Decision-making & Affective Learning in Emotional Conditions (DALEC)

Research Overview

My research interests center on the use of cognitive neuroscience methods, decision science, and computational psychology/psychiatry to better understand and delineate high-prevalence symptoms across the spectrum from normal to pathological with a critical focus on value-based decision-making processes.

My primary translational research objective is to advance the understanding of the clinical phenomenology and neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as discrete domains that are commonly observed among these conditions (e.g., suicidality, approach vs. avoidance behaviors). I aim to better understand these conditions (and the range of normal to abnormal behaviors that underpin them) through a combination of advanced psychometrics, experimental manipulation, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and computational modeling.

In addition to my goals to classify and predict these conditions, I am also interested in optimizing treatment and intervention approaches via identification of response likelihoods during the natural course of treatment (especially in the context of general clinical assessment, as well as pharmaco- and psycho-therapy).


Dr. Nicholas Van Dam (Director)


  • Prof Kim Felmingham (MSPS UoM)
  • Prof Simon Dennis (MSPS UoM)
  • Senior Research Fellow Gill Bedi (Orygen)
  • Prof Barnaby Nelson (Orygen)
  • Dr. Peter Koval (Orygen)
  • Dr. Jessica Hartmann (Orygen)
  • Prof Jin Fan (Queens College, City University of New York, US)
  • A/Prof James Murrough (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, US)
  • Dr. Pengfei Xu (Shenzhen University, China)


University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Grant Scheme

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cognitive Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Director Dr Nicholas Van Dam

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

MDHS Research library
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