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Dr Natalia Lawrence

Dr Natalia Lawrence

Co-Director of Research, Associate Professor (in Translational Medicine)


 Washington Singer 232


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


I am cognitive neuroscientist with a background in experimental psychology, behavioural neuroscience and clinical research. I use experimental psychology and brain imaging methods to study self-control and reward processing in a range of disorders.


Compulsive behaviour: Why do some people lose control over their behaviour and emotions? Can cognitive training strengthen control over habitual or impulsive behaviour? To find out more about our response inhibition training to reduce overeating (featured in "How to Lose Weight Well") or download our app please go to this website:


Associate Professor in Translational Medicine. I conduct cognitive and brain imaging research into the mechanisms underlying altered emotional processing in psychological disorders and use this knowledge to help understand and develop psychological interventions. For example, I am currently examining whether response inhibition training can reduce over-eating and whether this can be used to help people stick to healthier (less sugar/fat) and more sustainable (less meat) diets.

Office Hours for Term 1 in 2023/24 are:

  • Tuesdays 9-10 am (in WSL 232)
  • Thursdays 12.30-1.30 pm (in WSL 232)

If you would like to hear about our food response training study that showed weight loss please watch the short videos on our food training website:

Broad research specialisms:

Emotional processing and regulation, motivation and reward, obesity, eating, compulsive behaviour, brain imaging.


PhD Psychology


I completed a BSc in Natural Sciences (Psychology and Biology) at the University of Durham, before undertaking a PhD in Psychology (behavioural neuroscience) with Professor Jeffrey Gray at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, and in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Oxford. From 2000, I was a postdoctoral fellow in neuroimaging of addiction in Professor Elliot Stein’s group at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I returned to the Institute of Psychiatry in 2002 to work as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Mary Phillips in the Section of Neuroscience and Emotion. I became a lecturer in Neuroimaging of Emotion Processing in Mood and Anxiety Disorders in 2004 and then moved to Cardiff in 2007 to take up a Research Fellowship in the Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. I am now Associate Professor in Translational Medicine, based in Psychology at the University of Exeter.


Research group links

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Research interests

I am interested in how emotional responses influence behaviour, and how these can be modified to help people gain more control over their behaviour. I study how emotional responses to food cues influence behaviour, through mechanisms like attentional bias, affective priming and associative learning. I develop and test computerised tasks that aim to change these responses to increase control over them.

My research uses experimental psychological techniques and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to examine emotion processing, emotion regulation and decision-making in 'addictive' behaviours such as over-eating, drinking, problem gambling. I also conduct research into how emotional processes relate to personality traits and genes in healthy individuals, in order to understand factors associated with the vulnerability to these disorders.

I have translated my research into psychological interventions of relevance to obesity, excessive drinking, smoking and meat reduction (reducing consumption through inhibitory control training). I conduct early-stage research developing novel interventions and randomised controlled trials to test their effects. My research also seeks to understand how these therapies work at neural and cognitive levels, e.g. by examining whether they provide enduring changes in automatic / implicit, as well as controlled / explicit processes. For more information please go to

Research projects

  • Understanding behavioural ‘addictions’; examining the role of genetic risk, motivation / reward processing and self control in over-eating.
  • Does inhibitory control training reduce compulsive behaviour / excessive approach motivation? (


“An investigation to examine the feasibility of progressing to a double blind randomised controlled trial to investigate whether a novel intervention targeting the automatic processes involved in binge eating is of benefit for people with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.” NIHR (National Institutes for Health Research) Research for Patient Benefit.Treasure, J. (PI), Cardi, V., Lawrence N.S., Kan, C., Rowlands, K., Hodsoll, J., Beecham, J., Macdonald, P.  (April 2018-Feb 2021, £255,849).

“Translational Neuroscience: Response Training for Obesity Treatment.” Grant 1R01DK112762-01, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health (USA). Stice, E. (PI), Yokum, S., Kemps, E., Lawrence, N.S., Veling, H. (April 2017-April 2022, $2.58 million)

"Sugar Smart Exeter campaign" Soil Association grant (April 2017-June 2018, £5000)

"The Evidence Information Service: Promoting GW4 Research on Evidence-Based Policy” GW4 Building Communities Initiator and Accelerator funding (September 2015-July 2017;  £69,000).

