academic, with research interests that span cognitive and affective neuroscience through to epidemiology, bridging the gap between biological mechanism and public health.

From 2004 until 2012, Kemp was employed at the University of Sydney, supported by two highly competitive National Health and Medical Research Council research fellowships, including a Career Development Award. In 2010, he led a major meta-analysis on cardiac function in patients with major depression to publication in the journal Biological Psychiatry, a leading journal in the field. This article addressed a particularly controversial question in the field at that time, that being whether patients with major depression also display adverse cardiac function. The findings indicated that this was the case and as other researchers had previously concluded otherwise, this conclusion generated much discussion, debate and an invitation to move to Brazil as a Visiting Professor, which Kemp accepted.

Between 2013 and 2015, as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Kemp worked on the largest study on the health and wellbeing of the Brazilian population. Following on from his highly influential study in Biological Psychiatry, he led several major outcomes to publication including one in the American Journal of Psychiatry, another leading journal in the field. This study represented a conceptual step forward in the investigation of common mental disorders, their treatments and cardiac function. By introducing a novel and robust methodological approach involving machine-learning algorithms to answer important questions in the field on the link between mental and physical health, it has led to new lines of enquiry focusing on the physical health of otherwise healthy patients with common mental disorders.

In 2016, Kemp secured a tenured position as Associate Professor of Psychology at Swansea University in the United Kingdom, and is now focused on continuing his internationally competitive and productive program of research in Europe. Over the course of his career, Kemp has published more than 140 peer-reviewed original articles and reviews in prestigious, peer-reviewed, international journals including The Lancet, American Journal of Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Areas of Expertise

  • biological psychology
  • resilience and positive psychology
  • psychophysiology
  • social, cognitive and affective neuroscience
  • global burden of disease
  • student wellbeing


  1. & Associations between symptoms of depression and heart rate variability: An exploratory study. Psychiatry Research 262, 482-487.
  2. & Reference values for short-term resting-state heart rate variability in healthy adults: Results from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health-ELSA-Brasil study. Psychophysiology, e13052
  3. & Heart rate variability in patients with bipolar disorder: From mania to euthymia. Journal of Psychiatric Research
  4. & From psychological moments to mortality: A multidisciplinary synthesis on heart rate variability spanning the continuum of time. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 83, 547-567.
  5. & Rumination Moderates the Association Between Resting High-Frequency Heart Rate Variability and Perceived Ethnic Discrimination. Journal of Psychophysiology, 1-9.

See more...


  • PSY237 Research and Experimental Methods I

    This module is designed to further develop quantitative and qualitative methods and statistics for psychologists to prepare students for their final year independent research project. Students will be introduced to using the statistical software package SPPS for quantitative analysis and students will learn how to design mini-projects, apply appropriate statistical tests, and interpret and present data. Students will also be introduced to qualitative research methods. The module also covers research ethics, the nature of good experimental design, how to control for confounding factors and the need for replicability and reliability in scientific research.

  • PSY317 Positive Psychology

    This module will examine the exciting discipline of positive psychology, which refers to the science of positive emotions and human flourishing. The module will provide a strong theoretical and empirical grounding, allowing students to apply the science of positive psychology to their own lives, including the opportunity to gain critical life skills such as self-efficacy, resilience and creativity. Students will also develop a keen appreciation for how mental life impacts on physical health... and vice versa. Implications for clinical psychology will also be discussed. Recent controversies and debates in the field will facilitate discussions relating to the replication crisis and scientific method.

  • PSY319 Final Year Independent Research Project

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. The research topic is decided in conjunction with supervisors and Research topics. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  • PSY320 Dissertation

    This optional module provides students with the opportunity to conduct an extended literature review to discover what is currently known about an interesting, but less well known, area of psychology that is not taught as part of the psychology curriculum in Level 5 or 6. Students work independently, guided by their dissertation supervisor, to research a topic of their choice. In recent years students have written dissertations about `political psychology¿, `positive psychology¿ `why people take part in extreme sports¿, `does cannabis use cause schizophrenia¿ and many other diverse lines of enquiry.

  • PSY325 Independent Research Project - Joint Honours

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society.


  • The Impact of a Music Education Program on the Emotional Well-Being of Elementary Students in a Rural Community (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Justine Howard
  • Stressor controllability and avoidance extinction (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Daniel Zuj
    Other supervisor: Prof Simon Dymond
  • Will positive psychology support groups increase well-being among care staff? (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Jeremy Tree
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Darren Edwards
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Nicola Gray

Awards And Prizes

Date Description
2017 Welsh Editor's Award for Journalistic Excellence, The Conversation
2016 Honorary Visiting Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
2016 Advisory Board & Team Lead, Human Affectome Project, Canada
2014 Member, Global Young Academy, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
2013 Associate Editor, Frontiers in Psychology (Emotion Science)
2013 Global Burden of Disease Expert, IHME, University of Washington, USA
2013 Visiting Professorship, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
2013 Section Editor, PLOS ONE
2012 Promotion to Associate Professor for Excellence in Research, University of Sydney, Australia
2008 Career Development Award, National Health & Medical Research Council, Australia
2008 Selected Participant, High Flyers Think Tank, Australian Academy of Science
2008 Selected Participant for Future Leaders Program, Group of 8 Universities, Australia