Dr Paula Banca


My research is aimed at understanding the neural mechanisms underlying action control with the purpose of developing more effective treatments in psychiatric diseases. I am interested in compulsive disorders, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I am currently working with Professor Trevor Robbins, as a postdoc, exploring possible dysfunctions in habit formation and perseveration in OCD.

Research Focus


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


cognitive control

habit perseveration


Clinical conditions


Anxiety disorders

Obsessive compulsive disorder


Behavioural analysis

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing



Trevor Robbins

Barbara Sahakian

United Kingdom

Naomi Fineberg

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Banca P, Vestergaard MD, Rankov V, Baek K, Mitchell S, Lapa T, Castelo-Branco M, Voon V (2015), “Evidence accumulation in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: the role of uncertainty and monetary reward on perceptual decision-making thresholds” Neuropsychopharmacology 40(5): 1192-202

    Banca P, Voon V, Vestergaard MD, Philipiak G, Almeida I, Pocinho F, Relvas J and Castelo-Branco M (2015), “Imbalance in habitual vs. goal directed neural systems during symptom provocation in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” Brain 138(3): 798-811



    Rounis E, Banca P, Voon V (2016), “Deficits in Limb Praxis in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci


    Banca P, Lange I, Worbe Y, Howell NA, Irvine M, Harrison NA, Moutoussis M, Voon V (2015), “Reflection impulsivity in binge drinking: behavioural and volumetric correlates” Addiction Biology 21(2): 504-15

    Banca P, Morris LS, Mitchell S, Harrison NA, Potenza MN, Voon V (2015), “Novelty, conditioning and attentional bias to sexual rewards” J Psychiatr Res 72:91-101

    Banca P, Sousa T, Catarina Duarte I, Castelo-Branco M (2015), “Visual motion imagery neurofeedback based on the hMT+/V5 complex: evidence for a feedback-specific neural circuit involving neocortical and cerebellar regions” J Neural Eng 12(6):066003


    Mechelmans DJ, Irvine M, Banca P, Porter L, Mitchell S, Mole TB, Lapa TR, Harrison NA, Potenza MN, Voon V (2014), “Enhanced attentional bias towards sexually explicit cues in individuals with and without compulsive sexual behaviours.” PLoS One 9(8):e105476

    Vidal AC, Banca P, Pascoal AG, Cordeiro G, Sargento-Freitas J, Castelo-Branco M (2014), “Modulation of cortical interhemispheric interactions by motor facilitation or restraint” Neural Plast

    Voon V, Mole TB, Banca P, Porter L, Morris L, Mitchell S, Lapa TR, Karr J, Harrison NA, Potenza MN, Irvine M. (2014), “Neural correlates of sexual cue reactivity in individuals with and without compulsive sexual behaviours” PLoS One 9(7):e102419


    Howell NA, Worbe Y, Lange I, Tait R, Irvine M, Banca P, Harrison NA, Bullmore ET, Hutchison WD, Voon V. (2013), “Increased ventral striatal volume in college-aged binge drinkers” PLoS One 8(9):e74164