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

Rachel Brodie, Research Assistant

Micah Cearns, Research Assistant

Laura Finlayson-Short, PhD student

Hannah Savage, PhD student

Alec Jamieson, PhD student

Patrick Laing, PhD student

Christine Leonards, PhD student

Rebekah Truman, Honours 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)


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


Davey CG, Harrison BJ (2018) The brain’s center of gravity: how the default mode network helps us to understand the self. World Psychiatry 17(3):278–279.


Fullana MA, Albajes-Eizagirre A, Soriano-Mas C, Vervliet B, Cardoner N, Benet O, Radua J, Harrison BJ (2018) Fear extinction in the human brain: A meta-analysis of fMRI studies in healthy participants. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 88:16–25.


Davey CG, Breakspear M, Pujol J, Harrison BJ (2017) A brain model of disturbed self-appraisal in depression. Am J Psychiatry 174(9):895–903.


Harrison BJ, Fullana MA, Via E, et al. (2017) Human ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the positive affective processing of safety signals. Neuroimage 152:12–18.


Fullana MA, Harrison BJ, Soriano-Mas C, et al. (2016) Neural signatures of human fear conditioning: an updated and extended meta-analysis of fMRI studies. Mol Psychiatry 21(4):500–508.


Davey CG, Pujol J, Harrison BJ (2016) Mapping the self in the brain’s default mode network. Neuroimage 132:390–397.




University of Melbourne and

Melbourne Health

Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre

Level 3, Alan Gilbert Building

161 Barry Street

Carlton, Victoria, 3053