Social Psychology Research Lab (SPRL)

About Us

SPRL connects academic research to solving contemporary social challenges. We find possible answers to issues embedded in different socio-cultural contexts based on collaboration and ethos. The Lab focuses on conducting research about social processes, mental health, interpersonal relationships, and psychological well-being.

We are located at Middlesex University Dubai in the heart of Dubai, an international hub, which connects the Middle East with rest of the world. We also prioritise student learning and growth.

Recent projects and collaborations

Recent research projects have examined mental health and faith in institutions related to COVID-19, implicit bias in higher education, experiences of mothers with children of determination, cross-cultural friendships and multicultural attitudes in the UAE, longitudinal psychological health of surrogates, perception of marital relationships, and qualitative protocols.

We have collaborated with academics at University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Columbia University, University of Amsterdam, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and University of Limerick. SPRL is a forum for knowledge exchange between academics from psychology and related disciplines.

Head & Founder of SPRL

Nishtha Lamba


PhD Psychology, University of Cambridge

Senior Lecturer, Psychology, Middlesex University Dubai

Visiting Senior Fellow, Trauma and Marginalized Communities,
University of Suffolk

e :[email protected]
t :+971 (0)4 568 7093


Updates September 2020-February 2022

Updates March 2022 - August 2022


Dr Nishtha Lamba CPsychol SFHEA
Dr Nishtha Lamba CPsychol SFHEA
Senior Lecturer Psychology, Founder and Head of Social Psychology Research Lab
Dr Anita Shrivastava Kashi SFHEA
Dr Anita Shrivastava Kashi SFHEA
Associate Professor & Head of Psychology
Olga Khokhlova
Olga Khokhlova
Archana Raghavan
Archana Raghavan
Hafseena Bind Ashraf
Hafseena Bind Ashraf

Recent Public engagement

  • Featured in BBC Family Tree. ‘How family is being redefined in this modern world’.
  • Featured in PSY POST. ‘Study among devout Hindus suggests that religiosity and belief in reincarnation help older adults cope with death anxiety’
  • Article on potential generational trauma and the pandemic written in
  • Research publication got featured in UNICEF for every child ‘Office of Research’
  • ‘Deconstructing fake news and its impact on mental health’. Wellness Office Event. Middlesex University Dubai (October 2021). Dr Nishtha Lamba
  • ‘Exploring media-induced secondary trauma during the pandemic: a global context’. 34th International Conference on Psychiatry and Mental Health (August 2021; invited keynote). Dr Nishtha Lamba
  • ‘Describing research process’. Young Leaders of Active Citizenship. (YLAC, July 2021; invited talk presentation). Dr Nishtha Lamba
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Publications and Conferences

Members of the lab are publishing in impact-oriented journals. Our research highlights under-represented samples in psychological sciences and mental health of vulnerable populations.

Recent Publications
  • Invariance of the Level of Personality Functioning Scale – Brief Form 2.0: Comparison of Student and Community Samples Across Seven Countries. Psychological Assessment (2 & 5 year Impact factor: 6.08, 6.82; in press).
  • Lamba, N., et al., (2022) Understanding the impact of cross-cultural friendships and residency status on multicultural attitudes: A UAE perspective. International Journal of Sustainable Society (Cite score: 0.9; in press).
  • McHugh, C., Zhang, R., Karnatak, T., Lamba, N., Khokhlova, O. (2022). Just wrong? Or just WEIRD? Investigating the prevalence of Moral Dumbfounding in non-western samples. Memory & Cognition (5 year Impact factor: 2.4 & 2.8 accepted).
  • Lamba, N. Van Tonder, A., Raghavan., A. (2022). Unpacking qualitative methodology to explore challenges and support structures of mothers with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the UAE. International Journal of Qualitative Methods (10.1177/16094069221110295; 2 & 5 year Impact factor: 4.8, 8.2).
  • Mohideen, F. A., & Khokhlova, O. (2022). Elder financial abuse based on victim–perpetrator relationship as perceived by Asian young adults. Family Relations.
  • Shrivastava, Anita; Azhar, Humna; Hyland, Lynda. 'A personal journey of studying positive psychology: Reflections of undergraduate students in the United Arab Emirates.' Teaching of psychology (Impact factor: 0.9).
  • Lamba, N., Van Tonder A, Shrivastava, A., Raghavan, A. (2022). Exploring experiences of mothers with children with Autism in the United Arab Emirates. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 120, 104138 (Impact factor: 3)
  • Lamba, N. Bhatia, A., Srivastava, A., Raghavan, A. (2021). Religious factors affecting death anxiety in older adults practicing Hinduism. Death Studies, 1-9 (2 & 5 year Impact factor 4.3, 3.6).
  • Khokhlova, O. Lamba, N., Bhatia, A. Vinogradova, M. (2021). Biowarfare conspiracy, faith in government, and compliance with safety guidelines during COVID-19: An International Study. Mind & Society. 20(2), 235-251 (Impact factor 0.81).
  • Moustakas E., Lamba N., Mahmoud, D., Ranganathan, C. (2020) 'Blurring lines between fiction and reality: Perspectives of experts on marketing effectiveness of virtual influencers'. IEEE Cyber Science (3000 reads on Research Gate)
  • Moustakas, E., Ranganathan, C., Lamba, N. (2020). Virtual Influencers in Digital Marketing: Innovative trend or Passing fad? In Current trends in Business Management in Advanced and Emerging Markets'. Nova Publishers: New York, US.
Select upcoming publications
  • Lamba, N., Khokhlova, O., Bhatia, A. (2022). Exploring media-induced secondary trauma during COVID-19: a global perspective. Health Psychology Open (under revision).
  • Juriansz, S., Lamba, N., Loneliness Online (2022): Social media interaction decreased loneliness in young adults during recommended social isolation. Trends in Psychology (under revision).
  • Puthillam, A., Mehta, N., Kapoor, H., Rezaei, S., Lamba, N. Helpful or Not? (2022) Appraisal and Mechanisms of Prosociality in the Dark Triad. Journal of Personality (under review).
  • Gunaseelan, E., Lamba, N., Raghavan, A., A qualitative exploration of Social Comparisons amongst Tamil Women. Society and Culture in South Asia (under review).
  • Lamba, N1., Kishore, S1., Khokhlova, O. Using virtual avatars to explore the impact of instructor’s gender and race on personality characteristics of the online agent (to be submitted by December 2022).
Recent conferences
  • Using Virtual Avatars to Explore the Impact of Instructors’, Gender, Race, and Qualification on Perceived Learning in an Online Classroom. The European Conference on Education (July 2022; oral presentation).
  • Factors associated with perception of marital rape in India. 4th European Conference on Domestic Violence. (September 2021; oral presentation). Nishtha Lamba & Olga Khokhlova
  • To have and to hold. Marital rape perception in Russian women. 4th European Conference on Domestic Violence. (September 2021; oral presentation). Olga Khokhlova & Nishtha Lamba
  • Religious factors affecting death anxiety in older adults practicing Hinduism. Research seminar. Middlesex University Dubai (Feb 2021; oral presentation/webinar). Nishtha Lamba, Aditi Bhatia, Anita Shrivastava
  • Exploring media-induced secondary trauma during the pandemic: a global context. Research seminar. Middlesex University Dubai (April 2021; oral presentation/webinar). Nishtha Lamba

The lab is collaborating with academics at:

International research collaborators

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