Portrait of Dr John Synnott Dr John Synnott

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j.p.synnott@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471164


Qualifications: BA, MSc, PhD, CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, FHEA.

Dr John Synnott is a Chartered Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychology Society a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and the Associate Director for the MSc in Investigative Psychology and Deputy Director of the MSc in Security Science. He obtained his Degree in Psychology from University College Dublin, Ireland and he completed his MSc in Investigative Psychology at the University of Liverpool. John joined the University in 2013 on completeion of his PhD entitled ‘Why Crime Occurs Where it Does’ which examined cases of Tiger Kidnap from both the Republic and North of Ireland, in addition to analysing criminal mental maps and offenders representation of offending locations.

John has presented research on the Psychology of Crime and Offender Decision Making at conferences around the world. He his delivered lectures on Decision Making and Risk as it relates to crime and designed and lead a module on Investigative Psychology, the first of its kind in the UK, to final year Psychology students. Dr Synnott has contributed reports to the Irish Police Force (An Gardai), the Irish Prison Service (IPS), the Irish Governments White Paper on Crime and to the Minister for Justice Office, Ireland. Dr Synnott recently provided consultation on the development of a Risk Assessment Tool for Domestic Violence for the Irish Police Force and Department of Justice Ireland and has consulted on similar Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Scales for a police force in the UK.

He has recently evaluated a prison training program for offenders at Shelton Abbey Prison in Ireland and has just completed a Mental Wellbeing project at the same facility that was recently presented at the British Psychology Societies Division of Forensic Psychology conference in Bristol. Dr Synnott has just published a special issue as guest editor on the topic of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. He has extensive Media experience having appeared on radio (Newstalk, Capital FM) and television (BBC) and his work has featured in media both nationally and internationally (Washington Post & CNN) as well has being featured as an editorial in the prestigious journal of Nature. Dr Synnott is a member of the School Research Ethics Panel and Business and Consultancy Committee at the University of Huddersfield and is a member of the Secure Societies Institute.

Research and Scholarship

University research group memberships

Dr Synnott is a member of the International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology, Centre for Applied Psychological Research, The School Research Ethics Panel, The School Business Consultancy Committee and the Secure Societies Institute.

Research interests

  • Forensic and Criminal Psychology
  • Investigative Psychology
  • Geographic profiling
  • Offender profiling
  • Mental Maps
  • Amnesia and crime
  • Deception (Polygraph)
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Tiger kidnap
  • Media and crime
  • Sports Psychology

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Synnott, J., Ioannou, M., Coyne, A. and Hemingway, S. (2017) ‘A content analysis of online suicide notes: attempted suicide versus attempt resulting in suicideSuicide and Life-threatening Behavior . ISSN 1943-278X

Dietzel, D., Synnott, J. and Ioannou, M. (2017) ‘Mental health in an open prison: preliminary research findings’. In: Division of Forensic Psychology British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 13th-15th June 2017, Bristol

Tzani-Pepelasi, C., Ioannou, M. and Synnott, J. (2017) ‘School-Bullying & Cyber-Bullying: Summarising and Comparing Risk & Preventive Factors’. In: Division of Forensic Psychology British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 13th-15th June 2017, Bristol

Synnott, J., Coulias, A. and Ioannou, M. (2017) ‘Online trolling the case of Madeleine McCannComputers in Human Behavior , 71, pp. 70-78. ISSN 0747-5632

Synnott, J (2017) ‘Investigating sexual violence and abuseJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling , 14 (2), pp. 107-108. ISSN 1544-4759

Coyne, A., Synnott, J., Ioannou, M. and Hemingway, S. (2017) ‘A Content Analysis of Successful and Unsuccessful Suicide Notes’. In: Irish Postgraduate Criminology Conference 2017, 23rd February 2017, Waterford, Ireland


Synnott, J., Canter, D., Youngs, D. and Ioannou, M. (2016) ‘Variations in the Journey from Crime: Examples from Tiger KidnappingJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling , 13 (3), pp. 239-252. ISSN 1544-4759

Synnott, J., Ioannou, M. and Fumagalli, A. (2016) ‘A Review of The Polygraph: History, Current Status and Emerging ResearchCustodial Review , pp. 22-23.

Prince, R., Synnott, J. and Ioannou, M. (2016) ‘Investigating the Risky Behaviour of Elite Athletes’. In: PsyPAG Annual Conference, 27 - 29th July 2016, University of York

Synnott, J. and Coyne, A. (2016) ‘Conducting Research in Irish Prisons: A ReviewAssessment and Development Matters , 8 (1). ISSN 2040-4069


Ioannou, M., Canter, D., Youngs, D. and Synnott, J. (2015) ‘Offenders' Crime Narratives across Different Types of CrimesJournal of Forensic Psychology Practice , 15 (5), pp. 383-400. ISSN 1522-8932

Synnott, J., Dietzel, D. and Ioannou, M. (2015) ‘A review of the polygraph: history, methodology and current statusCrime Psychology Review , 1 (1), pp. 59-83. ISSN 2374-4006


Synnott, J. and Canter, D. (2011) ‘Strategic Aspects of Armed Robbery’. In: 12th Conference of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology, 31st March - 2nd April 2011, VU University, Amsterdam


