Catherine Harmer

Professor II
Bilde av Catherine Harmer
English version of this page
Telefon +44 (0)1865 223961
Postadresse OX3 7JX Department of Psychiatry Warneford Hospital Oxford

Faglige interesser

My research focuses on the cognitive mechanisms of treatments for depression and anxiety disorders. 

To explore these questions we use a variety of techniques such as fMRI, MEG, TMS, psychopharmacological challenge techniques and neuropsychological assessments in healthy volunteers and patients with depression. 

This work has led to the novel idea that antidepressants may work by rapidly resolving negative affective bias in depression which leads to gradual improvements in mood, social dysfunction and other key symptoms of depression over time. 

This concept has stimulated new research approaches for the treatment of depression with implications for stratification of treatment, early prediction of therapeutic response and identification of novel therapeutic targets.


  • Professor of cognitive neuroscience at University of Oxford

  • Adjunct Professor at the Department of Psychology, UiO

Emneord: Nevrovitenskap, Kognitiv psykologi og nevropsykologi, Avdeling for kognitiv og klinisk nevrovitenskap


Reinecke A, Waldenmaier L, Cooper MJ, Harmer CJ. Changes in automatic threat processing precede and predict clinical changes with exposure-based cognitive-behavior therapy for panic disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2013, 73(11):1064-70

Browning M, Holmes EA, Charles M, Cowen PJ, Harmer CJ. Using attentional bias modification as a cognitive vaccine against depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Oct 1;72(7):572-9

Di Simplicio M, Norbury R, Harmer CJ. Short-term antidepressant administration reduces negative self-referential processing in the medial prefrontal cortex in subjects at risk for depression. Mol Psychiatry. 2012, 17: 503-510

Browning M, Holmes EA, Murphy SE, Goodwin GM, Harmer CJ. Lateral prefrontal cortex mediates the cognitive modification of attentional bias. Biol Psychiatry.  2010, 67:919-25.

McCabe C, Mishor Z, Cowen PJ, Harmer CJ. Diminished neural processing of aversive and rewarding stimuli during selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment. Biol Psychiatry. 2010, 67:439-45.

Harmer CJ, O'Sullivan U, Favaron E, Massey-Chase R, Ayres R, Reinecke A, Goodwin GM, Cowen PJ. Effect of acute antidepressant administration on negative affective bias in depressed patients. Am J Psychiatry. 2009, 166:1178-84.

Harmer CJ, Goodwin GM, Cowen PJ. Why do antidepressants take so long to work? A cognitive neuropsychological model of antidepressant drug action. Br J Psychiatry. 2009, 195: 102-8

Harmer CJ, Mackay CE, Reid CB, Cowen PJ, Goodwin GM. Antidepressant drug treatment modifies the neural processing of nonconscious threat cues. Biol Psychiatry. 2006, 59:816-20.

Hayward G, Goodwin GM, Cowen PJ, Harmer CJ. Low-dose tryptophan depletion in  recovered depressed patients induces changes in cognitive processing without depressive symptoms. Biol Psychiatry. 2005,57:517-24.

Harmer CJ, Shelley NC, Cowen PJ, Goodwin GM. Increased positive versus negative affective perception and memory in healthy volunteers following selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. Am J Psychiatry. 2004,161:1256-63.

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  • Hilland, Eva; Landrø, Nils Inge; Harmer, Catherine; Maglanoc, Luigi Angelo; Browning, Michael & Jonassen, Rune (2018). Attentional Bias Modification alters fMRI response towards negative stimuli in depression. .
  • Jonassen, Rune; Hilland, Eva; Harmer, Catherine; Berge, Torkil; Maglanoc, Luigi Angelo & Kraft, Brage [Vis alle 9 forfattere av denne artikkelen] (2017). Attentional Bias Modification reduces symptom severity in major depression: Preliminary analysis from an ongoing longitudinal RCT study. .
  • Jonassen, Rune; Hilland, Eva; Harmer, Catherine; Berge, Torkil; Maglanoc, Luigi Angelo & Kraft, Brage [Vis alle 9 forfattere av denne artikkelen] (2016). Attention bias modification reduces symptom severity in Major Depression. Preliminary analysis from an ongoing longitudinal RCT study.
  • Jonassen, Rune; Chelnokova, Olga V; Harmer, Catherine; Leknes, Siri & Landrø, Nils Inge (2014). A single dose of antidepressant alters eye-gaze patterns across face stimuli in healthy women.

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Publisert 28. jan. 2014 09:05 - Sist endret 15. feb. 2016 13:29