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Preethi Premkumar

Preethi Premkumar

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Premkumar delivers lectures on family communication to Year One students as part of an introductory module to Psychology (PSYC10159). She also delivers lectures on a third year module on Clinical Neuropsychology (PSYC30530). Preethi coordinates the lecture series and prepares assessments for Research in Context (PSYC10159) and Clinical Neuropsychology (PSYC30530) as module leader. Additionally, she supports research projects from Year One to post-graduate level of study. Preethi is interested to supervise research projects on social interaction, vulnerability for mental disorder and psychophysiological experiments on emotion. She also supports projects in other research fields.

Preethi provides pastoral support to students via personal tutorials, and by organising events for international students. Furthermore, she mentors undergraduate students in their placement year. She reviews students’ exceptional personal circumstances in the BSc (Hons) Psychology course to help them to have more time to achieve good academic performance.

Her research interests are to study the risk factors for psychosis due to social anxiety and poor family communication using neuroimaging. Besides, she collaborates with colleagues at the Psychology Department and Information Systems Research Group, School of Science and Technology, to design and test a virtual-reality intervention for social anxiety.

Career overview

Before joining NTU, Preethi was a researcher and PhD student at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. Preethi studied the neural predictors of responsiveness to cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis. Additionally, she conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging study on the effect of family criticism and rejection on schizotypal personality. Previously, she was a researcher at the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, Royal College of Psychiatrists. There, she conducted Cochrane-based systematic reviews to support recommendations for the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) clinical guidelines in depression, self-harm and obsessive compulsive disorder. She also was an associate lecturer at the Open University.

Research areas

Her current research focuses on how people with schizotypy (psychosis like-experiences that include belief in the paranormal and supernatural, magical thinking, strong spiritual beliefs) appraise family communication (praise, acceptance, criticism and rejection). She developed a behavioural assessment task to measure sensitivity to criticism in electroencephalography. These studies have found that people with a schizotypal personality attend less to rejection and praise, but evaluate criticism in different ways in order to reduce the impact of criticism (termed emotion regulation) from a close relative compared to people without a schizotypal personality. She also found that people attend to rejection if they worry.

Preethi collaborates with colleagues at NTU’s Psychology Department and School of Science and Technology to develop and test the efficacy of virtual reality exposure therapy for social anxiety. They are currently testing the effectiveness of virtual reality guided exposure to public speaking in students with public speaking fear.

Sponsors and collaborators

External collaborators

Veena Kumari, Professor in Experimental Psychology, Department of Psychology, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Elizabeth Kuipers, Professor Emerita of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Juliana Onwumere, Joint Leader for Postgraduate Diplomas in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Family Interventions for Psychosis, Department of Psychology, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health for NHS England, formerly Co-Director, National Collaboration Centre for Mental Health, National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence

Philip Corr, Professor in Psychology, Department of Psychology, City University

Internal collaborators

David Brown, Interactive Systems Research Group, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University

Eva Zysk, Nadja Heym and Fraenze Kibowski, Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University


Premkumar, P., Onwumere, J., Jacobo, A., Kessel, D., Kumari, V., Kuipers, E., Carretié, L. (2015). The relation between schizotypy and early attention to rejecting interactions: the influence of neuroticism. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. 16, 587-601. IF=4.225.

Steingroever, H, Fridberg, D J, Horstmann, A, Kjome, K L, Kumari, V, Lane, S D, Maia, T V, McClelland, J L, Pachur, T, Premkumar, P, Stout, J C, Wetzels, R, Wood, S, Worthy, D A and Wagenmakers, E-J 2015 Data from 617 Healthy Participants Performing the Iowa Gambling Task: A “Many Labs” Collaboration. Journal of Open Psychology Data 3:e5.

Premkumar, P., Fannon, D., Sapara, A., Peters, E. R., Anilkumar, A. P., Simmons, A., Kuipers, E., Kumari, V. (2015). Orbitofrontal cortex, emotional decision-making and response to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 231, 298-307. IF=2.831.

Premkumar, P., Onwumere, J., Wilson, D., Sumich, A., Castro, A., Kumari, V., Kuipers, E. (2014). Greater positive schizotypy relates to reduced N100 activity during rejection scenes. Neuropsychologia. 61, 280-290. IF=3.451.

Premkumar, P., Williams, S. C. R., Lythgoe, D., Andrew, C., Kuipers, E., Kumari, V. (2013). Neural processing of criticism and positive comments from relatives in individuals with schizotypal personality traits. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 14, 57–70. IF=4.225.

Premkumar, P., Ettinger, U., Inchley-Mort, S., Sumich, A., Williams, S. C. R., Kuipers, E., Kumari, V. (2012). Neural processing of social rejection: The role of schizotypal personality traits. Human Brain Mapping, 33, 695-706. IF=6.924.

Bird, V., Premkumar, P., Kendall, T., Whittington, C., Mitchell, J., Kuipers, E. (2010). Early intervention services, cognitive-behavioural therapy and family intervention in early psychosis: systematic review. British Journal of Psychiatry, 197, 350-356. IF=7.343.

Kumari, V., Peters, E. R., Fannon, D., Antonova, E., Premkumar, P., Anilkumar, A. P., Williams, S. C., Kuipers E. (2009). Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity predicts responsiveness to cognitive-behavioral therapy in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry, 66, 594-602. IF=9.472.

Premkumar, P., Fannon, D., Kuipers, E., Simmons, A., Frangou, S., Kumari, V. (2008). Emotional decision-making and its dissociable components in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: A behavioural and MRI investigation. Neuropsychologia, 46, 2002-2012. IF=3.451.

See all of Preethi Premkumar's publications...

Press expertise

  • Psychological therapy
  • Psychosis
  • Brain imaging
  • Social relationships