Professor Peter Halligan - PhD DSc FBPsS FPSI FMedSci FRSB

Honorary Professor

Research group:
Developmental & health psychology
029 225 10099
56 Park Place

Research summary

Much of my research involves attempts to understand how neuropsychological/psychiatric disturbances can be explained in terms of and inform pre-insult processing systems. While clinically useful, traditional neurological and psychiatric nosology offer little prospect of explaining the psychological mechanisms without reference to normal psychological systems. This research has involved a broad range of informative acquired and developmental conditions spanning neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry conditions and using evidence from a variety of cognitive neuroscience methods.

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Online publications

Full list of publications


Research topics and related papers

My initial focus was the assessment and rehabilitation of attentional disorders after acquired brain damage much of which confirmed that visual neglect was a protean disorder whose symptoms selectively affected different sensory modalities, cognitive processes, spatial domains and coordinate systems.

Seeing the potential of cognitive neuropsychological approaches for understanding psychopathology, subsequent research explored a wider set of psychiatric, psychosocial and pain related symptoms including visual hallucinations, supernumerary phantom limbs, reduplication, somatoparaphrenia, hysterical conversion, phantom limbs and illness deception (malingering).

More recently my research has involved a more focused examination of delusions -a core criterion of psychosis. A better understanding of the what constitutes the nature of belief would be beneficial, given the focus of cognitive neuropsychiatric models on the processes involved in non-clinical belief formation. This currently involves an examination of (1) the basic features of belief; (2) the prevalence of beliefs (including delusion-like beliefs) and anomalous experiences (including hallucination-like experiences) in the non-clinical population; (3) the relationship between beliefs and experiences; and (4) the coherence of delusion-like and other beliefs.

The growing acceptance of consciousness as a legitimate field of enquiry and the availability of functional imaging has rekindled research interest in the use of hypnotic suggestion and with that ability to manipulate subjective experience and to gain insights into healthy and pathological cognitive functioning. Current research comprises studies exploring the cognitive and neural nature of hypnosis itself. A second theme involves using hypnotic suggestion to create clinically informed analogues of established structural and functional neuropsychological disorders. With functional imaging techniques, this type of experimental neuropsychopathology offers a productive means of investigating brain activity involved in many symptom-based disorders and their related phenomenology.


2008-2009 Waterloo Foundation; Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture series (£45k) 

2006-2011 Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). ‘Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience’ (£5.2M Cardiff co-leader in multicentre bid (with net of £2M to Cardiff).

2004- 2007 (OST, SRIF, HEFCW R&C funds): Lead Applicant (with others) “Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre” (£10M)

2004-2009 (UnumProvident) Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research (£1.6M)

2005-2007 Welsh Arts Council. “MindArt Project” (£45,000 with Dylan Jones).

2005 ESRC:  Social Neuroscience Meeting  (£8k)

2003 -2006 :  Psychiatry Research Fund, (with Deeley/Oakley) £28k

2004 Brain; Cortex; Oxford University, Elsevier; McDonnell Pew & MRC “Festschrift - John C. Marshall”  (£19k)

2002 Rivermead Development Fund :”Effectiveness of Rehabilitation for Cognitive Deficits Conference” (£60k). 

2002-2007 MRC Co-applicant Co-operative Group Grant  Renewal (£628K).

1999- 2001 Cambridge R&D  “Survey of phantom limb phenomena’  (with Robertson and others) (£36k)  

1999-2000. Dept for Work and Pensions “ Malingering and Illness Deception” Conference  (£20k). 

1999-2000 MRC Capital Equipment grant (£46k)

1999: Wellcome Trust : International Meeting on Hysteria (£10k)

1999 Mary Kinross Trust International Meeting on Conversion Hysteria (£15k).

1998 - 2000 Jules Thorn Charitable Trust: Kinematic Patterns of Movement Recovery after Stroke:  Applications for Clinical Assessment and Intervention" (£59,000).

1997-1998 :  Wellcome Trust SCI~ART project (with Alexa Wright £13K)

1997-2002 MRC Senior Research Fellow Programme Grant (£400k)

1997 McDonnell-Pew, Visiting Fellowship (£1k) 

1996 -1998 :  Stroke Association :Residual Somatosensory Functioning after Stroke" (£87k).

1996 -1997:  Lewis Family Charitable Trust Research Therapy Fellowships (25k)

1995 Stroke Association, Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre, Radcliffe Infirmary, Lewis Family Trust and Guarantors of Brain Second international Neglect Meeting (£10k)

1995 – 1996 Stroke Association: “Kinematic Analysis of Manual Response in Visuospatial Neglect”. (£30k).

1993-1996 Stroke Association :Anosognosia after Stroke (£50k)

1993 Wellcome Trust; International Meeting on Spatial Neglect (£2k): 

1993 Guarantors of Brain :”First International Meeting on Spatial Neglect” (£2K): 

1991-1994 :Stroke Association :Remediation of Neglect after Stroke" (£100k)

1990-1992 Remedi, McDonnell-Pew, O.H.A., and University Department of Clinical Neurology Equipment Grants (£22k)

1987-1990 : Stroke Association: Cognitive Aspects of Visual Neglect  in stroke patients (£60k).

Research collaborators

Vaughan Bell: Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK

David Oakley: Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK

Quinton Deeley: Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK

Gereon Fink: Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Jülich and University of Cologne

Max Coltheart, Amanda Barnier, Rochelle Cox and Robyn Langdon,

Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University.

Undergraduate education

1979: B.A. Psychology and Philosophy, UCD

Postgraduate education

1981: M.A (Philosophy)
1982: Higher Diploma in Education (Hons.), UCD
1984: Diploma in Clinical and Experimental Psychology (Hons.), UCD
1989: Ph.D. Neuropsychology, Oxford Brookes University
1999: D.Sc (Published Work), National University of Ireland

Awards/external committees

2006: Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
2005: Psychological Society of Ireland’s Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Psychology
2005: British Psychological Society Presidents’ Award
2004: BMA Medical Book Competition Award (“Malingering and Illness Deception” OUP)
1997: Visiting Professor : University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei
1993: British Psychological Society: Spearman Medal
1992-95: E. P. Abraham Junior Research Fellow, Green College, Oxford

2011-2017 Partner Investigator: ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)

Professional Societies
Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland,Member of the Association of British Neurologists (1996-2010), Member of the British Neuropsychological Society,Member of the Society for Research in Rehabilitation,Director of the British Neuropsychiatry Society (2010), Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society and Member of International Neuropsychology Symposium (1997-2003)

Editorial Duties

1996- Co-Editor and Founder, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
2004- Associate editor, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
2005- Associate editor, Applied Neuropsychology
2007- Associate editor, Journal of Neuropsychology
2007- Associate editor, International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
2011- Associate editor, ISRN Neurology
2011- Associate editor, PLoS One
2007-2010: Associate editor, Social Neuroscience
1997-2002: Associate editor, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry


2015-2017  CE Learned Society of Wales
2012-2014  Universities Wales
2008 - 2012: Dean of Strategic Futures
2006- 2012: Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies.
2004/2006: Project Director / Director CUBRIC.
2000-Present: Professor, School of Psychology, Cardiff University.
1997/2002: MRC Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford/Cardiff.
1989/1997: Research Fellow Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford.
1985/1989: Research Psychologist, Clinical Psychology, Oxford.