Richard Hammersley

Professor Richard Hammersley

Professor of Health Psychology

Faculty of Health Sciences

School of Life Sciences

01482 465593

Richard Hammersley became a psychologist because he was fascinated by animal behaviour as a child and because his headmaster advised him to become a lawyer or a doctor instead.

He remains fascinated, or perhaps perplexed, by human behaviour and nowadays he studies the psychology of drug and alcohol use and addiction, and the psychology of human feeding behaviour.

He did his undergraduate degree at Edinburgh and his PhD in memory at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge (now the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit).

Since then he has worked at UCSD, Lethbridge, all three universities in Glasgow, Sheffield, Swansea, Essex and Hull.


Research Interests

  • Ingestion: The study of the psychological and sociological processes underlying the consumption of food, drugs and alcohol

  • Using constraint theory of addiction to understand the cognitive architecture of how people control their substance use

  • The effects of sugar on mood and behaviour

  • The life stories of people who have injected drugs

  • The effects of cannabis use on pain perception and cognitive function

  • The cognitive processes which mediate how drugs and foods affect mood

  • The social construction and management of substance use and substance use problems

  • Adolescent substance use and offending

Research groups

  • Closest collaborator is Marie Reid, especially for work on ingestion, food and mood. Together, we collaborate with various clinical colleagues - please see her pages.

  • Research drug problems with colleagues in social sciences (Iain Brennan, Luke Cartwright, Adam Calvery).

  • Continuing research links with Scottish Drugs Forum, and part of the international Addiction Theory Network.


Hammersley R & Dalgarno P (2012), Drugs Policy and Practice, Series 12, Edinburgh: Dunedin Press.

Hammersley R, Reid M & Atkin S L (2014), 'How to Measure Mood in Nutrition Research', Nutrition Research Reviews, 27, 284–294.

Thatcher N, Sathyapalan T, Hammersley R, Rigby A, Pechlivanis A, Gooderham N, Holmes E, Le Roux C, Atkin S (2015), 'Aspartame Sensitivity? A Double Blind Randomised Crossover Study', PLOS One, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116212.

Hammersley R, Dalgarno P, McCollum S, Reid M, Strike Y, Smith A, Wallace J, Smart A, Jack M & Liddell D (2016), 'Trauma in the Childhood Stories of People who have Injected Drugs', Addiction Research and Theory, 24, 131-151.

Reid M, Hammersley R, Duffy M & Ballantyne C (2014), 'Effects on Obese Women of the Sugar Sucrose added to the Diet over 28 Days, a Quasi-randomised, Single Blind, Controlled Trial', British Journal of Nutrition, 3: 563-570.


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Changing Health Behaviours

  • Personality Psychology

  • Also contribute material on addictions to other modules

Research PhDs

Prof Hammersley supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. He will consider supervising dissertations on addiction, ingestion, or on health psychology more widely.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • MA (Hons) Edinburgh

  • PhD MRC Applied Psychology Unit Cambridge

External roles

Current Collaborations

  • Life Stories of people who have injected drugs, with Scottish Drugs Forum, funded by the Big Lottery Research Fund

  • Assistant Editor of the journals Addiction and Addiction Research and Theory