Mary Olmstead


Department of Psychology

B.Sc., University of Toronto, 1989
M.Sc., McGill University, 1991
Ph.D., McGill University, 1995

Research Interests

My research is directed towards understanding the neural and psychological interface between motivation and cognition,- or how rewarding stimuli influence learning. My working hypothesis is that goal-directed behaviours and cognitive processes, as part of a dynamic interactive system, reciprocally modulate each other. In order to investigate these process, I have adopted two complementary approaches in my work. The first is a theoretical overview of the interaction between motivation and cognition that examines how reward-related learning is manifested in behaviour. The second is an examination of specific neural systems which may mediate the cognitive-motivational interface. The majority of my research focuses on animal models of drug addiction as this disorder is characterized by a breakdown in the 'normal' balance between motivation and cognition.

Selected Publications

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Olmstead, M.C. & Kuhlmeier, V.K. (2015). Comparative Cognition. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Olmstead, M.C. (Ed.) (2016). Animal Cognition: Principles, Evolution, and Development. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Olmstead, M.C. (Ed.) (2014). Psychology of Impulsivity: New Research.  Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Olmstead, M.C. (Ed.) (2010). Animal Models of Drug Addiction.  Totowa NJ: Humana Press Inc.