SSRIs are effective in the treatment of depression but understanding how these drugs work has remained an enigma.  In this talk, I will consider the effects of antidepressants at a cognitive level, exploring the effects of treatment on measures of emotional processing and negative affective bias.  These results highlight early effects of antidepressants on negative bias which are associated with later clinical effects.  As such antidepressants may be working at an information-processing level rather than mood per se to reduce cognitive vulnerability to depression.  I will consider the neural underpinnings of these effects and how they are affected by novel treatments for depression.  I will also consider new horizons in understanding the effects of ketamine and psilocybin in depression, linking with preclinical animal models of reward and memory consolidation.

Associate Head Of Department, University Department Psychiatry, Oxford
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Oxford


Catherine Harmer – The cognitive neuroscience of antidepressant drug action