Dr Carol Holland


 Reader in Psychology

School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University

Birmingham B4 7ET

mailto: c.holland1@aston.ac.uk
telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 4063
fax: +44 (0) 121 204 4090

Reader on the Psychology Teaching Programme  
Director of Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing 


Research Theme

Chronic and Communicable Conditions

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)  


I did my degree in Psychology at the University of Nottingham, and my doctorate at the Age and Cognitive Performance Research Unit, University of Manchester on “Patterns of Change in Ageing Memory” (1988). I am a chartered psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the BPS and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Previous employments include:

  • Research Fellow, Age & Cognitive Performance Research Centre, University of Manchester
  • Assistant Director, Age & Cognitive Performance Research Centre, University of Manchester
  • Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Leeds


 Research Interests

Psychology of ageing & cognition

Driver, pedestrian and other risk behaviour

Older adults' health behaviour

Links between physical and cognitive frailty, resilience, quality of life and need for care


Psychology of ageing & cognition:

Current research includes (i) Longitudinal study of cognitive, health, wellbeing and care needs and cost outcomes of moving into supported living environments, with ExtraCare Charitable Trust. (ii) Studies on autobiographical memory in older adults, exploring training and relationships with underlying cognitive measures (e.g. executive function) and post-retirement social, intellectual and physical activities, and end influence on social problem solving, emotion processing and coping (iii) Comparison of predictive factors in health belief models in older age for different types of health and risk behaviour (exercise, diet, road safety), using Theory of Planned Behaviour Models. (iv) Cross-disciplinary studies of neuropsychological and neurophysiological predictors of maintenance of mobility.
The role of the severity of combined effects, and ability to plan and compensate in maintaining well-being and independent function are key threads throughout my varied portfolio.

Road Safety and other health/risk related behaviour:

Current research includes (i) an examination of differences in pedestrian road crossing skills, behaviour and risk taking across adult age ranges (including older adults), gender and experience (drivers vs non-drivers). (ii) An examination of differences in effects on driving styles of driver experience, across age and gender groups.  (iii) Pedestrian and driver skills, behaviour, attention and risk taking across adult age ranges.(iv) Comparison of predictive factors in health belief models for different types of behaviour (exercise, diet, road safety) in older adults, using Theory of Planned Behaviour Models.  (v) simulator studies on attention and distraction, for example, in the context of  refraining from answering mobile phone calls (vi) Cross-disciplinary studies on maintaining safe mobility, self-awareness and self-regulation in older drivers.  

 Earlier work: Large scale research review documents on “older drivers”, “older drivers, illness and medications” and “older pedestrians” (for the Department for Transport), and on dementia and driving. The role of the severity of combined effects, and of ability to plan and compensate in safety related conditions are key topics.

Links between research areas include the relationship of cognitive aspects of ageing, such as limited attentional and processing capacity, changes in executive function and the role of compensation, with other age-related physiological impairments such as poor eyesight and hearing in their effect on cognitive performance and safety, and on ability to plan or change health related behaviour.

Older Adults' Health behaviour:

 Work on older adults safety and risk taking behaviour leads on to examinations of how health and safety behaviour can be changed. I have been involved in two regionally based evaluations of Health Service and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund interventions with older adults:

Holland, C.A. & Devi, R. (2006) Healthy Passport: An evaluation of a health and social engagement intervention with older Sandwell residents. Agewell: Sandwell PCT and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund project. (Report to NHS body).

Holland C.A. & Devi, R. (2007) Healthy Passport plus: An evaluation of a follow-up health & social engagement intervention with older Sandwell residents. Agewell: Sandwell PCT and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund project (Report to NHS body).

Current projects: The Longitudinal ExtraCare study (PI)

Links between physical and cognitive frailty, resilience, quality of life and need for care

International collaborations based around the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) has resulted in new analyses of international data on the role of cognition in the predictive utility of frailty assessments, with a view to new interventions.


