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Apathy and Impulsivity

We study how people make decisions and how motivation affects decision-making. We also investigate how motivation and decision-making are disrupted in brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke and vascular dementia. 

Our research focuses on:

  • Apathy or lack of motivation

  • Impulsivity and risky decision-making

We're trying to understand the mechanisms underlying motivation and decision-making in healthy people and in patient groups. We're also performing research into treatments for disorders of motivation and decision-making.

Read a recent press release on our research on apathy

If you want to get involved or find out more about our research at Oxford University and the John Radcliffe Hospital, write to: 

Professor Masud Husain, Nuffield Dept Clinical Neurosciences, Level 6, West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU



You can also find out more about our research by downloading the articles below. 



Le Heron C, Holroyd CB, Salamone J, Husain M (2018) Brain mechanisms underlying apathy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry (Epub ahead of print) [Review]

Husain M, Roiser R (2018) The neuroscience of apathy and anhedonia: A transdiagnostic approach. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 19:470-484. PMID: 29946157 [Review]

Le Heron C, Apps MAJ, Husain M (2017) The anatomy of apathy: A neurocognitive framework for amotivated behaviour. Neuropsychologia (Epub ahead of print) [Review]

Chong T T-J, Bonnelle V, Husain M (2016) Quantifying motivation with effort-based decision-making paradigms in health and disease. Progress in Brain Res 229:71-100 [Review]

Chong T T-J, Husain M (2016) The role of dopamine in the pathophysiology and treatment of apathy. Progress in Brain Res 229: 389-426 [Review]

Muhammed K, Husain M (2016) Clinical significance of apathy in Parkinson's disease. European Medical Journal 4: 56-63 [Review]

Sinha N, Manohar S, Husain M (2013) Impulsivity and apathy in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neuropsychology. PMID:23621377 [Review]

Norbury A, Husain M (2015) Sensation-seeking: Dopaminergic modulation and risk for psychopathology. Behavioural Brain Research 288:79-93 (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 25907745 [Review]


Research papers

Nachev P, Roberts RE, Husain M, Kennard C (2019) The neural basis of meta-volition. Commun Biol 2:101 PMID:30886910

Tay J, Tuladhar AM, Hollocks MJ, Brookes RL, Tozer DJ, Barrick TR, Husain M, de Leeuw FE, Markus HS (2019) Apathy is associated with large-scale white matter network disruption in small vessel disease. Neurology 92:e1157-e1167

Le Heron C, Manohar S, Plant O, Muhammed K, Griffanti L, Nemeth A, Douaud G, Markus HS, Husain M (2018) Dysfunctional effort-based decision-making underlies apathy in genetic cerebral small vessel disease. Brain 141:3193-3210 PMID:30346491

Manohar SG, Muhammed K, Fallon SJ, Husain M (2018) Motivation dynamically increases noise resistance by internal feedback during movement. Neuropsychologia (Epub ahead of print).

Chong TT, Apps MAJ, Giehl K, Hall S, Clifton CH, Husain M (2018) Computational modelling reveals distinct patterns of cognitive and physical motivation in elite athletes. Scientific Reports 8:11888. PMID:30089782

Ang YS, Manohar S, Plant O, Kienast A, Le Heron C, Muhammed K, Hu M, Husain M (2018) Dopamine modulates option generation for behavior. Current Biology 28:1561-9.

Barber TR, Muhammed K, Drew D, Lawton M, Crabbe M, Rolinski M, Quinnell T, Zaiwalla Z, Ben-Shlomo Y, Husain M, Hu MTM (2018) Apathy in rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder is common and under-recognized. Eur J Neurol 25:469-76. PMID:29114969

Robert P, Lanctôt KL, Agüera-Ortiz L, Aalten P, Bremond F, Defrancesco M, Hanon C, David R, Dubois B, Dujardin K, Husain M, König A, Levy R, Mantua V, Meulien D, Miller D, Moebius HJ, Rasmussen J, Robert G, Ruthirakuhan M, Stella F, Yesavage J, Zeghari R, Manera V (2018) Is it time to revise the diagnostic criteria for apathy in brain disorders? The 2018 international consensus group. Eur Psychiatry 54:71-6. PMID: 30125783

Le Heron C, Plant O, Manohar S, Ang YS, Jackson M, Lennox G, Hu MT, Husain M (2018) Distinct effects of apathy and dopamine on effort-based decision-making in Parkinson's disease. Brain 141:1455-69.

