Single Molecule Imaging

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My research aims to understand how pain is processed in the brain, and how behaviour and physiological responses are controlled following injury. The ultimate aim is to develop novel treatments to reduce or abolish pain in patients. This research is part theoretical: building realistic ‘systems’ level models of neuronal information processes to understand processes of pain perception and injury, and part experimental: testing these theories using a range of experimental methodologies - especially human experiments using as functional magnetic resonance brain imaging.

Principal Investigator

Ben Seymour Professor

Research field: Computational and systems neuroscience, neuroimaging
seymour atmark
Education history

2011 CCST Neurology Royal College of Physicians, London
2010 PhD Neurological Science UCL
2001 MRCP Medicine Royal College of Physicians, London
1997 MB ChB Medicine University of Manchester
1993 BSc Molecular Biology University of Manchester

Research and career history

2013- Wellcome Clinical Fellow (Cambridge Univ.)
2012- NICT Invited Executive Researcher (Center for Information and Neural Networks,)
2012 Locum Consultant Neurologist (Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Cambridge)
2007-11 Specialist Registrar in Neurology (Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge)
2002-07 Clinical Research Fellow (PhD) (UCL)
1997-2002 Junior Medical training (Manchester)



Ben Seymour, John O'Doherty, Peter Dayan, Martin Koltzenburg, Anthony Jones, Karl Friston, Ray Dolan, Richard Frackowiak. Temporal difference models describe higher--‐order learning in humans. Nature. 2004 Jun 10;429(6992):664--‐7.
Tania Singer, Ben Seymour, John O'Doherty, Holger Kaube, Ray Dolan, Chris Frith. Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science. 2004 Feb 20;303(5661):1157--‐62.
Ben Seymour, John O'Doherty, Martin Koltzenburg, Katya Wiech, Karl Friston, Ray Dolan. Opponent appetitive--‐aversive neural processes underlie predictive learning of pain relief. Nature Neuroscience. 2005 Sep;8(9):1234--‐40.
Ben Seymour, John Miles, Mansel Haeney. Diagnostic delay of antibody deficiency. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2005 May;58(5):546--‐7.
Raffael Kalisch, Katya Wiech, Hugo Critchley, Ben Seymour, John O'Doherty, David Oakley, Phil Allen, Ray Dolan. Anxiety reduction through detachment: subjective, physiological, and neural effects. J Cogn Neurosci. 2005 Jun;17(6):874--‐83.
Katya Wiech, Ben Seymour, Raffael Kalisch, Klass Stephan, Martin Koltzenburg, Jon Driver, Ray Dolan. Modulation of pain processing in hyperalgesia by cognitive demand. Neuroimage. 2005 Aug 1;27(1):59--‐69.
McKell Carter, John O'Doherty, Ben Seymour, Christof Koch, Ray Dolan. Contingency awareness in human aversive conditioning involves the middle frontal gyrus. Neuroimage. 2005 Feb 1;29(3):1007--‐12.
Peter Dayan, Yael Niv, Ben Seymour, Nathaniel Daw. The Misbehaviour of Value and the Discipline of the Will. Neural Networks. 2006 Oct;19(8):1153--‐60.
Mathias Pesseglione, Ben Seymour, Guillaume Flandin, et al. Dopamine--‐dependent prediction errors underpin reward--‐seeking behaviour in humans. Nature. 2006 Aug 31;442(7106):1042--‐5.
Benedetto De Martino, Dharsh Kumaran, Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan. Frames, biases and decision making in the human brain. Science. 2006 Aug 4;313(5787):684--‐7.
Nathaniel Daw, John O'Doherty, Peter Dayan, Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan. Cortical substrates for exploratory decisions in humans. Nature 2006 Jun 15;441(7095):876--‐9.
Raffael Kalisch, Elian Korenfeld, Klaas E. Stephan, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Ben Seymour, and Ray Dolan. Context--‐Dependent Human Extinction Memory Is Mediated by a Ventromedial Prefrontal and Hippocampal Network. Journal of Neuroscience. 2006. Vol 26 pp9503--‐11.
