Dr Julia Allan

Dr Julia Allan
PhD, C.Psychol, HCPC Registered Practitioner Health Psychologist

Senior Lecturer

Dr Julia Allan
Dr Julia Allan

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438103
The University of Aberdeen 1st Floor, Health Sciences Building, Foresterhill, University of Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD


Julia is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology in the Institute of Applied Health Sciences and Deputy Lead of the Aberdeen Health Psychology Group.  Joining the group in August 2004 as a Research Fellow, Julia worked with Prof Derek Johnston (2004-2006) looking at the objective assessment of activity limitations and stress-related heart rate in real time, before being awarded a Chief Scientist Office Fellowship (2006-2011; mentored by Prof Marie Johnston) to investigate the role of cognitive/executive function in the control of dietary behaviour.  After a brief spell as a core-funded Research Fellow (2011-2012), Julia took up a position as a Lecturer in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2014.  Julia is a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist and an HCPC registered Practitioner Health Psychologist. She is currently Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Scotland.


Research Interests

behavioural control -- dietary control -- self control -- willpower -- snacking -- physical activity -- sedentary behaviour -- environmental determinants of behaviour -- environmental interventions -- occupational stress -- cognitive failures -- dual  systems models

Current Research

My research focuses on the cognitive determinants and consequences of health relevant behaviours/ processes such as eating, physical activity and stress. My work examines how behaviour is controlled (e.g. how people stick to diets), how environments can automatically cue behaviours (e.g. how food presentation can increase consumption), how behaviour can be modified by changing environmental cues (e.g. how consumers can be prompted to make a healthier choice) and what happens when factors cause behavioural control to fail (e.g. stress-related errors, obesity-related declines in cognitive function, resource-related failures of willpower, etc). My primary interest is the ‘executive functions’, a group of cognitive processes that allow people to plan, initiate and maintain complex patterns of behaviour in order to achieve goals, but I also have a strong interest in the development of methods to measure behaviour in real time. I work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, primarily in the domains of dietary control, physical activity and occupational stress in healthcare professionals. My work is currently, and has been previously, funded by the MRC, ESRC, CSO, RSE, Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government.


Teaching Responsibilities

Programme Director : MSc Health Psychology (BPS Accredited)