Cognitive Science Researchers

Finding a Supervisor

Research in cognitive science takes place in a number of departments at McGill. For students looking for a supervisor for COGS 396, 401 or 444, you may work with any professor affiliated with McGill as long as the project you are completing is cognitive science related.

To help you in your search for a supervisor we have provided the list below of Established Cognitive Science Researchers at McGill. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and it may also be helpful for you to consult the department websites directly to learn more about the professors in each area that may interest you.  The Faculty of Science manages a comprehensive page with all science departments listed together: Science undergrad research opportunities.

Before contacting any supervisors, please be sure to read through the following websites to understand eligibility and the process for getting course approvals:  

COGS 401 and COGS 444

COGS 396

Established Cognitive Science Researchers

If you are a McGill professor and would like to be added to our list, please complete the following webform:

Name Department Research Summary
Samuele Collu Anthropology Hypnotic experience, affect theory, psychotherapy, phenomenology.
Jon Sakata Biology Behavioral, neurophysiological, and molecular investigation of the mechanisms underlying vocal learning and memory, using songbirds as my model system.
Alanna Watt Biology Our lab focuses on the development of brain circuits in both the healthy cerebellum and in animal models of ataxias, including spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) and ataxia of the Charlevoix-Saguenay region (ARSACS). We aim to understand the pathophysiology that underlies the onset of disease symptoms in ataxias, since this may lead to new insights into treatments or prevention for these devastating human disorders. We also address fundamental questions about brain development, such as understanding the role of spontaneous neuronal activity in the developing cerebellum.
Shari Baum Communication Sciences and Disorders The neural bases of speech and language processing through studies of individuals with focal brain lesions, functional neuroimaging, and electrophysiological measures. Specific interests in speech prosody, speech motor control, lexical and sentence processing, bilingualism and neuroplasticity.
Liziane Bouvier Communication Sciences and Disorders Speech motor control in healthy aging and acquired speech disorders; interactions between executive, linguistic and motor speech functions.
Aparna Nadig Communication Sciences and Disorders My lab's basic research focuses on social cognition and language development in the neurotypical population and people on the autism spectrum, from early development through adulthood. In my lab's applied research, we promote the social inclusion of autistic individuals by designing and evaluating innovative support services, working in partnership with people on the autism spectrum, practitioners, and community organizations. I am co-chair of the Community Engagement Committee of the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC), and a member of l’équipe de recherche pour l’inclusion sociale en autisme (ÉRISA).
Marc Pell Communication Sciences and Disorders Vocal emotion processing in speech; nonverbal communication; social neuroscience; effects of brain damage on communication and emotion; cultural influences on emotion processing.
Linda Polka Communication Sciences and Disorders My research focuses on the development of speech perception during infancy. The goal of this work is to understand the skills and biases that the infants bring to this task and how their speech processing changes with age and language experience to support language processing.
