Dr James Kesby

Senior Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine


Cognitive and decision-making problems associated with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are considered the largest burden for these individuals. They also predict poor functional outcomes, such as maintaining work, social networks, and independent living. I am particularly interested in the relationship between decision-making problems and psychotic symptoms in these disorders; will improving decision-making also reduce psychotic symptoms? To that end, I focus on decision-making tasks that are reliant on brain areas and networks that are implicated in psychosis.

My work aims to understand how corticostriatal circuitry drives decision-making processes, and how this is altered in those with schizophrenia and psychosis. I have taken advantage of my collaborations with basic scientists and clinical researchers with a broad range of expertise to establish a cross-species program of research focussed on decision-making. My research is guided by two fundamental questions:

  1. Do decision-making problems in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders contribute to psychotic symptoms?
  2. How can we leverage the mechanistic tools available in rodent neuroscience to identify causative common substrates underlying decision-making problems (and by proxy psychotic symptoms)?

Research Interests

  • Psychosis and decision-making in schizophrenia: role of the associative striatum
    What are the underlying neurobiological processes that preceed psychosis in schizophrenia? I am interested in dopaminergic/glutamatergic dysfunction in the associative striatum and how it affects decision-making, so that we can improve diagnosis/treatment in schizophrenia.
  • The role of early dopamine development in schizophrenia
    In collaboration with Professor Darryl Eyles, we are trying to ascertain how early dopamine dysfunction can increase the risk of, or lead to, psychosis and schizophrenia.
  • Methamphetamine dependence: how different use patterns affect neurochemistry and cognition
    The use patterns of methamphetamine-dependent subjects (i.e., chronic use versus binge use) is rarely considered in clinical studies. My work aims to determine how these patterns of use differentially affect cognitive and neurochemical outcomes.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland


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