Second year undergraduate course: The Psychology of Ageing

PhD Supervisions:

5 to completion, 6 in progress

Publications (C.A. Holland, née Winthorpe) 

 Shaw, R.L., Pattison, H.M. Holland, C.A. & Cooke, R. (2015) Be SMART: examining the experience of implementing the NHS Health Check in UK primary care.  BMC Family Practice

 Gwyther, H, Holland C. (2014)  Feelings of vulnerability and effects on driving behaviour–A qualitative study Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 24, 50-59

 Holland, C.A., Cooper, Y., Shaw, R.C., Pattison, H., Cooke, R. (2013) Effectiveness and uptake of screening programmes for coronary heart disease and diabetes: A realist review of design components used in interventions. BMJ open2013;3:e003428 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003428

Holland, C.A. & Rathod, V. (2013) Influence of personal mobile phone ringing and usual intention to answer on driver error, Accident Analysis and Prevention 50 793– 800.

Holland, C.A. Ridout, N., Walford, E. Geraghty, J. (2012) Executive function and emotional focus in autobiographical memory specificity in older adults, Memory   DOI:10.1080/09658211.2012.703210

Holland, C.A. & Rathod, V. (2012) The influence of personal mobile phone ringing and usual intention to answer on driver error Accident Analysis and Prevention http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2012.07.004

Gwyther, H.E.& Holland, C.A. (2012) The effect of age, gender and attitudes on self-regulation in driving. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 45, 19-28

Holland, C.A., Shah, K., Geraghty, J.(2010) Differential moderating effect of locus of control on effect of driving experience in young male and female drivers. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 821-826

Holland, C.A. & Hill, R. (2010) Factors predicting unsafe crossing decisions in adult pedestrians across the lifespan: A simulation study, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 42, 1097-1106.

Holland, C.A., Hill, R., & Cooke, R. (2009) Understanding the role of self-identity in habitual risky behaviours: pedestrian road crossing decisions across the lifespan. Health Education Research, 24, 674-685

Holland, C.A., Everitt, P., Johnson, A. & Devi, R. (2008) The ‘Healthy Passport’ intervention with older people in an English urban environment: effects of incentives and peer-group organisers in promoting healthy living. Ageing & Society 28, (4), pp 525-549,  doi:10.1017/S0144686X07006939

Holland, C.A. (2007). Driving with dementia - to what extent is risk of accident really increased? PSIGE Newsletter (BPS): Psychology Specialists working with older people. 98 ISSN 1360-3671 (Invited review at NHS or DfT practitioners, in addition to academic researchers).

Holland, C.A. & Hill, R. (2007) The effect of Age, Gender and Driver Status on Pedestrians' Intentions to Cross the Road in Risky Situations. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 39 (2) 224-237 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2006.07.003

Dunbar, G., Holland, C.A. & Maylor, E.A. (2004) Older Pedestrians: A critical review, Road Safety Research Report, No. 37,� DfT: London. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme1/olderpedestriansacriticalrev4738

Holland, C.A., Handley, S. & Feetham, C. (2003) Older drivers, Illness and Medications, Road Safety Research Report No. 39. Department for Transport: London. ISSN 1468-9138 http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme3/olderdriversillnessandmedica4771?version=1

Holland, C.A. (2001) Older Drivers: A review. Road Safety Research Report No. 25, DfT: London. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roadsafety/research/rsrr/theme3/olderdriversaliteraturerevie4770

Holland, C.A. and Fletcher, J, (2000). The effect of slowing speech rate at natural boundaries on older adults’ memories for auditorially presented stories. Australian Journal of Psychology, 52, 149-154.

Holland, C.A., Rabbitt, P., McInnes, L. and Ghali, N. (1996) A Cross-sectional examination of effects of depression, age, gender and socio-economic group on cognitive performance: Do previously found relationships differ when a depression inventory specifically designed for use with older people is employed? Facts and Research in Gerontology, 1-14.