Karsten Steinhauer Communication Sciences and Disorders Psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience. Current projects investigate the neural organization and temporal online dynamics of processes underlying speech and language perception, particularly using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and other brain imaging techniques. This includes interactions among syntactic, semantic, morphological and (overt or covert) prosodic information in listeners.
Jackie C.K. Cheung Computer Science Natural language processing.
Michael Langer Computer Science Computational modelling of 3D visual perception. Methods include human psychophysics, computer vision, and computer graphics.
David Meger Computer Science Intelligent robotics including multi-modal active perception, navigation and behavior development. Deep Reinforcement Learning and Transfer Learning, especially applied to robotics problems with continuous state/actions, high dimensional observations and complex worlds. Modeling and reconstruction of objects and environments in 3D.
Elizabeth Patitsas Computer Science / Integrated Studies in Education The teaching of computer science, science and technology studies, history and philosophy of computing.
Blake Richards Computer Science Intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.
Joseph P Vybihal Computer Science Intelligent software systems, including: neural networks, production systems, group robotic thinking, theory of mind, complex layered architectures, population simulations using AI agents. The impact social media has on society and "Healthy UI".
Jérôme Waldispuhl Computer Science I am developing crowdsourcing system and studying human-computation for natural science applications. Our group pioneered the use of video game to engage the public in genomic research with Phylo, Borderlands Science, and Project Discovery 3.
Armando Bertone Educational and Counselling Psychology Typical and atypical (autism and other neurodiverse conditions) development of perceptual (social and non-social information) and cognitive (attention, EF, etc.) processes from school-ages through adulthood; mostly behavioural (pyschophysics, eye-tracking) and imaging (EEG) approaches.
Ilja Frissen Information Studies "Container haptics": What can we know/remember about the content of a container from touch alone; Haptic cognition; Multisensory perception.
Karyn Moffatt Information Studies Human computer interaction, specifically with respect to designing computing applications to be more inclusive of diverse needs and preferences across the lifespan.
Reza Farivar-Mohseni Integrated Program in Neuroscience / Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Neuroimaging of visual cognition and visual disorders, development of neuroimaging analytic techniques including topological data analysis, medical device development to improve diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.
Luis Alonso-Ovalle Linguistics Formal semantics and pragmatics, modality, implicatures.
Meghan Clayards Linguistics / Communication Sciences and Disorders Speech perception and production, second language learning, cognitive ageing, executive function.
Brendan Gillon Linguistics Natural language semantics: how words behave like the predicates of logic (known in linguistics as argument structure), the distinction between count nouns (e.g., suggestions) and mass nouns (e.g., advice); as well as logic and its history.
Heather Goad Linguistics Phonology and language acquisition. Examining how representations can inform our understanding of the shapes of phonological systems and the developmental trajectory of first and second language learners.
Tim O'Donnell Linguistics Computational and mathematical linguistics, computational cognitive science, artificial Intelligence, probabilistic Inference.
Junko Shimoyama Linguistics Sentence structure (syntax) of natural language, typically relying on evidence from interpretation (semantics).
Morgan Sonderegger Linguistics Phonetic and phonological variation, speech, language change, quantitative methods, computational linguistics.
Michael Wagner Linguistics

