John P. O’Doherty


My main research interests are to develop an understanding of the brain systems involved in making decisions under uncertainty, representing the value of stimuli in the world, learning to predict future rewards, and in the flexible control of behavior to obtain reward. This is achieved through a combination of functional neuroimaging (fMRI) with computational models of learning and decision making. This approach enables a much more powerful form of inference than is traditionally made in functional imaging studies, identifying regions with a response profile consistent with a specific computational process rather than merely reporting the “activation” of a brain region in that task. Other interests include the functional neuroanatomy of human emotions, and neural structures involved in social cognition.

For more details please go to my lab web-pages.


Valentin VV, and O’Doherty JP (2009). Overlapping neural representations of prediction error for

        juice and money reward in the human brain. Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(6):3384-91.

Chib, V., Rangel A. and O’Doherty JP (2009). Neural Computations Underlying Goal Valuations

        for Dissimilar Goods. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(39):12315-20.

Wunderlich, K., Rangel A and O’Doherty JP (2009). Neural computations underlying action-based

        decision making in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(40):17199-204.

Balleine B.W. and O’Doherty, J.P. (2009) Human and rodent homologies in motor control: Cortico-

        striatal determinants of goal-directed and habitual action. Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(1):48-69.

Tricomi, E, Balleine, BW and O’Doherty JP. (2009). A specific role for posterior dorsolateral

        striatum in human habit learning. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29(11):2225-32.

Glaescher, J, Hampton A.N. and O’Doherty, J.P. (2009) Determining a role for ventromedial prefrontal

        cortex in encoding action-based value signals during reward-related decision making. Cerebral

            Cortex, 19(2):483-95.

Tanaka, S., Balleine, B.W. and O’Doherty, J.P. Calculating consequences: Brain systems that

        encode the causal effects of actions. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(26):6750-5.

Bray S, Rangel A, Shimojo S, Balleine B, O'Doherty JP (2008). The neural mechanisms underlying

        the influence of pavlovian cues on human decision making. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(22):


Hare TA, O'Doherty J, Camerer CF, Schultz W, Rangel A. (2008). Dissociating the role of the

        orbitofrontal cortex and the striatum in the computation of goal values and prediction errors.

       Journal of Neuroscience 28(22):5623-30.

Hampton AN, Bossaerts P, O'Doherty JP. (2008). Neural correlates of mentalizing-related

        computations during strategic interactions in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(18):6741-6.

Plassmann H, O'Doherty J, Shiv B, Rangel A. (2008). Marketing actions can modulate neural

        representations of experienced pleasantness. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105(3):1050-4.

O’Doherty, J.P. and Bossaerts, P. (2008). Towards a mechanistic understanding of human decision

        making: contributions of functional neuroimaging. Current Directions in Psychological Science,

        17: 119-123.

Professor of Psychology

California Institute of Technology



E-mail: jdoherty [at] hss dot caltech dot edu