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David F. Marks is a psychologist and professor at City University in London, United Kingdom. Marks is largely concerned with three areas of psychological research - health psychology, cognitive psychology, and parapsychology.


After completing his PhD at Sheffield University he migrated to New Zealand where he taught at the University of Otago. In 1986 he returned to the UK as Head of the School of Psychology at Middlesex Polytechnic before moving to City University in 2000. He founded and edits the Journal of Health Psychology (Who's Who, 2007).

Health psychologyEdit

In his work on health psychology Marks advocates a greater understanding of the socio-political context affecting individual behaviour (Marks et al., 2005). With Michael Murray and colleagues he has actively promoted a critical-theoretical approach, including the foundation of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. This organisation has included the consideration of social justice, community approaches, and arts projects for the reduction of health inequalities. Marks has also been interested in new research methods for clinical psychology and health psychology (Marks & Yardley, 2004).

Marks has promoted the use of cognitive behaviour therapy as an effective clinical approach to smoking cessation. This research began in New Zealand where Paul Sulzberger and he developed the Isis Smoking Cessation Programme (Sulzberger & Marks, 1977). After returning to England in 1986 Marks developed a UK-version of the programme which was originally published by the British Psychological Society in 1993 as The QUIT FOR LIFE Programme (Marks 1993). The approach was developed further and re-published in the Overcoming series by Robinson as "Overcoming Your Smoking Habit" (Marks 2005).

Cognitive psychologyEdit

Marks' research in cognitive psychology led to the development of the Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire (VVIQ), a tool for the assessment of individual differences in visual imagery. Marks (1973) reported that high vividness scores correlate with the accuracy of recall of coloured photographs. In 1995 he published a new version of the VVIQ, the VVIQ2. This questionnaire consists of twice the number of items and reverses the rating scale so that higher scores reflect higher vividness. Rodway, Gillies and Schepman (2006) found that high vividness participants were significantly more accurate at detecting salient changes to pictures compared to low vividness participants, replicating an earlier study by Gur and Hilgard (1975). Recently Cui et al. (2007) found that reported image vividness correlates with increased activity in the visual cortex. This study shows that the subjective experience of forming a mental image is reflected by increased visual cortical activity.


In his work on parapsychology Marks adopts a sceptical analysis of paranormal claims. For example, Marks explained how the original claims of so-called remote viewing ability were based on flawed experimental procedures. Marks also described how the self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller was able to hoodwink scientists, journalists and the many members of the public with a series of simple but audacious sleights of hand. His book, co-authored with the late Richard Kammann, The Psychology of the Psychic (Marks & Kammann 1980; 2nd edn. Marks 2000; Forewords to both editions by Martin Gardner) describes these case studies of paranormal claims together with a set of principles for explaining how people can believe so strongly in paranormal claims. One of the most interesting psychological phenomena for the generation of paranormal beliefs is subjective validation, a process through which people find a correspondence between randomly paired events, including coincidences (Marks, 2000).

With Denis Dutton Marks co-founded the New Zealand Skeptics in 1986.


  • Cui, X., Jeter, C.B., Yang, D., Montague, P.R.,& Eagleman, D.M. (2007). "Vividness of mental imagery: Individual variability can be measured objectively". Vision Research, 47, 474-478.
  • Gur, R.C. & Hilgard, E.R. (1975). "Visual imagery and discrimination of differences between altered pictures simultaneously and successively presented". British Journal of Psychology, 66, 341-345.
  • Marks, D.F. (1973). "Visual imagery differences in the recall of pictures". British Journal of Psychology, 64, 17-24.
  • Marks, D.F. & Kammann, R. (1980). "The Psychology of the Psychic". Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books.
  • Marks, D.F. (1993). "The QUIT FOR LIFE Programme:An Easier Way To Quit Smoking and Not Start Again". Leicester: British Psychological Society.
  • Marks, D.F. (1995). "New directions for mental imagery research". Journal of Mental Imagery, 19, 153-167.
  • Marks, D.F. (2000). The Psychology of the Psychic (2nd Ed.) New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573927988
  • Marks, D.F. & Yardley, L. (2004). Research Methods for Clinical and Health Psychology. London: Sage.
  • Marks, D.F. (2005), Overcoming Your Smoking Habit. London: Robinson.
  • Marks, D.F., Murray, M., Evans, B., Willig, C., Woodall, C. & Sykes, C. (2005), Health Psychology. Theory, Research & Practice (2nd Ed.). London:Sage.
  • Rodway, P., Gillies, K. & Schepman, A. (2006). "Vivid imagers are better at detecting salient changes". Journal of Individual Differences, 27, 218-228.
  • Sulzberger, P. & Marks, D.F. (1977). "The Isis Smoking Cesssation Programme". Dunedin, New Zealand:Isis Research Centre.
  • Who's Who (2007). London:A & C Black.

External linksEdit

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