Skip to content

Alexander Sumich


School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Sumich is Associate Professor in Psychology with expertise in Biopsychology and Mental Health. He teaches on several modules (Advanced Biological Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Biological Perspectives in Mental Health and Wellbeing; and Research Methods) and co-leads the Affect, Personality and Embodied Brain (APE) Research Group. He also has several duties related to research conduct (Research Ethics, Research Staffing, Research Mentoring, Internal REF assessments).

Career overview

Dr. Sumich has over 20 years of research experience in cognition and the neurobiology of psychiatric illness, including mood disorders. He obtained an MA (I) in psychology from Auckland University and a PhD in psychology as applied to medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He is Adjunct Professor in Psychology at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), NZ.

Research areas

Dr Sumich's research interests include the use of neuroimgaing and electrophysiological methods to understand the neurobiology of affect and affect-driven behaviours (depression, empathy, aggression) and perception in clinical and nonclinical populations. He is also interested in the role nutrition, particularly fatty acids, play in healthy brain function.

Examples of Research Grants:

  • 2018-ongoing Royal Society of New Zealand/MBIE Marsden project grant Untangling Inflammation and Depression in a Pacific Youth Cohort. NZ$827,000. (PI=Richard Siegert; ongoing)
  • 2018-ongoing Road Safety Trust Development of a VR facilitated 3D Driving Hazard perception test CoI; £135.000: (PI=David Crundall; ongoing)
  • 2016-2017 Health and Wellbeing Development of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) intervention for social anxiety (£20k; Completed)
  • 2016-2017 Royal Society of New Zealand catalyst seeding grant. Wellbeing-A mind, brain and body approach (NZ$80k) lead Partner (PI= Prof Siegert; Completed)
  • 2015-2016 Health and wellbeing Microbiota health index (MHI): Associations with depression and inflammation (£20k) with Nadja Heym, Glenn Gibson (completed)
  • 2015-2016 AUT Strategic Research Investment Fund (SRIF) Mindfulness: how and whom? (NZ$200k) (Completed)
  • BIAL foundation. (2013-present) Body and soul: A computational neurophysiological and qualitative investigation of Ganzfeld-induced imagery (46842 euros)
  • Crystal Mind (2013-present) Effect of EPA on neural correlates of trait aggression in healthy individuals (£15000) ongoing
  • NTU collective internal funding from Division of Psychology and School of Social Sciences (£12,070) for the upgrade of EEG equipment
  • Mother and Child foundation (2006-2009) MAAFA Trial: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation for Adolescent Boys with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A Double-blind, Randomized Controlled Trial with Eric Taylor, Toshiko Imai, Michael Crawford (£98,214). Completed.
  • BIAL foundation (2005-2007) 'Event-related potentials and temperament traits in ADHD and conduct disorder' with Katya Rubia and Eric Taylor (£27,772.25). Completed
  • BIAL foundation (2003-2005) 'Brain function, creativity, paranormal ideation and risk for psychosis' with Michael Brammer and Dominic Ffytche. (48,000 euros). Completed

External activity

Associate editorship with Personality and Individual Differences;

Committee member (Treasurer) at British Society for the Psychology of Individual Differences;

Adjunct Professor in Psychology at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.

Co-leader on the International APE Research Network. Co-Host of APE2020 Conference.

Sponsors and collaborators

External Collaborators

Prof Veena Kumari (Brunel University London)

Dr Colette Hirsch (Kings College London, London)

Dr Jennifer Lau (Kings College London, London)

Prof Patricia Olivia_Silva (Universidad Catolica Portuguesa, Portugal)

Prof Ignacio Cifre (Blancera University Barcelona, Spain)

Prof Rakesh Pandey (Banaras Hindi University, India)

Prof Daniel Mograbi (PUC-Rio, Brasil)

Prof Nikola Kasabov (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)

Prof Richard Siegert (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)

Dr Grace Wang (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)

Dr Miryam Doborjeh (Auckland University of Technology, NZ)

Dr Oleg Medvedev (University of Waikato, NZ)

