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Dr Martin O’Neill

Lecturer in Psychology

Martin is from the west coast of Scotland where he attended Marr College in Troon, Ayrshire before studying Psychology and Neuroscience at Glasgow University. After graduating from Glasgow, Martin switched coasts and went east to St Andrews University to read for a PhD in Experimental Psychology, then took an orthogonal turn and headed south to join Cambridge University as a Research Associate and then Oxford University as a Senior Research Associate and College Lecturer.



Martin teaches the first year ‘Introduction to Psychology’ course to Experimental Psychology (EP), Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL), and Biomedical Science (BMS) students through tutorial courses provided in the ‘Perception’ and ‘Psychobiology’ modules, as well as tutoring the EP students on the ‘Introduction to Neurophysiology’ course. Martin also teaches tutorials on the second year ‘Behavioural Neuroscience’ and ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ courses.



The overarching theme of Martin’s research is decision making with the aim to understand how the brain makes decisions by combining theoretical and computational approaches with neuropsychological and neurophysiological recording techniques. Progressing beyond the traditional focus on individual brain areas, Martin’s current research utilises cutting-edge technology to record brain activity across interconnected brain regions to better understand how these areas act in unison to form decisions that guide daily behaviour. A better understanding of basic decision mechanisms is essential to understanding the aberrant decision making processes displayed in a wide range of neurological conditions including addictions, obsessive compulsive disorder and mood disorders.



O’Neill, M., & Schultz, W. (2015). Economic risk coding by single neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex. J Physiol Paris, 109(1–3), 70–77.

O’Neill, M., & Schultz, W. (2013). Risk Prediction Error Coding in Orbitofrontal Neurons. J Neurosci, 33(40), 15810–15814.

Schultz, W., O’Neill, M., Tobler, P. N., & Kobayashi, S. (2011). Neuronal signals for reward risk in frontal cortex. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1239(1), 109–117.

O’Neill, M., & Schultz, W. (2010). Coding of reward risk by orbitofrontal neurons is mostly distinct from coding of reward value. Neuron, 68(4), 789–800.

O’Neill, M., & Kobayashi, S. (2009). Risky business: disambiguating ambiguity-related responses in the brain. Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(2), 645–647.

O’Neill, M., & Brown, V. J. (2007). Amphetamine and the adenosine A(2A) antagonist KW-6002 enhance the effects of conditional temporal probability of a stimulus in rats. Behav Neurosci, 121(3), 535–542.

O’Neill, M., & Brown, V. J. (2007). The effect of striatal dopamine depletion and the adenosine A2A antagonist KW-6002 on reversal learning in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 88(1), 75–81.

O’Neill, M., & Brown, V. J. (2006). The effect of the adenosine A(2A) antagonist KW-6002 on motor and motivational processes in the rat. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 184(1), 46–55.


Lecturer in Psychology
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Academic - Fellows & Lecturers