“Understanding how social identities shape empathy and failures to empathize: A social neuroscience approach", PhD studentship funded by Dstl (MoD), co-supervisor. (2013-2017 £140,855)

“Do disturbances in reward system function predict current and future mood disorder symptoms and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours? A community cohort prospective study” Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund PI: Dunn, co-I: Lawrence (2013-2015 £67,401)

“Brain training to reduce over-eating; a translational pilot study” Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund PI (2013-2014 £18,539)

WICN Program Grant “Neural correlates of problem gambling” (£37, 242 co-investigator)

WICN Program Grant “Inhibitory control in the desire for food” (£24, 525 co-investigator)

WICN Project Grant “Neural basis of the Hypersensitivity to Emotions in Bipolar Disorder” (£15, 687, PI)

WICN Project Grant “Neuroimaging risk markers of depression in young adults: a preliminary study” (£14, 232, co-investigator)

Research networks

I have active research collaborations with colleagues in the UK at the University of Bristol (Prof. Jeff Brunstrom, Prof. Julian Hamilton-Shields, Dr. Ella Hinton), in the Netherlands (Dr. Harm Veling, Radboud University), USA (Prof. Eric Stice at Stanford University) and in Australia (Prof. Petra Staiger, Deakin University; Prof. Eva Kemps, Flinders University).


