Functional Imaging Laboratory
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Ben Seymour

I am an Honorary Research Fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, London, and a Research Fellow at the ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution, UCL London. I work clinically as an SpR in Neurology based at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging
Functional Imaging Laboratory
12 Queen Square

bj.seymourATgmail.com or bseymourATfil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Research Interests

Decision Neuroscience.
The focus of my research is in decision neuroscience, with a particular interest in aversive learning and pain. The approach is based on a framework provided by animal learning theory (Pavlovian and instrumental learning), integrated with computational models of prediction and control (especially Reinforcement Learning). The research aims to develop experimental paradigms testable in humans using a combination of behavioural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Current research explores appetitive-aversive integration, average-reward reinforcement learning, perceptual ‘hedonics’ of pain, and aversive motor control. Broader interests include social learning and altruism, inter-temporal choice and relative value coding.

Computational neurology.
Of particular interest is the translational application of computational models of behaviour to clinical neurology. This serves several goals: to explore how disease and therapies inform our basic understanding of physiological systems neuroscience, to better understand how aspects of neurological disease relate to specific mechanistic deficits in behaviour, and to develop new clinical diagnostic and evaluative tools that exploit this knowledge. Current research explores behavioural correlates of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease (STN DBS, with Michael Barbe and Gereon Fink, Cologne), dopaminergic therapy, and movement speed, in Parkinson’s disease (with Tamara Shiner, Kailash Bhatia and Ray Dolan at NHNN), and early detection of Huntington’s disease (with Rachel Swain and Roger Barker, Cambridge).

Behavioural Health Economics
This research integrates insights from behavioural economics and decision neuroscience to explore health-related decision making. Of note, current health policy in the UK highlights the expanding role of patient choice, with the goal of improving patient welfare and experience, enhancing individual responsibility, and driving efficiency in a market environment. Our research is designed to examine where patient choice may be suboptimal, and how this can mitigated or exploited to ‘nudge’ people towards healthier behaviour. Current work explores laboratory based decision making using pain as a paradigm of ill-health (with Ivo Vlaev, Nick Chater and Ray Dolan), field research in pain medicine (with Dan Wheeler, Cambridge), and policy implications (with Ravi Baghirathan, Cabinet Office).

Politics, news and topical links

Addenbrookes neurowiki.


This page last modified Aug 2010

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