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Steven Davey's profile photoMA, M.Litt (St And), MA(Cantab)PhD Student, Suicide and Mental Health Research Group

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I began work at the University of Otago Wellington in 2015 as an Assistant Research Fellow in the Department of Psychological Medicine and with the Suicide and Mental Health Research Group from 2016. I have been working on a range of projects, including a qualitative study of social exclusion and mental distress, an evaluation of stigma/discrimination in the police force (ongoing), and a policy paper on death review mechanisms for suicide. I began PhD study in March 2017.

Prior to this, I worked in several research and university roles in mainland China and the UK, including 4 years of social research for the UK Government. My academic training is in psychology, and previously in analytical philosophy.

Current project

Where is an emotion – and can finding it help to prevent suicide?

This is an investigation of whether emotion manifests in the body as a localised feeling (i.e. with a more or less clear boundary, as with physical pain). It will focus on interoception (i.e. sensing the physiological condition of the body) and its relationship with localisation, in addition to inhibitory processes that could (if they exist) maintain emotional feeling as an otherwise vague and physically diffuse experience. Based on recent research indicating links between emotion, interoceptive ability and suicidality, this study seeks to provide a basis for novel suicide prevention interventions with emotional localisation as an additional key element. In addition to the potential for practical benefits, this project would also be relevant to emotion theory and the philosophy of emotion.

Research interests and activities

  • Embodied emotion and affective science
  • Interoception
  • Suicide prevention
  • Philosophy of emotion
  • Social theory and mental ill health


Davey, S., Halberstadt, J., & Bell, E. (2024). Where is an emotion? Using an emotional spatial cueing task to test for emotional localization following targeted visceroception. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 65, 104-118. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12959 Journal - Research Article

Davey, S., Bell, E., & Halberstadt, J. (2023). Using targeted visceroception to improve interoceptive sensibility and emotion regulation. New Ideas in Psychology, 68, 100989. doi: 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2022.100989 Journal - Research Article

Davey, S., Bell, E., & Halberstadt, J. (2022). Adapting a two-stage water load test to measure gastric sensitivity over time [Brief communication]. Physiology & Behavior, 253, 113856. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113856 Journal - Research Other

Davey, S., Halberstadt, J., & Bell, E. (2022). Where is an emotion? Greater interference in a gut-focused visceroception group undertaking an emotional stop-signal task. New Ideas in Psychology, 65, 100933. doi: 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2022.100933 Journal - Research Article

Davey, S. A. (2021). Where is an emotion? (PhD). University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Retrieved from Awarded Doctoral Degree

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