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Queen's University

Richard Beninger

 Richard Beninger

Department of Psychology Head

B.A., University of Western Ontario, 1973
M.A., McGill University, 1974
Ph.D., McGill University, 1977

T: 613.533.2486

409 Craine
Psychology Department
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6


» Website | » Lab Site

Research Interests

In research with animals, my students and I use rats to study the role played by various neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, in reward-related incentive learning. Results suggest that dopamine alters the ability of environmental stimuli associated with reward to elicit approach and other responses in the future. The underlying mechanism involves D1-like receptors and a number of kinases and phosphatases possibly changing glutamate synaptic effectiveness in the striatum. Techniques include: behavioural tests of unconditioned and conditioned locomotor activity, place conditioning, lever press and maze learning and memory tasks; systemic or central injections of pharmacological compounds; and histology. In research with human participants diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or schizophrenia we study the role of dopamine and the effects of antipsychotic drugs on cognitive abilities including non-declarative memory. These studies with humans complement those with animals in revealing the role played by various neurotransmitters in the control of behaviour.

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications


Hawken ER, Delva NJ, Beninger RJ. (2013) Increased drinking following social isolation rearing: implications for polydipsia associated with schizophrenia. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56105. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0056105

MacLeod RJ, Moores ME, Beninger RJ. (2012) Amphetamine stimulates Wnt3 increases in rat nucleus accumbens.  NeuroReport23: 846-850.

BanasikowskiTJ, Beninger RJ. (2012) Haloperidol conditioned catalepsy in rats: a possible role for D1-like receptors. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 15: 1525-1534.

Wasserman JI, Barry RJ, Bradford L, Delva NJ, Beninger RJ. (2012)  Probabilistic classification and gambling in patients with schizophrenia receiving medication: comparison of risperidone, olanzapine, clozapine and typical antipsychotics. Psychopharmacology 222: 173-183.

Brown CL, Beninger RJ. (2012) People newly in love are more responsive to positive feedback. Psychological Reports 110: 753-763.

Beninger RJ, Beuk J, Banasikowski TJ, van Adel M, Boivin GA, Reynolds JN. (2010) Subchronic phencyclidine in rats: alternations in locomotor activity, maze performance and GABAA receptor binding. Behavioural Pharmacology 21: 1-10

Beninger RJ, Baker TW, Florczynski MM, Banasikowski T. (2010) Regional differences in the action of antipsychotic drugs: implications for cognitive effects in schizophrenic patients. Neurotoxicity Research 18: 229-243

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000