Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content
ReciteMe accessibility toolbar button

Dr Helen Knight

Home / About / Academic staff profiles / Psychology / Helen Knight

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

I obtained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (First Class) from the University of Glasgow in 2009, and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from Durham University in 2010. I began my PhD, also at Durham University, in 2011 and completed this in 2014.

My main area of research lies in the study of cognitive biases in motivational behaviour. Specifically, I examine the role of attention, biases of visual attentional, and approach/avoidance biases in motivational behaviours. These motivational behaviours include alcohol consumption, other addictive behaviours (such as problem gambling), and eating behaviours (such as voluntary diet choice). I also examine cognitive modules of attention and how cognitive control mechanisms are used to minimise distractions caused by cognitive biases. These feed into the examination of the neurobiology of cognitive control via the neurostimulation technique transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

Teaching and supervision

Module Leader for:
  • PSY332 Empirical Project
  • PSY374 Brain Plasticity
  • PSY375 Addiction 
  • PSY378 Psychology of Addiction
  • PSYM94 Biological Psychology and Addiction

I am Personal Tutor for undergraduate students and supervise final year undergraduate research projects and Masters research projects. I also teach on our MSc Conversion and our online MSc Psychology courses.

Research interests for potential research students

  • Addiction
  • Attentional bias (in a range of psychopathologies)
  • Cognitive bias in motivational behaviour
  • Eating behaviours
  • Asexuality
  • Neural stimulation techniques


My main area of research lies in the study of cognitive biases in motivational behaviour. Primarily this surrounds addictive behaviours (such as alcohol consumption and gambling), and eating behaviours.

My secondary research areas are in: asexuality as a sexual orientation, post-concussion syndrome, and attention in neurodiverse populations.

I am also the Local Network Lead for the University of Sunderland for the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN).


Jump to: Article
Number of items: 4.


Knight, Helen, Smith, Daniel T. and Ellison, Amanda (2020) The Role of the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Attentional Bias. Neuropsychologia. p. 107631. ISSN 0028-3932

Knight, Helen, Mowat, Sarah and Hesse, Constanze (2020) Fearing the wurst: Robust approach bias towards non-vegetarian food images in a sample of young female vegetarian eaters. Appetite (104617). ISSN 0195-6663

Knight, Helen, Smith, Daniel T., Knight, David C. and Ellison, Amanda (2018) Light social drinkers are more distracted by irrelevant information from an induced attentional bias than heavy social drinkers. Psychopharmacology, 235 (10). pp. 2967-2978. ISSN 0033-3158

Knight, Helen, Smith, Daniel, Knight, David and Ellison, Amanda (2016) Altering attentional control settings causes persistent biases of visual attention. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69 (1). pp. 129-149. ISSN 1747-0218

This list was generated on Tue Jul 5 16:18:38 2022 BST.
  • Neural stimulation. This includes transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Addiction, with a focus on alcohol use-misuse-abuse
  • Eating behaviours
  • Asexuality as a sexual orientation
  • Biological psychology and cognitive neuroscience
Please contact me if you would like to arrange a discussion on any topic.

Last updated 08 March 2022