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Journal articles

Lumsden J, Skinner A, Coyle D, Lawrence N, Munafo M (In Press). No effect of gamification on attrition from a web-based longitudinal cognitive testing study. Journal of Medical Internet Research
Chami R, Cardi V, Lawrence N, MacDonald P, Rowlands K, Hodsoll J, Treasure J (In Press). Targeting binge eating in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder using inhibitory control training and implementation intentions: a feasibility trial. Psychological Medicine
Cox JS, Hinton EC, Hamilton Shield J, Lawrence NS (2023). An App-Based Intervention for Pediatric Weight Management: Pre-Post Acceptability and Feasibility Trial. JMIR Formative Research, 7, e36837-e36837. Abstract.
Begum S, Hinton EC, Frayling TM, Toumpakari Z, Lawrence N (2023). Genetic susceptibility to obesity is partly mediated by emotional overeating during adolescence. Appetite, 189
Begum S, Hinton EC, Toumpakari Z, Frayling TM, Howe L, Johnson L, Lawrence N (2023). Mediation and moderation of genetic risk of obesity through eating behaviours in two UK cohorts. International Journal of Epidemiology, 52(6), 1926-1938. Abstract.
Elsworth RL, Monge A, Perry R, Hinton EC, Flynn AN, Whitmarsh A, Hamilton-Shield JP, Lawrence NS, Brunstrom JM (2023). The Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Appetite: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 15(11).
Elsworth R, Hinton EC, Lawrence N, Hamilton-Shield J, Brunstrom J (2023). Using ecological momentary assessment to investigate trait- and state-based dietary restraint in everyday life. Appetite, 189
Solier-López L, González-González R, Caracuel A, Kakoschke N, Lawrence N, Vilar-López R (2022). A Program for the Comprehensive Cognitive Training of Excess Weight (TRAINEP): the Study Protocol for a Randomized, Controlled Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), 8447-8447. Abstract.
Cardi V, Meregalli V, Di Rosa E, Derrigo R, Faustini C, Keeler JL, Favaro A, Treasure J, Lawrence N (2022). A community-based feasibility randomized controlled study to test food-specific inhibitory control training in people with disinhibited eating during COVID-19 in Italy. Eat Weight Disord, 27(7), 2745-2757. Abstract.  Author URL.
Keeler JL, Chami R, Cardi V, Hodsoll J, Bonin E, MacDonald P, Treasure J, Lawrence N (2022). App-based food-specific inhibitory control training as an adjunct to treatment as usual in binge-type eating disorders: a feasibility trial. Appetite, 168 Abstract.  Author URL.
Keeler J, Chami R, Cardi V, Treasure J, Hodsoll J, Lawrence N (2022). App-based food-specific inhibitory control training as an adjunct to treatment as usual in binge-type eating disorders: a feasibility trial. Appetite, 169
Stice E, Yokum S, Nelson TD, Berkman E, Veling H, Lawrence N (2022). Efficacy of a combined food-response inhibition and attention training for weight loss. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 46, 101168-101168.
Stice E, Yokum S, Gau J, Veling H, Lawrence N, Kemps E (2022). Efficacy of a food response and attention training treatment for obesity: a randomized placebo controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 158
Cox JS, Hinton EC, Shield JH, Lawrence N (2022). Feasibility of trialling an app-based inhibitory control training programme in a Tier 3 Paediatric Weight management Clinic. Appetite, 169
Porter L, Cox JS, Wright KA, Lawrence NS, Gillison FB (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on the eating habits of families engaged in a healthy eating pilot trial: a thematic analysis. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 10(1), 241-261.
Becker E, Kozmér S, Aulbach MB, Lawrence NS (2022). The relationship between meat disgust and meat avoidance—A chicken-and-egg problem. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9 Abstract.
Lawrence NS, Porter L, Staiger PK (2022). The ‘Go’s and the ‘No-Go’s of response-inhibition training to food: lessons learned from trials. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 48, 101229-101229.
Elsworth RL, Flynn AN, Merrell LH, Hinton EC, Hamilton-Shield JP, Lawrence NS, Brunstrom JM (2022). Using Momentary Appetite Capture (MAC) to characterise the everyday experience of disinhibited eaters. Appetite, 179
Hughes LK, Hayden MJ, Bos J, Lawrence NS, Youssef GJ, Borland R, Staiger PK (2021). A Randomised Controlled Trial of Inhibitory Control Training for Smoking Cessation: Outcomes, Mediators and Methodological Considerations. Front Psychol, 12 Abstract.  Author URL.
Aulbach MB, Knittle K, van Beurden SB, Haukkala A, Lawrence NS (2021). App-based food Go/No-Go training: User engagement and dietary intake in an opportunistic observational study. Appetite, 165 Abstract.  Author URL.
Chami R, Reichenberger J, Cardi V, Lawrence N, Treasure J, Blechert J (2021). Characterising binge eating over the course of a feasibility trial among individuals with binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. Appetite, 164 Abstract.  Author URL.
Porter L, Button KS, Adams RC, Pennington CR, Chambers CD, Van Beurden S, Johansson O, Powell S, Townsend B, Chong S, et al (2021). Does Device Matter? Inhibition training effects on food choice, liking and approach bias when delivered by smartphone or computer. Appetite, 157
Tzavella L, Lawrence NS, Button KS, Hart EA, Holmes NM, Houghton K, Badkar N, Macey E, Braggins A-J, Murray FC, et al (2021). Effects of go/no-go training on food-related action tendencies, liking and choice. Royal Society Open Science, 8(8), 210666-210666. Abstract.
