John P. O'Doherty

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Our ability to have an experience of another's pain is characteristic of empathy. Using functional imaging, we assessed brain activity while volunteers experienced a painful stimulus and compared it to that elicited when they observed a signal indicating that their loved one--present in the same room--was receiving a similar pain stimulus. Bilateral(More)
Instrumental conditioning studies how animals and humans choose actions appropriate to the affective structure of an environment. According to recent reinforcement learning models, two distinct components are involved: a "critic," which learns to predict future reward, and an "actor," which maintains information about the rewarding outcomes of actions to(More)
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is implicated in emotion and emotion-related learning. Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we measured brain activation in human subjects doing an emotion-related visual reversal-learning task in which choice of the correct stimulus led to a probabilistically determined 'monetary' reward and(More)
Temporal difference learning has been proposed as a model for Pavlovian conditioning, in which an animal learns to predict delivery of reward following presentation of a conditioned stimulus (CS). A key component of this model is a prediction error signal, which, before learning, responds at the time of presentation of reward but, after learning, shifts its(More)
Decision making in an uncertain environment poses a conflict between the opposing demands of gathering and exploiting information. In a classic illustration of this 'exploration-exploitation' dilemma, a gambler choosing between multiple slot machines balances the desire to select what seems, on the basis of accumulated experience, the richest option,(More)
This review outlines recent findings from human neuroimaging concerning the role of a highly interconnected network of brain areas including orbital and medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, striatum and dopaminergic mid-brain in reward processing. Distinct reward-related functions can be attributed to different components of this network. Orbitofrontal(More)
The precise role of orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in affective processing is still debated. One view suggests OFC represents stimulus reward value and supports learning and relearning of stimulus-reward associations. An alternate view implicates OFC in behavioral control after rewarding or punishing feedback. To discriminate between these possibilities, we(More)
The attractiveness of a face is a highly salient social signal, influencing mate choice and other social judgements. In this study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate brain regions that respond to attractive faces which manifested either a neutral or mildly happy face expression. Attractive faces produced(More)
In this study, the representation of taste in the orbitofrontal cortex was investigated to determine whether or not a pleasant and an aversive taste have distinct or overlapping representations in this region. The pleasant stimulus used was sweet taste (1 M glucose), and the unpleasant stimulus was salt taste (0.1 M NaCl). We used an ON/OFF block design in(More)
The neural processes underlying empathy are a subject of intense interest within the social neurosciences. However, very little is known about how brain empathic responses are modulated by the affective link between individuals. We show here that empathic responses are modulated by learned preferences, a result consistent with economic models of social(More)