Focus on the study of speech prosody as a window into grammatical, phonetic, and processing factors affecting speech production and perception.

Boris Bernhardt Montreal Neurological Institute The lab studies how the spatial organization and development of the human brain gives rise to cognition, in both health and disease. The research integrates multimodal neuroimaging, histology and transcriptomics, as well as brain network modelling. The lab develops multiple open access tools for data processing, multimodal data fusion, and multiscale cortical mapping.
Sylvain Baillet Neurology and Neurosurgery The broad objective of Sylvain Baillet’s lab is to comprehend the nature and macroscopic mechanisms of large-scale, network brain activity — how they enable complex behavior, how they are altered in disease. We don’t specialize in specific brain functions or syndromes. We want to find their common denominator. Our group nurtures multi-disciplinary expertise in computational and empirical approaches to systems neuroscience — with a blend of imaging, multi-scale electrophysiology, cognitive and clinical neuropsychology, biophysics, computational models and data science.
Justine Clery Neurology and Neurosurgery Our research aim to identify the functional networks involved in sensory processing and social cognition. To reach this aim, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging in nonhuman primates while they are performing cognitive tasks. We seek to better understand these mechanisms during the neurodevelopment and in neurodevelopmental disorders models (e.g. ASD).
Etienne de Villers-Sidani Neurology and Neurosurgery Understanding how brain circuits are shaped by sensory experience and behavior. Intracortical recordings in awake behaving or anesthetized rat cortex to examine the impact of various sound exposures and auditory training on cortical maps and behavior at different stages of the life cycle (early development, adulthood, aging). The ultimate objective is to understand the role of brain activity in the emergence and remediation of cognitive impairments and to develop novel neuroplasticity-based therapeutic strategies to improve the cognitive function of patients suffering from condition related to abnormal sensori-motor processing---dementia, age-related cognitive decline, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, among other conditions.
Lesley Fellows Neurology and Neurosurgery / Psychology Cognitive neuroscience, Decision neuroscience, Neuroeconomics, Reward processing, Emotion regulation. Frontal lobe functions. Cognitive/behavioural neurology. Executive function. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Mild cognitive impairment. Dementia.
Maiya Geddes Neurology and Neurosurgery My Lab focuses on motivational resilience and vulnerability in aging and early Alzheimer's disease. We apply converging cutting-edge behavioral and brain imaging methods (e.g., task-based and resting-state fMRI).
Denise Klein Neurology and Neurosurgery The neural substrates of unilingual and bilingual speech processing: Cross-linguistic studies of tone perception; Articulatory processes involved in speaking native and second languages; Investigation of the neural substrates of language in patients with typical and atypical patterns of hemispheric dominance for language and with different types of brain lesions. The work involves combining behavioural data with a range of brain imaging techniques (fMRI, resting-state MRI, anatomical MRI).
Bratislav Misic Neurology and Neurosurgery How cognitive operations and complex behaviour emerge from the connections and interactions among brain areas. Effects of disease on brain structure and function. Network science, dynamical systems and multivariate statistics, with a focus on complex data sets involving neuroimaging, including fMRI, DWI, M/EEG and PET.
Adrien Peyrache Neurology and Neurosurgery Neural basis of spatial navigation and memory formation, exploring how animals integrate various sensory information to orient themselves and how sleep plays a key role in processing spatial memories.
David Ragsdale Neurology and Neurosurgery / Physiology Structure and function of membrane ion channels. How the brain makes decisions and how our understanding of this process affects our views on moral and legal accountability. Trust, from molecules to social institutions.
Nathan Spreng Neurology and Neurosurgery Large-scale brain network dynamics and their role in cognition. The link between memory, cognitive control, and social cognition and the interacting brain networks that support them. The development and implementation of multivariate and network-based statistical approaches to assess brain structure, connectivity and activity across the lifespan and dementia.
Viviane Sziklas Neurology and Neurosurgery / Psychology The study of the neural correlates of cognitive processing (including verbal and nonverbal memory and higher-order behavioural management) and neuropsychological test development in epilepsy.
Armin Yazdani Office of Science Education Learning, Educational Neuroscience, Machine learning, learning analytics, metacognition and self-regulated learning, Neuroethics.
Curtis Baker Ophthalmology / Biomedical Engineering / Physiology / Experimental Medicine / Neurology and Neurosurgery Neural mechanisms underlying visual perception of figure-ground boundaries in natural images are studied using neurophysiological, optical imaging, psychophysical, and computational approaches
David Davies Philosophy Metaphysical and epistemological issues in the Philosophy of Art. Art and Cognitive Neuroscience. Philosophy of Mind.
Ian Gold Philosophy Delusion in psychiatric and neurological illness. Reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience.
Eric Lewis Philosophy Philosophy of music and aesthetics, interdisciplinary approaches to art, culture and society.
