UCL Psychology and Language Sciences



Brain colour graphic

We are proud to be a part of UCL’s remarkable neuroscience community,

investigating the neurobiology of risk and resilience in adults and children across the entire human lifespan. We conduct research into: psychopathology (including psychosis, anxiety, affect regulation, personality, addiction); developmental problems (involving attachment, conduct disorders and cognition); neurotrauma and resultant impairments. A broad range of techniques are used, including MRI, EEG, electrophysiology, genetics, twin studies and virtual reality. We develop a neuroscientific understanding of the origins and maintaining factors of these problems, which can help in developing new interventions, provide clear assessment of impairments and progression of pathology, and thus inform clinical and educational activities. 

You will find details of specific programmes of research within individual researchers’ profiles, and in the teaching and research pages for our Doctoral and Masters training courses.

Risk and Resilience Following Childhood Maltreatment: A Longitudinal Investigation

PI: Eamon McCrory

Co-Is: Essi Viding, Andrea Mechelli

£806,503 Economic and Social Research Council (2013-2017)

Childhood maltreatment continues to represent a major societal problem. The NSPCC have reported that almost one in five adolescents in the UK report experiencing severe maltreatment. Exposure to maltreatment significantly increases a child's risk of later mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Over the last decade neuroscience has begun to shed light on why early adversity may be associated with future problems – but there are many important questions we still need to answer. Do the 'neural markers' associated with maltreatment go away over time or do they persist? Are these neural markers associated with future symptoms of anxiety or depression? Do brain changes differ across boys and girls? And what do we know about resilience? We plan to answer these questions by carrying out a longitudinal fMRI study comparing children exposed to maltreatment with matched peers. We hope that our research will contribute to a better understanding of the impact of maltreatment 

Freeman, TP, Das RK, Kamboj SK, Curran HV (2015) Dopamine, urges to smoke, and the relative salience of drug versus non-drug reward. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. 

Hindocha C, Shaban ND, Freeman TP, Das RK, Gale G, Schafer G, Falconer CJ, Morgan CJ, Curran HV (2015). Associations between cigarette smoking and cannabis dependence: A longitudinal study of young cannabis users in the United Kingdom. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.004

Terrett J, McLennan, Henry, Biernacki, Mercuri, Curran HV, & Rendell P (2014) Prospective memory impairment in long-term opiate users. Psychopharmacology, 231:2623-32

Bloomfield, M. A. P., Morgan, C. J. A., Egerton, A., Kapur, S., Curran, H. V., & Howes, O. D. (2014) Dopa­minergic function in cannabis users and its relationship to cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms. Biological Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.05.027