Dr Mike Aitken

Mike Aitken

University position

Affiliated Lecturer


Department of Psychology



Home page

http://www.psychol.cam.ac.uk/pages/s... (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research interests include human associative learning, and the role of this learning in intuitive and reflective decision-making systems, including gambling behaviour. Much of my research has involved causal and categorical judgments, with more recent work looking at mechanisms of action selection in simple tasks.

I am also interested in the theory and practice of statistical decision making.

I was a Lecturer / Senior Lecturer in the University from 2001-2013. I currently work at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London

Research Focus







Clinical conditions

Problem Gambling


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing



Luke Clark

Phil Corlett

Sanne de Wit

Tony Dickinson

Graeme Fairchild

Paul Fletcher

Trevor Robbins

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Corlett PR, Murray GK, Honey GD, Aitken MR, Shanks DR, Robbins TW, Bullmore ET, Dickinson A, Fletcher PC (2007), “Disrupted prediction-error signal in psychosis: evidence for an associative account of delusions.” Brain 130(Pt 9):2387-400 Details

    Corlett PR, Honey GD, Aitken MR, Dickinson A, Shanks DR, Absalom AR, Lee M, Pomarol-Clotet E, Murray GK, McKenna PJ, Robbins TW, Bullmore ET, Fletcher PC (2006), “Frontal responses during learning predict vulnerability to the psychotogenic effects of ketamine- linking cognition brain activity and psychosis” Arch Gen Psychiatry 63(6):611-21 Details

    Aitken MR, Dickinson A (2005), “Simulations of a modified SOP model applied to retrospective revaluation of human causal learning” Learning and Behavior 33:147-159 Details



    McLaren IP, Forrest CL, McLaren RP, Jones FW, Aitken MR, Mackintosh NJ (2014), “Associations and propositions: the case for a dual-process account of learning in humans.” Neurobiol Learn Mem 108:185-95 Details


    Corlett PR, Cambridge V, Gardner JM, Piggot JS, Turner DC, Everitt JC, Arana FS, Morgan HL, Milton AL, Lee JL, Aitken MR, Dickinson A, Everitt BJ, Absalom AR, Adapa R, Subramanian N, Taylor JR, Krystal JH, Fletcher PC (2013), “Ketamine effects on memory reconsolidation favor a learning model of delusions.” PLoS One 8(6):e65088 Details

    Stankovic A, Fairchild G, Aitken MR, Clark L (2013), “Effects of psychosocial stress on psychophysiological activity during risky decision-making in male adolescents.” Int J Psychophysiol Details


    Clark L, Crooks B, Clarke R, Aitken MR, Dunn BD (2012), “Physiological responses to near-miss outcomes and personal control during simulated gambling.” J Gambl Stud 28(1):123-37 Details

    Clark L, Li R, Wright CM, Rome F, Fairchild G, Dunn BD, Aitken MR (2012), “Risk-avoidant decision making increased by threat of electric shock.” Psychophysiology 49(10):1436-43 Details


    Camille N, Pironti VA, Dodds CM, Aitken MR, Robbins TW, Clark L (2010), “Striatal sensitivity to personal responsibility in a regret-based decision-making task.” Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 10(4):460-9 Details


    de Wit S, Corlett PR, Aitken MR, Dickinson A, Fletcher PC (2009), “Differential engagement of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex by goal-directed and habitual behavior toward food pictures in humans.” J Neurosci 29(36):11330-8 Details

    Fairchild G, van Goozen SH, Stollery SJ, Aitken MR, Savage J, Moore SC, Goodyer IM (2009), “Decision making and executive function in male adolescents with early-onset or adolescence-onset conduct disorder and control subjects.” Biol Psychiatry 66(2):162-8 Details


    Chamberlain SR, Menzies L, Hampshire A, Suckling J, Fineberg NA, del Campo N, Aitken M, Craig K, Owen AM, Bullmore ET, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ (2008), “Orbitofrontal dysfunction in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their unaffected relatives.” Science 321(5887):421-2 Details

    Clark L, Bechara A, Damasio H, Aitken MR, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW (2008), “Differential effects of insular and ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions on risky decision-making.” Brain 131(Pt 5):1311-22 Details

