Paul Faulkner

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Alleviating Smoking-Related Cognitive Deficits: A Concurrent tDCS/fMRI Study

Combining tDCS with Psychotherapy for Emotion Dysregulation

Using Transcranial Vagus Nerve Stimulation to Determine the Role of the Vagus Nerve in Emotion Regulation


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Paul's research aims to understand the neural and neurochemical mechanisms of cognitive deficits in substance use disorder and mood disorders. This work is particularly aimed at understanding those deficits that promote symptoms of such disorders, including deficits in emotion regulation and maladaptive decision-making, and how to alleviate these deficits in order to improve wellbeing.

He uses a range of techniques including brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS), neuroimaging (fRMI, MRS, PET), cognitive tasks, computational modelling, psychotherapy and genetic methods.

For a detailed profile of Paul’s research, please visit this site:

If you are interested in gaining experience in Paul’s group, or simply in learning more, please contact him at



Paul read Psychology at the University of Sheffield, graduating with a 1st class in 2008. He then obtained a taught MSc in Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry (King’s College London) before undertaking a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (University College London) under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Roiser. In this latter role Paul examined the relationship between serotonin function and decision-making in both healthy controls and depressed patients using neuroimaging, genetic methods, cognitive tasks and computational modelling. This research resulted in the publication of manuscripts detailing the effects of serotonergic manipulations on risky and impulsive decision-making (Faulkner et al., 2014; Faulkner and Deakin, 2014; Faulkner et al., 2016; Selvaraj et al., 2015; Selvaraj et al., 2018), as well as those quantifying sequential decision-making in healthy controls (Huys et al., 2015; Lally et al., 2017).


Paul then undertok a five-year post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Professor Edythe London at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Here Paul examined the neural and neurochemical mechanisms of tobacco use disorder using neuroimaging, cognitive and genetic methods. This work led to publications describing cognitive and neural responses to smoking cigarettes containing differing doses of nicotine (Faulkner et al, 2017; Faulkner et al., 2018a; Faulkner et al., 2018b), and on the neural mechanisms of successful use of a craving regulation technique that may aid smoking cessation (Ghahremani et al., 2018). Further, Paul combined skills obtained during both his PhD and postdoctoral work to examine the effects of acute and chronic smoking on the brain’s serotonin system; this work demonstrated that smoking-related serotonergic dysfunction is particularly related to the affective aspects of tobacco withdrawal (Faulkner et al., 2018c).


Dr Faulkner joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Roehampton in August 2018. He is currently building upon his PhD and postdoctoral research by examining the neural and neurochemical mechanisms of cognitive deficits in drug users that hinder cessation.



BSc Psychology (Hons) – Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield

MSc Neuroscience – Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

PhD Cognitive Neuroscience – Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London


Professional affiliations

College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), Society for Nicotine and Tobacco Research (SRNT), Society for Neuroscience (SfN), British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP), Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS)



Paul is Programme Convener of the MSc Applied Cognitive Neuroscience, where he also convenes two modules entitled 'Advanced Research Methods and Statistics' and 'Independent Research Project' (i.e. the dissertation module).

Paul also convenes undergraduate research methods modules, and contributes research methods lectures to the final-year extended research project (i.e. the dissertation module), and lectures on cognitive neuroscience and drug addiction (tobacco, nicotine, MDMA/ecstasy).


Personal Website:

Google Scholar Profile:

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or