My research focuses on understanding nutritional influences on cognition, affect and self – regulation.  Examples include (1) understanding the role of dietary carbohydrates and glucoregulation in the onset of mental disorders (2) determining the cognitive, affective and psychological consequences of minor changes in hydration (3) examining how the microbiome impacts on emotional behaviour.  I have a particular interest in unravelling the interoceptive, autonomic and neural underpinning of affect regulation and how diet may impact upon these processes.  In order to achieve these goals my research utilises methods spanning the social, behavioural and biological sciences.

Areas of Expertise

  • Nutrition
  • Affect regulation
  • Interoception
  • Glycaemic control
  • Hydration
  • Psychophysiology
  • Cardiovascular functioning

Publications

  1. & The Immediate Effect of Therapeutic Touch and Deep Touch Pressure on Range of Motion, Interoceptive Accuracy and Heart Rate Variability: A Randomized Controlled Trial With Moderation Analysis. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 12
  2. & Acute and repetitive fronto-cerebellar tDCS stimulation improves mood in non-depressed participants. Experimental Brain Research 236(1), 83-97.
  3. & Interoceptive accuracy moderates the response to a glucose load: a test of the predictive coding framework. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286
  4. & Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight. Perspectives on Psychological Science 12(5), 703-714.
  5. & Getting to the heart of the matter: Does aberrant interoceptive processing contribute towards emotional eating?. PLOS ONE 12(10), e0186312

See more...

Teaching

  • PSA113 Biological Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to biological psychology and the influence of the biological approach on the wider discipline of psychology. Through a series of lectures and tutorials this module will consider the structure and function of the brain and central nervous system and how they underpin human behaviour. The importance of understanding the role of hormones and neurotransmitters on physiology and behaviour as well as the biological basis of individual differences will be covered. These fundamental elements will be explored through by key topics such as emotions, motivated behaviour, language, sleep, learning and memory, and schizophrenia. The importance of understanding evolutionary psychology and gene environment interactions will also be integrated throughout the module.

  • PSY113 Biological Psychology

    This module provides an introduction to biological psychology and the influence of the biological approach on the wider discipline of psychology. Through a series of lectures and tutorials this module will consider the structure and function of the brain and central nervous system and how they underpin human behavior. The importance of understanding the role of hormones and neurotransmitters on physiology and behavior as well as the biological basis of individual differences will be covered. These fundamental elements will be explored through key topics such as emotions, motivated behavior, language, sleep, learning and memory, and schizophrenia. The importance of understanding evolutionary psychology and gene environment interactions will also be integrated throughout the module.

  • PSY319 Final Year Independent Research Project

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. The research topic is decided in conjunction with supervisors and Research topics. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  • PSY325 Independent Research Project - Joint Honours

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society.

  • PSY358 Psychology of Sport and Exercise

    This module will examine psychological factors as they relate to exercise and sport. Questions addressed will include: Why do athletes fail to perform under pressure? Are athletes born or made? What are the long term consequences of sports related concussion? What psychological factors contribute to expert performance? Are athletes at an increased risk of eating disorders and drug abuse? Can physical activity / exercise be used to enhance mental health? An emphasis on the application of mental skills training (e.g. self-talk, imagery, biofeedback) will be evident throughout the module.

Supervision

  • Validating Heart Rate Variability as a Bio-marker to Study the Influence of a western diet and low inhibitory control on Physiological and Psychological Health from an introspective inference perspective. (current)

    Student name:
    MPhil
    Other supervisor: Prof David Benton
    Other supervisor: Dr Hayley Young
  • A multimodal investigation of the effects of fronto-cerebellar transcranial stimulation«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Hayley Young
    Other supervisor: Dr Claire Hanley
    Other supervisor: Dr Hana Burianova
  • Hydration, Cognition and Physiological Behaviour (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David Benton
    Other supervisor: Dr Libby Ellins
    Other supervisor: Dr Hayley Young
  • The influence of various nutrients on glyceimic control, mood, and cognition in older adults. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David Benton
    Other supervisor: Dr Hayley Young