Photo of Pete Clifton

Pete Clifton
Professor of Psychology (Psychology)
T: +44 (0)1273 876638


One strand of my research has centred on the neural and neurochemical mechanisms involved in the control of ingestive behaviour. I have been especially interested in the role of structures such as the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus, and in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and the cannabinoids and melanocortins. I have used techniques including meal pattern analysis, recording of satiety sequences and detailed video analysis of the motor components of ingestive behaviour to give a fine grain behavioural analysis. As well as conventional studies of drugs that affect serotonergic systems, I have analysed the detailed behavioural deficits in the control of feeding that result when the 5-HT2C , 5-HT1B and MC4 receptors are non-functional.

A more recent interest relates to cognitive deficits that are associated with schizophrenia and the extent to which an analysis of the neurochemical mechanisms underlying reversal learning may be helpful in indicating routes to novel drug therapy.

Research in my laboratory has been supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Medical Research Councils, Vernalis Research Ltd, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline. My research students have been supported by the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

This area has considerable applied interest because of increases in the prevalence of obesity in North America and Europe. It is the subject of 'Challenging Obesity' (OUP, 2008), written with Heather MacLannahan for the Open University course of the same name.

You will find citations to selected publications under the 'Selected Publications' tab of this page but may well prefer to use the Pubmed link here which will always be up to date and provide links to full text at the publishers websites.