Dr Stephen Gallagher

Senior Lecturer

School of Psychology

Coleraine campus

Room G124,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Psychology Research

Senior Lecturer

Dr Stephen Gallagher


Stephen is a senior lecturer in behaviour analysis in the School of Psychology.  He is Course Director of the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D).

Research Focus

Stephen has worked with families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Downs Syndrome for over 25 years. He has a keen interest in parent training and, with colleagues, has developed a multi-media training package for parents called “Simple Steps” which is currently available in 14 languages. He also has a keen interest in using eye tracking equipment, and has developed tools to change gaze. Stephen is also interested in stimulus equivalence responding.

Research Interests

His research interests include using eye tracking equipment as a tool to teach appropriate gaze behaviours (in relation to areas such as food labelling and teaching children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to attend to social stimuli). He has also published research in using eye tracking equipment to assess clinician gaze behaviour during paediatric crash simulations, and predicting operator performance during cardiac catheterisation. He was involved in the SAFEWATER project using behaviour analytic principles to assess and increase end user engagement with low cost water disinfection technologies in Central and South America. He has provided parent training sessions for DSANI for over 15 years. He is currently involved in the AWARE project which is assessing consumer acceptability of sustainably reared fish in Europe.

Research Awards

Stephen has been involved in research projects funded by the European Union (Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning; Horizon 2020), UKRI (GCRF), Health & Social Care Research & Development, Knowledge Transfer Partnership, The National Lottery,  and Children in Need.

The Simple Steps project was awarded the Association of Behavior Analysts Society for the Advancement of Behaviour Award in 2015 in recognition of international dissemination of the science.

Discipline & Research Leadership Positions

Stephen is part of the UK Society of Behaviour Analysis’ Task Force, developing training standards in Behaviour Analysis in the UK. He also part of the panel which accredits university courses as meeting these standards.


Stephen has over 25 years’ experience in teaching behaviour analysis in the community, and also at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Having joined UU in 2007 he currently teaches UG modules in research methods, and behaviour analysis. He teaches two modules on the MSc ABA.

Research Supervision

Since 2007, Stephen has supervised UG & PG placements and dissertations. He has also supervised 5 PhDs to completion.

Current PhD students

Stephen’s current PhD students are working on projects such as improving staff training in working with those with developmental and learning difficulties; using eye tracking to assess community differences towards symbols in Northern Ireland; assessing the impact of delayed reinforcement and quality of reinforcers in learning new skills; measuring the impact of the Good Behaviour Game on inclusion in schools; using functional communication to decrease aggressive behaviour and the need for medication across those with developmental issues in long-term residential care; using eye tracking to assess stimulus control issues amongst community dwelling individuals with a diagnosis of dementia.

Recently Graduated PhD Students

Recent PhD graduates have studied the use of eye tracking equipment to teach children with ASD to track social stimuli; comparing accommodation issues across children with and without a diagnosis of ASD; using behaviour analytic techniques to implement recycling across university student accommodation

Administrative Roles and Memberships

Stephen is Course Director of the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis and represents the School of Psychology on the Faculty Academic Operations and Portfolio Development Committee.

Community Impact

Stephen is Chairperson of the local ASD charity PEAT (Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists) which owns and helped develop the Simple Steps training pack..

Personal Information

Favourite Quote “- Time spent thinking, is not time wasted”

Upcoming International Meetings

Association for Behaviour Analysis International Conference in Philadelphia (May 2024)