School of Psychology

Addictive Behaviours

To find out more about our research, click on a person's name and their work in this area will be highlighted.

Dora Duka: human psychopharmacology, alcohol, memory, impulsivity, associative learning, attentional bias, drug addiction

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 variations in levels or patterns of expression of GABRA2 gene in humans predispose to stress responsiveness, and influence the ability of stressful events to mediate addictive behaviours?

How do drug associated stimuli capture attention and control drug seeking behaviour? What are the cognitive and 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? 

Homepage for Dora Duka

Collaborators: Dai StephensSarah KingHugo Critchley
Research Staff: Kiki NikolaouLeanne Trick
Research Student: Amy Caswell

See also: 
Alcobinge project
Insights into Alcohol Dependence

Gaba project

Medical Research Council - Addiction

Dai Stephens: behavioural neuroscience, behavioural genetics, alcohol, cocaine, addiction, impulsivity, GABAA receptors, incentive Learning, psychopharmacology

How does drug and alcohol abuse alter the brain, and what are the consequences for future control over drug taking?

How do differences in function of GABAergic synapses in the nucleus accumbens alter the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse? And how do genetic variations in these systems interact with environmental events to influence drug taking and seeking?        

How do genes interact with early-life stress to influence risk for addictive behaviour?

How can we make sure that what we study in animals has relevance for human addictive behaviour?

Homepage for Dai Stephens

Collaborators: Dora DukaHans CrombagSarah King, Eisuke Koya
Research Staff: Claire DixonSophie Walker, Yolanda Pena-Oliver
Research Students: Sandra Sanchez RoigeTom MacPherson

See also: 
Alcobinge project
Insights into Alcohol Dependence
Medical Research Council - Addiction
MRC Addiction Project and MRC Addiction Cluster Members

Aldo Badiani: Drug addiction: clinical and preclinical research, environmental influences on drug reward and drug abuse, therapeutic intervention

Homepage for Aldo Badiani

Research Students:

Hans Crombag: incentive learning, addiction, appetite

How does associative learning modulate motivated action and decision-making?

What physiological- and neuronal substrates mediate incentive learning?

How do (drug) experience-dependent changes in corticostriatal circuitries affect purposive action and decision-making, including overeating and addiction?

How can basic psychology- and neuroscience research translate to inform our debate and understanding of compulsions (addiction), free-will or self-control?

Homepage for Hans Crombag

Collaborators: Martin YeomansDora DukaDai StephensTamzin Ripley, Eisuke Koya
Research students: Kate Doran, David Mawer

Sarah King: molecular and neurobiological mechanisms; gene manipulation and molecular biology

How do specific genetic polymorphisms affect cognition/addictive behaviours across the lifespan, and how do drugs interact with these processes?

How do subtypes of GABAA receptor in specific cells of the nucleus accumbens mediate the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse?

How do variations in GABAA receptor subunit genes interact with environmental events (e.g. early life stress) to influence addiction-related behaviour?

How does drug exposure (nicotine) in early development impact on corticothalamic circuits and drive changes in stress reactivity / behaviour in adulthood?

What are the molecular consequences of adolescent binge alcohol exposure that underlie changes in behaviour?

Homepage for Sarah King

Collaborators: Dora DukaDai StephensJennifer Rusted
Research Staff: Claire DixonSophie Walker
Research student: Tom MacPherson

See also:
Gaba project
Medical Research Council - Addiction
Alcobinge project

Eisuke Koya: neuronal ensembles, associative learning, obesity, addiction, synaptic physiology, immunohistochemistry

Are learned associations about food and drug rewards and their administration environment mediated by neuronal ensembles in motivationally relevant areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens?

Do the neurons that mediate these learned associations exhibit unique synaptic physiology? Thus, are these neurons part of a unique neuronal circuit?

Homepage for Eisuke Koya

Collaborators: Hans CrombagSarah KingDai Stephens