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Personal profile

Research interests

My interests are in healthy behaviour change with a focus on tobacco and alcohol use. I use a wide range of experimental techniques including eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and naturalistic field studies. The work conducted during my PhD (completed in 2014) was some of the first to use cognitive neuroscience techniques to examine the effectiveness of plain packaging for tobacco products. I have recently been awarded a New Investigator Award from ESRC to develop this experimental work and examine how positive (efficacy) messages can optimise tobacco health warnings among daily cigarette smokers. 

Public and policy engagement is an important aspect of my work. My research on plain packaging contributed to UK and worldwide policy debates on this issue and I was awarded an ESRC Outstanding Engagement Award for this work. In addition to running public engagement events at festivals and other public events, I regularly blog about research for the Mental Elf site and have also blogged for the Guardian. I am currently working with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) as an Academic Fellow to write a POST-note on the impact of industry on public health policy. 

I can supervise students interested in healthy behaviour change. Primarily, my work focuses on tobacco and alcohol use, but I'm also interested in research on illicit drug use and on strategies to promote physical activity. Here's a list of some current projects I'm working on with students: 

  • Alcohol
  • Examining the effects of choice architecture interventions on drinking behaviour;
  • The effects of alcohol labelling (units, calories and health warnings) on drinking behaviour;
  • The impact of alcohol-free beer on drinking behaviour; 
  • Nicotine and tobacco
  • The role of efficacy messaging for increasing adaptive responses to tobacco health warnings among adolescents and adults;
  • Misinformation surrounding e-cigarettes and other tobacco harm reduction products;
  • Illicit drugs
  • Harm reduction approaches for illicit drug use among students; 
  • The cognitive effects of 'party drugs' among students. 

External positions

Visiting researcher, University of Tasmania

1 Dec 20174 Jun 2018


  • tobacco
  • alcohol
  • behaviour change
  • cognitive neuroscience


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