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Dr Deborah Wells

Photo of Deborah Wells

Reader

Email: d.wells@qub.ac.uk

Address

Room 02.511, David Keir Building
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK

Telephone

+44 (0)28 9097 4386

I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1992 with a first class Honours degree in Psychology. I subsequently went on to pursue a PhD on the behaviour and welfare of sheltered dogs, for which I was awarded my doctorate in 1996. I was employed as a Lecturer in Animal Welfare in the School of Psychology at Queen’s in 1999, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004

School of Psychology Administrative Roles

  • Head of Behavioural Development and Welfare Research Cluster
  • Member, School of Psychology Management Committee, QUB
  • Director, Animal Behaviour Centre

Other Roles

  • Member, Education Committee, ASAB
  • University Link Representative, UFAW
  • PSY3001 Thesis

Director of the Behaviour Development and Welfare Research Cluster

My research is largely concerned with the behaviour and welfare of captive animals, in particular those housed in rescue shelters (dogs, cats) and zoos (primates, elephants). Much of this work has focused on finding ways of improving the psychological well-being of these animals through the implementation of scientifically tried and tested environmental enrichment schemes. More recent research has concentrated on animal laterality, sensory perception, and the association between companion animals and human health. 

Research Areas

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Animal Welfare
  • Human-animal bond
  • Pet behaviour therapy
  • Laterality
  • Dogs
  • Olfaction

External research funding

Wells, D.L. & Wylie, A. (2008). The effect of a novel feedstuff on the faecal consistency and welfare of dogs and cats. Grant awarded by Knowledge Transfer Partnership. £120,000. Industrial Partner: Devenish Nutrition Ltd.

Wells, D.L. & Hepper, P.G. (2007). The importance of early education in adult cat food choice. Grant awarded by Nestlé. £110,000

Wells, D.L., Lawson, S.W., Strong, V. & Siriwardena, A. (2007). Dogs as detectors of hypyoglycaemia. Grant awarded by Diabetes UK. £10,000

Wells, D.L. (2007). Assessing the value of pet ownership for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Grant awarded by Society for Companion Animal Studies. £5,000

Wells, D.L. (2007). Visitor attitudes to Belfast Zoological Gardens 2007. Grant awarded by Belfast City Council. £3,000

Lawson, S.W., Mills, D. & Wells, D.L. (2006). Using analyses of human-animal social interactions to inform human interactions with ambient technologies. Grant awarded by Microsoft. £70,000

Wells, D.L. (2006). The behaviour and welfare of Asian elephants. Grant awarded by Dublin Zoo. 10,000 Euros

Wells, D.L. (2006). Visitor attitudes to Belfast Zoological Gardens 2006. Grant awarded by Belfast City Council. £2,700

Wells, D.L. (2006). Primate behaviour and welfare. Grant awarded by Belfast City Council. £1,000

Wells, D.L., McDonald, C.L. & Ringland, J.E. (2008). Colour preferences in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology 122, 213-219.

Wells, D.L., Hepper, P.G., Coleman, D. & Challis, M.G. (2007). A note on the effect of olfactory stimulation on the behaviour and welfare of zoo-housed gorillas. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 106, 155-160.

Wells, D.L. (2007). Public understanding of toxocariasis. Public Health 121, 187-188.

Wells, D.L. (2007). Domestic dogs and human health: an overview. British Journal of Health Psychology 12, 145-156.

Wells, D.L. (2007). Dogs as social catalysts. In: Bekoff, M. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships Volume 1. Greenwood Press, London, pp. 186-188.

Wells, D.L. (2006). Aromatherapy for travel-induced excitement in domestic dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 229, 964-967.

Wells, D.L. (2006). Factors influencing owners' reactions to their dogs' fouling. Environment and Behavior 38, 707-714.

Wells, D.L., Coleman, D. & Challis, M.G. (2006). A note on the effect of auditory stimulation on the behaviour and welfare of zoo-housed gorillas. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 100, 327-332.

Wells, D.L. & Hepper, P.G. (2006). Prenatal olfactory learning in the domestic dog. Animal Behaviour 72, 681-686.

Hepper, P.G. & Wells, D.L. (2006). Perinatal olfactory learning in the domestic dog. Chemical Senses 31, 207-212.

Wells, D.L., Irwin, R.M. & Hepper, P.G. (2006). Lateralised swimming behaviour in the California sea lion. Behavioural Processes 73, 121-123.