Dr Marc Obonsawin

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

The goal of my research is to identify the key differences between people that underlie their behaviour, and to find out how these key differences work together to makeup our personality.  I have been investigating individual differences at the psychological level (e.g. beliefs, skills, reactivity to threat and reward, behavioural strategies like rumination) and at the physiological level (e.g. pharmacology, autonomic nervous system).  In addition, I have been investigating how these key differences work together in the self-regulation of mood and behaviour. I have applied this research to healthy individual in the community, to people with acquired personality disorder after brain injury, and to people with developmental personality disorder.  This research is reflected in my teaching on brain function, and on the physiological basis of motivation. 

I am the Postgraduate Coordinator for the School of Psychological Sciences and Health.  I coordinate the activity and the information flow between the Graduate School and the School of Psychological Sciences and Health. 


Has expertise in:


    Factor analysis of personality measures

    Psychophysiological measures (skin conductance, heart rate, facial electromyography)

    Laboratory paradigms to investigate personality


Cognitive appraisals mediate affective reactivity in affiliative extraversion
Inglis Greig, Obonsawin Marc C, Hunter Simon C
Frontiers in Psychology Vol 9 (2018)
Bias in beliefs about the self is associated with depressive but not anxious mood
Obonsawin MC, Carlisle J, Patterson CJ, Black K, Davidson KM, Masson N
Comprehensive Psychiatry Vol 74, pp. 180-188 (2017)
The psychological and physiological basis of neuroticism
Kane Laura, Obonsawin Marc, Gillooly Amanda
Interns@Strathclyde Presentation Evening (2013)
Cultural-historical activity theory and special needs decision-making processes in a Scottish Local Authority
Boyle James, Colville Tracey, Obonsawin Marc
35nd International School Psychology Association Conference (2013)
Beliefs and emotions have different roles in generating attitudes toward providing personal help and state-sponsored help for people with a mental illness
Obonsawin Marc C, Lindsay Amanda, Hunter Simon C
Comprehensive Psychiatry Vol 54, pp. 581-588 (2013)
Consistent witness responses : the effects of age and negative feedback
McMurtrie Hazel, Baxter James, Obonsawin Marc, Hunter Simon C
Personality and Individual Differences Vol 53, pp. 958–962 (2012)

more publications


The courses I teach reflect my research.  I teach the Biological Psychology module in the First Year Psychological class.  I also teach a third year course on brain function, and a fourth year course on the physiological basis of motivation and self-regulation. 

Research interests

The dominant goal of my research is to determine the nature of personality.  To do this, I am examining the psychological and physiological components of personality, and examining how these components work together in the self-regulation of behaviour. We can examine these components of personality at a psychological level and at a physiological level.  At a psychological level, we are examining the role of beliefs (e.g. beliefs about the self, beliefs about others, beliefs about the world), the role of particular skills (e.g. the ability to take on another person’s perspective, working memory), the role of motivation (threat and reward) and the role of learned behavioural strategies (rumination, reappraisal) in forming our personality.  We are also investigating the roles of the autonomic nervous system in personality, and how pharmacological differences between people affect how they can regulate mood.  We have carried out investigations in adolescents and adults in the community,  people with acquired personality disorder (acquired brain injury) and people with developmental personality disorder (Borderline Personality Disorder). 

Professional activities

The consortium of European research on emotion
Traits, temperament, beliefs, skills, goals and self-regulation: towards a model of personality change after brain injury
17th European Conference on Personality
16th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences
Seeing the world through other people’s eyes: the role of the other’s perspective in regulating interpersonal behaviour
Invited speaker
Towards a neural basis of personality
Invited speaker

more professional activities


Extension to 060156 a pilot study to investigate identity disturbance in borderline personality disorder
Obonsawin, Marc (Principal Investigator)
30-Jan-2007 - 31-Jan-2007

more projects