Ben Seymour. Carry on eating: neural pathways mediating conditioned potentiation of feeding. Journal of Neuroscience. 2006 Jan 25;26(4):1061--‐2.
John O'Doherty, Tony Buchannen, Ben Seymour et al. Predictive neural coding of reward preference involves dissociable responses in human ventral midbrain and ventral striatum. Neuron 2006 Jan 5;49(1):157--‐66.
John O'Doherty, Tony Buchannen, Ben Seymour et al. Predictive neural coding of reward preference involves dissociable responses in human ventral midbrain and ventral striatum. Neuron 2006 Jan 5;49(1):157--‐66.
Ben Seymour, Tania Singer, Ray Dolan. The neurobiology of punishment. Nature Rev Neuroscience 2007 8; 300--‐11.
Ben Seymour. Research loses in hasty changes to medical training. Nature. 2007 Mar 29;446(7135):492
Chris Brown, Ben Seymour, Yvonne Boyle, Wael El--‐Deredy, Anthony Jones. Modulation of pain ratings by expectation and uncertainty: Behavioural characteristics and anticipatory neural correlates. Pain. 2007. 135(3):240--‐50.
Ben Seymour, Nathaniel Daw, Peter Dayan, Tania Singer, Ray Dolan. Differential responses to gains and losses in human striatum. Journal of Neuroscience. 2007 May 2;27(18):4826--‐31.
Dean Mobbs, Predrag Petrovic, Jennifer Marchant, Demis Hassabis, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan, Chris Frith. When Fear Is Near: Threat Imminence Elicits Prefrontal- Periaqueductal Gray Shifts in Humans. Science 2007 Aug 24;317:1079--‐83.
Ben Seymour and Ray Dolan. Emotion, decision making and the amygdala. Neuron 2008, 12;58(5):662--‐71.
Chris Brown, Ben Seymour, Wael El--‐Deredy, Anthony Jones. Confidence in beliefs about pain predicts expectancy effects on pain perception and anticipatory processing in right anterior insula. Pain. 2008, 139(2) 324--‐33.
Debbie Talmi, Ben Seymour, Peter Dayan and Ray Dolan. Human Pavlovian--‐instrumental transfer. Journal of Neuroscience. Jan 2008 28(2): 360--‐368
Bianca Wittmann, Nathanial Daw, Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan. Striatal activity underlies novelty seeking behaviour in humans. Neuron. 2008, 58, 967-973.
Ben Seymour and Sam McClure. Anchors, scales and relative coding of value in the brain. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2008 Apr;18(2):173--‐8.
Predrag Petrovic, Burkhard Pleger, Ben Seymour, Stefan Kloppel, Benedetto De Martino, Hugo Critchley, Ray Dolan. Blocking central opiate function modulates hedonic impact and anterior cingulate response to rewards and losses. Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Oct 15;28(42):10509--‐16
Ivo Vlaev and Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan, Nick Chater. The price of pain and the value of suffering. Psychological Science, 2009. 20:309--‐317.
Dominik Bach, Ben Seymour and Ray Dolan. Neural activity associated with the passive prediction of ambiguity and risk for aversive events. Journal of Neuroscience. February 11, 2009, 29(6):1648--‐1656.
Dean Mobbs, Demis Hassabis, Jen Marchant, Ben Seymour, Niklaus Weiskopf, Ray Dolan, CHris Frith. Choking on the money: Reward based performance decrements are associated with midbrain activity. Psychological Science 2009 Aug;20(8):955--‐62..
Tom Fitzgerald, Ben Seymour, and Ray Dolan. The role of human orbitofrontal cortex in value comparison for incommensurable objects. Journal of Neuroscience. 2009 Jul 1;29(26):8388--‐ 95.
Jon Roiser, Benedetto de Martino, Geoffrey Tan Dharsh Kumaran, Ben Seymour, Nick Wood, and Ray Dolan. A genetically mediated bias in decision making driven by failure of amygdala control. Journal of Neuroscience. 2009 May 6;29(18):5985--‐91.
Dean Mobbs, Rongyun Yu, Marcel Meyer, Luca Passamonti, Ben Seymour, Andrew Calder, Susanne Schweizer, Chris Frith, Tim Dagleish. A key role for similarity in vicarious reward. Science. May 15;324(5929):900
Alex Pine, Ben Seymour, Peter Bossaerts, Val Curran, Karl Friston, Ray Dolan. Encoding of marginal utility across time in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience. Jul 29;29(30):9575--‐ 81.
