Department of Psychology

Professor Alan Pickering

Position held:
Professor of Psychology and Academic Director Goldsmiths / Queen Mary Doctoral Training Centre

Phone:
+44 (0)20 7919 7894

Fax:
+44 (0)20 7919 7873

Email:
a.pickering (@gold.ac.uk)

Website:
http://homepages.gold.ac.uk/aphome/

Address:
Room 314 Whitehead Building,
Department of Psychology,
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE14 6NW

Office hours:
by appointment

Summary of research

  • Biological bases of personality traits and their influence on cognitive and motivational processes;
  • related psychopathologies (anxiety, addiction, schizophrenia);
  • dopamine and behaviour;
  • computational models of learning and cognitive control;
  • statistical methods in psychology.

Academic qualifications

 BA PhD

Teaching

Advanced Statistics (3rd year BSc Psychology; MSc Occupational Psychology; MRes Reseach Methods in Psychology;  MPhil/PhD Research training).

 

Areas of supervision

Practical projects for BSc and MSc students are those which seek to investigate how aspects of motivated learning (eg under the control of small rewards and/or punishments), cognitive control, or probabilistic reasoning, relate to biologically-based personality traits (such as extraversion, impulsivity, anxiety, schizotypy) and/or indirect markers of brain dopaminergic functioning (e.g. eyeblink rate). I am particularly interested in students who want to explore how the ideas emerging from formal computational models might be tested in these studies although students need not have any programming skills in order to do these projects.

For PhDs there is the opportunity to explore a wider range of convergent methods to address these research topics: EEG and neuroimaging; the influence of specific genotypes; looking at behaviours in relevant psychopathologies (addiction, schizophrenia).

I am particularly keen on PhD students with computational skills and/or interest in modelling; such students will extend the computational models of the processes of interest and test their predictions. Prior programming experience is an advantage here but is not necessary as training can be provided.

Professional activities

Committee Member of the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences (BSPID)

BSPID website: http://www.bspid.org.uk

Member Memory Disorders Research Society

Assistant Editor, Addiction

Keynote lectures

  • Pickering, A.D. (September, 2011). The psychobiology of major personality dimensions: From genetics to computational models. Opening keynote address to the 1st Meeting of the Latin-American Association for the Investigation of Individual Differences. Castellon, Spain.
  • Pickering, A.D. (July, 2011). Recruiting neuroscience to sharpen personality research. Keynote address presented at the 2nd Annual Conference of the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences. London.

Conferences

(*presenting author)

Pickering, A.D.*, Dawkins, L., & Powell, J.H. (July, 2011). Personality makes the difference: The value of including individual differences variables when studying the psychopharmacology of addiction. Paper presented at the 15th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID). London.

Pickering, A.D.* & Tharp, I.J. (April, 2010). Understanding factors influencing the choices made by impulsive sensation seeking people: A cognitive neuroscience approach. Paper presented at the inaugural meeting of the British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences, Edinburgh.

Pickering, A. D.*, Tharp, I.J., & Pesola, F. (July, 2009). Why Complex Biocognitive Theories of Personality Need to Adopt Formal Modelling Approaches. Paper presented at the 14th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID), Chicago, USA. (and co-chaired the Symposium of which this paper was part.)

Tharp I. J.*, Pickering A. D., Smillie L. D., & Cooper A. J. (July, 2009). Individual differences in cognitive control during attentional and rule-based set-shifting. Paper presented at the 14th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID), Chicago, USA.

Pickering, A.*, Pesola, F., & Tharp, I. (July, 2008). Building bottom-up cognitive neuroscience models of personality. Paper presented at the 14th European Conference on Personality. Tartu, Estonia.

Pickering, A* & Pesola, F. (April, 2008) Reward prediction errors and reinforcement sensitivity theory: A neurobiological account. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the British Psychological Association, Dublin.

Research interests

My research is focused on the way certain brain systems (particularly those which are modulated by the neurotransmitter dopamine) deliver behaviours such as learning (particularly under reward or punishment) and cognitive control. These interests are investigated via convergent methods: by exploring how biologically-based personality traits (such as extraversion, impulsivity, anxiety, schizotypy) may reflect or influence these processes; by investigating relevant behaviours in individuals with conditions such as schizophrenia and addiction; by neuroimaging to study the brain location and timing of the cognitive and motivational components of interest; and by creating formal computational models that will ultimately allow better tests of the hypotheses proposed.

