Michael Browning

Professor Michael Browning

Professor of Computational Psychiatry


My research focuses on the role of learning in the aetiology and treatment of the emotional disorders (anxiety and depression).

The emotional disorders are among the most common of the psychiatric illnesses. While there has been significant recent advances in understanding the cognitive and neural systems involved in producing symptoms of both anxiety and depression in response to stressful circumstances or negative life events it is less clear why, when exposed to the same environment, some people will become anxious or depressed while others will not. The overall goal of my research is to better understand the mechanisms which lead to this vulnerability and to use this understanding to develop novel, evidence based treatments for these illnesses. My work combines computational models of cognitive processes with physiological measures of neural function to unpick how patients learn and adapt to their environment. I also use pharmacological and cognitive techniques to modify the abnormal learning which is believed to cause anxiety and depression. 

I am a consultant psychiatrist with an honorary contract with Oxford Health NHS Trust. My clinical practice involves the assessment and treatment of patients with mood disorders.