Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Jonathan Smallwood

Photo of Jonathan Smallwood


BA Hons University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 1996
PhD University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 20012

Curriculum Vitae (PDF, 580 KB)

T: 613-533-2825

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

Research Interests

Human cognition is not always directly related to the events taking place in the here and now and understanding the neural basis behind the thoughts and feelings that occupy our daily lives is one of the most important questions facing cognitive neuroscience. To address this important question Professor Smallwood’s work uses state-of-the-art techniques for brain analysis as well as novel methods for assessing both patterns of ongoing thought, and task driven behaviour. Ongoing work focuses on the relationship between different patterns of ongoing experience and both positive and negative features of health and well being and how the structure of these complex patterns of thought are constrained by the organisation of the structure of the cortex.

Relevant papers

(Smallwood & Schooler, 2015; Margulies et al., 2016; Sormaz et al., 2018; Ho et al., 2019; Hong et al., 2019; Murphy et al., 2019; Turnbull et al., 2019)

Ho, N. S. P., Wang, X., Vatansever, D., Margulies, D. S., Bernhardt, B., Jefferies, E., & Smallwood, J. (2019). Individual variation in patterns of task focused, and detailed, thought are uniquely associated within the architecture of the medial temporal lobe. NeuroImage, 202, 116045. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116045

Hong, S.-J., De Wael, R. V., Bethlehem, R. A., Lariviere, S., Paquola, C., Valk, S. L., . . . Smallwood, J. (2019). Atypical functional connectome hierarchy in autism. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-13.

Margulies, D. S., Ghosh, S. S., Goulas, A., Falkiewicz, M., Huntenburg, J. M., Langs, G., . . . Smallwood, J. (2016). Situating the default-mode network along a principal gradient of macroscale cortical organization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113(44), 12574-12579. doi:10.1073/pnas.1608282113

Murphy, C., Wang, H.-T., Konu, D., Lowndes, R., Margulies, D. S., Jefferies, E., & Smallwood, J. (2019). Modes of operation: A topographic neural gradient supporting stimulus dependent and independent cognition. NeuroImage, 186, 487-496.

Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2015). The science of mind wandering: empirically navigating the stream of consciousness. Annual review of psychology, 66, 487-518.

Sormaz, M., Murphy, C., Wang, H.-t., Hymers, M., Karapanagiotidis, T., Poerio, G., . . . Smallwood, J. (2018). Default mode network can support the level of detail in experience during active task states. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(37), 9318-9323.

Turnbull, A., Wang, H., Murphy, C., Ho, N., Wang, X., Sormaz, M., . . . Margulies, D. (2019). Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex supports context-dependent prioritisation of off-task thought. Nature communications, 10(1), 1-10.