Lockwood P, Ang YS, Husain M, Crockett M (2017) Individual differences in empathy are associated with apathy-motivation. Scientific Reports 7:17293 PMID:29229968

Lockwood PL, Hamonet M, Zhang SH, Ratnavel A, Salmony FU, Husain M§, Apps M§ (2017) Prosocial apathy for helping others when effort is required. Nature Human Behaviour 1: 131

Draper A, Koch RM, van der Meers WM, Apps MAJ, Pickers P, Husain M, van der Schaaf ME (2017) Effort but not reward sensitivity is altered by acute sickness induced by experimental endotoxemia in humans. Neuropsychopharmacology (Epub ahead of print) PMID:28948979

Manohar SG, Finzi RD, Drew D, Husain M (2017) Distinct motivational effects of contingent and noncontingent rewards. Psychol Sci (Epub ahead of print).

Chong TT, Bonnelle V, Veromann KR, Juurmaa J, Taba P, Plant O, Husain M (2017) Dissociation of reward and effort sensitivity in methcathinone-induced Parkinsonism. J Neuropsyhcol (Epub ahead of print)

Chong T-J, Apps M, Giehl K, Silence A, Grima L, Husain M (2017) Neurocomputaional mechanisms underlying subjective valuation of effort costs. PLoS Biology 15(2):e1002598. PMID: 28234892

Ang YS, Lockwood P, Apps MA, Muhammed K, Husain M (2017) Distinct subtypes of apathy revealed by the Apathy Motivation Index. PLoS One 12:e0169938. PMID: 28076387

Norbury A, Valton V, Rees G, Roiser JP, Husain M (2016) Shared neural mechanisms for evaluation of intense sensory stimulation and economic reward, dependent on stimulation-seeking behavior. Journal of Neuroscience 36: 10026-38. PMID: 27683900

Muhammed K, Manohar S, Ben Yehuda M, Chong T-J, Tofaris G, Lennox G, Bogdanovic M, Hu M, Husain M (2016) Reward sensitivity deficits modulated by dopamine are associated with apathy in Parkinson's disease. Brain 139: 2706-21. PMID: 27452600.

Manohar SG, Husain M (2016) Human ventromedial prefrontal lesions alter incentivisation by reward. Cortex 76: 104-20 PMID: 26874940.

Manohar SG, Husain M (2015) Reduced pupillary reward sensitivity in Parkinson's disease. Nature Partner Journals Parkinson's Disease 1, 15026.

Apps MAJ, Grima LL, Manohar S, Husain M (2015) The role of cognitive effort in subjective devaluation and risky decision-making. Scientific Reports 5, 16880. PMID: 26586084

Bonnelle V, Manohar S, Behrens T, Husain M (2015) Individual differences in premotor brain systems underlie behavioural apathy. Cerebral Cortex (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 26564255.

Hollocks MJ, Lawrence AJ, Brookes RL, Barrick TR, Morris RG, Husain M, Markus HS (2015) Differential relationships between apathy and depression with white matter microstructure changes and functional outcomes. Brain (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 26490330.

Manohar SG, Chong TTJ, Apps MAJ, Batla A, Stamelou M, Jarman PR, Bhatia KP, Husain M (2015) Reward pays the cost of noise reduction in motor and cognitive control. Current Biology (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 26096975.

Chong TTJ, Bonnelle V, Manohar S, Veromann K, Muhammed K, Tofaris GK, Hu M, Husain M (2015) Dopamine enhances willingness to exert effort for reward in Parkinson’s disease. Cortex  (Epub ahead of print) PMID:

Norbury A, Kurth-Nelson Z, Winston JS, Roiser JP, Husain M (2015) Dopamine regulates approach-avoidance in human sensation-seeking. Internatial Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 25857822.

Roberts RE, Husain M. (2015) A dissociation between stopping and switching actions following a lesion of the pre-supplementary motor area. Cortex 63, 184-195. PMID:25282056

Zokaei N, McNeill A, Proukakis C, Beavan M, Jarman P, Korlipara P, Hughes D, Mehta A, Hu MTM, Schapira AHV, Husain M. (2014) Visual short-term memory deficits associated with GBA mutation and Parkinson’s disease. Brain 137: 2303-2311. PMID:24919969

Norbury A, Manohar S, Rogers RD, Husain M. (2013) Dopamine modulates risk-taking as a function of baseline sensation-seeking trait. The Journal of Neuroscience 33:12982-12986. PMID:23926253

Bunzeck N, Singh-Curry V, Eckart C, Weiskopf N, Perry RJ, Bain PG, Düzel E, Husain M. (2013) Motor phenotype and magnetic resonance measures of basal ganglia iron levels in Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism & Related disorders 19: 1136-1142. PMID:24025315

Adam R, Leff A, Sinha N, Turner C, Bays PM, Draganski B, Husain M. (2012) Dopamine reverses reward insensitivity in apathy following globus pallidus lesions. Cortex  49(5):1292-303. PMID:22721958 PMC3639369