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Dr Kirstie Soar

Reader in Drugs and Addictive Behaviours

Drugs and Addictive Behaviours, Psychology

Kirstie's research interests include the cognitive and psychobiological effects associated with recreational drugs e.g. cocaine, MDMA/ecstasy and Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and 'vaping' of drugs such as cannabis and nicotine (e-cigarettes).

    Dr Kirstie Soar completed her PhD with Professor Andrew Parrott and Dr John Turner at UEL, looking at the long-term psychological effects of problematic ecstasy (MDMA) users, and has since worked as a lecturer and now Principal Lecturer at UEL.  She is an active member of UEL's Drug and Addictive Behaviours Research Group.


    • British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist
    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
    • Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society
    • Member of the British Psychological Society Psychobiology Division


    Kirstie's research interests include the cognitive and psychobiological effects associated with drug use.  Specific 'drug' areas include:

    1. Recreational use of MDMA/ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis
    2. Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
    3. 'Vaping’ of drugs, in particular cannabis and nicotine (e-cigarettes) 

    Kirstie’s research has been published in a number of international peer-reviewed journal and presented at numerous national and international conferences.  She is an active member of the Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Research Group. This group builds on our tradition of studying the neuropsychological effects of recreational drugs, such as illegal drugs and so-called illegal highs, as well as behavioural addictions.


    • UEL
    • External
    • Associate Professor in Psychology
      Dr Lynne Dawkins
    • Prof. Lynne Dawkins - LSBU
    • Dr Sharon Cox - LSBU


    Publicly available research outputs are available to download from UEL's Research Open Access Repository (ROAR).

    Peer-reviewed Journal Articles:

    Soar K, Dawkins LE, Robson D, Cox S. 2020. Smoking amongst adults experiencing homelessness: A systematic review of prevalence rates, interventions and the barriers and facilitators to quitting and staying quit. Journal of Smoking Cessation

    Murphy-Beiner A, Soar K. 2020. Ayahuasca's 'afterglow': improved mindfulness and cognitive flexibility in ayahuasca drinkers. Psychopharmacology.

    Kougiali Z, Soar K et al. 2019. Jigsaw recovery: the spatio-temporalities of alcohol abuse and recovery in a non-interventionist, peer-led service. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly.

    Soar K, Kimber C, McRobbie H, Dawkins LE. 2018. Nicotine absorption from e-cigarettes over 12 months. Addictive Behaviours. Available online 21 July 2018

    Turner J, Soar K (2017) Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS): No Longer Legal, not always highs. University and College Counselling, March 2017 pgs16-21

    Soar, K., Chapman, E., Lavan, N., Jansari, A.S., Turner, J.J.D. (2016). Investigating the effects of caffeine on executive functions using traditional Stroop and a new ecologically-valid virtual reality task, the Jansari assessment of Executive Functions (JEF©). Appetite doi:10.106/j.appet.2016.05.021

    Soar, K
    ., Papaioannou, M., & Dawkins, L. (2016) Alcohol gel ingestion amongst homeless Eastern and Central Europeans in London: assessing the effects on cognitive functioning and psychological health.  Substance Use and Misuse. Published online: 25 May 2016 DOI:10.3109/10826084.2016.1168441

    Dawkins L, Munafo M, Christoforou G, Olumegbon, Soar K (2015) The effects of e-cigarette visual appearance on craving and withdrawal symptoms in abstinent smokers.  Psychology of Addictive Behaviours 

    Soar, K., Dawkins, L.E., Page, F., & Wooldridge, J. (2015). Recreational cocaine use is associated with attenuated latent inhibition. Addictive Behaviors, 50, 34–39. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.06.010

    Dawkins, L., Kimber, C., Puwanesarasa, Y., & Soar, K. (2014). First- versus second-generation electronic cigarettes: predictors of choice and effects on urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms. Advance online publication. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.12807

    Dawkins, L., Turner, J.J.D., Roberts, A.D.L., & Soar, K. (2013). ‘Vaping’ profiles and preferences: an online survey of electronic cigarette users. Addiction, 108(6), 1115–1125. doi:10.1111/add.12150

