Photo of Dora Duka

Dora Duka
Professor of Experimental Psychology
T: +44 (0)1273 678879


Research Interests

My research interests are in the cognitive and emotional mechanisms involved in drug addiction using as examples alcohol and nicotine.

In my research I try to pursue the following questions:

 How does drug and alcohol abuse (including binge drinking and multiple withdrawals) alter brain structure and function, and what are the cognitive and emotional consequences that contribute to the maintenance of addiction?

How do drug associated stimuli capture attention and control drug seeking behaviour? What are the implicit and explicit cognitive processes involved? what are the brain mechanisms underlying these effect? 

What are the mechanisms mediating the effects of stress on craving for and consumption of alcohol in binge drinkers? reduced inhibitory control or increased responsiveness of reward pathways?

What are the mechanisms by which impulsivity contribute to addictive behaviours?

What is the role of emotional arousal in modulating impulsive behaviour and contributing to addictive behaviours? Do noradrenergic mechanisms play a role?


Current Research Support


Department of Health, National Institute for Health Research (DH NIHR): “A feasibility study of an intervention for structured preparation before detoxification in alcohol dependence: the SPADe trial” July 2017-June 2020 (coI Duka) Thirty six months £235K

European Commission Horizon 2020: Systems biology of Alcohol Addiction: Modelling and validatin disease state networks in human and animal brains for understanding pathophysiology, predicting outcomes and improving therapy” (PI Wolfgang Sommer, Germany); I am leader of Work Package 3: Examining noradrenergic mechanisms underlying the cognitive impairments seen in Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD)


Current Lab Members

Kiki Nikolaou

Aleksandra Maria Herman (Visiting scientist)

Mateo Leganes Fonteneau (Visiting Scientist)

Mehmet Uzun


Previous Lab Members

Aleksandra Maria Herman

Mateo Leganes Fonteneau

Leanne Trick 

Stephens Jeffs

Katie Atwel

Kathleen Smith

Amy Caswell

Claire Mathers

Lee Hogarth

Julia Townshend

Matt Field

Sarah Garfinkel

Abi Rose

Ruth Weissenborn



University of Sussex

 Hugo Critchley (Brighton & Sussex Medical School)

Hans Crombag (Psychology)

Dai Stephens (Psychology)

Zoltan Dienes (Psychology)

Mara Cerignani (Brighton & Sussex Medical School)

Other Institutes

Wolfgang Sommer (University of Heidelberg, Germany)

Christos Kouimtsidis (Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London)

Sabine Steins-Löber (Otto-Friedrich Bamberg University, Germany)

Fabien Gerski (University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne)

Mickael Naassila (University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens)


Selected Publications Associated with ongoing research in my lab

  1. Jeffs S, Duka T (2017) Predictive but not emotional value of Pavlovian stimuli leads to pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer. Behav Brain Res. Mar 15; 321:214
  2. Brown, Chris RH, Forster,Sophie and Duka, T (2018) Goal-drivenattentional  capture byappetitive and aversive smoking-related cues in nicotine dependent smokers . Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 190.pp.209-215.
  3. Herman, Aleksandra M, Critchley, Hugo D and Duka, T (2019) Binge drinking isassociated with attenuated frontal and parietal activation during successful response inhibition in fearful context. European Journal of Neuroscience.  Aug; 50(3): 2297-2310
  4. Leganes-Fonteneau M, Nikolaou K, Scott R, Duka T. (2019) Knowledge about the predictive value of reward conditioned stimuli modulates their interference with cognitive processesLearn Mem. Feb 15; 26 (3):66-76