Faculty of Computing, Law and Psychology | School of Psychology

Dr Helen Clegg

Lecturer in Psychology


University of Buckingham -Helen CleggHelen joined the School of Psychology and Well-being in August 2018.  She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a chartered psychologist and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.  Helen teaches modules in Evolutionary Psychology, Individual Differences and Research Methods and Statistics. She also supervises undergraduate dissertations and PhD students.

Helen studied at The University of Liverpool for her BSc (Hons) in Anatomy and Human Biology.  After training and working for some time in the NHS as a psychiatric nurse, she then studied for an MA in Cognitive Evolution at the University of Reading and then completed her PhD in evolutionary approaches to creativity at the Open University.

Research Interests

Helen’s research interests focus on individual differences, in particular, creativity, from a variety of psychological perspectives. Most recently she has developed and managed projects in dance psychology with a particular focus on two areas; gender in dance and performance anxiety.  She uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods and analysis to answer her research questions.

Gender in dance: Helen’s interests are in dance teachers’ experiences and perceptions of boys who dance as well as the experiences of the boys themselves.  The aim of the research is to help to engage and retain boys in dance and to challenge perceptions of boys and men who dance by giving them a voice through the research.  The perceptions of boys and men in dance can impact on the experiences of girls and women in dance and so Helen is also interested in this dynamic which can lead to inequalities for both males and females.

Performance anxiety in dancers: Helen is currently working with a vocational dance school to consider the factors that impact on performance anxiety and the interventions that can reduce the negative impact of such anxiety.

Helen is also interested in other areas of dance psychology including creativity within dance, developing psychological measures for use with dancers, and the experiences of dance parents.


Journal Articles

Clegg, H., Owton, H., & Allen-Collinson, J. (in press) Attracting and retaining boys in dance: a qualitative study of female dance teachers. Journal of Dance Education

Clegg, H., Collings, R., & Roxburgh, E.C. (in press) Therianthropy: Wellbeing, schizotypy and autism in individuals who self- identify as non-human. Society and Animals,

Clegg, H., Owton, H., & Allen-Collinson, J. (2017) Challenging conceptions of gender: UK dance teachers’ perceptions of boys and girls in the ballet studio. Research in Dance Education, DOI: 10.1080/14647893.2017.1391194

Saunders, D., Clegg, H., Roe, C.A., & Smith, G. (2017) Exploring the role of Need for Cognition, Field Independence and Locus of Control on the incidence of lucid dreaming during a 12-week induction study, Dreaming,

Clegg, H., Owton, H., & Allen-Collinson, J. (2016) “The Cool stuff!”: gender, dance and masculinity, Psychology Of Women Section Review, 18(2) 6-16.

Owton, H., Clegg, H., & Allen-Collinson, J. (2016) “I wanted to be Darcey Bussell”: Motivations and experiences of female dance-teachers, Qualitative Methods in Psychology, 22 55-64

Lazard, L., Bolak Boratav, H., & Clegg, H. (2016) Special focus: Revisiting “the woman question”, Feminism & Psychology, 26(3) 245-253

Saunders, D., Roe, C.A., Smith, G., & Clegg, H. (2016). Lucid dreaming incidence: A quality effects meta-analysis of 50 years of research. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 197-215.

Grivell, T., Clegg, H., & Roxburgh, E.C. (2014). An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community. Identity. An International Journal of Theory and Research, 14(2), 113-135.

Clegg, H., Nettle, D., & Miell, D. (2011). Status and Mating Success Amongst Visual Artists [Electronic version]. Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences, 2 (310), 1-4

Johns, S.E., Dickins, T.E., & Clegg, H. (2011). Teenage Pregnancy and Motherhood: How Might Evolutionary Theory Inform Policy?  Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 9(1), 3-19.

Clegg, H., Nettle, D., & Miell, D. (2008). A Test of Miller’s Aesthetic Fitness Hypothesis. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 6(2), 101-115.

Nettle, D.,& Clegg, H. (2006). Schizotypy, Creativity and Mating Success in Humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 273, 611-615.


Book Chapters

Nettle, D., & Clegg, H. (2008). Personality, Mating Strategies and Mating Intelligence. In G. Geher & G. Miller (Eds.) Mating Intelligence (pp.121-134). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Clegg, H. (2007). Evolutionary Psychology. In D. Miell, A. Phoenix, & K. Thomas (Eds.) Mapping psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 105 – 165). Milton Keynes: The Open University.


Conference Presentations

  • 2017. Challenging conceptions of gender: UK dance teachers’ perceptions of boys and girls in the ballet studio. 2nd Annual Dance Medicine and Science Research Workshop, The University of Wolverhampton
  • 2016. Tensions and Gendered Opportunities in Dance Special Sports Symposium, BPS Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference, Windsor
  • 2016. Gendered Tensions in Dance Teaching, Gender and Inequalities in Sports Conference, The Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology, The Open University
  • 2015. Therianthropy; the integration of animal and human identities, The Association of Social Anthropologists Annual Conference, The University of Exeter
  • 2014. Phantom Limbs in the Therian Community, Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section Conference, BPS, Cambridge
  • 2012. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Identity in the Therian Community, The First Conference on Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology, The University of Derby
  • 2009. Testing the Sociometer Hypothesis: The Effect of Mate Value on Self Esteem, European Human Behaviour  and Evolution Conference, University of St Andrews
  • 2006. The Reproductive Success and Personalities of Artists, Evolution and Human Nature Conference, London School of Economics, London.
  • 2005.  Do Visual Art Products Act as Fitness Indicators in Mate Choice? Human Behaviour and Evolution Society Conference, Austin, Texas, USA
  • 2004.  Testing the Sexual Selection Hypothesis of Human Creativity, Human Behaviour and Evolution Society Conference, Berlin.
  • 2001. Early Hominid Burials and the Evolution of Grief, Human Behaviour and Evolution Society Conference, London
<< Back to the directory