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Dopamine and Decision-making

05 September 2019

We are interested in understanding how decision-making is influenced by the neurotransmitter dopamine. You are invited to two sessions at our lab (3h each) and you will play computerized tasks. On each session, you will drink orange squash which contains either a dopamine drug (levodopa) or placebo (no drug). The administered dose is low and considered safe. Levodopa has been used in clinical practice to treat Parkinson’s disease for a long time. Payment for your participation will be £60-£70.


  • Aged 18-35.
  • Male.
  • Have normal or normal corrected vision.
  • Fluent in English and understand written English.
  • Right-handed.
  • No neurological or psychiatric history, including depression (past or present).
  • No current or past history of alcohol or drug dependency.
  • No use of psychoactive substances and medications (e.g. antidepressant, antipsychotics, drug use).
  • No regular intake of medications with the only exception of women who take the contraceptive pill.
  • No occasional drug use (including recreational drugs) within the last month.
  • No cardiac or endocrine disorder and none of the following conditions: claustrophobia, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, myasthenia gravis, ulcerative colitis, glaucoma, melanoma, heart or blood vessel disease, psychiatric illness, hyper or hypo-thyroidism, gastro-intestinal obstruction, chronic pulmonary disease, liver or kidney insufficiencies.
  • No previous experience of an allergic reaction upon administration of a drug.
  • (for women) Not pregnant or breast feeding.
  • No participation in any other pharmacological study within the last month.

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Ethical approval

This study has been approved by the University College London Research Ethics Committee (Project ID Number): 11285/001

About the researcher

My name is Dr Lorenz Deserno, I am a medical doctor and currently a research associate at University College London. My interest is to understand how certain chemicals in the brain, in particular dopamine, impact on cognitive processes mostly decision-making and learning. I hope to gain knowledge from this research with the long-term goal of improving our understanding of mental symptoms and particularly the diagnoses and treatment of mental disorders.

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Academic study

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