O'Connell, M. and Synnott, J. (2009) ‘A Position of Influence: Variation in Offender Identification Rates by Location in a LineupJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling , 6 (2), pp. 139-149. ISSN 1544-4759


Synnott, J. and O'Connell, M. (2007) ‘Where do I stand in a police line-up?’. In: Psychology Society of Ireland, Student Congress, 2007, Dublin


Professional/Institution memberships

  • Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Awarded 2013.
  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), British Psychological Society (BPS). Awarded (2013).
  • Member of the British Psychological Society (December 2014 - present).
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychology Society (May 2017 – present).
  • Member of the Division of Forensic Psychology, British Psychological Society (December 2014 - present).
  • Full Associate of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology (2010 - present).
  • Chartered Scientist, Bristish Psychology Society (July 2015 – present).
  • Full member of the Associate for Criminal Justice Research and Development

Editorial Roles

  • Guest Editor of Special Edition of the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling – Investigative Sexual Violence and Abuse, Published May 2017.
  • Editorial board of the EC Journal of Psychology and Psychiagtry

External Examiner

  • External Examiner BSc Degree in Forensic Psychology University of East London (December 2015 – present).
  • External Examiner MSc in Criminal and Investigative Psychology University of East London (December 2015 - present).
  • External Validation Panel Member University of Essex (June 2017)
  • External Validation Panel Member Kaplan University (June 2017)

Peer reviewing for:

  • Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
  • Journal of Criminal Psychology
  • Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice
  • Journal of Interpersonal Violence
  • Computers in Human Behaviour

Other external recognition

  • Visiting Lecturer, Environmental Criminology Course, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2014)
  • Organised, co-organised and member of conference committees for 5 conferences
  • Delivered guest lecturers to colleges
  • Scientific adviser for Polygraph research for publication on Robert Farqyharson Murder Case.
  • Consultation on the development of Domestic Violence Risj Assessment Tool for Hampshire Police, UK.
  • Consiultation on the development of a Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Tool for An Gardai (Ireland).
  • Provided Consultanty to Police forces both Natioanlly and Internationally.
  • Work featured on both Television (BBC NEWS & Secretes of the Brain) and Radio (Captial FM, CNN and Newstalk)
  • Work featured in over 50 media outlets both Nationally (The Yorkshire Post, The Mirror,The Daily Telegraph, The Examiner and Internationally (Washington Post Irish times & The Sunday World).
  • Editorial in the Journal of Nature (Febuary 2017) http://www.nature.com/news/the-dark-side-of-social-media-1.21478

Selected Media



Research Degree Supervision

I  have supervised more than 50 MSc theses and am interested in supervising research in regards any of the topics below. My main research focus is on the contributions of Psychology to the investigative process (Investigative Psychology).

Director of Studies

  • Anita Fumagalli – An Evaluation of the Validity of the Polygraph
  • David Dietzel – Evaluating Prisoner Mental Health
  • Rebecca Prince – Risk Taking Behaviour in Elite Athletes
  • Angela Coyne – Women Committals in Prison Ireland
  • John Pearson – On Campus Sexual Assault

Co-Director of Studies

  • Cleopatra Sazou -Rape attitudes’
  • Kalliopi Tzani-Pepelasis - Developmental school bullying behaviour. Teachers’ education on anti-bullying methods as a factor for school bullying reduction
  • Christina Simitsi - Mental Health and Crime

Postgraduate research opportunities with Dr John Synnott


MSc by Research


MSc by Research

Enterprise Activities

Project Lead on the IRCIP Polygraph Project.

Collaberation and Enterprise work with the following organsations:

  • The Irish Prison Service (Research and Project Development)
  • An Garda Siochana (Research and Consultancy)
  • Department of Justice Ireland (Research and Project Development)
  • Ministry of Interior (Bahrain) (Training Delivery)
  • Merseyside Police (Consultancy and Project Delivery)
  • Northern College (Barnsley) (Education Programme Development)
  • Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual & Gender Based Violence (Ireland) (Research)
  • Kirkless Council (Research and Project Development).

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Associate Director MSc Investigative Psychology
  • Deputy Director MSc Security Science
  • Member of School Research and Ethics Panel (SREP)
  • Member REF2021 School Panel for Psychology on Impact.
  • Member School Business and Consultancy Committee
  • Academic admissions reviewer MSc Invesigative Psychology

Teaching and Professional Activities

Module Leader for:

  • HMB1034 Professional Issues and Applications
  • HMB1032 Offender Spatial Activity: Beyond geographical offender profiling
  • HHB2005 Introduction to Investigative Psychology

Teaching on/Contributions too the following Modules:

  • HMB1030 Introducing Investigative Psychology: From offender profiling to the science of IP
  • HMB1031 Investigative Psychology theories and models for violent, acquisitive and sexual crime
  • HMB1032 Offender Spatial Activity: Beyond geographical offender profiling
  • HMB1033 Improving legal testimony and evidence in court and investigations
  • HMB1034 Professional Issues and Applications
  • HMB1035 Clinical Forensic Psychology
  • HMB1036 Methodologies for Investigative Psychology: Tactics and Strategies for Studying Criminal Action
  • HMB1038 Dissertation

Other teaching commitments

  • Postgraduate dissertation supervision
  • Undergraduate dissertation supervision
  • Provide Training, Assistance and Feedback for PhD on teaching
  • Personal tutor
  • PhD pastoral tutor