BA (Hons) PhD FBPS
Professor of Psychology & Affective Neuroscience
- Director of Oxford Centre for Emotions and Affective Neuroscience (OCEAN)
- ERC Advanced Investigator
- Fellow of University College
My work focuses on the nature of human emotions and why people react so differently to the good and the bad things in life.
My work focuses on the nature of human emotions and why there is such a wide variety of response to the same environmental situation.
Our approach is to examine the subtle cognitive biases that are linked to emotional vulnerability on the one hand, and human resilience and mental wellbeing on the other. These “biases” are the brain's natural tendencies to tune into the affective environment.
In the past, my team's work has confirmed that emotional vulnerability is associated with very specific biases to selectively process negative, relative to positive information. We have also found that certain genes that influence brain chemicals can affect how open people are to learning about the emotional environment around them.
We are now exploiting these earlier findings in order to deepen our understanding of why some people are emotionally fragile and others are resilient and experience optimal mental health. In a programme of research funded by the European Research Council - The CogBIAS project - we are investigating the cognitive and genetic mechanisms underpinning why some people flourish and others struggle.
We currently have no vacancies DPhil students.
A randomised controlled trial investigating the benefits of adaptive working memory training for working memory capacity and attentional control in high worriers.
Hotton M. et al, (2018), Behav Res Ther, 100, 67 - 77
Uncontrolled eating in adolescents: The role of impulsivity and automatic approach bias for food.
Booth C. et al, (2018), Appetite, 120, 636 - 643
Attention bias modification training for adolescents with chronic pain: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
Heathcote LC. et al, (2017), Pain
Understanding the neural basis of cognitive bias modification as a clinical treatment for depression.
Eguchi A. et al, (2017), J Consult Clin Psychol, 85, 200 - 217
Child attention to pain and pain tolerance are dependent upon anxiety and attention control: An eye-tracking study.
Heathcote LC. et al, (2017), Eur J Pain, 21, 250 - 263