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Undergraduate courses

Dr Leigh Gibson

Dr Leigh Gibson

Reader (Psychology)

Department of Psychology


Leigh Gibson read Psychology and Physiology at the University of London, and then completed a PhD and post-doctoral fellowship at the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, studying mechanisms by which nutrients in food influence food choice and appetite. In 1989, Leigh joined the Institute of Neurology in London, to work on the neurochemistry of appetite, anxiety and stress. In 1993, he joined the Health Behaviour Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry, and then moved with the HBU to the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL, in 1996, where, as Senior Research Fellow, he studied food choice, appetite, and their interactions with stress and health. In 2004, Leigh joined the School of Human and Life Sciences, University of Roehampton.

Leigh is currently a Reader in Biopsychology, and Director of the Clinical and Health Psychology Research Centre within the recently formed Department of Psychology


BSc, PhD, C Psychol, R Nutr

Research interests

Leigh Gibson's current research is concerned with influences on appetite and food choice, and their interaction with stress, health, and cognitive and emotional well-being. The work is aimed at understanding processes controlling people's habitual diet, attempts at dietary change, weight control and disordered eating. His work derives mainly from psychological and physiological mechanisms underlying dietary habit formation, especially the role of learning, but also including influences of nutrition and stress on brain/behaviour and cardiovascular adaptations protecting health.

For a detailed profile of Leigh's research publications, please visit this site:

Membership of professional bodies

British Psychological Society; British Neuroscience Association; Nutrition Society; Association for the Study of Obesity; Association for Nutrition; Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

Consultancy experience

Dr Leigh Gibson has acted as an expert consultant for the food and drink industry, including Unilever, the Natural Hydration Council and the International Life Sciences Institute.

Teaching interests

Leigh contributes lectures to a broad range of modules across the Departments of Psychology and Life Sciences, including those for Nutrition, Health and Sports Science undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as in Psychology. He currently convenes several psychological modules including "Experiencing Psychological Research", "Mind, Body and Brain" and an MSc module, "Experimental Design, Data Collection and Analysis". Leigh is also a visiting lecturer at King's College London.




Hetherington, M.M., Cunningham, K., Dye, L., Gibson, E.L., Gregersen, N.T., Halford, J.C.G., Lawton, C.L., Lluch, A., Mela, D.J., & Van Trijp, H.C.M. (2013) Potential benefits of satiety to the consumer: scientific considerations. Nutrition Research Reviews, 26, 22-38.

Gibson, E. L. (2012). The psychobiology of comfort eating: implications for neuropharmacological interventionsBehavioural Pharmacology, 23, 442-460.

 Nixon, C.A., Moore, H.J., Douthwaite, W., Gibson, E.L., Vogele, C., Kreichauf, S., Wildgruber, A., Manios,Y., & Summerbell, C.D. (2012)  Identifying effective behavioural models and behaviour change strategies underpinning preschool‐and school‐based obesity prevention interventions aimed at 4–6‐year‐olds: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 13 (s1), 106-117.

Gibson, E.L., Kreichauf, S., Wildgruber, A., Vögele, C., Summerbell,C.D., Nixon, C., Moore, H., Douthwaite, W., & Manios, Y. (2012) A narrative review of psychological and educational strategies applied to young children's eating behaviours aimed at reducing obesity risk. Obesity Reviews, 13 (s1), 85-95.

Kreichauf, S., Wildgruber, A., Krombholz, H., Gibson, E.L., Vögele, C., Nixon, C.A., Douthwaite, W., Moore, H.J., Manios, Y., & Summerbell, C.D. (2012) Critical narrative review to identify educational strategies promoting physical activity in preschool.  Obesity Reviews, 13 (s1), 96-105.

 Summerbell, C.D., Moore, H.J., Vögele, C., Kreichauf, S., Wildgruber, A., Manios, Y., Douthwaite, W., Nixon, C.A. & Gibson, E.L. (2012) Evidence‐based recommendations for the development of obesity prevention programs targeted at preschool children. Obesity Reviews, 13 (s1), 129-132.

 Dovey,T.M., Aldridge, V.K., Dignan, W., Staples, P.A., Gibson, E.L., & Halford, J.C.G. (2012) Developmental differences in sensory decision making involved in deciding to try a novel fruit. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17, 258-272.

Wardle J., Chida Y., Gibson E. L., Whitaker K. L. & Steptoe A. (2011) Stress and adiposity: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Obesity, 19, 771-778. 

