Professor Laurence Hunt

Professor Laurence Hunt

Tutorial Fellow in Psychology


I was an undergraduate in pre-clinical Medicine at Jesus College, Cambridge before studying for an MSc and DPhil in Neuroscience at Wadham College, Oxford. After my DPhil, I took up a Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship for four years at University College London, and then returned to Oxford with a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship to launch my research group in 2018. I joined St John’s as a Tutorial Fellow in September 2022.


I teach courses focusing on cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, including 1st year perception and psychobiology, 2nd year behavioural neuroscience, and 3rd year advanced options in cognitive neuroscience.

I am also involved in the redesign of the Experimental Psychology degree as it moves from being a three-year to a four-year course, and have a particular focus on developing research skills (such as statistics and programming) in our undergraduate degree.

I find teaching via the tutorial system incredibly rewarding, as it gives the opportunity to interact closely with many bright and talented students in very small groups.

Research Interests

My research addresses the cognitive and neural mechanisms by which humans make decisions. This lies at the heart of what it is to be human: we must decide what beliefs we infer about our environment based upon sensory evidence, what goals to pursue, and what actions to take to achieve those goals. To understand how humans make such decisions, I use mathematical models that make precise predictions of both behavioural and neural data. I then test these predictions using a range of neurophysiological and neuroimaging techniques in humans and in non-human primates. I have a particular interest in studying decision making in temporally extended and naturalistic paradigms, and in developing neuroimaging markers of these paradigms that may have relevance to neurology and psychiatry.

Selected publications

Ruesseler M., Weber L. A. E., Marshall T. R., O'Reilly J. X., Hunt L. T., 'Decision-making in dynamic, continuously evolving environments: quantifying the flexibility of human choice', bioRxiv, 2022

Hunt L. T., Daw N. D., Kaanders P., MacIver M. A., Mugan U., Procyk E., Redish A. D., Russo E., Scholl J., Stachenfeld K., Wilson C. R.E., Kolling N., 'Formalising planning and information search in naturalistic decision-making', Nature Neuroscience, 2021; 24: 1051–64

Kaanders P., Nili H., O’Reilly J. X., Hunt L. T., 'Medial frontal cortex activity predicts information sampling in economic choice', J Neurosci, 2021, 41(40): 8403–13

Cavanagh S. E., Lam N. H., Murray J. D.*, Hunt L. T.*, Kennerley S. W.*, 'A circuit mechanism for decision-making biases and NMDA receptor hypofunction', eLife, 2020; 9, e53664

Hunt L. T.*, Malalasekera W. M. N.*, de Berker A. O., Miranda B., Farmer S. F., Behrens T. E., Kennerley S. W., 'Triple dissociation of attention and decision computations across prefrontal cortex', Nature Neuroscience, 2018; 21, 1271–81

Awards and distinctions

FENS EJN Young Investigator Award 2020, in recognition of 'outstanding scientific contributions to any area of neuroscience'