Porter L, Lawrence N, Wright K (2021). Exploring strategies to optimise the impact of food-specific inhibition training on children's food choices. Frontiers in Psychology, 12
Adams RC, Button KS, Hickey L, Morrison S, Smith A, Bolus W, Coombs E, Randolph S, Hunt R, Kim D, et al (2021). Food-related inhibitory control training reduces food liking but not snacking frequency or weight in a large healthy adult sample. Appetite, 167, 105601-105601.
Begum S, Frayling T, Toumpakari Z, Hinton E, Johnson L, Lawrence N (2021). Genetic risk for obesity is partially mediated by individual eating behaviours disinhibition and hunger, but not restraint. Appetite, 157
van Beurden SB, Greaves CJ, Abraham C, Lawrence NS, Smith JR (2021). ImpulsePal: the systematic development of a smartphone app to manage food temptations using intervention mapping. DIGITAL HEALTH, 7  Author URL.
Richins MT, Barreto M, Karl A, Lawrence N (2021). Incidental fear reduces empathy for an out-group's pain. Emotion, 21(3), 536-544. Abstract.  Author URL.
Keeler J, Chami R, Lawrence N, Treasure J (2021). Inhibitory control training as a smartphone intervention for binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN). Appetite, 157
Cox JS, Jones B, Seage H, Brunstrom JM, Lawrence NS, Hamilton-Shield JP, Hinton EC (2021). Liking of typical ‘children’s meals’ unaffected by neophobia and food fussiness Liking of typical ‘children’s meals’ unaffected by neophobia. Appetite, 157
Becker E, Lawrence NS (2021). Meat disgust is negatively associated with meat intake – Evidence from a cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Appetite, 164, 105299-105299.
Porter L, Cox J, Wright K, Lawrence N, Gillison F (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on the eating habits of families engaged in a healthy eating pilot trial: a thematic analysis. Appetite, 169
Cox JS, Hinton EC, Sauchelli S, Hamilton-Shield JP, Lawrence NS, Brunstrom JM (2021). When do children learn how to select a portion size?. Appetite, 164 Abstract.
Button KS, Chambers CD, Lawrence N, Munafò MR (2020). Grassroots Training for Reproducible Science: a Consortium-Based Approach to the Empirical Dissertation. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 19(1), 77-90. Abstract.
Sedgmond J, Chambers CD, Lawrence NS, Adams RC (2020). No evidence that prefrontal HD-tDCS influences cue-induced food craving. Behavioral Neuroscience, 134(5), 369-383.
Bos J, Staiger PK, Hayden MJ, Hughes LK, Youssef G, Lawrence NS (2019). A randomized controlled trial of inhibitory control training for smoking cessation and reduction. J Consult Clin Psychol, 87(9), 831-843. Abstract.  Author URL.
Walker LA, Chambers CD, Veling H, Lawrence NS (2019). Cognitive and environmental interventions to encourage healthy eating: evidence-based recommendations for public health policy. Royal Society Open Science, 6(10), 190624-190624. Abstract.
Adams RC, Chambers CD, Lawrence NS (2019). Do restrained eaters show increased BMI, food craving and disinhibited eating? a comparison of the Restraint Scale and the Restrained Eating scale of the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Royal Society Open Science, 6(6). Abstract.
Cohen M, Lawrence N, Kennedy E, Munafo MR, Williams WH, Penton-Voak I (2019). Facial affect recognition in adolescent and young adult offenders with and without traumatic brain injury.
Van Beurden S, Smith JR, Lawrence N, Abraham SCS, Greaves C (2019). Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial of ImpulsePal: Smartphone App–Based Weight Management Intervention to Reduce Impulsive Eating in Overweight Adults. JMIR Formative Research, 3(2), e11586-e11586. Abstract.
Adams RC, Sedgmond J, Maizey L, Chambers CD, Lawrence NS (2019). Food Addiction: Implications for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Overeating. Nutrients, 11(9). Abstract.  Author URL.
Camp B, Lawrence NS (2019). Giving pork the chop: Response inhibition training to reduce meat intake. Appetite Abstract.
Sedgmond J, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Morrison S, Chambers CD, Adams RC (2019). Prefrontal brain stimulation during food-related inhibition training: effects on food craving, food consumption and inhibitory control. Royal Society Open Science, 6
Walker LA, Lawrence NS, Chambers CD, Wood M, Barnett J, Durrant H, Pike L, O’Grady G, Bestmann S, Kythreotis AP, et al (2019). Supporting evidence-informed policy and scrutiny: a consultation of UK research professionals. PLoS ONE, 14(3). Abstract.
Staiger PK, Hayden MJ, Guo K, Hughes LK, Bos J, Lawrence NS (2018). A randomised controlled trial examining the efficacy of smoking-related response inhibition training in smokers: a study protocol. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 1226-1226. Abstract.
Maizey L, Adams RC, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Chambers CD (2018). Cognitive control training as a weight loss tool: an online randomised control trial. Appetite, 130
Adams RC, Maizey L, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen FF, Chambers CD (2018). Cognitive control training to reduce overeating and promote weight loss: a large online randomised controlled trial. Appetite, 123
Jones A, Hardman CA, Lawrence N, Field M (2018). Cognitive training as a potential treatment for overweight and obesity: a critical review of the evidence. Appetite, 124, 50-67. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hibar DP, Westlye LT, Doan NT, Jahanshad N, Cheung JW, Ching CRK, Versace A, Bilderbeck AC, Uhlmann A, Mwangi B, et al (2018). Cortical abnormalities in bipolar disorder: an MRI analysis of 6503 individuals from the ENIGMA Bipolar Disorder Working Group. Mol Psychiatry, 23(4), 932-942. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox JS, Khalil NH, Hinton EC, Hamilton-Shield JP, Brunstrom JM, Lawrence NS (2018). Development of a clinical tool for weight management using response inhibition training. Appetite, 130