Dean Mobbs, Jen Marchant, Demis Hassabis, Ben Seymour, Geoff Tan, Marcus Gray, Pedrag Petrovic, Ray Dolan, Chris Frith. From threat to fear: the neural organization of defensive fear systems in humans. Journal of Neuroscience. 2009 Sep 30;29(39):12236--‐43.
Ben Seymour, Wako Yoshida, Ray Dolan. Altruistic Learning. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 23:3 2009
Irma Kurniawan, Ben Seymour, Debbie Talmi, Wako Yoshida, Nick Chater, Ray Dolan. Choosing to make an effort: the role of striatum in signaling physical effort of a chosen action. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2010 Jul;104(1):313--‐21
Irma Kurniawan, Ben Seymour, Ivo Vlaev, Julia Trommershauser, Ray Dolan, Nick Chater. Pain relativity in motor control. Psychological Science. 2010 Jun;21(6):840--‐7
Alex Pine, Tamara Shiner, Ben Seymour, Ray Dolan. Dopamine, time, and impulsivity in humans. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Jun 30;30(26):8888--‐96.
Wako Yoshida, Ben Seymour, Karl Friston, Ray Dolan. Neural mechanisms of belief inference during cooperative games. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 Aug 11;30(32):10744--‐51.
Tom Fitzgerald, Ben Seymour, Dominic Bach, Ray Dolan. Differentiable Neural Substrates for Learnt and Described Value and Risk. Current Biology, 2010 Oct 26;20(20):1823--‐9.
Rongyun Yu, Dean Mobbs, Ben Seymour, Andrew Calder. Insula and Striatum Mediate the Default Bias. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010. 2010 Nov 3;30(44):14702--‐7.
Nathaniel Daw, Sam Gershman, Ben Seymour, Peter Dayan, Ray Dolan. Model--‐based choices on humans' choices and striatal prediction errors. Neuron. Mar 24. 2011. 69(6) 1204--‐15
Ben Seymour, Wako Yoshida. The computational neuroscience of pain. Japanese Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 40(4) 491--‐499, 2011.
Crockett MJ, Clark L, Roiser JP, Robinson OJ, Cools R, Chase HW, den Ouden H, Apergis--‐Schoute A, Campbell--‐Meikeljohn D, Seymour B, Sahakian BJ, Rogers RD, Robbins TW. Converging evidence for central 5--‐HT effects in acute tryptophan depletion. Molecular Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 30. doi: 10.1038
Tamara Shiner, Ben Seymour, Klaus Wunderlich, Ciaran Hill, Kailash P Bhatia, Peter Dayan, Raymond J Dolan. Dopamine and performance in a reinforcement learning task - evidence from Parkinson's disease. Brain. 2012, epub Apr 15..
Ben Seymour. The maladaptive Brain: excitable pathways to chronic pain. Brain. 2012, 135 (2) 316--‐318.
Ben Seymour, Nathaniel Daw, Jon Roiser, Peter Dayan, Ray Dolan. Serotonin selectively modulates reward value in human decision--‐making. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012. 32(17):5833--‐42.
Ben Seymour and Ivo Vlaev. Can, and should, behavioural neuroscience inform public policy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2012 Sep;16(9):449--‐51
Ben Seymour. Hodgkin and Huxley's Legacy - the Science of Neural Supercomputing. Brain. 2012 10.1093/brain/aws184
Giles Story, Ivo Vlaev, Ben Seymour, Joel Winston, Ara Darzi and Ray Dolan. Dread and the disvalue of future pain. PLoS Computational Biology. 2013. Nov 9(11).
Wako Yoshida, Ben Seymour, Martin Koltzenburg and Ray Dolan. Uncertainty increases pain: evidence for a novel mechanism of pain modulation involving the periaqueductal grey. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 Mar 27;33(13):5638--‐46
Ivo Vlaev, Ben Seymour, Nick Chater, Joel Winston, Wako Yoshida, Nicolas Wright, Mkael Symmonds, and Ray Dolan. Prices need no preferences: social trends determine decisions in experimental markers for pain relief. Health Psychology, 2014 Jan;33(1):66--‐76
Wako Yoshida and Ben Seymour. Decisions about decisions. Neuron 2014. 81(3), 468--‐70.
Maria Joao and Ben Seymour. Decoding the matrix: benefits and limitations of applying machine--‐learning algorithms to pain neuroimaging. Pain. 2014. In press

Prizes and Awards

2011 Wellcome Intermediate Clinical Fellowship
2010 Queen Square Prize for Neurology
2008 Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts