Brain Sciences


Meet the researcher: Sunjeev Kamboj

Changing learning and memory processes in addiction and anxiety.

Sunjeev Kamboj

26 September 2017

Our team in the clinical psychopharmacology unit use psychophysiological measurements to look at the role of ‘maladaptive learning and memory’ in addictions and anxiety disorders. Both of these types of disorder involve unhelpful patterns of behaviour which have been learned through, for example, classical conditioning. It turns out that it might be possible to reverse these unhelpful behaviours by retraining people to form more adaptive associations (e.g. by repeatedly linking drug cues to bad outcomes). Alternatively, maladaptive memories can be prevented from being formed in the first place, for example, by using certain drugs that block memory formation. In this way, it might be possible to prevent distressing memories from being formed in posttraumatic stress disorder. By using experimental ‘models’ of addiction and PTSD, we can test out these ideas in healthy people, and if successful, our results can then be used to develop new treatments for these disorders.