Richins MT, Barreto M, Karl A, Lawrence N (2018). Empathic Responses Are Reduced to Competitive but Not Non-Competitive Outgroups. Social Neuroscience
Lawrence NS, Van Beurden S, Javaid M, Mostazir MM (2018). Mass dissemination of web and smartphone-delivered food response inhibition training to reduce unhealthy snacking. Appetite, 130
Sedgmond J, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Morrison S, Chambers CD, Adams RC (2018). No effect of tDCS on food consumption or food craving when combined with inhibitory control training. Appetite, 130
Maizey L, Adams RC, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Chambers CD (2018). The neurobiology of cognitive control training as a weight loss aid. Appetite, 123
Porter L, Bailey-Jones C, Priudokaite G, Allen S, Wood K, Stiles K, Parvin O, Javaid M, Verbruggen F, Lawrence NS, et al (2017). From Cookies to Carrots; the effect of inhibitory control training on children's snack selections. Appetite Abstract.
Ihssen N, Sokunbi MO, Lawrence AD, Lawrence NS, Linden DEJ (2017). Neurofeedback of visual food cue reactivity: a potential avenue to alter incentive sensitization and craving. Brain Imaging Behav, 11(3), 915-924. Abstract.  Author URL.
Stice E, Yokum S, Veling H, Kemps E, Lawrence NS (2017). Pilot test of a novel food response and attention training treatment for obesity: Brain imaging data suggest actions shape valuation. Behav Res Ther, 94, 60-70. Abstract.  Author URL.
Turton R, Nazar BP, Burgess EE, Lawrence NS, Cardi V, Treasure J, Hirsch CR (2017). To Go or Not to Go: a Proof of Concept Study Testing Food‐Specific Inhibition Training for Women with Eating and Weight Disorders. European Eating Disorders Review, 26(1), 11-21. Abstract.
Adams RC, Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Chambers CD (2017). Training response inhibition to reduce food consumption: Mechanisms, stimulus specificity and appropriate training protocols. Appetite, 109, 11-23. Abstract.  Author URL.
Veling H, Lawrence NS, Chen Z, van Koningsbruggen GM, Holland RW (2017). What is Trained During Food Go/No-Go Training? a Review Focusing on Mechanisms and a Research Agenda. Current Addiction Reports
Verbruggen F, Chambers CD, Lawrence NS, McLaren IPL (2017). Winning and losing: Effects on impulsive action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(1), 147-168.
Lawrence NS, Yokum S, Fuller-Marashi L, Veling H, Kemps E, Stice E (2016). A novel multicomponent food response training intervention reduces body fat and neural and subjective food reward in obese participants. Appetite, 107
Porter L, Verbruggen F, Javaid M, Lawrence N (2016). Beating temptation: the use of computerised inhibition training to combat child obesity. Appetite, 107
Lee R, Dingle K, Griffiths E, Lawrence N (2016). Explicit and implicit training of food response inhibition is associated with food devaluation and weight loss. Appetite, 107
Lumsden J, Edwards EA, Lawrence NS, Coyle D, Munafò MR (2016). Gamification of Cognitive Assessment and Cognitive Training: a Systematic Review of Applications and Efficacy. JMIR serious games, 4(2). Abstract.
Button KS, Lawrence NS, Chambers CD, Munafo MR (2016). Instilling scientific rigour at the grassroots. PSYCHOLOGIST, 29(3), 158-159.  Author URL.
Gifuni AJ, Ding Y, Olié E, Lawrence N, Cyprien F, Le Bars E, Bonafé A, Phillips ML, Courtet P, Jollant F, et al (2016). Subcortical nuclei volumes in suicidal behavior: nucleus accumbens may modulate the lethality of acts. Brain Imaging Behav, 10(1), 96-104. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hibar DP, Westlye LT, van Erp TGM, Rasmussen J, Leonardo CD, Faskowitz J, Haukvik UK, Hartberg CB, Doan NT, Agartz I, et al (2016). Subcortical volumetric abnormalities in bipolar disorder. Mol Psychiatry, 21(12), 1710-1716. Abstract.  Author URL.
Keedwell PA, Doidge AN, Meyer M, Lawrence N, Lawrence AD, Jones DK (2016). Subgenual Cingulum Microstructure Supports Control of Emotional Conflict. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 26(6), 2850-2862. Abstract.
Lawrence N, Chambers J, Morrison S, Bestmann S, O’Grady G, Chambers C, Kythreotis A (2016). The Evidence Information Service as a new platform for supporting evidence-based policy: a consultation of UK parliamentarians. Evidence & Policy: a Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 1-41.
Lumsden J, Skinner A, Woods AT, Lawrence N, Munafò M (2016). The effects of gamelike features and test location on cognitive test performance and participant enjoyment. PeerJ, 4:e2184, 1-19.
Stice E, Lawrence NS, Kemps E, Veling H (2016). Training motor responses to food: a novel treatment for obesity targeting implicit processes. Clin Psychol Rev, 49, 16-27. Abstract.  Author URL.
Norman L, Lawrence N, Iles A, Benattayallah A, Karl A (2015). Attachment-security priming attenuates amygdala activation to social and linguistic threat. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 10(6), 832-839. Abstract.  Author URL.
Caseras X, Murphy K, Lawrence NS, Fuentes-Claramonte P, Watts J, Jones DK, Phillips ML (2015). Emotion regulation deficits in euthymic bipolar I versus bipolar II disorder: a functional and diffusion-tensor imaging study. Bipolar Disord, 17(5), 461-470. Abstract.  Author URL.
