Dr Jonathan Kanen


I have defended my PhD as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, received the Angharad Dodds John Bursary in Mental Health and Neuropsychiatry to conduct postdoctoral research, and am an MD candidate in the United States.

Much of my work has centred on the neurochemical modulation of affective and behavioural control, with a special emphasis on serotonin. I seek to connect pharmacological challenge studies with deficits in psychiatric disorders, and have a particular interest in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I am comparing deficits in behavioural flexibility across compulsive disorders with the goal of informing the refinement of psychiatric classification and treatment. I am also interested in the possibility of revising maladaptive associations by harnessing the process of memory reconsolidation or through the use of psychedelic drugs.

Research Focus




memory reconsolidation

emotional memory

behavioural flexibility

Clinical conditions


Anxiety disorders

Depressive disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing



Rudolf Cardinal

Trevor Robbins

Barbara Sahakian

United Kingdom

Annemieke Apergis-Scoute Web: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departm...


Qiang Luo Web: https://istbi.fudan.edu.cn/lnen/in...

Associated News Items



    Luo Q, Kanen JW, Bari A, Skandali N, Langley C, Knudsen GM, Alsio J, Phillips BU, Sahakian BJ, Cardinal RN, Robbins TW (2023), “Common roles for serotonin in rats and humans for computations underlying flexible decision-making” bioRxiv

    Xu T, Zhou X, Kanen JW, Wang L, Chen Z, Zhang R, Jiao G, Feng Z, Zhao W, Yao S, Becker B (2023), “Angiotensin blockade enhances motivational reward learning via enhancing ventral striatal prediction error and frontostriatal communication” Molecular Psychiatry

    Zuhlsdorff K, Verdejo-Roman J, Clark L, Albein-Urios N, Soriano-Mas C, Cardinal RN, Robbins TW, Dalley JW, Verdejo-Garcia A, Kanen JW (2023), “Computational modelling of reinforcement learning and functional neuroimaging of probabilistic reversal dissociates compulsive behaviors in Gambling and Cocaine Use Disorders” bioRxiv


    Kanen JW, Luo Q, Rostami Kandroodi M, Cardinal RN, Robbins TW, Nutt DJ, Carhart-Harris RL, den Ouden HEM (2022), “Effect of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on reinforcement learning in humans” Psychological Medicine

    Kanen JW, Robbins TW, Trofimova IN (2022), “Harnessing temperament to elucidate the complexities of serotonin function” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences

    Trofimova IN, Bajaj S, Bashkatov SA, Blair J, Chan RCK, Clemens B, Corr PJ, Cyniak-Cieciura M, Demidova L, Filippi CA, Fox NA, Garipova M, Habel U, Haines N, Heym N, Hunter K, Jones NA, Kanen JW, Kirenskaya A, Kumari V, Lenzoni S, Letcher P, Lui SSY, Mathur A, McNaughton N, Mize KD, Netter P, Olsson CA, Patton GC, Paul K, Pickering A, Pine DS, Premkumar P, Raine A, Reuter M, Robbins TW, Sanson AV, Spry E, Storozheva Z, Sulis WH, Sumich A, Tkachenko AA, Valadez E, Wacker J, Wagels L, Wang L, Zawadzki B (2022), “What's next for the neurobiology of temperament, personality and psychopathology?” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences

    Yang R, Ma Y, Pan B-B, Bhatt M, Lohrenz T, Gu H-G, Kanen JW, Camerer C, Montague R (2022), “Dynamic neural reconfiguration for distinct strategies during competitive social interactions” Neuroimage


    Kanen JW, Apergis-Schoute AM, Yellowlees R, Arntz FE, van der Flier FE, Price A, Cardinal RN, Christmas DM, Clark L, Sahakian BJ, Crockett MJ, Robbins TW (2021), “Serotonin depletion impairs both Pavlovian and instrumental reversal learning in healthy humans” Molecular Psychiatry

    Kanen JW, Arntz FE, Yellowlees R, Cardinal RN, Price A, Christmas DM, Apergis-Schoute AM, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (2021), “Serotonin depletion amplifies distinct human social emotions as a function of individual differences in personality” Translational Psychiatry

    Kanen JW, Arntz FE, Yellowlees R, Christmas DM, Price A, Apergis-Schoute AM, Sahakian BJ, Cardinal RN, Robbins TW (2021), “Effect of tryptophan depletion on conditioned threat memory expression: role of intolerance of uncertainty” Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

    Marzuki AA, Tomi? I, Ip HYS, Gottwald J, Kanen JW, Kaser M, Sule A, Conway-Morris A, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (2021), “Environmental stochasticity promotes altered latent decision-making in adolescents with OCD” JAMA Network Open


    Kanen JW, Arntz FE, Yellowlees R, Cardinal RN, Price A, Christmas DM, Sahakian BJ, Apergis-Schoute AM, Robbins TW (2020), “Probabilistic reversal learning under acute tryptophan depletion in healthy humans: a conventional analysis” Journal of Psychopharmacology

    Luo Q, Zhang L, Huang C-C, Zheng Y, Kanen JW, Zhao Q, Yao Y, Quinlan EB, Jia T, Banaschewski T, Bokde ALW, Bromberg U, Büchel C, Flor H,11, Frouin V, Garavan H, Gowland P, Heinz A, Ittermann B, Martinot J-L, Martinot M-LP, Nees F, Orfanos DP, Poustka L, Hohmann S, Fröhner JH, Smolka MN, Walter H, Whelan R, Sahakian BJ, Schumann G, Li F, Feng J, Desrivičres S, Robbins TW and the IMAGEN consortium (2020), “Association between childhood trauma and risk for obesity: a putative neurocognitive developmental pathway” BMC Medicine


    Kanen JW, Ersche KD, Fineberg NA, Robbins TW, Cardinal RN (2019), “Computational modelling reveals contrasting effects on reinforcement learning and cognitive flexibility in stimulant use disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: remediating effects of dopaminergic D2/3 receptor agents” Psychopharmacology


    de Voogd LD, Kanen JW, Neville DA, Roelofs K, Fernández G, Hermans EJ (2018), “Eye-Movement Intervention Enhances Extinction via Amygdala Deactivation” Journal of Neuroscience


    Hermans EJ, Kanen JW, Tambini A, Fernández G, Davachi L, Phelps EA (2017), “Persistence of amygdala-hippocampal connectivity and multi-voxel correlation structures during awake rest after fear learning predicts long-term expression of fear” Cerebral Cortex


    Kanen JW, Nazir R, Sedky K, Pradhan, B (2015), “The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on sleep disturbance: a meta-analysis” Adolescent Psychiatry


    Steinfurth ECK, Kanen JW, Raio CM, Clem R, Huganir R, Phelps EA (2014), “Recent and remote Pavlovian fear memories can be modified with extinction training during reconsolidation in humans” Learning & Memory


    Schiller D, Kanen JW, LeDoux JE, Monfils MH, Phelps EA (2013), “Extinction during reconsolidation of threat memory diminishes prefrontal cortex involvement” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences