Psychology of Eating in Adults and Children (PEACh) Research Group

PEACh logo

The Psychology of Eating in Adults and Children Research Group investigates the psychology underpinning human eating behaviour from the earliest stages of life, through childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. Our work examines biopsychological, affective, psychopharmacological, cognitive, and social influences on eating behaviour and adiposity.

Projects exploit a wide range of methods, including experimental studies of responses to food stimuli and manipulations of eating behaviour, longitudinal designs, observational methods and intervention design and evaluation.

We study pregnant women, the fetus, infants, children, adolescents, young and older adults, and our studies include healthy and clinical populations (e.g. obesity, autism, diabetes, mental health problems).

Our interests span from basic physiological processes involved in eating (e.g. taste perception, neural mechanisms of appetite regulation and food choice), to cognitive processes (e.g. biases of memory and attention), and social influences on food selection and intake (e.g. parent feeding practices, social norms, cultural effects). Our interventions are diverse, ranging from those based in community settings to e-health and apps.

Our work has been funded by NIHR, ESRC, BBSRC, MRC, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust, industry and small charities, and we are very active in public engagement in science. 

 

Prof Jacqueline Blissett

Professor Jacqueline Blissett

Jackie is a Professor of Childhood Eating Behaviour. Jackie has been working in the field of children’s eating behaviour for over twenty years. Her research focuses on biological, affective and cognitive factors of parents and their children which influence parent-child interaction, particularly in the context of feeding and eating problems and childhood obesity.  

Claire Farrow

Dr Claire Farrow 

Claire is a Reader in Child Eating Behaviour. Claire is interested in the factors that influence weight, eating behaviour and fussy eating in children.She has expertise in longitudinal and observational research with families and children and has developed several apps to support healthy eating in children. 

Dr Robert Nash

Dr Robert Nash

Rob conducts experimental research on the psychology of memory and cognition, in particular looking at memory for past events and experiences. He studies factors that shape the accuracy of what we remember, and their implications in legal, educational, and health contexts.

Dr Jason Thomas

Dr Jason Michael Thomas

Jason is interested in the biopsychological aspects of human eating behaviour, and interventions aimed at altering food intake and food selection to improve health. He is particularly interested in psychopharmacological, cognitive, and social influences on human eating behaviour.

 

Nikki Salmon

Nicola-Jayne Salmon

My PhD research aims to investigate the effects of vegetable consumption on psychological health and cognition

Lily Hawkins

Lily Hawkins

My PhD research aims to investigate whether social media affects our perceptions of what most people eat, what we choose to eat and our body weight.

Nabila Jones

Nabila Jones

My PhD research aims to examine the impact of visual impairment on nutritional status and quality of life. 

Chris Delivett

 Chris Delivett

My PhD research aims to investigate the way people form different memories for healthy and unhealthy eating episodes.

 

Emma Alving-Jessop

 Emma Alving-Jessop

My PhD project is examining the longitudinal relationships between infant feeding practices, infant gut microbiome and development.

Becky Clarke image

Rebecca Clarke

My PhD research aims to investigate comorbid obesity in paediatric asthma and how to improve weight management in this population.

Bec Stone Image

Rebecca Stone

My PhD is exploring the development of emotional eating in young children and the influences of parenting and child temperament on emotionally driven eating behaviour.

Post-Doc opportunities

If you are a PhD qualified researcher from outside of the UK and are interested in applying for a Marie-Curie Fellowship to come and work at Aston on projects of mutual interest (related to eating behaviour or weight) please contact us for further details (also see here).

PhD opportunities

If you are interested in applying for a PhD in the field of eating behaviour (adult or child eating behaviour) please contact us directly by email for further details of potential projects. 

Masters and researcher volenteers

Are you interested in studying for a masters in Health Psychology at Aston? Find out more about the on-campus and online programmes.

Please contact us directly if you are interested in volunteering as a researcher with the PEACh Research group.  

As an active research group we regularly need participants to complete studies. By way of a thank you those who take part will often receive additional rewards such as research credits (for applicable students), Amazon vouchers or money. Please see individual projects for full details.

All live studies are listed below, if you’d like to take part please contact the research listed via email to express your interest.  

Food & Cognitive Performance

Reward: 20 RPS credits + £5 Amazon voucher

Duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Tasks: Eating a lunch meal (free food!), completing surveys and cognitive tasks

Eligibility requirements: Healthy adults

Preparation: Participants must not eat 2 hours before the study

Contact: kazism@aston.ac.uk

 

Lifestyle Habits, Wellbeing & Cognition

Reward: 20 RPS credits + £5 Amazon voucher

Duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Tasks: Eating a lunch meal (free food!), completing surveys and cognitive tasks

Eligibility requirements: Healthy adults

Preparation: Participants must not consume caffeine 24 hours prior OR eat 2 hours before the study

Contact: n.tuck@aston.ac.uk

 

Instagram Use, Lifestyle Habits & Body Weight

Reward: 9 RPS credits OR £5 Amazon voucher + entered into £50 Amazon voucher prize draw

Duration: 45 minutes

Tasks: Completing surveys, computer based tasks and rating snack foods (free food!)

Eligibility requirements: Healthy female students

Preparation: Participants must not eat 2 hours before the study

Contact: hawkinl3@aston.ac.uk

We have developed a range of resources, examples of which are below:

Vegetable Maths Masters

Vegetable Maths Masters is a free maths app using vegetables for children aged 3-8 years. Children can practice maths skills whilst playing with real images of vegetables in a fun way which also teaches children about the names of the vegetables and helps to make them more familiar. Repeated exposure to vegetables is key to helping children to like them and Vegetable Maths Masters offers this opportunity in a fun way whilst also supporting Maths skills. The app is underpinned by Psychological research evidence about effective ways to support children’s food acceptance and has been funded by the charity: the British Psychological Society. It is free to download and advertisement free. Find out more and download here.

Vegetable maths

Child Feeding Guide

The Child Feeding Guide (co-developed by Emma Haycraft, Claire Farrow, and Gemma Witcomb) includes a website, a web app and online training courses.  The aim of these resources is to provide effective, evidence-based support to parents, caregivers, and professionals around feeding children. The Child Feeding Guide has more than 45,000 users, is shared by the NHS as part of its Information Service for Parents, and is supported and endorsed by a range of professional groups. It is available here.

Child Feeding Guide

Recent Media Engagement

  • Dr Claire Farrow took part in online expert Q&A session with Parenting Science Gang (a Welcome Trust funded public engagement group). The full transcript can be read here
  • Professor Jackie Blissett contributed to BBC Terrific Scientific (a BBC initiative to support science learning in primary schools). Jackie supported their investigations about Taste, and featured in a Live Lesson which you can watch here.
  • Professor Jackie Blissett talked to the Parenting Science Gang about positive feeding relationships. The full transcript can be read here.
  • Dr Rob Nash gave a talk at TEDxBrum at Birmingham Hippodrome in October 2017, about the ways in which our memories of past events can be unreliable. Click here to watch.
  • Professor Jackie Blissett appeared on BBC Radio World Service ‘The Food Chain’, discussing fussy eating. Click here to listen.
  • Professor Jackie Blissett appeared on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, discussing how to deal with a fussy eater. Click here to listen.