Peter Venables

Peter Venables is Emeritus Professor at the University of York. After graduating from University College London in 1951 he joined the Scientific Staff at the MRC Social Psychiatry Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, and remained there until 1964 when he joined the Psychology Department at Birkbeck, University of London as Reader in 1964. He  was awarded a Personal Chair there in 1967. In 1974 Venables came University of York to establish the Department of Psychology and remained there as Head of Department until his retirement in 1988. He was Pro-Vice Chancellor from 1981 to 1985. He is a former President of the British Psychological Society and was awarded the Joseph Zubin Award.

His research at the Social Psychiatry Research Unit was directed to the investigation of mechanisms which are disturbed in schizophrenic patients. It involved experimental psychological and psychophysiological methods. In the course of this research he developed and standardised aspects of psychophysiology. Upon joining Birkbeck, his works on schizophrenics in hospital became less feasible and he then turned to work on children at high risk for developing schizophrenia and was associated with the work in this area carried out by the Institut for Psykologi. On the basis of this work, the longitudinal study on the Child Health Project in Mauritius was started in 1972 and while initially concerned with the development of schizophrenia has later developed into a study of the roots of delinquency  and criminality. In this work Venables have worked with Sarnoff Mednick from the University of Southern California , Fini Schulsinger from the University of Copenhagen and Adrian Raine from the University of Pennsylvania. He has continued to work on the project up to the present with particular reference to the role of malnutrition and perinatal disturbance.

His recent publications include:

  • Raine, A Liu, J. Venables, P.H. Mednick, S.A. and Dalais C.(2010) Cohort Profile: The Mauritius Child Health Project.  International Journal of Epidemiology 39 1441-1451
  • Venables, P.H., Raine,A  (2012) A. Poor nutrition at age 3 and schizotypal personality at age 23: the mediating role of age 11 cognitive functioning  American Journal of Psychiatry 169 822-830

Credits: University of York

Published: 24 May 2015

Last updated: 17 October 2016

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