Selected publications

Number of items: 37.

Article

Pickering, Alan, Cooper, Andrew, Smillie, Luke and Corr, Philip. 2013. On the shoulders of giants. The Psychologist, 26(1), pp. 22-25. ISSN 0952-8229 [Article]

Cochrane, Mary, Petch, Ian and Pickering, Alan. 2012. Aspects of cognitive functioning in schizotypy and schizophrenia: Evidence for a continuum model. Psychiatry Research, 196(2/3), pp. 230-234. ISSN 0165-1781 [Article]

Perkins, Adam M, Inchley-Mort, Sophie L, Pickering, Alan, Corr, Philip J and Burgess, Adrian P. 2012. A facial expression for anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(5), pp. 910-924. ISSN 0022-3514 [Article]

Smillie, Luke D., Cooper, Andrew and Pickering, Alan. 2011. Individual differences in reward-prediction-error: extraversion and feedback-related negativity. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(5), pp. 646-652. ISSN 1749-5016 [Article]

Powell, Jane H., Dawkins, Lynne, Pickering, Alan, West, Robert and Powell, John F.. 2010. Relapse to smoking during unaided cessation: Clinical, cognitive, and motivational predictors. Psychopharmacology, pp. 1-13. ISSN 0033-3158 [Article]

Cochrane, Mary, Petch, Ian and Pickering, Alan. 2010. Do measures of schizotypal personality provide non-clinical analogues of schizophrenic symptomatology? Psychiatry Research, 176(2), pp. 150-154. ISSN 0165-1781 [Article]

Smillie, Luke D., Cooper, Andrew, Proitsi, Petroula, Powell, John F. and Pickering, Alan. 2010. Variation in DRD2 dopamine gene predicts extraverted personality. Neuroscience Letters, 468(3), pp. 234-237. ISSN 03043940 [Article]

Cochrane, Mary, Petch, Ian and Pickering, Alan. 2010. Do measures of schizotypal personality provide non-clinical analogues of schizophrenic symptomatology? Psychiatry Research, 176(2-3), pp. 150-154. [Article]

Powell, Jane H., Dawkins, Lynne, West, Robert, Powell, John and Pickering, Alan. 2010. Relapse to smoking during unaided cessation: clinical, cognitive and motivational predictors. Psychopharmacology, 212(4), pp. 537-549. ISSN 0033-3158 [Article]

Dawkins, Lynne, Powell, Jane H., Pickering, Alan, Powell, John F. and West, Robert. 2009. Patterns of change in withdrawal symptoms, desire to smoke, reward motivation and response inhibition across 3 months of smoking abstinence. Addiction, 104(5), pp. 850-858. ISSN 0965-2140 [Article]

Steel, Craig, Hemsley, David R and Pickering, Alan. 2007. Associations between schizotypal personality traits and the facilitation and inhibition of the speed of contextually cued responses. Psychiatry research, 150(2), pp. 131-140. ISSN 0165-1781 [Article]

Powell, Jane H., Dawkins, Lynne, Pickering, Alan and West, Robert. 2007. A double-blind placebo-controlled experimental study of nicotine: II-Effects on response inhibition and executive functioning. Psychopharmacology, 190(4), pp. 457-468. ISSN 00333158 [Article]

Steel, Craig, Hemsley, David and Pickering, Alan. 2007. Associations between schizotypal personality traits and the facilitation and inhibition of the speed of contextually cued responses. Psychiatry Research, 150(2), pp. 131-141. ISSN 01651781 [Article]

Pickering, Alan, Dawkins, Lynne, Powell, Jane H. and West, Robert. 2006. A double-blind placebo controlled experimental study of nicotine: I - effects on incentive motivation. Psychopharmacology, 189(3), pp. 355-367. ISSN 00333158 [Article]

Smillie, Luke D., Pickering, Alan and Jackson, Chris J.. 2006. The new reinforcement sensitivity theory: Implications for personality measurement. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(4), pp. 320-335. ISSN 10888683 [Article]