Dirk Schlimm Philosophy / Computer Science History and philosophy of mathematics and science, epistemology, and cognitive science. Axiomatics, analogical reasoning, concept formation, empiricism in mathematics, the use of notation, and theory development.
Eran Tal Philosophy Philosophy of science, philosophy of measurement (esp. psychometrics), and epistemology.
Tatiana Ogourtsova Physical and Occupational Therapy Childhood disability; neurodevelopmental disabilities, health coaching; mental health in youth with disabilities; resilience; telehealth/telerehabilitation; virtual reality
Suresh Krishna Physiology We work at the interface between the mind, brain, machines and the external world, using behavioral measurements (including eye-tracking) , computational modeling and analysis of open datasets from electrophysiology, behavior and imaging. Much of our research focus is on the neurophysiological and computational basis of hearing, vision, eye-movements, and mental processes (e.g. attention), with a keen eye on direct applications to devices, algorithms and human health.
Jorge Armony Psychiatry / Psychology Neural bases of emotional processing and its interactions with other cognitive systems, such as attention, memory and decision-making. Studies are conducted in healthy individuals as well as in neurological and psychiatric populations using a variety of techniques, including functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging.
Veronique Bohbot Psychiatry Plasticity in the human hippocampus and neocortex resulting from spatial memory cognitive training. Spatial Representations in Multiple Memory Systems with functional and structural neuroimaging. Protective effects of spatial memory in normal aging, neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Mark Brandon Psychiatry Use of in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to study the spatial coding of grid cells, head direction cells, place cells; and how these neurons contribute to memory. The lab is also interested in the computational role of oscillations and interneurons in entorhinal and hippocampal function.
Megha Chakravarty Psychiatry Our laboratory is interested in the anatomy and function of the brain and how it matures through adolescence, how it stays healthy through the normal ageing process, and how alterations in brain anatomy are related to neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Parkinson's disease and neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. Our group is a multi-disciplinary group of neuroscientists, psychologists, computer scientists, engineers, and physicists all working towards a common goal of improving our understanding of the structure-function relationships of the brain through health and illness. We believe that this integrated approach can significantly accelerate discovery and will hopefully improve our understanding of adaptive and maladaptive brain changes. We use a translational neuroscientific approach that integrates sophisticated computational methods in animal models and population-based human studies as a means of parsing the complexity of brain structure and anatomy.
Bruno Debruille Psychiatry Dr. Debruille is an Associate Professor of clinical psychiatry in the Division of Adult Psychiatry at McGill University. He runs the Cognitive & Social Neuroscience lab, a proudly low-tech and high-audacity facility at the Douglas Hospital Research Center. The members of his team record response accuracies, reaction times, EEGs and compute event-related brain potentials (ERPs) elicited by the presentation of meaningful stimuli, such as faces, scenes and words. They currently have three axes of research. The first derives from their discovery of the impacts of stimulus processing on ERPs of close others. It is an attempt at approaching the physical nature of conscious percepts and the mechanisms of their production in usual, illusory or hallucinatory states. The second axis focuses on the drive to play social roles and on the effects of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and of antipsychotic medications on those drives. The third axis pertains to the effect of the social context, that is, to the effect of the presence of a friend or of a stranger, on the cognitive processes induced by stimuli. In his clinical practice at the psychotic disorder program of the Douglas Institute, Dr. Debruille specializes in the rehabilitation of people suffering from schizophrenia, mainly by de-stigmatizing psychotic symptoms, boosting motivation by favouring the emergence of new social roles and by teaching how to adjust medications.
Catherine Fichten Psychiatry Postsecondary students with déshabilitas, technology, sleep.
Cecilia Flores Psychiatry Adolescent brain development, susceptibility to psychopathology, and impact of exposure to drugs of abuse or to social stress during this vulnerable period
Reut Gruber Psychiatry The objectives of the research in the ABS Lab are to better understand the mechanisms that underlie the association between sleep and cognition and mental and to develop a means of applying knowledge gained from sleep research and the positive impact of sleep to improve the health and learning capacity of young persons with and without mental challenges. To reach these goals we pursue research at three levels. The first theme is the Discovery of Mechanisms. The goal of this investigation strand is to identify mechanisms underlying the association between sleep, and attention and memory during normal and abnormal development. Second, we seek to characterize the interplay between sleep and daytime functioning in children and adolescents, with special focus on neurobehavioral functioning, and to identify domains that are both most vulnerable to sleep abnormality impacts and potentially amenable to sleep-related interventions. Third, we conduct Translational Research and clinical work, the goal of which is to develop evidence-based interventions to treat sleep disorders in relevant pediatric populations, and to transfer the knowledge gained in research to the community, to assist in healthy childhood development.