Ding Y, Lawrence N, Olié E, Cyprien F, le Bars E, Bonafé A, Phillips ML, Courtet P, Jollant F (2015). Prefrontal cortex markers of suicidal vulnerability in mood disorders: a model-based structural neuroimaging study with a translational perspective. Transl Psychiatry, 5(2). Abstract.  Author URL.
Best M, Lawrence NS, Logan GD, McLaren IPL, Verbruggen F (2015). Should I Stop or Should I Go? the Role of Associations and Expectancies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Abstract.
Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Morrison S, Adams RC, Chambers CD (2015). Stopping to food can reduce intake. Effects of stimulus-specificity and individual differences in dietary restraint. Appetite, 85, 91-103. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, O'Sullivan J, Parslow D, Javaid M, Adams RC, Chambers CD, Kos K, Verbruggen F (2015). Training response inhibition to food is associated with weight loss and reduced energy intake. Appetite, 95, 17-28. Abstract.
Dymond S, Lawrence NS, Dunkley BT, Yuen KSL, Hinton EC, Dixon MR, Cox WM, Hoon AE, Munnelly A, Muthukumaraswamy SD, et al (2014). Almost winning: induced MEG theta power in insula and orbitofrontal cortex increases during gambling near-misses and is associated with BOLD signal and gambling severity. Neuroimage, 91, 210-219. Abstract.  Author URL.
Olatunji BO, Ferreira-Garcia R, Caseras X, Fullana MA, Wooderson S, Speckens A, Lawrence N, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, Phillips ML, et al (2014). Predicting response to cognitive behavioral therapy in contamination-based obsessive-compulsive disorder from functional magnetic resonance imaging. Psychol Med, 44(10), 2125-2137. Abstract.  Author URL.
Adams RC, Verbruggen F, Lawrence NS, Chambers CD (2014). Reducing food consumption by training inhibitory control. Appetite, 83
Lawrence NS, Verbruggen F, Parslow DM, O'Sullivan J, Javaid M, Morrison S, Adams RC, Chambers CD (2014). Response inhibition training to reduce overeating: Translational studies from the lab to real life. Appetite, 83
Thompson PM, Stein JL, Medland SE, Hibar DP, Vasquez AA, Renteria ME, Toro R, Jahanshad N, Schumann G, Franke B, et al (2014). The ENIGMA Consortium: large-scale collaborative analyses of neuroimaging and genetic data. Brain Imaging Behav, 8(2), 153-182. Abstract.  Author URL.
McLaren IPL, Dunn BD, Lawrence NS, Milton FN, Verbruggen F, Stevens T, McAndrew A, Yeates F (2014). Why decision making may not require awareness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37(1), 35-36.
Ochoa C, Alvarez-Moya EM, Penelo E, Aymami MN, Gómez-Peña M, Fernández-Aranda F, Granero R, Vallejo-Ruiloba J, Menchón JM, Lawrence NS, et al (2013). Decision-making deficits in pathological gambling: the role of executive functions, explicit knowledge and impulsivity in relation to decisions made under ambiguity and risk. Am J Addict, 22(5), 492-499. Abstract.  Author URL.
Dymond S, Lawrence NS, Yuen KSL (2013). Neurocognitive mechanisms of impaired decision making in pathological gambling. Front Psychiatry, 4  Author URL.
Pan L, Segreti AM, Almeida J, Jollant F, Lawrence N, Brent D, Phillips M (2013). Preserved hippocampal function during learning in the context of risk in adolescent suicide attempt. Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging, 211(2), 112-118. Abstract.
Pan L, Segreti A, Almeida J, Jollant F, Lawrence N, Brent D, Phillips M (2013). Preserved hippocampal function during learning in the context of risk in adolescent suicide attempt. Psychiatry Res, 211(2), 112-118. Abstract.  Author URL.
Caseras X, Lawrence NS, Murphy K, Wise RG, Phillips ML (2013). Ventral striatum activity in response to reward: differences between bipolar I and II disorders. Am J Psychiatry, 170(5), 533-541. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, Hinton EC, Parkinson JA, Lawrence AD (2012). Nucleus accumbens response to food cues predicts subsequent snack consumption in women and increased body mass index in those with reduced self-control. Neuroimage, 63(1), 415-422. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jollant F, Lawrence NL, Olié E, Guillaume S, Courtet P (2011). The suicidal mind and brain: a review of neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 12(5), 319-339. Abstract.
Jollant F, Lawrence NS, Olie E, O'Daly O, Malafosse A, Courtet P, Phillips ML (2010). Decreased activation of lateral orbitofrontal cortex during risky choices under uncertainty is associated with disadvantageous decision-making and suicidal behavior. Neuroimage, 51(3), 1275-1281. Abstract.  Author URL.
Radua J, Phillips ML, Russell T, Lawrence N, Marshall N, Kalidindi S, El-Hage W, McDonald C, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, et al (2010). Neural response to specific components of fearful faces in healthy and schizophrenic adults. Neuroimage, 49(1), 939-946. Abstract.  Author URL.
Liao P-C, Uher R, Lawrence N, Treasure J, Schmidt U, Campbell IC, Collier DA, Tchanturia K (2009). An examination of decision making in bulimia nervosa. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol, 31(4), 455-461. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, Jollant F, O'Daly O, Zelaya F, Phillips ML (2009). Distinct roles of prefrontal cortical subregions in the Iowa Gambling Task. Cereb Cortex, 19(5), 1134-1143. Abstract.  Author URL.
Guillaume S, Jollant F, Jaussent I, Lawrence N, Malafosse A, Courtet P (2009). Somatic markers and explicit knowledge are both involved in decision-making. Neuropsychologia, 47(10), 2120-2124. Abstract.
