Halley Pontes

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr. Halley Pontes (CPsychol) is a chartered psychologist and expert in the field of behavioural addictions. Dr. Pontes is a member of Department of Psychology and the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University and founder of the Portuguese Society of Behavioral and Technological Addictions. Dr. Pontes teaches in several modules from the BSc (Hons) Psychology and MSc / PGDip Psychology and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate psychology students. Dr. Pontes was the recipient of the 2016 Durand Jacobs Award (best study on the psychology of addictive behaviours) by the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours (McGill University, Canada).

Dr. Pontes’ main teaching interests fall within the remit of research methods and statistics applied to psychological research, psychometric assessment and development of standardised psychological tests, cyberpsychology, behavioural addictions (e.g. videogame addiction, Internet addiction, online social networking addiction, smartphone addiction), mental health and wellbeing.

Career overview

Dr. Pontes obtained a BSc (hons) in Psychology (2011) and MSc in Clinical Psychology (2013) from the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (Lisbon, Portugal). Dr. Pontes has received his PhD from Nottingham Trent University (2017). Prior to his PhD, Dr. Pontes worked as a private clinical psychologist in Portugal and provided counselling and mental health support services to his clients.

Dr. Pontes started his research on behavioural addictions in Portugal in 2012, and was the first researcher in Portugal to conduct large-scale studies on technological addictions and publish his findings in leading international peer-reviewed journals such as: Computers in Human Behavior; Journal of Behavioral Addictions; and CyberPsychology, Behaviors, and Social Networking.

Research areas

Dr. Pontes’ research is mainly focused on the potential detrimental psychological effects addictive technology use may have on users, and also on the clinical and psychometric assessment of technological addictions such as videogame addiction, Internet addiction, online social networking addiction, and smartphone addiction. Dr. Pontes’ research is usually based on large-scale and epidemiological surveys, where he applies cutting-edge quantitative data analytic techniques such as latent variable modelling (e.g., exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, latent profile analysis, measurement invariance, etc.). Dr. Pontes has also published extensively in other related areas such as: sex addiction, work addiction, game transfer phenomena, and in other less related areas such as political psychology where he investigated how political engagement is assessed in research.

External activity

Dr. Pontes has disseminated his work in numerous congresses and conferences in Europe, and has also collaborated to research being conducted by the Portuguese General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) by providing them with standardised psychometric tools he developed in his research to assess both videogame addiction and Internet addiction amongst the Portuguese population. Other major public institutions in Portugal that have directly benefited from his research output on the assessment of technological addictions include the Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon (i.e., Núcleo de Utilização Problemática de Internet) where they actively employ the psychometric tools he developed in Portugal to diagnose and assess the severity of technological addictions amongst their patients. Dr. Pontes also collaborates with mental health and addiction treatment centres focusing on the treatment of developmental disorders technological addictions, these include the Progresso Infantil (PIN) in Portugal and the LOGOUT Center for Digital Addiction Help and Treatment in Slovenia.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr. Pontes’ research is heavily based on international collaboration with several partners in Europe such as the National Institute of Public Health in Slovenia where epidemiological studies at population level were conducted based on his consultancy services and research outputs. Dr. Pontes also actively collaborates with other research groups in the field of behavioural addictions in Hungary at Eötvös Loránd University, and more recently he has collaborated with academics from the University of Coimbra (Portugal), University of Delaware (United States of America), Missouri State University (United States of America), Birkbeck, University of London (United Kingdom), University of Gdańsk (Poland), Federation University (Australia), University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Ramon Llull University (Spain), and Tel-Hai College (Israel).

Press expertise

  • Psychological implications of healthy and unhealthy technology use
  • Cyberpsychology and deviant online behaviours
  • Addictions within the cyberspace
  • Videogaming
  • Addictive and non-addictive social media use
  • Psychopathology, mental health, and wellbeing within the cyberspace