    Dawkins, L., Turner, J.J.D., Hasna, S., & Soar, K. (2012). The electronic-cigarette: effects on desire to smoke, withdrawal symptoms and cognition. Addictive Behaviors, 37(8), 970–973. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.03.004

    Soar, K., Mason, C., Potton, A., & Dawkins, L. (2012). Neuropsychological effects associated with recreational cocaine use. Psychopharmacology, 222(4), 633–643. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2666-4

    Soar, K., Parrott, A.C., & Turner, J.J.D. (2009). Attributions for psychobiological changes in ecstasy/MDMA and other polydrug users. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 23(7), 745–758. doi:10.1177/0269881108092594

    Soar, K., Dawkins, L., Begum, H., & Parrott, A.C. (2008). The effects of cigarette smoking and abstinence on auditory verbal learning. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 23(7), 621–627. doi:10.1002/hup.968

    Soar, K., Turner, J.J.D., & Parrott, A.C. (2006). Problematic versus non-problematic Ecstasy/MDMA use: the influence of drug usage patterns and pre-existing psychiatric factors. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 20(3), 417–424. doi:10.1177/0269881106063274

    Soar, K., Gersch, I.S., & Lawrence, J.A. (2006). Pupil involvement in special education needs disagreement resolution: a parental perspective on the barriers to including children in mediation. Support for Learning, 21(3), 149–155. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9604.2006.00421.x

    Soar, K., Burke, K., Herbst, K., & Gersch, I. (2005). Pupil involvement in special educational needs disagreement resolution: some perceived barriers to including children in mediation. British Journal of Special Educational Needs, 32(1), 35–41. doi:10.1111/j.0952-3383.2005.00367.x

    Soar, K., Parrott, A.C., & Fox, H. (2004). Persistent neuropsychological problems after seven years of abstinence from recreational ecstasy (MDMA): a case study. Psychological Reports: Perceptual and Motor Skills, 95, 192–196. doi:10.2466/pr0.95.1.192-196

    Soar, K
    ., Turner, J.J.D., & Parrott, A.C. (2001). Psychiatric disorders in ecstasy (MDMA) users: A literature review focusing on personal predisposition and drug history. Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental, 16(8), 641–645. doi:10.1002/hup.350

    Conference Papers:

    Soar, K., Wooldridge, J., Page, F., & Lynch, S. (2012). Disrupted latent inhibition in recreational cocaine users. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference, London.

    Soar, K., Mason, C., Potton, A.I, & Turner, J.J.D. (2011, September). Neuropsychological effects associated with recreational cocaine use. Paper presented at the BPS Psychobiology Annual Conference.

    Soar, K., & Turner, J.J.D. (2011). Recreational cocaine use — does it cause psychological harm? Paper presented at the Club Health Conference, Prague.

    Soar, K., Buchanan, T., Pearson, C., Parrott, A., Ling, J., Heffernan, T., et al. (2008). Health beliefs in a sample of ecstasy (MDMA) users. Paper presented at the Club Health Conference, Ibiza, Spain.

    Conference Proceedings:

    Rodgers, J., Skene, D., Buchanan, T., Heffernan, T.M., Soar, K., & Parrott, A.C. (2009). Are individuals with a family history of mood disorders more vulnerable to MDMA depression following Ecstasy use?, In NEUROPSYCHOBIOLOGY.2009, ALLSCHWILERSTRASSE 10, CH-4009 BASEL. Switzerland: Karger.


    Kirstie is a Chartered Psychologist and has also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Distinction).  As a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she is committed to the quality of teaching and learning in higher education, teaching on the BSc & MSc Psychology programmes and supervises PhD and Professional Doctorate students.

    Practices Research-Led Teaching
    Level 4 Research Methods

    Kirstie contributes to the following modules:

    Applications of Psychobiology, Individual Differences and Social Psychology (Level 5)

    Professional Psychological Studies (Project Supervision; Level 6)

    Drugs and Addictive Behaviours (Level 6)

    Cognitive and Psychobiology (Level 7)

    Independent Research Thesis (Level 7)

    Perspectives on Behaviour: Biological, Social & Differential (Level 4)