UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Prof Valerie Curran

Prof Valerie Curran


Gower St


  • Professor of Psychopharmacology
    Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology
    Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL


Research Themes

My research interests include: 1. Using psychotropic drugs as probes to explore and thereby enhance our understanding of the neurotransmitter basis of cognitive and emotional processing. 2. Differentiating the actions of different cannabinoids on schizotypal symptoms, cognition and addiction-related processes (e.g. salience; impulsivity). 3. Exploring pharmacological models of psychotic symptoms such as delusions using ketamine and cannabinoids in both challenge studies (acute administration to healthy volunteers) and natural populations of chronic users of these substances. 4. Studying users of 'recreational' drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis ketamine to examine the short- and long-term effects of these substances on cognition, emotion and the brain. 5. Comparing recreational users with people who have become addicted to psychotropic drugs such as opiates, alcohol and ketamine in order to elucidaste processes involved in the transition from drug use to drug addiction. 6. How prescribed opiates for pain patients affect cognition, emotional processing and the perception of pain-related stimuli. 4.
Award year Qualification Institution
1990 Dip.
Clinical Psychology
To be updated
1979 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Developmental Psychology
University of London
1977 MA
Master of Arts
Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge
1973 BA Hons
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Natural Sciences Tripos Part II: Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge


Addiction|*|Behaviour|*|Brain imaging|*|Clinical trials|*|Cognition|*|Cognitive psychopharmacology|*|Drug abuse - neurological consequences|*|Executive function|*|Face recognition|*|Glutamate|*|Memory|*|Motivation|*|Neuroimaging|*|Neuropsychological testing|*|Neuropsychology|*|Pain - chronic|*|Positron Emission Tomography (PET)|*|Psychopharmacology|*|Reward|*|Schizophrenia and related disorders|*|Working memory|*|cognition and emotion|*|psychotropic drugs|*|substance abuse and dependence