Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Visiting Professor







1003Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Wing (QEQM)St Mary's Campus






Ivo received a DPhil (PhD) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford (and St. John's College) and MSc in Cognitive Science and BSc in Psychology from the New Bulgarian University.

Before coming to Imperial, Ivo worked as a researcher at University College London, Decision Technology Ltd and the University of Warwick. He has a track record of research in cognitive science and behavioural economics, which is published in peer-reviewed academic journals, book chapters and government reports.


How does the mind/brain integrate information to evaluate experiences, values, or risks? How does it strike a balance between stability and context sensitivity in judgment and decision making? What neural mechanisms underlie this fundamental cognitive ability? This is the focus of Ivo's research, which is to advance understanding of human decision making. It is a convergence of psychology, neuroscience and economics, which achieves results that none of the disciplines can achieve by themselves. This research also illustrates how the synergy of methods such as experimentation, brain imaging, and quantitative modeling can achieve results that neither method can achieve alone.

Key research interests are human decision-making in various domains (social, financial, medical). Specific research topics are risk attitudes, behaviour change, consumer psychology, behavioural finance, cooperation, well-being.

Ivo is also a co-author of the UK Cabinet Office MINDSPACE report, which provides a framework for designing effective policy utilising the latest insights from the field of behavioural economics. MINDSPACE is widely used across both local and central government and in the commercial sector.


Ivo's previous consulting work related to consumers' risk perception funded by the Institute of Actuaries, London. He has also worked on consulting projects on consumer price perception, consumer trust, and brand memory funded by large retailers. His recent work with various public organisations is on applying behaviour change principles to change people’s decisions about their health, finances and environment.


Journals / Publishers:

Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

Greek Economic Review

Palgrave Macmillan

Medical Science Monitor

Evolutionary Bioinformatics

Experimental Psychology

Journal of Behavioral Finance

Theory and Decision

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

Thinking and Reasoning

European Journal of Social Psychology

Personality and Individual Differences

Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

Journal of Neuroscience

Alcohol and Alcoholism

Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

Implementation Science

Review of Financial Studies

Oxford University Press

Journal of Economic Psychology

Journal of Pain

Research funding proposals:

UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

US National Science Foundation (NSF)

Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Leverhulme Trust

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

Research Grants



Vlaev, I., Bicknell, C., King, D., Bishop, L., Gunn, L., Darzi, A. (2014-2016). Incentives in Diabetic Eye Assessment by Screening (IDEAS) Trial. National Institute for Health Research (£408,000).

Ferguson, N., Aanensen, D., Boily, M.‎, Cauchemez, S., Donnelly, C. A., Fraser, C., Ghani, A., Grassly, N. C., Hallett, T. B., Riley, S., Ward, H., Didelot, X., Conteh, L., White, P. J., Arinaminpathy, N., Vlaev, I., Hauck, K. (2014-2018). NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Modelling Methodology. National Institute for Health Research (£3,528,583).

Ahmedna, M., Darzi, A., Vlaev, I., Gately, P., Al-Kuwari, H., Gunn, L.H., Ghoulum, S., Al-Saadi, A., Fricker, P., Kerkadi, A. (2013-2018). Adapted Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Addressing Overweight and Obesity Among Qatari Youth. Qatar National Research Fund ($4,999,667).

 Darzi, A., Vlaev, I., Ramirez, D., Taylor, D., (2013-2014). Liberating Housebound Obese People using Virtual Environments. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (£245,000)

Taylor, D., Vlaev, I., Ramirez, D. (2012-2013). Mindspace Motivator. Department of Health (£86,000)

Seymour, B., Vlaev, B., Aziz, T., Green, A., Lengyel, M., Robbins, T., Compston, A., Wolpert, D. (2012-2016). Mechanisms of Endogenous Analgesia. Wellcome Trust (£722,829)

Jones, K., Welch, E., Caiels, J., Windle, K., Forder, J., Davidson, J., Dolan, P., Glendinning, C., Irvine, A., King, D., Vlaev, I. (2010-2013). Evaluation of Personalised Health Budgets. Department of Health (£931,280).

Burgess, S., et al. (2010-2014). Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change. Department for Education (£1,995,215).

Adriaenssens, C., Dolan, P., Elliott, A. & Vlaev, I. (2010). How to create enduring financial capability. Financial Services Authority (£55,000).

Chater, N., & Vlaev, I. (2002-2004). Consumer understanding of risk. Institute of Actuaries (£40,000).



Vlaev I, Crockett MJ, Clark L, et al., 2017, Serotonin enhances the impact of health information on food choice, Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol:17, ISSN:1530-7026, Pages:542-553

Thomson CL, Maskrey N, Vlaev I, 2017, Making Decisions Better: an evaluation of an educational intervention, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Vol:23, ISSN:1356-1294, Pages:251-256

Taylor MJ, Taylor D, Vlaev I, et al., 2017, Virtual worlds to support patient group communication? A questionnaire study investigating potential for virtual world focus group use by respiratory patients, British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol:48, ISSN:0007-1013, Pages:451-461

Taylor MJ, Vlaev I, Taylor D, et al., 2017, Cardiac autonomic regulation as a predictor for childhood obesity intervention success, International Journal of Obesity, Vol:41, ISSN:0307-0565, Pages:824-827

Leff DR, Yongue G, Vlaev I, et al., 2017, "Contemplating the next maneuver": functional neuroimaging reveals intraoperative decision-making strategies, Annals of Surgery, Vol:265, ISSN:1528-1140, Pages:320-330

More Publications