Barry Everitt is an international authority on the role of learning and memory in the development of drug addiction. He has been able to use this understanding to develop potential treatments for addiction that involve disrupting drug-associated memories to help addicts ‘unlearn’ deeply ingrained habits of drug use and remain drug-free in the future.
His research explains the switch from recreational use to drug dependence partly in terms of conditioned responses, such as craving induced by the sight of drug paraphernalia. Barry has observed a concomitant shift in neural control from conscious decision-making activity in the frontal lobe to dominance by unconscious reward centres activated by the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Provost, Gates Cambridge Trust Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge
Interest and expertise
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Behavioural neuroscience, Cellular neuroscience
Addiction, Learning and memory, Motivation
Croonian Medal and Lecture
He has elucidated brain mechanisms of motivation and applied them to important societal issues such as drug addiction.