    Devito EE, Blackwell AD, Clark L, Kent L, Dezsery AM, Turner DC, Aitken MR, Sahakian BJ (2008), “Methylphenidate improves response inhibition but not reflection-impulsivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Psychopharmacology (Berl) Details


    Chamberlain SR, Müller U, Deakin JB, Corlett PR, Dowson J, Cardinal RN, Aitken MR, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ (2007), “Lack of deleterious effects of buspirone on cognition in healthy male volunteers.” J Psychopharmacol 21(2):210-5 Details

    de Wit S, Niry D, Wariyar R, Aitken MR, Dickinson A (2007), “Stimulus-outcome interactions during instrumental discrimination learning by rats and humans.” J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 33(1):1-11 Details

    Lawrence AJ, Blackwell AD, Barker RA, Spagnolo F, Clark L, Aitken MR, Sahakian BJ (2007), “Predictors of punding in Parkinson's disease: results from a questionnaire survey.” Mov Disord 22(16):2339-45 Details

    Sellen AJ, Fogg A, Aitken M, Hodges S, Rother C, Wood K (2007), “Do life-logging technologies support memory for the past?: an experimental study using sensecam” Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems


    Asher JE, Aitken MR, Farooqi N, Kurmani S, Baron-Cohen S (2006), “Diagnosing and phenotyping visual synaesthesia: a preliminary evaluation of the revised test of genuineness (TOG-R).” Cortex 42(2):137-46 Details


    Watkins LH, Sahakian BJ, Robertson MM, Veale DM, Rogers RD, Pickard KM, Aitken MR, Robbins TW (2005), “Executive function in Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder.” Psychol Med 35(4):571-82 Details


    Corlett PR, Aitken MR, Dickinson A, Shanks DR, Honey GD, Honey RA, Robbins TW, Bullmore ET, Fletcher PC (2004), “Prediction error during retrospective revaluation of causal associations in humans: fMRI evidence in favor of an associative model of learning.” Neuron 44(5):877-88 Details

    Deakin J, Aitken M, Robbins T, Sahakian BJ (2004), “Risk taking during decision-making in normal volunteers changes with age.” J Int Neuropsychol Soc 10(4):590-8 Details

    Deakin JB, Aitken MR, Dowson JH, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ (2004), “Diazepam produces disinhibitory cognitive effects in male volunteers.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 173(1-2):88-97 Details

    Turner DC, Aitken MR, Shanks DR, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW, Schwarzbauer C, Fletcher PC (2004), “The role of the lateral frontal cortex in causal associative learning: exploring preventative and super-learning.” Cereb Cortex 14(8):872-80 Details


    Mehta MA, McGowan SW, Lawrence AD, Aitken MR, Montgomery AJ, Grasby PM (2003), “Systemic sulpiride modulates striatal blood flow: relationships to spatial working memory and planning.” Neuroimage 20(4):1982-94 Details


    Manes F, Sahakian B, Clark L, Rogers R, Antoun N, Aitken M, Robbins T (2002), “Decision-making processes following damage to the prefrontal cortex.” Brain 125(Pt 3):624-39 Details


    Aitken MR, Larkin MJ, Dickinson A (2001), “Re-examination of the role of within-compound associations in the retrospective revaluation of causal judgements.” Q J Exp Psychol B 54(1):27-51 Details


    Aitken MR, Larkin MJ, Dickinson A (2000), “Super-learning of causal judgements.” Q J Exp Psychol B 53(1):59-81 Details


    Aitken MR (1999), “Alternative Accounts are Preferable to Value Transfer Theory: Commentary on Dorrance, Kaiser and Zentall (1998)” Animal Learning and Behavior 27(4): 490-493


    Larkin MJW, Aitken MRF, Dickinson A (1998), “Retrospective revaluation of causal judgments under positive and negative contingencies” JEP:LMC 24(6):1331-1352


    Aitken MRF, Bennett CH, McLaren IPL, Mackintosh NJ (1996), “Perceptual differentiation during categorization learning by pigeons” JEP:ABP 22(1):43-50


    McLaren IP, Bennett C, Plaisted K, Aitken M, Mackintosh NJ (1994), “Latent inhibition, context specificity, and context familiarity.” Q J Exp Psychol B 47(4):387-400 Details