Professor Eva Kemps

Professor

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

Research expertise

My research focus on applications of cognitive experimental psychology in the areas of eating behaviour and physical activity.

Research expertise

My research focus on applications of cognitive experimental psychology in the areas of eating behaviour and physical activity.

+61 8 82012416
place Social Sciences North (364)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Eva Kemps undertook her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in psychology at Ghent University, Belgium. She subsequently relocated to Adelaide to take up an academic position at Flinders University, where she is now Professor of Psychology. Eva has an international research reputation in the area of eating behaviour. Over the past 15 years she has carved out an innovative and sophisticated program of research, applying mainstream experimental cognitive psychology to the food and eating domain. Since 2006 she has obtained over $1 million in research funding as lead investigator from national competitive research grants, mostly the Australian Research Council, the flagship funding body in Australia for non-medical research. She has authored approximately 100 publications and has a strong profile in the media, where her work is regularly featured both in the Australian and international press. During 2010-12 she served on the advisory panel of the Australian Women’s Health magazine as their expert weight loss advisor. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Psychologica Belgica, and sits on the Editorial Boards of Appetite; Behaviour Research and Therapy; the International Journal of Clinical Health Psychology; Frontiers in Nutrition, Psychiatry and Psychology: Eating Behavior; the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry; and the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. In addition to her academic appointment in Psychology, she held a significant research administrative leadership position as Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (2012-2017), and was the Convenor of the Associate Deans (Research) Network of the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (2016-2017).

Qualifications

B.Psych. & Ed., M.Psych., Ph.D. (Ghent, Belgium)

Honours, awards and grants

Grants

Kemps, E., & Tiggemann, M. “Things don’t always go better with Coke”: The role of automatic processing in the (over)consumption of soft drinks. 2018-2021, $420,077, ARC Discovery Project.

Kemps, E. Nutrition, supplements and cognitive fitness. 2017-2021, $16,900 to date, Collaborative Research Agreement between Flinders University and the Defence Science & Technology Group.

Kemps E., & Tiggemann, M. Evaluation of an online attentional bias modification training (ABMT) tool to promote healthier eating and weight loss in overweight adults. 2016-2017, $58,810, Innovation Partnership Seed Grant, Flinders University and Mindtrain®.

Kemps, E., & Tiggemann, M. Can attentional re-training reduce food cravings and consumption? 2013-2015, $229,753, ARC Discovery Project.

Kemps, E., & Tiggemann, M. Implicit cognitive processing of environmental food and eating cues in obese adults. 2009-2011, $215,000, ARC Discovery Project.

Kemps, E., & Tiggemann, M. “Images of desire”: An experimental cognitive approach to understanding and reducing food cravings. 2006-2008, $180,000, ARC Discovery Project.

Research interests

My research activities focus on applications of cognitive experimental psychology in the area of eating behaviour. Two broad areas of ongoing research with opportunities for several post-graduate research projects include:

1. Managing the psychological impulse to consume soft drinks

Eating behaviour includes the consumption of not only food, but also beverages. In fact, the rising consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, in particular soft drinks, makes up a significant proportion of daily sugar intake. In 2015 the World Health Organisation released new guidelines halving the recommended sugar intake, particularly from soft drinks, in an effort to help combat rising obesity rates. The overarching aim of this research is to develop an effective intervention protocol for reducing excessive sugar intake from soft drinks.

2. Subtly changing the food environment to promote healthier eating

There is an abundance of unhealthy food in the contemporary Western environment, contributing to poor eating habits and rising obesity rates. Emerging evidence, based on the principles of nudging, suggests that making subtle changes to the food environment could combat unhealthy eating and weight gain. Some studies have shown that presenting a healthy food option alongside unhealthy ones can lead to healthier food choices and intake; however, others have shown the exact opposite. The overarching aim of this research is to find the optimal way of presenting food to promote healthier eating.

Topic coordinator
PSYC3003 Introduction to clinical psychology
PSYC3008 Applied Cognitive Psychology
Supervisory interests
Cognitive biases
Eating behaviour
Food craving
Implicit cognitive processing
Obesity
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Physical activity (1), Food cravings (1), Nudging (1)
Associate supervisor: Physical activity (2), Prevention of worry (1), Emotional eating (1), Binge eating (1)
Completion
Principal supervisor: Cognitive ageing (1), Nutrition and cognition (1), Physical activity (1), Eating behaviour (2), Cognitive bias and emotion (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Naomi Kakoschke

Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence (2018) -

Publications
Expert for media contact
Food
Health psychology
Nutrition
Psychology
Craving
Eating behaviour
Available for contact via
+61 8 82012416
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Food
  • Health psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
Interests
  • Craving
  • Eating behaviour
Further information
For further information click here.