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Lydia Tian

Research student, School of Psychology

64 Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


My general research interest focuses on studying risk and protective factors associated with typical and atypical development from childhood till adulthood. Specifically, I am looking at identifying and addressing early-life factors associated with the individual, parental upbringing and environment (e.g., trauma, cross-cultural influences, digital influences, community values). This led me to secure a PhD position on a project studying emotion recognition in ‘looked after’ children, aged 4-8.

My aspiration is to contribute toward closing gaps in society and dismantling systematic biases (e.g., reducing differences in social/educational opportunities due to one’s identity/background). Eventually, I hope to formulate and implement community-based interventions to reduce the number of marginalised individuals by breaking cycles of disadvantage and reducing childhood trauma.

  • Undergraduate Education

2018-2021: BSc Psychology with a specialisation in Clinical Developmental (Cum laude; Honours), University of Amsterdam

  • Postgraduate Education
  • Awards/External Committees

2022 – Present: ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship, Cardiff University

2021: Honours Programme Psychology, University of Amsterdam

  • Employment

August 2021 – August 2022: Psychology Tutor, University of Amsterdam

January 2020 – July 2021: Editor in Chief, Spiegeloog (Psychology Department magazine), University of Amsterdam



Emotion Recognition in Looked After Children in Wales: An Investigation and Intervention Study

In Wales, 109 per 10,000 children are ‘looked after’ because their birth family are unable to care for them. Most will have experienced abuse or neglect in the birth family environment, placing them at greater risk for developing mental health problems that can endure into later life (Wales Centre for Public Policy, 2021).

Understanding the processes that might underpin a child’s mental health problems can provide avenues for intervention to offset risk trajectories before disorder may emerge (DeJong, 2010). Emotion recognition is fundamental to social relationships, and impairment in emotion recognition is a transdiagnostic risk factor for a range of psychiatric disorders(Burley et al., 2021). Children adopted from public care show impairments in emotion recognition that are linked to their mental health problems (Paine et al., 2021). With their likelihood of experiencing early life adversity and instability, looked after children represent a vulnerable group.”

In my research, I will explore (1) whether looked after children have difficulties in emotion recognition, (2) whether an emotion recognition training can improve difficulties, and (3) whether improvements maintain after six months.

External profiles