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    Dr Rebecca Lawson

    University Position
    Assistant Professor


    We all have expectations about how the how the world should look, feel, smell, taste and sound. These expectations act as predictions to guide us when we are uncertain, and signal when something out of the ordinary is happening. My work uses computational models, pharmacology and brain imaging to understand how humans learn to build adaptive expectations about the world around us, other people and ourselves. The aim is to understand how and when predictions are realised in the brain, how these mechanisms develop in babies and how they might underlie individual differences in how the world is experienced by people with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions.

    Key Publications

    A core component of psychological therapy causes adaptive changes in computational learning mechanisms.

    Journal: Psychol Med
    E-pub date: 1 Jan 2024
    Authors: Q Dercon, SZ Mehrhof, TR Sandhu, C Hitchcock, RP Lawson, DA Pizzagalli, T Dalgleish, CL Nord

    Disrupted Dorsal Mid-Insula Activation During Interoception Across Psychiatric Disorders.

    Journal: Am J Psychiatry
    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2021
    Authors: CL Nord, RP Lawson, T Dalgleish


    Perceptual decision-making in autism as assessed by “spot the difference” visual cognition tasks.

    Journal: Sci Rep
    E-pub date: 14 Sep 2022
    Authors: N Jassim, AM Owen, P Smith, J Suckling, RP Lawson, S Baron-Cohen, O Parsons

    Visual scene discrimination: A perceptual advantage in autistic adults

    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2022
    Authors: N Jassim, A Owen, P Smith, J Suckling, R Lawson, S Baron-Cohen, O Parsons

    The Computational, Pharmacological, and Physiological Determinants of Sensory Learning under Uncertainty.

    Journal: Curr Biol
    E-pub date: 11 Jan 2021
    Authors: RP Lawson, J Bisby, CL Nord, N Burgess, G Rees

    Depression is associated with enhanced aversive Pavlovian control over instrumental behaviour.

    Journal: Sci Rep
    E-pub date: 22 Aug 2018
    Authors: CL Nord, RP Lawson, QJM Huys, S Pilling, JP Roiser

    Disrupted habenula function in major depression.

    Journal: Mol Psychiatry
    E-pub date: 1 Feb 2017
    Authors: RP Lawson, CL Nord, B Seymour, DL Thomas, P Dayan, S Pilling, JP Roiser