Sherif Karama Psychiatry Examining the environmental and genetic influence on brain development and their corollary consequences on cognitive ability development and changes across the lifespan.
Marco Leyton Psychiatry We study how early life experiences, temperamental traits, and neurobiology intersect to influence the development of addictions and addiction-related disorders.
Maxime Montembeault Psychiatry My team uses digital cognitive markers and multimodal neuroimaging (structural and restingstate functional magnetic resonance imaging) to investigate language, social cognition and emotional changes and their brain correlates in aging and neurodegenerative diseases (primary progressive aphasias, frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's disease).
Natasha Rajah Psychiatry / Psychology The cognitive neuroscience of memory, aging and dementia prevention. Use of structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods and univariate and multivariate image analysis to investigate how specific biological and demographic variables (i.e. biological sex, genetics, family history of illness, bilingualism, sex hormones) impact the integrity of the neural networks mediating episodic memory function in young, middle-aged and older adults.
Patricia Silveira Psychiatry Dr Silveira’s research focuses on how perinatal and early-childhood environments interact with individual differences in biological processes, shaping and modulating both health and disease risk across the lifespan, into old age. Her aim is to identify how gene networks interact with environmental adversities early in life, modifying endophenotypes (impulsivity, sensitivity to reward, executive function, food choices) that ultimately affect healthy growth and neurodevelopment, increasing an individual’s risk for developing chronic metabolic diseases and psychopathologies across their lifespan.
Jonathan Britt Psychology The neural circuitry underlying motivated behaviors relevant to reward learning and drug addiction. Electrophysiological and optogenetic techniques are combined with various behavioral tasks to identify the precise neural circuits and synaptic modifications that support compulsive behavior. The emphasis is on dopaminergic regulation of neural processing in the nucleus accumbens.
Carl Falk Psychology Development and evaluation of advanced statistical models for social science and health research, including latent variable models such as those in item response theory, structural equation modeling, and multilevel modeling.
Oliver Hardt Psychology Neurobiology of memory maintenance and forgetting. Pharmacologically manipulated neurons in specific brain areas in rodents, and memory assessments in humans. Dysfunctions of memory processes in conditions such as Fragile X, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Stevan Harnad Psychology (1) category learning, (2) categorical perception, (3) language and (4) cognitive dissonance. The methods used are behavioral, electrophysiological (Event Related Potentials (ERPs) recorded at the surface of the scalp) and computational modeling (neural nets). Also supervising (non-laboratory) projects on animal sentience.
Kristine Onishi Psychology Cognitive development and language acquisition in infants and adults; learning about sound structures; infants understanding of others' actions.
David Ostry Psychology Speech production and human arm movement are studied using mathematical models, robots and behavioral and physiological techniques; understanding how motor learning and adaptation affect sensory function in speech and limb movement.
Ross Otto Psychology Human decision making using a combination of computational, behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging techniques.
Caroline Palmer Psychology Brain-behavior foundations of complex auditory processing, including speech and music. Computational models of temporal coordination in individuals and groups.
Jelena Ristic Psychology Basic mechanisms of human attention; cognitive neuroscience of attention; social cognition, social attention, and attentional development; special populations; functional neuroimaging.
Mathieu Roy Psychology How the brain encodes the subjective experience of pain using a variety of psychophysiological and brain imaging techniques (skin conductance, reflexes, EEG, fMRI). How is pain affected by prior expectations and ongoing emotional states? Why do some people experience more pain than others, and why does sometimes pain seem to endure despite the absence of peripheral injury?
Signy Sheldon Psychology Memory for events and episodes. Behavioural experiments, work with patient populations and neuroimaging techniques to discover (1) the role of the hippocampus and related brain structures in storing and retrieving episodic memories, (2) the functions of remembering by examining how memory processes contribute to non-mnemonic abilities, like imagination and problem solving, and (3) how individual differences in the way we remember are reflected in the brain.
Thomas Shultz Psychology / Computer Science Decision making, memory, learning, development, and evolution. Computational and mathematical modeling, behavioural experiments. Neural network and agent-based computer simulations and math models.
Michael Sullivan Psychology The psychological, biomechanical and neuroanatomical determinants of behavioural/motor alterations associated with pain.
Debra Titone Psychology

The cognitive and neural bases of first and second language processing in terms of both comprehension and production. A variety of methods are used, with an emphasis on eye movement recordings. Study populations include healthy younger and older adults, and people with schizophrenia. We are particularly interested in the impact of individual differences in language experience and cognition on first and second language processing.


Back to top