Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Mary C. Olmstead, PhD
Department of Psychology
Centre for Neuroscience Studies
Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6
T: 613-533-6208  F: 613-533-2499 


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

This text builds on the tradition of combining data from laboratory and field studies of animal behavior as a means to understand the evolution and function of cognition.  Cognition in this text refers to a wide range of processes from modification of simple reflexes to abstract concept learning to social interactions to the expression of emotions, such as guilt.  These are examined throughout the text in animal groups ranging from insects to great apes.  A general theme across chapters is that the evolution of behavioral patterns is adaptive, thereby reflected in underlying neural structures.  Many of the chapters examine the adaptive significance of a behavior in relation to a species’ ecological history: this issue is becoming increasingly important in a world with rapidly changing environments to which all animals, including humans, must adjust.

Comparative Cognition Book

Olmstead, M.C. & Kuhlmeier, V.K. (2016). Comparative Cognition. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

Comparative cognition provides an overview of the evolution and function of cognitive processes across species. The textbook introduces students to the origins of the field, both animal learning and evolutionary biology, and to current research in disciplines such as neuroscience and behavioral ecology. The topics discussed in each chapter cover both controlled laboratory and comparative cross-species studies in the natural environment. By merging classic studies and contemporary research, students are provided with a comprehensive and balanced view of the evolving field of comparative cognition.  In addition, broader applications to fields such as clinical psychology, environmental studies, and education are presented. This approach provides students with complementary ethological and neurological perspectives on cognition. Feature boxes encourage active, engaged learning giving a deeper understanding of topics discussed in the main text. These are supported by end-of-chapter questions to check understanding and encourage wider thinking around topics.

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

Impulsivity is a primary feature of many psychiatric conditions and often leads to maladaptive behaviors in nonclinical populations. This predisposition to rapid, unplanned actions and a disregard for future, negative consequences leads to seemingly irrational and self-defeating behaviours including substance abuse, pathological gambling, binge eating, and self-harm. Even in young children, impulsivity can have detrimental and long-lasting effects: deficits in impulse control predict poor academic performance and are correlated with behavioural, social, and emotional problems. This book provides an up-to-date overview of research in impulsivity from personality theories through cognitive and biological mechanisms to genetic markers. It also reviews current theories on factors that precipitate the emergence of impulsive behaviors, such as early adversity or learned contingencies. Topics include the development of assessment tools to identify impulsivity in vulnerable populations, conceptualization of impulsivity within a personality prototype model, and identification of disorders in which impulsivity leads to suicide-related behaviors. This broad psychosocial perspective helps to explain how impulsive tendencies develop and how these are exacerbated in certain conditions. Most importantly, factors that mediate the relationship between impulsivity and maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, excessive drug use, or self-injury are discussed throughout the book. Many of the authors present new ideas for the remediation and therapy of impulse control disorders; the final chapter discusses exciting advances from proof of concept studies exploring non invasive brain stimulation as a treatment for neurocognitive impairments associated with impulsivity. Overall, the integration of data from behavioural, biological, social, and environmental studies takes research in impulsivity to a new level. For the reader, the novel theoretical perspectives presented in this book will lead to a more thorough understanding of the relationship between impulsivity and behavioural disorders.

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

Drug addiction is a progressive disorder: initial drug use is voluntary and controlled whereas the pathological state of drug addiction is characterized by compulsive and uninhibited drug intake. This transition from controlled to uncontrolled drug use is manifested in the research community by the use ofmore complex behavioural paradigms to model different stages of this disorder. Animal Models of Drug Addiction provides an up-to-date review of these paradigms and how they are used in preclinical research. The first half of the book describes the most common laboratory measures of addiction, and the second half explains how these paradigms are used to model the progression of drug addiction. Individual chapters offer insight into the clinical symptomatology of addiction from acquisition of drug use through compulsive drug taking to withdrawal and relapse. The book is aimed at a wide readership from students who are beginning to explore this exciting field to established researchers who have already contributed to its success. Because it provides both methodological detail and a theoretical perspective the book appeals to readers who are, and are not, familiar with preclinical research on drug addiction.

