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Robin A Murphy

PhD (McGill) FHEA

Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology

  • Fellow and Dean of Corpus Christi College
Learning, Memory and Cognition

I received my undergraduate degree from Queen's University and then studied for my MA and PhD at McGill University in Canada. I have published more than 50 scientific papers and chapters on topics ranging from the role of the hippocampus for animal learning, human learning, attention and reasoning as well as conceptual issues on the nature of the computational properties of learning as well implications for conditions such as depression and psychopathy. A new free ebook collection on Individual differences and associative learning is available from Frontiers and a forthcoming edited book with Rob Honey and published by Wiley The Handbook of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning is due to be published in 2016.

I have acted for the UK's Experimental Psychology Society as committee member and on the editorial board for their journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology and currently consulting editor for  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition and associate editor for Learning & Behavior. Research in my lab has been funded by Research Councils UK (MRC, BBSRC and ESRC) as well as Wellcome Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. I have been a member of advisory panels for Biosciences Federation, Research Councils (UK) and the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

My research focus is on using associative theory to explain mental activity in animals and as applied to human learning in the developing field of Computational Psychopathology. The use of associative mechanisms to explain disorders of the mind.

Associative theory provides a biologically plausible mechanism for understanding how brains learn, remember and act and is a bridge between the acquisition of biologically motivated behaviours (e.g., eating, drinking etc) and more complex information processing (e.g., reasoning about one's agency in the world).

The experiments conducted in the lab include basic biological research into animal behaviour and those on the relation between neurochemistry, structure and learning as well as experiments on human thinking and reasoning.

The translational impact of this work relates to understanding brain function and how therapy can benefit from insights into associative processes.

Current projects involve studying instrumental learning in mouse models of serotonin action. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter implicated in the treatment of anxiety and depression and may play a crucial role in providing us with our sense of agency. Other projects involve the study of psychopathy and the biological substrate of interpersonal beliefs.

I am the Psychology Fellow and Dean at Corpus Christi College and Associate Professor of Psychology and currently teach on the undergraduate Psychology and Biomedical Sciences degrees for Part 1 Behavioural Neuroscience and Part 2 Advanced Option in Learning Theory.

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Key Publications


Recent Publications

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