Professor Patricia Lockwood BSc, PhD

Professor Patricia Lockwood

School of Psychology
Professor of Decision Neuroscience

Professor Patricia Lockwood is a cognitive and social neuroscientist. She is head of the Social Decision Neuroscience Lab. Her work focuses on the neurocognitive foundations of social learning and decision-making across the lifespan and in psychiatric and neurological disorders.


PhD Biomedical Sciences, University College London, Awarded Frith Prize for Exceptional Doctoral Contributions

First Class BSc (Hons) Psychology and Philosophy, University of Bristol. Awarded BPS Award for Undergraduate Psychology and Henri Tajfel Prize for Social Psychology.


Professor Patricia Lockwood is a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow and Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. She was previously a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church and Somerville College, University of Oxford, and a Medical Research Council Fellow at the University of Birmingham, University of Oxford and University of Zurich.

She holds a PhD in Psychology from University College London and a BSc in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Bristol. Her lab investigates social learning and decision-making across the lifespan and in neurological and psychiatric disorders using a mixture of computational modelling, behavioural measures, self report, patient studies and neuroimaging.

Her work has received multiple awards (S4SN Early Career Award, APS Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions), she is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a member of the Women of the Future Network. You can read more about the lab here:

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students: Students interested in working with Professor Lockwood  should email her to discuss potential funding opportunities. For further information regarding the PhD application process see the 'how to apply' section of the Psychology PhD programme.

Postdoctoral researchers: Professor Lockwood is also looking for excellent and motivated postdoctoral researchers and can advise and assist with obtaining funding. Please contact her to discuss further.


Social learning, decision-making, motivation, lifespan research, conduct problems, brain imaging, computational modelling, empathy, apathy


Highlight publications

Cutler, J, Nitschke, JP, Lamm, C & Lockwood, PL 2021, 'Older adults across the globe exhibit increased prosocial behavior but also greater in-group preferences', Nature Aging, vol. 1, pp. 880–888.

Cutler, J, Wittmann, MK, Abdurahman, A, Hargitai, LD, Drew, D, Husain, M & Lockwood, PL 2021, 'Ageing is associated with disrupted reinforcement learning whilst learning to help others is preserved', Nature Communications, vol. 12, no. 1, 4440.

Lockwood, PL, Apps, MAJ, Valton, V, Viding, E & Roiser, JP 2016, 'Neurocomputational mechanisms of prosocial learning and links to empathy', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113, no. 35, pp. 9763–9768.

Lockwood, PL, Hamonet, M, Zhang, SH, Ratnavel, A, Salmony, FU, Husain, M & Apps, MAJ 2017, 'Prosocial apathy for helping others when effort is required', Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 1, no. 7, 0131.

Lockwood, PL, Klein-Flügge, MC, Abdurahman, A & Crockett, MJ 2020, 'Model-free decision making is prioritized when learning to avoid harming others', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117, no. 44, pp. 27719-27730.

Recent publications


Gaule, A, Martin, P, Lockwood, PL, Cutler, J, Apps, M, Roberts, R, Phillips, H, Brown, K, McCrory, EJ & Viding, E 2024, 'Reduced prosocial motivation and effort in adolescents with conduct problems and callous‐unemotional traits', Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Pauli, R, Brazil, IA, Kohls, G, Klein-Flügge, MC, Rogers, JC, Dikeos, D, Dochnal, R, Fairchild, G, Fernández-Rivas, A, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Hervas, A, Konrad, K, Popma, A, Stadler, C, Freitag, CM, De Brito, SA & Lockwood, PL 2023, 'Action initiation and punishment learning differ from childhood to adolescence while reward learning remains stable', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 5689.

Elster, E, Pauli, R, Baumann, S, De Brito, S, Fairchild, G, Freitag, CM, Konrad, K, Roessner, V, Brazil, IA, Lockwood, P & Kohls, G 2023, 'Impaired Punishment Learning in Conduct Disorder', Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Trudel, N, Lockwood, PL, Rushworth, MFS & Wittmann, MK 2023, 'Neural activity tracking identity and confidence in social information', eLife, vol. 12, e71315.

Contreras-Huerta, LS, Coll, M-P, Bird, G, Yu, H, Prosser, A, Lockwood, PL, Murphy, J, Crockett, MJ & Apps, MAJ 2023, 'Neural representations of vicarious rewards are linked to interoception and prosocial behaviour', NeuroImage, vol. 269, 119881.

International Collaboration on the Social & Moral Psychology of COVID-19 2023, 'Social and moral psychology of COVID-19 across 69 countries', Scientific Data, vol. 10, no. 1, 272.

Jansen, M, Lockwood, PL, Cutler, J & Bruijn, ERAD 2023, 'l-DOPA and oxytocin influence the neurocomputational mechanisms of self-benefitting and prosocial reinforcement learning', NeuroImage, vol. 270, 119983.,

Byrne, KA, Lockwood, PL, Anaraky, RG & Liu, Y 2022, 'Age differences in prosocial behavior depend on effort costs', The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.

Lockwood, P, Wittmann, MK, Nili, H, Matsumoto-Ryan, M, Abdurahman, A, Cutler, J, Husain, M & Apps, M 2022, 'Distinct neural representations for prosocial and self-benefiting effort', Current Biology, vol. 32, no. 19, pp. 4172-4185.e7.,

Jin, T, Zhang, S, Lockwood, P, Vilares, I, Wu, H, Liu, C & Ma, Y 2022, 'Learning whom to cooperate with: neurocomputational mechanisms for choosing cooperative partners', Cerebral Cortex.


Gueguen, M & Lockwood, PL 2023, 'Social psychology: Predicting other people’s attention to understand their mind', Communications Psychology, vol. 1, no. 1, 36.


Su, Z, Garvert, MM, Zhang, L, Manohar, S, Vogel, TA, Thomas, L, Balsters, JH, Husain, M, Apps, MAJ & Lockwood, PL 2024 'Older adults are more susceptible to impulsive social influence' PsyArXiv.

Rhoads, SA, Gan, L, Berluti, K, O'Connell, K, Cutler, J, Lockwood, P & Marsh, A 2023 'Neurocomputational basis of learning when choices simultaneously affect both oneself and others' PsyArXiv.

Contreras-Huerta, LS, Pisauro, MA, Kuechenhoff, S, Gekiere, A, Heron, CL, Lockwood, P & Apps, MAJ 2022 'A reward self-bias leads to more optimal foraging for ourselves than others' PsyArXiv.

Forbes, P, Aydogan, G, Braunstein, J, Todorova, B, Wagner, I, Lockwood, P, Apps, MAJ, Ruff, C & Lamm, C 2022 'Acute stress reduces effortful prosocial behaviour' PsyArXiv.

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