I am Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Dundee, Scotland. I was Chair of Cognitive Psychology, Head of Psychology, and Dean, from 2003 until 2017, when I decided to focus exclusively on writing, science journalism, and talking. Visit http://www.trevorharley.com for much more information.
I am the author of several books, including the best selling texts The psychology of language (now in its fourth edition), Talking the talk: Language, psychology and science, Psychology of weather, and The science of consciousness. I am currently writing books on the weather and mental illness, and on death, dying, and the meaning of life. Before Covid I gave frequent public talks, mostly in London, on topics including the meaning of dreams, depression and mental illness, and how to age well.
My research interests are varied and I have published widely in some of the leading peer-reviewed psychology journals. My interests include language production, how we represent meaning, computer models of the mind, sleep and dreams, consciousness, mental illness, personality and motivation, the effects of brain damage on behaviour, and how the weather influences behaviour.
I believe passionately that scientists, particularly those paid from the public purse, have a duty to explain what they do to that public. I also believe that we can reach a wide audience by the use of social media and new ways of explaining what we do.
In my spare time I use stand-up comedy to talk about my research; a few years ago I appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe. One of the strangest things about being a comic is that I am often severely depressed (as well as anxious and obsessive). I have been on many types of medication, with varying degrees of success. When depressed I am always struck by how pointless everything seems: nothing seems worthwhile, and those things that I usually enjoy (playing the piano – even if not very well, looking at the natural world, reading, watching movies) no longer entice. My interest in things is a very accurate barometer of how well I am. I have realised that some mental illnesses, particularly severe mood disorders, are in part a loss of purpose and meaning in life. Becoming well involves recovering this purpose.
All of my life I have been puzzled by the question of what is the best way to spend my time. This blog is my search for answer to that question. In it I talk about my life, psychology, mental illness, purpose, living a better life, time management, being creative, writing, and trying to write when depressed. I try and blog as frequently as possible; long silences usually mean I’m too depressed or too busy to write.
For more information about me, see the home page of my website at http://www.trevorharley.com. I welcome comments on my blog, or if you prefer you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow me on Twitter at @, although I don’t use twitter a lot. This email address is the best way to contact me.