Funded PhD: The Frontal Lobe Paradox in the assessment of alcohol-related cognitive deficits and brain damage

Alcohol and the brain GettyImages-921946022.jpg

Title of research

The Frontal Lobe Paradox in the assessment of alcohol-related cognitive deficits and brain damage.

Programme of research

The Welsh Government Substance Misuse Treatment Framework: Diagnosis, treatment and Support for Alcohol-Related Brain Damage (ARBD) recommends early identification and that cognitive screening of individuals with a history of significant alcohol use should be routinely undertaken by trained professionals to identify those with risk of ARBD. 

If ARBD is correctly identified it is a potentially reversible and treatable condition. However, difficulties in assessing functional capacity of individuals with potential ARBD can be compounded by several factors including the preservation of language and verbal reasoning skills allowing individuals to effectively mask deficits and to mis-diagnose or underestimate their need for treatment and support. 

“The Frontal Lobe Paradox” (FLP) otherwise referred to as the ‘knowing-doing dissociation’ highlights a phenomenon in which a subset of people who possess frontal lobe damage and exhibit marked impairments in everyday life are still able to perform well in interview and clinical test settings. However, there is a lack of readily accessible research specific to the frontal lobe paradox, despite an apparent understanding of the phenomena by clinicians.

This PhD studentship aims to address a gap in the literature and will directly inform the development of ARBD-specific screening and diagnosis tools, and aid in establishing clear pathways for referral and treatment. You will be working with Professor Gareth Roderique Davies and Professor Bev John of the Addictions Research Group. You can read more about their work on ARBD here.

Scholarship details

The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time three-year PhD programme and pay a stipend of £15, 500 per year.  USW research students also benefit from extensive free training.


  • Successful completion of an undergraduate degree in Psychology or aligned discipline and an MSc in Psychology or aligned discipline (Merit or above). 
  • Experience of working in a community mental health and/or addictions service would be an advantage.
  • UK applicants only

Applications and enquiries

  • Details of how to apply can be found here
  • Applicants should contact Jane MacCuish in the Graduate School for advice on the application process, [email protected]
  • Applicants are welcome to contact Professor Gareth Roderique-Davies to discuss the project ahead of formal submission of an application, [email protected]
  • The closing date for applications is 11th March 2022 and the expected start date is w/c 4th April 2022.  
  • The successful applicant will initially register for an MPhil/PhD.
  • Why choose USW for your PhD?