St John's College Oxford

Dr Sonia Bishop

Science Research Fellow in Affective Cognitive Neuroscience


Since 2008, I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley. Since 2011, I have been lucky enough to additionally take up an ERC Consolidating Grant held at fMRIB within the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. This has enabled me to extend my existing research on trait vulnerability to anxiety into work with patients with Anxiety and Depressive Disorders.


Browning, M., Behrens,T.E, Jocham, G., O'Reilly,J.X, Bishop, S.J.:'Anxious individuals have difficulty learning the causal statistics of aversive environments', Nature Neuroscience. 18, 590-6


Bijsterbosch, J., Smith, S., Forster, S., John,O., Bishop, S.J.: 'Resting state correlates of sub-dimensions of anxious affect', Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 26:914-26


Indovina, I. , Robbins, T.W., Núñez-Elizalde, A. O., Dunn, B.D. Bishop, SJ.: 'Fear conditioning mechanisms associated with trait vulnerability to anxiety in humans', Neuron. 69, 563–571

Research Interests

My group’s research is at the intersection of cognitive and affective neuroscience. At the broadest level, I am interested in how humans process emotionally salient stimuli – i.e in how negative or positive stimuli impact human information processing from perception to attention to associative learning and decision-making. To investigate this, we use methods from the cognitive neuroscience (especially fMRI), experimental psychology, and computational neuroscience literatures. I am especially interested in individual differences, in particular those that confer trait vulnerability to disease states such as anxiety.