TV psychologist joins University of East London

Dr Sam Wass

Dr Sam Wass - Credit: Lee Pinkerton

Fans of Channel 4’s The Secret Life of Four Year Olds might recognise Dr Sam Wass.

The psychologist is used to providing expert analysis on the youngsters who interact with each other in front of hidden cameras.

But he’s now joined the University of East London, trading the hallowed halls of Cambridge University to further his research in one of the country’s most diverse areas.

“UEL is a very fresh, rapidly developing environment in terms of its research,” said Dr Wass.

“It’s a very stimulating research environment because there are not the fusty traditions in place like there is in an environment like Cambridge.”

Sam’s research focuses on understanding stress and concentration during early childhood, and he believes that the cultural and economic diversity of Newham will feed into his studies.

He said: “The specific thing that attracted me here is that I’m very interested in how background affects children when they’re growing up.

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“Most of the research grants I’m applying for now are looking at how socio-economic status and other factors associated with that affect concentration and stress levels in children as they are growing up.

As well as lecturing and leading research at the university’s Stratford campus, he will work on various collaborations with universities in Finland, Canada and the United States.

And those who want to see more of him on the television are in luck, with a new series of the hit documentary airing later this year.

The Oxford graduate said that working on the programme has helped suggest future lines or research.

“I’ve had the opportunity to observe, for the first time, how children’s tress and excitement levels are continuously changing throughout the day,” he said.

“How getting told off, or having an argument with one of the friends can have knock-on effects on how a child is behaving 10 minutes later.”

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