Dr Julia Allan

Dr Julia Allan
Dr Julia Allan
Dr Julia Allan

PhD, C.Psychol, HCPC Reg, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer


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 Past Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Scotland (2018-20) and currently sits on the European Health Psychology Society's Executive Committee.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

University of Aberdeen Senate, elected Senator School of Medicine, Medical Science & Nutrition (from 2022)

Higher Education Academy recognition panel (from 2019)

Institute of Applied Health Sciences Postgraduate Teaching Committee (from 2014)

Aberdeen Health Psychology Group (from 2004)

University of Aberdeen Working Group on the management of work-related stress (2018-2019)

University of Aberdeen Senate Working Group on key performance indicators (2016-2017)

External Memberships

Executive Committee, European Health Psychology Society (2020-24)

Past Chair, British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Scotland (2020-2021)

Membership Officer, European Health Psychology Society (2020-2022)

Chair, British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Scotland (2018-2020)

British Psychological Society Representative, Scottish Obesity Alliance (2018-20)

Steering Group Member, Scottish Branch, British Psychological Society (2018-2020)

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (from 2017)

Food Standards Scotland Dietary Guideline Review Panel (from 2018)

Member of the European Health Psychology Society (since 2008)

Member of the British Psychological Society and Division of Health Psychology (since 2009)

Member of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (since 2011)

Prizes and Awards

University of Aberdeen Excellence in Teaching Award 2017

Scottish Crucible 2011

Henry Prize in Mental Philosophy (Logic) 2001


Research Overview

My research focuses on the cognitive determinants and consequences of health relevant behaviours/ processes such as eating, physical activity and stress. In particular, I am interested in; how health relevant decisions are made (e.g. food choices; diagnostic decisions; treatment decisions, etc); how behaviour is controlled over time (e.g. how people stick to diets; how performance is maintained when fatigued, why willpower fails, etc); and how environments and systems can be modified to prompt healthier choices and behaviours.

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, and my work is currently, and has been previously, funded by the MRC, ESRC, CSO, RSE, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the Scottish Government.

Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Health Psychology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Knowledge Exchange

Policy, Public Sector and Third Sector

Clarke M, Dale H, Smith J & Allan JL (2019). British Psychological Society response to the Scottish Government ‘Reducing Health Harms of Foods High in Fat, Sugar or Salt’.

Moffat H, Shearer R, Allan JL, Clark M, Dale H, Dombrowski S & Ozakinci G (2018). British Psychological Society response to The Scottish Government ‘A healthier future – action and ambitions on diet, activity and healthy weight’.

British Psychological Society Briefing: Developing a Scottish Healthy Weight Strategy (2018). [co-author]

British Psychological Society Briefing: Public policy priorities for Scotland (2018). [co-author]

Allan JL (2016) Behavioural Science: Making healthy choices easier.  Board Paper Food Standards Scotland. FFS/16/12/06.

British Psychological Society (2019) Understanding Obesity. Contributor.

Scottish Obesity Alliance (2018-20). Manifesto contributor and British Psychological Society representative.

Food Standards Scotland (2017-present). Invited academic member of Future Strategy Stakeholder Group; Invited member expert review panel of new Dietary Guidance for Scotland

Scottish Parliament. Exhibition on obesity and direct engagement with MSPs and Scottish Government Diet & Health Policy Team on health psychology’s contribution to the obesity agenda (2018)




Teaching Responsibilities

Deputy Programme Director, MSc Health Psychology (BPS Accredited)

Course Co-Ordinator PU5054 Advanced Quantitative Methods and Analysis for Psychology

Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

Personal tutor (Undergraduate)

Personal tutor (Postgraduate)

External examiner (UCL, Galway)


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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Non-textual Forms

Working Papers