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Personal profile

Research Profile

Research Interests

My research focuses on health behaviour change and the determinants of health relevant behaviours and processes including eating, stress, treatment adherence and medical decision making. My primary interest is the ‘executive functions’, a group of cognitive processes that allow people to plan, initiate and maintain complex patterns of behaviour in order to achieve goals, but I also have a strong interest in the measurement of health behaviours in real time and in the health and performance of healthcare professionals. Key interests include;

  • How health behaviours are cognitively controlled (e.g. how people stick to diets, activity plans or treatment regimens),
  • How healthier behaviours can be prompted by modifying systems and environments (e.g. by changing cues in the food environment, changing work patterns in the health service, issuing reminders about cancer checks, etc), and
  • What happens when cognitive or behavioural control fails (e.g. suboptimal treatment adherence, fatigue related changes in medical decision making, failures of dietary willpower, etc).



European Health Psychology Society Executive Committee (elected) 2020-22

British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Scotland Chair (elected) 2018-20

Expert Advisor (behaviour change) Food Standards Scotland

British Psychological Society representative Scottish Obesity Alliance

Health & Care Professions Council Registered Practitioner Psychologist (HCPC Reg)

British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol)

Senior Fellow of Advance HE (SFHEA)



Mona Maier (2021-24). Decision fatigue in health and healthcare.

Adegoke Alabi (2021-24). Do rural dwellers experience cancer differently?

Sara Simao (2019-22). Optimising nutrition interventions: Harnessing the power of adolescent values and motivations.

Xuemin Zhu (2018-21) The role of the physician’s risk and time preferences and personality in clinical decision making.

Georgios Kitsaras (2016-19). Bedtime routines: a dynamic, repetitive behaviour and its implications for child wellbeing, health and development

Uma Janaki (2015-20, PT) Using insights into time preference and present bias to develop an intervention to improve adherence to exercise.

Cheryl Bell (2013-17). Stress in junior doctors: real-time observational, self-report and physiological investigation during the working day.

Mairead Black (2013-16) Mode of delivery after caesarean section: an investigation of offspring risks and factors influencing women’s attitudes towards delivery mode.

Christine Roberts (2012-17, PT) Maximising quality of life and functional independence in older adults through physical activity.

Nicola McCleary (2011-15). The relationship between difficulty of a clinical decision as reported by healthcare professionals and the quality of that decision in terms of evidence based practice.

Brian Power (2011-15).  Developing and piloting a complex intervention for health professionals with moderate to severe weight problems.

Megan Watson (2011-17). Barriers to improving physical activity levels in Scottish families.

Mahadir Ahmed (2007-10).  Thesis title: Psychological preparation for MRI.



Programme Director MSc Health Psychology

Course Co-Ordinator Advanced Quantitative Methods & Analysis for Psychology (PU5054)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Life Sciences & Medicine, Masters Degree

Award Date: 1 Nov 2009

Psychology, PhD

Award Date: 1 Nov 2004

External positions

External Examiner, University of Galway



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