Pickering, Alan, Davidoff, Jules B., Fagot, J. and Goldstein, J.. 2006. Cross-species differences in color categorization. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 13(2), pp. 275-280. ISSN 10699384 [Article]

Powell, Jane H., Pickering, Alan, Dawkins, Lynne, West, Robert and Powell, John F.. 2004. Cognitive and psychological correlates of smoking abstinence, and predictors of successful cessation. Addictive Behaviors, 29(7), pp. 1407-1426. ISSN 03064603 [Article]

Valentine, Tim , Darling, S. and Pickering, Alan. 2003. Characteristics of eyewitness identification that predict the outcome of real lineups. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(8), pp. 969-993. ISSN 08884080 [Article]

Pickering, Alan, Hemsley, D., Gray, N. and Gray, J.. 2002. The partial reinforcement extinction effect in humans: Effects of schizophrenia, schizotypy and low doses of amphetamine. Behavioural Brain Research, 133(2), pp. 333-342. ISSN 01664328 [Article]

Steel, C, Hemsley, DR and Pickering, Alan. 2002. Distractor cueing effects on choice reaction time and their relationship with schizotypal personality. British journal of clinical psychology, 41(2), pp. 143-156. ISSN 0144-6657 [Article]

Bateman, Andrew, Culpan, Jane, Pickering, Alan, Powell, Jane H., Scott, Oona and Greenwood, Richard. 2001. The effect of aerobic training on rehabilitation outcomes after recent severe brain injury: A randomized controlled evaluation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 82(2), pp. 174-182. ISSN 00039993 [Article]

Tata, Philip R, Leibowitz, Judy A, Prunty, Mark J, Cameron, Mary and Pickering, Alan. 1996. Attentional bias in obsessional compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 34(1), pp. 53-60. ISSN 0005-7967 [Article]

Peters, Emmanuelle R, Pickering, Alan and Hemsley, David R. 1994. "Cognitive inhibition" and positive symptomatology in schizotypy. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 33(1), pp. 33-48. ISSN 0144-6657 [Article]

Gray, NS, Pickering, Alan, Hemsley, DR, Dawling, S and Gray, JA. 1992. Abolition of latent inhibition by a single 5 mg dose ofd-amphetamine in man. Psychopharmacology, 107(2), pp. 425-430. ISSN 0033-3158 [Article]

Book Section

Mullensiefen, Daniel, Davies, Christopher, Dossman, Lauri, Hansen, Jon Ludvig and Pickering, Alan. 2013. Implicit and Explicit Effects of Music on Brand Perception in TV Ads. In: C Ringe, K Bronner and R Hirt, eds. Audio Branding Academy Yearbook 2012/2013. Hamburg: Audio Branding Academy, pp. 139-153. ISBN 9783832978785 [Book Section]

Ferguson, Eamonn, Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas, Pickering, Alan and Weiss, Alexander. 2011. Five Into One Doesn’t Go: A Critique of the General Factor of Personality. In: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Sophie von Stumm and Adrian Furnham, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Individual Differences. London: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4443-3438-8 [Book Section]

Pickering, Alan. 2008. Formal and computational models of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory. In: Philip J. Corr, ed. The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 453-480. ISBN 9780521617369 [Book Section]

Pickering, Alan and Corr, Philip. 2008. J.A.Gray's reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) of personality. In: Gregory Boyle, Gerald Matthews and Donald Saklofske, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Personality: Theory and Assessment Personality Measurement and Testing (Volume 2). London, New Delhi and Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 239-255. ISBN 9781412946520 [Book Section]

Pickering, Alan and Smillie, Luke D.. 2008. The behavioural activation system: Challenges and opportunities. In: Philip J. Corr, ed. The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 120-153. ISBN 9780521617369 [Book Section]

Pickering, Alan and Gray, JA. 2001. Dopamine, appetitive reinforcement, and the neuropsychology of human learning: An individual differences approach. In: , ed. Advances in Research on Temperament. Germany: PABST Science Publishers Lengerich,, Germany, pp. 113-149. ISBN 3-936142-07-6 [Book Section]

This list was generated on Mon Sep 29 23:08:57 2014 BST.


Content last modified: 20 Dec 2013

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