Journal Articles

Mahoney, M.K., Barnes, J.H., Wiercigroch, D., Olmstead, M.C. (2016). Pharmacological investigations of a yohimbine-impulsivity interaction in rats. Behavioural Pharmacology, 27, 585-595. PubMed Abstract

Lamontange, S.J., Olmstead, M.C., Menard, J.L. (2016). The lateral septum and anterior hypothalamus act  in tandem to regulate burying in the shcok-probe test but not open-arm avoidance in the elevated plus-maze. Behavioural Brain Research, 314, 16-20. PubMed Abstract

Kuhlmeier, V.K., & Olmstead, M.C. (2016). Keep calm and Comp. Cog. On Commentary: A crisis in comparative psychology: Where have all the undergraduates gone? Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 20. PubMed Abstract

Taylor, A.M.W., Castonguqy, A., Ghogha, A., Vayssiere, P., Pradhan, A.A., Xue, L., Wu, J, Levitt, P., Olmstead, M.C., De Koninck, Y., Evans, C.J., & Cahill, C. M. (2016). Neuroimmune regulation of GABergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area during withdrawal from chronic morphine. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41, 949-959. PubMed Abstract

Taylor, A., Castonguay, A., Taylor, A.J., Murphy, N.P., Ghogha, A., Cook, C., Xue, L, Olmstead, M.C., De Konick, Y., Evans, C.J., & Cahill, C.M. (2015). Microglial disrupt mesolimbic reward circuitry in chronic pain. Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 8442-8450. PubMed Abstract

Magrys, S.A.,  Olmstead, M.C. (2015). Acute stress increases voluntary consumption of alcohol in undergraduates. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 50, 213-218. PubMed Abstract

Ong, E.W., Xue, L., Olmstead, M.C., Cahill, C.M. (2015). Prolonged morphine treatment alters delta opioid receptor post-internalization trafficking. British Journal of Pharmacology, 172, 615-629. PubMed Abstract

Magrys, S.A., & Olmstead, M.C. (2014). Alcohol intoxication alters cognitive skills mediate by frontal and temporal brain regions. Brain and Cognition, 85, 271-276. PubMed Abstract

Mahoney, M.K., Silveira, M.M., & Olmstead, M.C. (2013). Increased impulsive action in rats: Effects of morphine in a short and long fixed-delay response inhibition task. Psychopharmacology, 230, 569-577. link PubMed Abstract

Cahill, C.M., Xue, L., Holdridge, S., Grenier, P., Magnussen, C., Metcalfe, S., LeCourse, S., & Olmstead, M.C. (2013). Changes in morphine reward in a model of neuropathic pain. Behavioural Pharmacology, 24, 207-213. PubMed Abstract

Mahoney, M.K., & Olmstead, M.C. (2013). Neurobiology of an endophenotype: Modelling the progression of alcohol addiction in rodents. Current Opinions in Neurobiology, 23, 607-614. PubMed Abstract

Magrys, S.A., Olmstead, M.C., Wynne-Edwards, K.E., & Balodis, I.S. (2013).  Biochemical responses to alcohol intoxication in healthy males: relationship with impulsivity, drinking behaviour and subjective effects.  Psychophysiology, 50, 204-209. PubMed Abstract

Shea, A.J, Hewitt, A.M., Olmstead, M.C., Brien, J.F., & Reynolds, J.M. (2012).  Moderate ethanol consumption by the pregnant guinea pig produces neurobeahvioural deficits and increases ethanol preference in offspring.  Behavioural Pharmacology, 23, 105-112. PubMed Abstract

Hayton, S.J., Maracle, A.C., & Olmstead, M.C. (2012).  Opposite effects of amphetamine on impulsive action with fixed and variable delays to respond.  Neuropsychopharmacology, 37, 651-659. PubMed Abstract

Hayton, S.J., Mahoney, M.K., Olmstead, M.C. (2012).  Behavioral traits predicting alcohol drinking in outbred rats: An investigation of anxiety, novelty seeking, and cognitive flexibility.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 36, 594-603.  PubMed Abstract

Hayton, S.J., Olmstead, M.C., & Dumont, E.C. (2011). Shift in the intrinsic excitability of medial prefrontal cortex neurons following training in impulse control and cued responding tasks. Public Library of Science (PLoS) One, 6, e23885. PubMed Abstract

Tuerke, K.J., Paquette, J.J., Beninger, R.J. & Olmstead, M.C. (2011). Dissociable effects of ultra-low dose naltrexone on tolerance to the antinociceptive and cataleptic effects of morphine. Behavioural Pharmacology, 22, 558-563. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.S., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. & Olmstead, M.C. (2011). The stress-response-dampening effect of placebo. Hormones & Behavior, 59, 465-472. PubMed Abstract

