Dr Nigel Vahey

Nigel Vahey - PhotographAbout Nigel:

I joined the Whelan Lab as a post-doctoral research fellow in February 2016. Before that I had collaborated with Prof. Whelan on various projects while I completed my Ph.D.  with Prof. Dermot Barnes-Holmes (viva voce completed in February 2016).

I was particularly interested in working with Prof. Whelan because of his World class expertise in developing machine learning techniques for identifying neural signals as objective diagnostic markers for addiction and the personalized treatment of addiction. This opportunity very much complemented my Ph.D. research which focused upon developing the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a means of quantifying tobacco addiction objectively in terms of complex (i.e. non-associative) automatic cognition.

While completing these Ph.D. studies I attracted over €461,000 of scholarship and research funding across multiple domains (quantitative and qualitative; for publications see here and here), and gained 3-4 years lecturing experience designing and coordinating PSI-accredited modules at Maynooth University, the University of Limerick and also the National College of Ireland.


Research Interests:

Building on these diverse experiences, one of my key long-term ambitions is to develop techniques for synergising behaviour analytic theory with cognitive neuroscience and vice versa – particularly in the domain of addiction. To this end, I am currently managing a relatively large-scale longitudinal study housed in Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and which aims to use electroencephalography (EEG) to improve how clinicians match individual smokers with the particular smoking-cessation treatments that are most likely to help them quit smoking. By combining EEG measurements with various psychological measures related to impulsivity, we are seeking to typify smokers in terms of the treatment processes that are most likely to be effective for them.

Email Nigel: NigelVahey@gmail.com


Print Publications:

Journal Articles

Vahey, N., Bennet, M., & Whelan, R. (in press). Conceptual advances in the cognitive neuroscience of learning: Implications for relational frame theory. The Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

Vahey, N., & Whelan, R. (2016). The functional-cognitive framework as a tool for accelerating progress in cognitive neuroscience: On the benefits of bridging rather than reducing levels of analyses. The International Journal of Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12183.

Scanlon, G., Barnes-Holmes, Y., McEnteggart, C., Desmond, D., & Vahey, N. (2015). The experiences of pupils with SEN and their parents at the stage of pre-transition from primary to post-primary school. The European Journal of Special Needs Education.

Vahey, N., Nicholson, E., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2015). A meta-analysis of criterion effects for the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) in the clinical domain. The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 48, 59-65.

Hughes, S., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Vahey, N. (2012). Holding on to our functional roots when exploring new intellectual islands: A voyage through implicit cognition. The Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 1, 17-38.

Vahey, N. (2011, June 12th). [Review of the book ‘Smoke-free in 30 days: The pain-free, permanent way to quit’]. The Society for Research in Nicotine & Tobacco Newsletter, 16 (4).

Vahey, N., Boles, S., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2010). Measuring adolescents’ smoking-related social identity preferences with the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) for the first time: A starting point that explains later IRAP evolutions. The International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 10, 453-474.

Vahey, N. (2010). A review of the research undertaken with the 2009 SABA Doctoral Dissertation Grant. Inside Behavior Analysis, 2 (3), 16-18.

Vahey, N., Barnes-Holmes, D., Barnes-Holmes Y., & Stewart, I (2009). A first test of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a measure of self-esteem: Irish prisoner groups and university students. The Psychological Record, 59 (3), 371 – 388.


Commissioned Reports & Press Publications

Barnes-Holmes, Y., Scanlon, G., Desmond, D., Shevlin, M., & Vahey, N. (2013). The study of transition from Irish primary to post-primary school for pupils with special educational needs. Report number 12 commissioned and published by the National Council for Special Education, Ireland.

I was invited to contribute to an article about smoking cessation in the November 2010 issue of a popular women’s health and lifestyle magazine in the USA called ‘Self’.

I received favourable Irish media coverage in late 2008 for work that I presented at the 2008 Conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland.


Selected Conference Presentations (of 50 in total)

Invited Lectures

Vahey, N. (2017). Invited to give a guest lecture to be presented at the Department of Psychology at the University of Ghent, Belgium during Spring 2017.

Vahey, N. (2011, May). Reframing tobacco dependence: Automatic propositional processes, malleability effects, and their implications for persuasive processes. A guest lecture presented at the Department of Psychology at the University of Wales in Swansea during early May 2011.

Abraham, C., Vahey, N., Sheeran, P., & Murphy, B. (2011). Round table discussion for the Social Factors and Health Section. Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Social Psychology in Ireland.

Vahey, N. (2010, Dec.). Reframing tobacco dependence: Automatic verbal processes, malleability effects and their implications for persuasive processes. A guest lecture presented at the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick, Ireland.


Professional profiles:

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