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Our research group is devoted to the neuroscience of cognitive and affective processes and their role in mood and anxiety disorders – the most common form of mental illness. We conduct experimental functional brain imaging research in healthy and clinical populations targeting core psychological domains of interest (e.g., self-related cognition, emotion/affect regulation, interoception). Clinically, we seek to develop treatment-oriented imaging biomarkers, and have sucessfully integrated our work into large-scale clinical trials.


Prof Chris Davey, Head of Department, Psychiatry

Dr Trevor Steward, NHMRC post-doctoral fellow (MSPS)

Lisa Incerti, Project Coordinator

Micah Cearns, Research Assistant

Rebekah Truman, Research Assistant

Hannah Savage, PhD student

Alec Jamieson, PhD student

Sevil Ince, PhD student (MSPS)

Patrick Laing, PhD student

Christine Leonards, PhD student

James Agathos, PhD student


People with anxiety disorders have characteristic difficulty regulating fear. Recent work by our team has shown that successful fear regulation relies on the coordinated activity of an extended ‘ventromedial prefrontal cortex system’ that mediates adaptive emotional responses to perceived threat and safety signals. This project will combine functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychophysiological monitoring and advanced brain connectivity analysis, to develop a unified neural systems model of human fear regulation that will be applied to the study of three clinical anxiety disorders in young people.

Funding: NHMRC Project Grant (ID 1161897)


Laing, PAF, Harrison, BJ (2021) Safety learning and the Pavlovian conditioned inhibition of fear in humans: Current state and future directions. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 127:659–674.


Steward, T, Davey, CG, Jamieson, AJ, Stephanou, K, Soriano-Mas, C, Felmingham, KL, Harrison, BJ (2021) Dynamic Neural Interactions Supporting the Cognitive Reappraisal of Emotion. Cereb Cortex, 31:961–973.


Jamieson, AJ, Davey, CG, Harrison, BJ (2021) Differential Modulation of Effective Connectivity in the Brain’s Extended Face Processing System by Fearful and Sad Facial Expressions. eNeuro, 8


Laing, PAF, Vervliet, B, Fullana, MA, Savage, HS, Davey, CG, Felmingham, KL, Harrison, BJ (2021) Characterizing human safety learning via Pavlovian conditioned inhibition. Behav Res Ther, 137:103800.


Finlayson-Short, L, Davey, CG, Harrison, BJ (2020) Neural correlates of integrated self and social processing. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 15:941–949.


Savage, HS, Davey, CG, Fullana, MA, Harrison, BJ (2020) Clarifying the neural substrates of threat and safety reversal learning in humans. Neuroimage, 207:116427.

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