Dovey, T. M., Staples, P. A., Gibson, E. L. & Halford, J. C. G. (2008). Food neophobia and 'picky/fussy' eating in children: a review. Appetite, 50, 181-193.

Brown, K.A., Ogden, J., Vögele, C. & Gibson,, E.L. (2008). The role of parental control practices in explaining children's diet and BMI. Appetite, 50, 252-259.

Steptoe, A., Gibson, E. L., Vuononvirta, R., Williams, E. D., Hamer, M., Rycroft, J. A., Erusalimsky, J. D. & Wardle, J. (2007). The effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial. Psychopharmacology, 190, 81-89.

Gibson, E. L. (2007) Carbohydrates and mental function: feeding or impeding the brain? Nutrition Bulletin, 32 Suppl., 71-83.

Hamer, M., Williams, E. D., Vuononvirta, R., Gibson, E. L. & Steptoe, A. (2006) Association between coffee consumption and markers of inflammation and cardiovascular function during mental stress. Journal of Hypertension, 24, 2191-2197.

Gibson, E. L. (2006). Mood, emotions and food choice. In R. Shepherd & M. Raats, Psychology of food choice, pp. 113-140. Nutrition Society Frontiers in Nutritional Science series, CAB International: Wallingford.

Cooke, L., Wardle, J., Gibson, E. L., Sapochnik, M., Sheiham, A. & Lawson, M. (2004). Demographic, familial and trait predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption by preschool children. Public Health Nutrition, 7, 295-302.

Gibson, E. L. (2004). An appraisal of the FSA's 'Review of Promotion of Food to Children'. Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 124, 62-63.

Wardle, J., Cooke, L., Gibson, E. L., Sapochnik, M., Sheiham, A. & Lawson, M. (2003). Increasing children's acceptance of vegetables: a randomized trial of parent-led exposure. Appetite, 40, 155-162.

Gibson, E.L. & Wardle, J. (2003). Energy density predicts preferences for fruit and vegetables in four-year-old children. Appetite, 41, 97-98.

Wardle, J., Herrera, M-L., Cooke, L. & Gibson, E. L. (2003). Modifying children's food preferences: the effects of exposure and reward on acceptance of an unfamiliar vegetable. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 341-348.

Gibson, E. L. & Green, M. W. (2002). Nutritional influences on cognitive function: mechanisms of susceptibility. Nutrition Research Reviews, 15, 169-206.

Gibson, E. L. and Wardle, J. (2001). Effect of contingent hunger state on development of appetite for a novel fruit snack. Appetite, 37, 97-101.

Oliver, G., Wardle, J. & Gibson, E. L. (2000). Stress and food choice: a laboratory study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62, 853-865.


Gibson, E. L., Green, M. W. & Dyall, S. C.  (2013). Behavior: Effects of Diet on Behavior. In: Caballero B. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, third edition, Volume 1, pp. 129-141. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.

Gibson, E. L. (2011) Emotional and behavioral aspects of chocolate eating. In V. R. Preedy, R. R. Watson & C. R. Martin (Eds), Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition. pp. 601-620. Springer: New York. 

Gibson, E. L. & Rycroft, J. A. (2011) Psychological and physiological consequences of drinking tea. In V. R. Preedy, R. R. Watson & C. R. Martin (Eds), Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition, pp. 621-636. Springer: New York.

Vögele, C. & Gibson, E. L. (2010) Mood, emotions and eating disorders. In W. S. Agras (Ed), The Oxford Handbook of Eating Disorders, pp. 180-205. Oxford University Press: New York.

Gibson, E. L. & Brunstrom, J. M. (2007) Learned influences on appetite and food intake: Evidence in human beings. In S. J. Cooper & T. C. Kirkham (Eds.) Appetite and Body Weight: Integrative Systems and the Development of Anti-Obesity Drugs, pp. 271-300. Academic Press, Elsevier: London.

Gibson, E. L. & Green, M. W. (2005). Effects of diet on behaviour. In B. Caballero, L. Allen & A. Prentice (Eds) Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, 2nd Ed, pp. 183-195. Elsevier Science: Oxford.

Wardle, J. & Gibson, E.L. (2002). Impact of stress on diet: processes and implications. In S. Stansfeld & M. G. Marmot (Eds), Stress and the heart: psychosocial pathways to coronary heart disease, pp. 124-149. BMJ Books: London.

Gibson EL (2001). Learning in the development of food cravings. In M. M. Hetherington (Ed), Food cravings and addiction, pp.193-234. Leatherhead Publishing: Leatherhead.

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