Holland C.A., Conner M.T. (1996). Exceeding the speed limit: an evaluation of the effectiveness of a police intervention. Accid Anal Prev. Sep;28(5):587-97.

Rabbitt, P., Carmichael, A., Jones, S. and Holland, C.A. (1996) When and why older drivers give up driving. AA Foundation for Road Safety research.

Holland, C.A. and Conner, M.T. (1996) Short and long-term effects of a police initiative on speeding behaviour and attitudes. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 28. 587-597.

Holland, C.A. (1995) Ageing Memory. In F. Glendenning and I.A. Stuart-Hamilton. Psychology: Changes in Old Age. Avebury Press.

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1994). The problems of being an older driver: A comparison of the perceptions of an expert group (driving instructors) and of older drivers themselves. Applied Ergonomics, 25 (1) 17-27.

Holland, C.A. (1993). Self-bias in older drivers’ judgments of accident likelihood. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 25 431-441.

Holland, C.A. (1992). The wider importance of autobiographical memory research. In M.A. Conway, D. Rubin, H. Spinnler & W. Wagenaar (eds) Theoretical Perspectives on Autobiographical memory.The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1992). Effects of age-related reductions in processing resources on text recall. Journals of Gerontology, 47. P129-P137.

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1992). People’s awareness of their age-related sensory and cognitive deficits and the implications for road safety. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 6. 217-231.

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1991). The Course and causes of Cognitive Change with Advancing age. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 1. 81-86

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1991). Ageing Memory: Use versus Impairment. British Journal of Psychology. 82, 29-38.

Holland, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A, (1990). Autobiographical and text recall in the elderly: An investigation of a processing resource deficit. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 42A (3) 441-470

Winthorpe, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A. (1988). Working memory capacity, I.Q., Age and the ability to recount autobiographical events. In M.M. Gruneberg, P.E. Morris and R.N. Sykes (eds) Practical Aspects of memory: Current research and Issues, Vol.2. Clinical and educational Implications. Chichester, Wiley.

Winthorpe, C.A. and Rabbitt, P.M.A. (1988). What do Old people remember? The Galton paradigm reconsidered. In M.M. Gruneberg, P.E. Morris and R.N. Sykes (eds) Practical Aspects of memory: Current research and Issues, Vol.1. Memory in Everyday Life. Chichester, Wiley.

Current and Recent Research Funding

2014 Attentional switching flexibility between time and space in older adults: Investigation of mechanisms, relation to driving and potentials for rehabilitation.Rees Jeffreys Road Fund/Aston University 50/50 Studentship. C. Holland & Klaus Kessler

2014 Structured autobiographical memory training as a preventive strategy for cognitive and social functioning decline. Abbeyfield PhD Studentship, C. Holland (PI), N. Ridout, I. James

Aston Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments (ALIVE), Wolfson Infrastructure Grant, PI: Meese; Co-PIs: Kessler, Holland, Lumsden, Andersen, 2014.

Collaborative Research between Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) and the ExtraCare Charitable Trust.  C. Holland (PI), K. West, G. Leask, M. Carter, R. Cooke, R.Shaw, R. Powell (ARCHA). ExtraCare Charitable Trust, 2012-15.

Mobility changes in older age: Neuropsychological, neurophysiological and cognitive predictors of successful adaptation in real world scenarios. ARCHA studentship C. Holland (PI) S.Hall, K.Rochelle, P.Furlong, 2011-2014    

Older people, information and choice: assessing the reconfiguration of social care and health care for older people, ARCHA studentship, A.Dodds (PI), K. West, C. Holland, 2011-2014.

Evaluation of the Vascular Screening Programme. R. Cooke (PI), H. Pattison, R. Shaw, C. Holland, E. Peel (all LHS, Aston University). Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, 2010-12.

 Perception of risk, feelings of vulnerability and effects on driving behaviour of women drivers across the lifespan, PI Holland, R. Hill, Goodmedia Ltd, ESRC CASE studentship

Excellent Different Distinctive