David Ellis holds a 50th Anniversary Lectureship in Psychology at Lancaster University and an Honorary Research Fellowship at The University of Lincoln. He previously obtained an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Glasgow followed by an MSc and PhD. Much of his work considers how recent methodological developments in technology and data collection (often referred to as digital traces) can reveal information about individuals and their behaviour. His research has been published in variety of academic journals across psychology, medicine, and computer science with results often re-appearing on radio and television including BBC One, Radio 4 and, The World Service. In addition to university led research, David continues to work collaboratively with industry and government partners. This previously included an ESRC funded placement at The Scottish Government. His research has also received funding from the Chief Scientist Office, DSTL, Unilever, and the EPSRC.Short Story Long
Like most academics, my research career started as an undergraduate student carrying out experiments (under the supervision of Rob Jenkins). Several of these tested how attractive faces might distort our perception of time. However, even before this short lived venture into psychophysics, I was awarded a Chancellor's Fund scholarship the previous summer to conduct a short research project in industry. This experience helped convince me that academia might be a good life choice.
My PhD (also supervised by Rob), for the most part, considered systematic changes in behaviour across socially derived time cycles (i.e. the calendar week and the working day). While this included traditional lab-based experiments, I started to merge these approaches with large-scale secondary data analyses of health related datasets. Today, this is often referred to as computational social science.
The results from my PhD had several applied implications and included some practical recommendations for optimising appointment systems in the National Health Service. This strand of research continues to occupy much of my time and I completed an ESRC funded placement at The Scottish Government in 2011.
Following my doctorate, I was employed as a post-doctoral researcher on a government grant held by Paul Taylor and Stacey Conchie at Lancaster University, which investigated team performance and failure across a variety of contexts. As before, this merged controlled laboratory experiments with real-world observation. Around the same time, I became interested in using wearable and mobile technologies (sometimes referred to as digital traces), which can provide new insights about individuals and their behaviour.
In 2013, I accepted an early career lectureship at the University of Lincoln where I was gifted ample opportunities to develop this line of work further. With colleagues, I started to curate new methods to better understand technology use, explored how a variety of mobile devices could measure emotion and pondered how wearable technology might transform psychology and medicine.
I was appointed as a 50th Anniversary Lecture in Computational Social Science at Lancaster in 2015. This allowed me to return to a growing team of researchers in the Social Processes research group, which I now lead. Developing lines of enquiry that often have forensic and health related applications, this group brings together academics who use a variety a methodologies in experimental and applied settings. Beyond this group, I am actively involved with a variety of other funded projects, research centres, and institutes across Lancaster University and beyond. My first book provisionally entitled 'Smartphones within Psychological Science', to be published by Cambridge University Press, will be completed in 2019.