Professor Trevor Robbins
Emeritus Fellow in Mental Health and Neuropsychiatry
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Angharad Dodds John (Emeritus) Fellow in Mental Health and Neuropsychiatry


Professor TW Robbins F.R.S. works in the areas of cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, with a special emphasis on psychopharmacology. He is particularly interested in the cognitive functions of the frontal lobes of the brain, in understanding the neural basis of motivation and reward, in the neuropsychological basis of drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and in the treatment of neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder with ‘cognitive enhancing’ drugs. Much of his work is devoted to understanding how such drugs actually work, based on their actions on the chemical neurotransmitter systems of the brain. These systems include the monoamines dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin, as well as acetylcholine. Professor Robbins uses a variety of techniques in his work, ranging from the invention of a computerized neuropsychological test battery (‘CANTAB’) for assessing cognition in patients to functional brain imaging and molecular neuropharmacology, and it seeks to translate basic neuroscience findings into clinical application, specifically the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. He has published over 600 peer reviewed scientific papers or articles and is the Director of an MRC Centre, the University of Cambridge Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

Ersche, K.D., Jones, P.S., Williams, G.B., Turton, A.J., Robbins, T.W. & Bullmore, E.T. (2012)  Abnormal brain structure implicated in stimulant drug addiction. Science, 335, 601-604.

Robbins, T.W., Gillan, C.M., Smith, D.G., de Wit, S. & Ersche, K.D. (2012) Neurocognitive endophenoypes of impulsivity and compulsivity: towards dimensional psychiatry.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16, 81-91 (Review).

Gillan, C.M., Papmeyer, M., Morein-Zamir, S., Sahakian, B.J., Fineberg, N.A., Robbins, T.W. & de Wit, S. (2011) Disruption in the balance between goal-directed behaviour and habit learning in obsessive-compulsive disorder.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 718-726.

Dalley, J.W., Everitt, B.J. & Robbins, T.W. (2011) Impulsivity, compulsivity, and top-down cognitive control.  Neuron, 69, 680-694. (Review)

Indovina, I., Robbins, T.W., Núñez-Elizalde, A.O., Dunn, B.D. & Bishop, S.J. (2011) Fear-conditioning mechanisms associated with trait vulnerability to anxiety in humans. Neuron, 69, 563-571

Kehagia, A.A., Barker, R.A. & Robbins, T.W. (2010) Neuropsychological and clinical heterogeneity of cognitive impairment and dementia in Parkinson’s disease.  The Lancet Neurology, 9, 1200-1213.  (Review)

Ersche, K.D., Bullmore, E.T., Craig, K.J., Shabbir, S.S., Abbott, S., Müller, U., Ooi, C., Suckling, J., Barnes, A., Sahakian, B.J., Merlo-Pich, E.V. & Robbins, T.W. (2010) Influence of compulsivity of drug abuse on dopaminergic modulation of attentional bias in stimulant dependence.  Archives of General Psychiatry, 67, 632-644.

Crockett, M.J., Clark, L., Hauser, M.D. & Robbins, T.W. (2010) Serotonin selectively influences moral judgment and behavior through effects on harm aversion.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 107, 17433-17438.