Mataix-Cols D, Lawrence NS, Wooderson S, Speckens A, Phillips ML (2009). The Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Stimuli Set: validation of a standardized paradigm for symptom-specific provocation in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatry Res, 168(3), 238-241. Abstract.  Author URL.
An SK, Mataix-Cols D, Lawrence NS, Wooderson S, Giampietro V, Speckens A, Brammer MJ, Phillips ML (2009). To discard or not to discard: the neural basis of hoarding symptoms in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mol Psychiatry, 14(3), 318-331. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gilbert AR, Mataix-Cols D, Almeida JRC, Lawrence N, Nutche J, Diwadkar V, Keshavan MS, Phillips ML (2008). Brain structure and symptom dimension relationships in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a voxel-based morphometry study. J Affect Disord, 109(1-2), 117-126. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lemche E, Anilkumar A, Giampietro VP, Brammer MJ, Surguladze SA, Lawrence NS, Gasston D, Chitnis X, Williams SCR, Sierra M, et al (2008). Cerebral and autonomic responses to emotional facial expressions in depersonalisation disorder. BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, 193(3), 222-228.  Author URL.
Lemche E, Anilkumar A, Giampietro VP, Brammer MJ, Surguladze SA, Lawrence NS, Gasston D, Chitnis X, Williams SCR, Sierra M, et al (2008). Cerebral and autonomic responses to emotional facial expressions in depersonalisation disorder. Br J Psychiatry, 193(3), 222-228. Abstract.  Author URL.
Surguladze SA, Elkin A, Ecker C, Kalidindi S, Corsico A, Giampietro V, Lawrence N, Deeley Q, Murphy DGM, Kucharska-Pietura K, et al (2008). Genetic variation in the serotonin transporter modulates neural system-wide response to fearful faces. Genes Brain Behav, 7(5), 543-551. Abstract.  Author URL.
Mataix-Cols D, an SK, Lawrence NS, Caseras X, Speckens A, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, Phillips ML (2008). Individual differences in disgust sensitivity modulate neural responses to aversive/disgusting stimuli. Eur J Neurosci, 27(11), 3050-3058. Abstract.  Author URL.
Jollant F, Lawrence NS, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, Fullana MA, Drapier D, Courtet P, Phillips ML (2008). Orbitofrontal cortex response to angry faces in men with histories of suicide attempts. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, 165(6), 740-748.  Author URL.
Tchanturia K, Liao P-C, Uher R, Lawrence N, Treasure J, Campbell IC (2007). An investigation of decision making in anorexia nervosa using the Iowa Gambling Task and skin conductance measurements. J Int Neuropsychol Soc, 13(4), 635-641. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, an SK, Mataix-Cols D, Ruths F, Speckens A, Phillips ML (2007). Neural Responses to Facial Expressions of Disgust but not Fear are Modulated by Washing Symptoms in OCD. Biological Psychiatry, 61(9), 1072-1080. Abstract.
Caseras X, Mataix-Cols D, an SK, Lawrence NS, Speckens A, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, Phillips ML (2007). Sex differences in neural responses to disgusting visual stimuli: implications for disgust-related psychiatric disorders. Biol Psychiatry, 62(5), 464-471. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, Wooderson S, Mataix-Cols D, David R, Speckens A, Phillips ML (2006). Decision making and set shifting impairments are associated with distinct symptom dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuropsychology, 20(4), 409-419. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lemche E, Giampietro VP, Surguladze SA, Amaro EJ, Andrew CM, Williams SCR, Brammer MJ, Lawrence N, Maier MA, Russell TA, et al (2006). Human attachment security is mediated by the amygdala: evidence from combined fMRI and psychophysiological measures. Hum Brain Mapp, 27(8), 623-635. Abstract.  Author URL.
Kronhaus DM, Lawrence NS, Williams AM, Frangou S, Brammer MJ, Williams SCR, Andrew CM, Phillips ML (2006). Stroop performance in bipolar disorder: Further evidence for abnormalities in the ventral prefrontal cortex. Bipolar Disorders, 8(1), 28-39. Abstract.
Mataix-Cols D, Wooderson S, Lawrence N, Brammer MJ, Speckens A, Phillips ML (2004). Distinct neural correlates of washing, checking, and hoarding symptom dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 61(6), 564-576. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, Williams AM, Surguladze S, Giampietro V, Brammer MJ, Andrew C, Frangou S, Ecker C, Phillips ML (2004). Subcortical and ventral prefrontal cortical neural responses to facial expressions distinguish patients with bipolar disorder and major depression. Biol Psychiatry, 55(6), 578-587. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence N, Oger J, Aziz T, Palace J, Vincent A (2003). A sensitive radioimmunoprecipitation assay for assessing the clinical relevance of antibodies to IFN β. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 74(9), 1236-1239. Abstract.
Lawrence NS, Sharp T, Peters SP, Gray JA, Young AMJ (2003). GABA transmission in the ventral pallidum is not involved in the control of latent inhibition in the rat. Neuroscience, 122(1), 267-275. Abstract.  Author URL.
Lawrence NS, Ross TJ, Hoffmann R, Garavan H, Stein EA (2003). Multiple Neuronal Networks Mediate Sustained Attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15(7), 1028-1038. Abstract.
Lawrence NS, Ross TJ, Stein EA (2002). Cognitive mechanisms of nicotine on visual attention. Neuron, 36(3), 539-548. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gray JA, Kumari V, Lawrence N, Young AMJ (1999). Functions of the dopaminergic innervation of the nucleus accumbens. Psychobiology, 27(2), 225-235. Abstract.


