Professor Suzanne Higgs

Professor Suzanne Higgs

School of Psychology
Professor in the Psychobiology of Appetite

Contact details

The School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a researcher interested in the psychology of eating. In particular, I am interested in the role that learning and memory processes play in decisions we make about what and how much to eat.


BA, MA (Oxon) PhD (Durham)


Prof. Suzanne Higgs has a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology from The University of Oxford, UK and a PhD in Psychology from Durham University (UK). She worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher at The University of Oxford before moving to the University of Birmingham, UK in 1999. Suzanne leads a research group interested in cognitive processes involved in food intake and food choice. Work in this area has focused on the role of learning and memory processes in appetite. Suzanne has current research support from the Economic and Social Research Council and Biology and Biotechnology Research Council in the UK. She is Editor of the journal Appetite and Past President of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. 


I teach a level 3 module on the psychology of eating called 'Why we eat what we eat'.

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in studying for a PhD in the psychobiology of Appetite please contact me to discuss your research proposal.


My research is focused on the role of cognitions such as learning, memory and attention in eating behaviour and the biological mechanisms that underpin these processes. In our group we assess emotional and cognitive responses to foods in adults and children, using both behavioural and brain imaging techniques.  We ask questions about how memory for recently consumed foods affects decisions about future food intake and the factors that determine remembered liking for foods. We are interested in the role of working memory in appetite processes and how social context influences what we choose to eat. This work has been funded by the ESRC, BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, MRC and Alcohol Education Research Council.

Other activities

  • REF Lead for School of Psychology
  • Editor in Chief, Appetite
  • Jean D’Alembert Fellowship,  l'Université Paris Saclay 2017-2018
  • President of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour (2015-16)
  • Jury member 2018 Danone International Prize for Alimentation
  • Scientific Advisory Board for a Wellcome Collaborative Award: Behaviour Change by Design: Generating and Implementing Evidence to Improve Health for All.


Recent publications


Meadows, A & Higgs, S 2020, 'A bifactor analysis of the Weight Bias Internalization Scale: what are we really measuring?', Body Image, vol. 33, pp. 137-151.

Price, M, Higgs, S, Wilkinson, L, Lee, M, Embling, R, Kuberka, P, Hamill, A, Collier, J, Keable-Steer, S, Reitmaier, T, Mukhopadyay, S & Lindsay, S 2020, 'Construal beliefs moderate the usability and effectiveness of a novel healthy eating mobile app', Physiology and Behavior, vol. 222, 112941.

Meadows, A & Higgs, S 2020, 'Internalized weight stigma and the progression of food addiction over time', Body Image, vol. 34, pp. 67-71.

Spetter, M, Higgs, S, Dolmans, D, Thomas, J, Reniers, R, Rotshtein, P & Rutters, F 2020, 'Neural correlates of top-down guidance of attention to food: an fMRI study', Physiology and Behavior.

Whitelock, V, Kersbergen, I, Higgs, S, Aveyard, P, Halford, JCG & Robinson, E 2019, 'A smartphone based attentive eating intervention for energy intake and weight loss: results from a randomised controlled trial', BMC Public Health, vol. 19, no. 1, 611.

Ruddock, HK, Brunstrom, JM, Vartanian, LR & Higgs, S 2019, 'A systematic review and meta-analysis of the social facilitation of eating', The American journal of clinical nutrition, vol. 110, no. 4, pp. 842-861.

Hermsen, S, Mars, M, Higgs, S, Frost, JH & Hermans, RCJ 2019, 'Effects of eating with an augmented fork with vibrotactile feedback on eating rate and body weight: a randomized controlled trial', The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , vol. 16, 90.

Balter, L, Higgs, S, Aldred, S, Bosch, J & Raymond, J 2019, 'Inflammation Mediates Body Weight and Ageing Effects on Psychomotor Slowing', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 15727, pp. 1-13.

Meadows, A & Higgs, S 2019, 'Internalised Weight Stigma Moderates the Impact of a Stigmatising Prime on Eating in the Absence of Hunger in Higher- but Not Lower-Weight Individuals', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, 1022.

Balter, LJT, Raymond, JE, Aldred, S, Drayson, MT, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS, Higgs, S & Bosch, JA 2019, 'Loneliness in healthy young adults predicts inflammatory responsiveness to a mild immune challenge in vivo', Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Balter, LJT, Bosch, JA, Aldred, S, Drayson, MT, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS, Higgs, S, Raymond, JE & Mazaheri, A 2019, 'Selective effects of acute low-grade inflammation on human visual attention', NeuroImage, vol. 202, 116098.

Liu, J & Higgs, S 2019, 'Social Modeling of Food Intake: No Evidence for Moderation by Identification With the Norm Referent Group', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, 159.

Meadows, A & Higgs, S 2019, 'The multifaceted nature of weight-related self-stigma: Validation of the two-factor Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS-2F)', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, 808.

Review article

Martin, E, Dourish, CT, Rotshtein, P, Spetter, MS & Higgs, S 2019, 'Interoception and disordered eating: a systematic review', Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, vol. 107, pp. 166-191.

Adan, RAH, van der Beek, EM, Buitelaar, JK, Cryan, JF, Hebebrand, J, Higgs, S, Schellekens, H & Dickson, SL 2019, 'Nutritional psychiatry: towards improving mental health by what you eat', European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 29, no. 12, pp. 1321-1332.

View all publications in research portal


The influence of cognitive processes such as learning and memory on eating behaviour