Department of Psychology
Welsh Crucible 2017 participant and award holder: www.welshcrucible.org.uk/2017-2/
I am particularly interested in the emotional mechanisms underpinning emotional eating and body mass index, and notably, the possible role of alexithymia; a personality trait characterised by difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing them from the somatic sensations accompanying emotion, difficulty describing feelings to other people, constricted imaginal processes, and a stimulus-bound, externally oriented thinking style. More recently, I have also become interested in whether the experience of feeling fat may mediate the relationship between alexithymia and emotional eating, and in turn body mass index.
I have also collaborated on research exploring the link between eating behaviour, body mass index and the novel interoceptive indices; interoceptive metacognitive awareness and interoceptive prediction error, as well as the traditional measures; interoceptive accuracy and interoceptive sensibility. We found that emotional eaters were characterised by a heightened interoceptive signal but reduced meta-cognitive awareness of their interoceptive abilities. In addition, emotional eating correlated with interoceptive prediction error; effects that could not be accounted for by differences in anxiety and depression.
I am also keen to explore ways to make research accessible for everyone and routinely participate in public engagement events (e.g., British Science Festival; Swansea Science Festival).