Veling H, Lawrence N (2019). EMPOWERING CONSUMERS TO CHOOSE WHAT THEY WANT: Toward behavior change in a food advertising environment. In  (Ed) The Psychology of Food Marketing and (Over)Eating, 94-109. Abstract.
Veling H, Lawrence N (2019). Empowering consumers to choose what they want. In  (Ed) The Psychology of Food Marketing and (Over)eating, Taylor & Francis, 94-109.


Cohen M, Penton-Voak I, Munafo M, Karl A, Williams H, Lawrence N (2017). Neurocognitive and neuroaffective profiles of young adult offenders with self-reported traumatic brain injury.  Author URL.
van Beurden SB, Greaves CJ, Smith JR, Abraham C, Lawrence N (2016). FACILITATING WEIGHT LOSS WITH THE IMPULSEPAL APP': a FEASIBILITY STUDY.  Author URL.

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External Engagement and Impact

Media Coverage

My research on factors driving snacking behaviour and how to control it has been featured widely in the media e.g.

My research on interventions to help reduce snacking behaviour has also been widely reported, e.g.

I have also conducted BBC radio and web interviews on these topics.


I have been involved in developing science-engagement with policy-makers. With colleagues from across GW4 I conducted scoping research on a proposed UK Evidence Information Service, with funding support from the Catalyst (public engagement) grant, the University of Exeter and GW4. For more information please see:

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PSY1207 Cognition, Emotion and Development

PSY3427 Compulsive Behaviour

PSY3401 Research Project

GRC1104 Grand Challenges Food for Thought

I supervise BSc, MSc, PhD and clinical psychology trainee research projects



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Supervision / Group

Research Fellows

  • Samantha van Beurden

Postgraduate researchers

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Office Hours:

Office Hours for Term 1 in 2023/24 are:

  • Tuesdays 9-10 am (in WSL 232)
  • Thursdays 12.30-1.30 pm (in WSL 232)

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