Dr Zohreh Doborjeh (University of Auckland, NZ)

Prof Mark Billinghurst (University of Auckland, NZ)


  1. Finaulahi, K.P., Sumich, A., Heym, N. et al. (2021) Investigating Psychometric Properties of the Self-Compassion Scale Using Rasch Methodology. Mindfulness .
  2. Doborjeh Z, Doborjeh M, Crook-Rumsey M, Taylor T, Wang GY, Moreau D, Krägeloh C, Wrapson W, Siegert RJ, Kasabov N, Searchfield G, Sumich A. (2020) Interpretability of Spatiotemporal Dynamics of the Brain Processes Followed by Mindfulness Intervention in a Brain-Inspired Spiking Neural Network Architecture. Sensors; 20(24):7354.
  3. Burleigh, T.L., Griffiths, M.D., Sumich, A., Wang, G.Y., Kuss,D.J Gaming disorder and internet addiction: A systematic review of resting-state EEG studies.Addictive Behaviors, 107,
  4. Heym N., Kibowski F., Bloxsom C.A.J. Blanchard A., Harper A., Wallace L., Firth J., Sumich A (2020) The Dark Empath: Characterising dark traits in the presence of empathy Personality and Individual Differences IF=2.31, SNIP=1.13
  5. Fido, D. Heym, N., Bloxsom, C.A.J., Hunter, K., Gregson, M.  and Sumich, A., (2020). Don't slap the fish: the relationship between dietary Omega-3 intake and physical aggression is mediated by motor inhibition in response to distressed faces. Personality and Individual Differences: IF=2.31, SNIP=1.13
  6. Blanchard A, Dunn T, Sumich A. (2020) Testing the Hot-Crazy Matrix: Borderline personality traits in attractive women and wealthy unattractive men are relatively favoured by the opposite sex. Personality and Individual Differences IF=2.31, SNIP=1.13
  7. Burleigh TL, Griffiths MD, Sumich A, Stavropoulos V, Kuss DJ (2020) A systematic review of the co-occurrence of Gaming Disorder and other potentially addictive behaviors. Current Addiction Reports 6 (4), 383-401
  8. Feng YC, Krahé C, Meeten F, Sumich A, Mok CLM, Hirsch CR. (2020) Impact of imagery-enhanced interpretation training on offline and online interpretations in worry. Behav Res Ther. 124:103497. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2019.103497. IF=4.31, SNIP=1.79
  9. Burleigh TL, Griffiths MD, Sumich A, Stavropoulos V, Kuss DJ (2020) A systematic review of the co-occurrence of Gaming Disorder and other potentially addictive behaviors. Current Addiction Reports 6 (4), 383-401
  10. Feng YC, Krahé C, Sumich A, Meeten F, Lau JYF, Hirsch CR. (2019) Using event-related potential and behavioural evidence to understand interpretation bias in relation to worry. Biol Psychol. 148:107746. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.107746. IF=2.63, SNIP=1.12
  11. Doborjeh Z, Doborjeh M, Taylor T, Kasabov N, Wang GY, Siegert R, Sumich A. (2019). Spiking Neural Network Modelling Approach Reveals How Mindfulness Training Rewires the Brain. Sci Rep. 9(1):6367. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42863-x. IF=4.1, SNIP=1.24
  12. Heym, N., Heasman, BC., Hunter, K., Blanco, SR., Wang, G., Siegert, R., Cleare, A., Gibson, GR., Kumari, V., Sumich, AL (2019), The role of microbiota and inflammation in self-judgement and empathy: implications for understanding the brain-gut-microbiome axis in depression. Psychopharmacology Psychopharmacology (Berl) 236 (5) 1459-1470. IF=3.2, SNIP=.87
  13. Sumich, A., Anderson, JD., Howard, CJ, Heym, N., Castro, A, Belmonte, MK (2018) Reduction in lower-alpha power during Ganzfeld flicker stimulation is associated with the production of images and trait positive schizotypy. Neuropsychologia 121:7987 IF=2.88, SNIP=1.04

See all of Alex Sumich's publications...