My research interests span a range of areas relating to health behaviours and behaviour change. Current themes are as follows:

Why do we overeat?

Have you ever stopped to think about why you had those biscuits with your cup of tea? Or what made you eat all those peanuts at last night's party? overeatingWere you really hungry? Or were there other reasons that lead you to indulge?

We are currently exploring the extent to which models of addictive behaviour can further our understanding of food cravings and overeating. We are also examining perceived reasons for eating and overeating, and the relationship between particular eating behaviours and later weight gain. We are employing a range of methodologies from food diaries to reaction time tasks.

Key areas: attentional bias, incentive salience, current concerns, automaticity, emotional eating, external eating, restraint, stress

Resisting temptation

Can you stick to a diet or stay on a budget? Or does your resolve weaken at the first sight of chocolate of a fantastic pair of shoes? The ability to resist temptation underpins a wide variety of behaviours essential to everyday life, whilst self-regulatory deficits have been linked to problems such as crime, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, educational under-acheivement, resisting temptationgambling and aggression.

So can we help individuals resist temptation? We have been drawing on cognitive theories of self-regulation together with recent developments in psychotherapy to explore the efficacy of a range of different strategies on self-control. We have been using these techniques with both adults and children.

Key areas: hot and cool cognition, mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Decision making and lifestyle change

How can we encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles? What are the best ways to change habits?

physical activityThis research draws on social cognition research and psychological models of decision making, attitudes and behaviour change. We aim to identify potentially important means of influencing lifestyle change whilst further informing psychological theory.

Key areas: values, habits, implementation intentions, attitudes, Subjective Expected Pleasure Theory (SEPT)

The development and evaluation of health interventions

What are the most effective ways of changing health behaviours? What works and what doesn't? child eating breakfast

We have developed and evaluated a range of health interventions. These include the Food Dude Healthy Eating Programme, designed to encourage school children to eat more fruit and vegetables, and the Welsh Assembly Free School Breakfast Programme aimed at ensuring all primary school children get a nutritious start to the day. These areas of work have important implications for government policy.

Key areas: (cluster) randomised controlled trials, government policy