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Dr Felicity Deamer - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Dr Felicity Deamer

Research Fellow, English | Aston University


Dr Deamer's research explores the linguistic and communicative dynamics of police interviews.





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As a Research Fellow in the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL), Dr Felicity Deamer explores the linguistic and communicative dynamics of police interviews. She is particularly interested in how the state of mind (and associated deficits) of an interviewee with serious mental illness can affect an investigative interview. Of particular interest are (a) how the SMI might affect the evidential value of the interview, (b) how an interviewer’s knowledge of an SMI diagnosis might affect an investigative interview, and (c) whether detailed recommendations and/or training can be provided for interviewers to take into account the effects of the SMI and thereby optimise the evidential value of the interview.

More broadly, Felicity works with other members of AIFL to examine how transcriptions of police interview recordings are made and subsequently used in court as evidence, and how this process might be improved to increase the evidential value of those police interviews.

Prior to Felicity's post at Aston, she has held research fellowships on interdisciplinary mental health research projects. She has used a variety of methods, from conversation analysis to eye-tracking, to investigate a variety of phenomena, including patient/therapist interactions and metaphor comprehension in psychosis.

Areas of Expertise (3)


Mental Health

Use of Language

Education (3)

University College London: BA, Linguistics 2007

University College London: MRes, Speech, Language and Cognition 2009

University College London: PhD, Linguistics 2013

Articles (5)

Voice-Hearing and Personification: Characterizing Social Qualities of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in Early Psychosis

Schizophrenia Bulletin

Recent therapeutic approaches to auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) exploit the person-like qualities of voices. Little is known, however, about how, why, and when AVH become personified. We aimed to investigate personification in individuals’ early voice-hearing experiences. We invited Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) service users aged 16–65 to participate in a semistructured interview on AVH phenomenology. Forty voice-hearers (M = 114.13 days in EIP) were recruited through 2 National Health Service trusts in northern England.

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Factive and counterfactive interpretation of embedded clauses in aphasia and its relationship with lexical, syntactic and general cognitive capacities

Journal of Neurolinguistics

In factive clausal embedding ([He knows [that it is warm outside]]), the embedded clause is presupposed to be true. In non-factive embedding ([He thinks [that it is warm outside]]) there is no presupposition, and in counterfactive embedding ([It only seems [that it is warm outside]]) the embedded clause is presupposed to be false. These constructions have been investigated as a window into the complexity of language and thought, and there are disputes as to the relative contributions of lexical, syntactic or non-verbal resources in their interpretation.

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Language in schizophrenia and aphasia: the relationship with non-verbal cognition and thought disorder

Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

To determine the relationship between language abnormalities and broader cognitive impairment and thought disorder by examining language and cognition in schizophrenia and aphasia (a primary language disorder).

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Non-literal understanding and psychosis: Metaphor comprehension in individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Research: Cognition

Previous studies suggest that understanding of non-literal expressions, and in particular metaphors, can be impaired in people with schizophrenia; although it is not clear why. We explored metaphor comprehension capacity using a novel picture selection paradigm; we compared task performance between people with schizophrenia and healthy comparator subjects and we further examined the relationships between the ability to interpret figurative expressions non-literally and performance on a number of other cognitive tasks.

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The ice in voices: Understanding negative content in auditory-verbal hallucinations

Clinical Psychology Review

Negative voice-content is the best sole predictor of whether the hearer of an auditory-verbal hallucination will experience distress/impairment necessitating contact with mental health services. Yet, what causes negative voice-content and how interventions may reduce it remains poorly understood. This paper offers definitions of negative voice content and considers what may cause negative voice-content.

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