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Dr Rick Adams
6th Floor, Maple House
Division of Psychiatry
149 Tottenham Court Road,
-- UK --
Tel: +44(0)20 7679 9037
  • Clinical Training Fellow/ NIHR Clinical Lecturer
  • Division of Psychiatry
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

I did my undergraduate medical training and a Neuroscience BSc at Cambridge University and my clinical medical training at University College London. I worked full-time as a medical and then psychiatric doctor from 2004-10, obtaining my MRCP and MRCPsych. From 2009-10 I did a part time MSc in the Philosophy of Mental Disorder at King's College London. From 2010-14, I did my PhD at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL, under the supervision of Karl Friston. I am now an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry at UCL (Division of Psychiatry and Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), in Jon Roiser's group.

Research Summary

My main research interest is in using hierarchical models of brain function - which perform Bayesian inference on the causes of sensory data using predictive coding - to explain psychopathology. 

Many symptoms of schizophrenia can be thought of as the result of a loss of 'precision' (increase in uncertainty) at the higher levels of the brain's generative model. This results in a relative increase in lower (sensory) level precision. This imbalance changes the inferences the brain makes, causing changes in a variety of modalities, e.g. eye movements and other motor responses, cognitive tasks, electrophysiological responses, etc. Put simply, events such as chance coincidences can seem more 'salient' than they should do, for example.

We have used computational modelling of smooth pursuit eye movements to show that a loss of 'high level' (i.e. prefrontal) precision in a model of smooth pursuit can reproduce characteristic schizophrenic eye movement abnormalities. I am also interested in applying these models to more cognitive tasks involving probabilistic reasoning. 


Teaching Summary

I have co-organised the UCL Computational Psychiatry course (with lead organiser Xiaosi Gu): a new course at UCL which is intended to provide an introduction to the use of computational methods in psychiatric research. 

I also give lectures on schizophrenia and neuropsychiatry in UCL and elsewhere.

01-MAR-2014 – 01-MAY-2017 NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience & Division of Psychiatry University College London, United Kingdom
13-SEP-2010 – 28-FEB-2014 Clinical Research Associate Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
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