UCL Institute of Mental Health

Prof Ray Dolan

Prof Ray Dolan

Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry

Imaging Neuroscience

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Joined UCL
1st Aug 1997

Research summary

I study reward and human decision making, including its relationship to psychopathology, using a range of methodologies. The research programme of the group is guided by longstanding ideas that behavioural control is an attribute of model-free (habitual) and model-based (goal directed) processing. The group avail of a range of data derived from behavioural analysis, computational modelling, psychopharmacological manipulations as well as brain imaging, primarily involving fMRI and MEG. The group harness  insights  from these methodologies to address critical determinants of human decision making under uncertainty across a range of contexts, including in those with anxiety and depression. A recent focus addresses how we build cognitive maps of the environment and how such a map supports model based decision making. Here the lab has developed sophisticated decoding tools, in collaboration with the lab of Timothy Behrens, that enable indexing of fast replay of neural representations during learning, episodic memory and decision making. The group are extending these methodologies to study neural replay in the context of reward and punishment, as well as in the study of psychopathology.


Royal Society
Doctorate, Fellow of the Royal Society | 2010
Royal College of Physicians
Doctorate, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians | 2002
Academy of Medical Sciences
Doctorate, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences | 2000
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Doctorate, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists | 1995
National University of Ireland
Doctorate, Doctor of Medicine | 1988
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists | 1981
National University of Ireland
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery | 1977


Ray Dolan is Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry  at UCL. He was the founding Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging (2006-2015). His research addresses the neurobiology of emotion and decision making, including how decision making breaks down in neurological and psychiatric disease. He has published over 700 peer reviewed research papers. He has received numerous awards including the Alexander Von Humboldt Research Award (2004), the Minerva Foundation Golden Brain Award (2006), the International Max Planck Research Award (2007), International Prize for Translational Neuroscience of the Gertrud Reemtsma Foundation, Cologne (2013) ,The Brain Prize (2017) and The Ferrier Medal and Lecture, Royal Society (2019).  Between 2010-2014 he has been Visiting Einstein Fellow at the the Humboldt University, Berlin.  He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2000, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010 and an External Member of the Max Planck Society (MPS) in 2012.  He holds an Honorary Professorship at the Humboldt University, Berlin. He established the first Centre for Computational Psychiatry at UCL, a joint venture with the Max Planck Society (MPS) and where he serves as Director.