Befort, K., Mahoney, M.K., Chow, C., Hayton, S.J., Kieffer, B.L. & Olmstead, M.C. (2011). Effects of delta opioid receptor activation on a response inhibition task in rats. Psychopharmacology, 214, 967-976. PubMed Abstract

Hayton, S.J., Lovett-Barron, M., Dumont, E.C. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Target-specific encoding of response inhibition: Increased contribution of AMPA to NMDA receptors at excitatory synapses in the prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 11493-11500. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.M., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). The other side of the curve: examining the relationship between pre-stressor physiological responses and stress reactivity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35, 1363-1373. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.M. Lockwood, K.L. Magrys, S.A. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Preference conditioning in healthy individuals correlates with hazardous drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34, 1006-1012. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.M., Potenza, M.N. & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Recreational drug use and impulsivity in a population of Canadian undergraduate drinkers. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 1, 1-7. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Ouagazzal, A. & Kieffer, B.L. (2009). Mu and delta opioid receptors oppositely regulate motor impulsivity in the signaled nose poke task. Public Library of Science (PLoS) One, 4, e4410. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.M., Potenza, M.N. & Olmstead, M.C. (2009). Binge drinking in undergraduates: Binge drinking in undergraduates: Relationships with gender, drinking behaviors, impulsivity and the perceived effects of alcohol. Behavioural Pharmacology, 20, 518-526. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Martin, A., Brien, J.F. & Reynolds, J.N. (2009). Chronic prenatal ethanol exposure increases disinhibition and perseverative responding in the adult guinea pig. Behavioural Pharmacology, 20, 554-557. PubMed Abstract

Paquette, J.J. Wang, H-Y., Bakshi, K. & Olmstead, M.C. (2007). Cannabinoid-induced tolerance is associated with a CB-1 receptor G-protein coupling switch that is prevented by ultra-low dose rimonabant. Behavioural Pharmacology, 18, 767-776. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I.M., Johnsrude, I.S. & Olmstead, M.C. (2007). Intact preference conditioning in acute intoxication despite deficient declarative knowledge and working memory. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 1800-1810. PubMed Abstract

Pohl, J.L., Olmstead, M.C., Wynne-Edwards, K.E., Harkness, K.L. & Menard, J.L. (2007). Repeated exposure to stress across the peripubertal-juvenile period alters rats’ anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in adulthood: The importance of stressor type and gender. Behavioral Neuroscience, 121, 462-474. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. (2006). Animal models of drug addiction: Where do we go from here? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 625-53. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Hellemans, H.G.C. & Paine, T.A. (2006). Alcohol-induced impulsivity in rats: An effect of cue salience? Psychopharmacology, 184, 221-228. PubMed Abstract

Balodis, I, MacDonald, T.K. & Olmstead, M.C. (2006). Instructional cues modify performance in the Iowa Gambling Task. Brain and Cognition, 60, 109-17. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. & Burns, L.H. (2005). Ultra-low-dose naltrexone suppresses rewarding effects of opiates and aversive effects of opiate withdrawal in rats.Psychopharmacology, 181, 576-581. PubMed Abstract

Hancock, S.D., Menard, J.L. & Olmstead, M.C. (2005). Variations in maternal care influence vulnerability to stress-induced binge eating in female rats.  Physiology and Behavior, 85, 430-439. PubMed Abstract

Wang, H.-Y., Friedman, E., Olmstead, M.C. & Burns, L.H.  (2005). Ultra-low-dose naloxone attenuates chronic morphine-induced changes in Mu opioid receptor – G protein coupling and G bg signalling. Neuroscience, 135, 247-261. PubMed Abstract

Paquette, J.J. & Olmstead, M.C. (2005). Ultra-Low Dose Naltrexone Enhances Cannabinoid-Induced Antinociception. Behavioural Pharmacology, 16, 597-603. PubMed Abstract

Hellemans, K.G.C., Nobrega, J.N. & Olmstead, M.C. (2005). Early environmental experience alters baseline and ethanol-induced cognitive impulsivity: Relationship to forebrain 5-HT 1A receptor binding. Behavioural Brain Research, 159, 207-220. PubMed Abstract

Hayward, M.L., Martin, A.E., Brien, J.F., Dringenberg, H.C., Olmstead, M.C. & Reynolds, J.N. (2004). Chronic prenatal ethanol exposure impairs conditioned responding and enhances GABA release in the hippocampus of the adult guinea pig. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 308, 664-650. PubMed Abstract

Paine, T.A. & Olmstead, M.C. (2004). Impaired response inhibition and conditional discrimination following acute cocaine administration. Psychopharmacology, 175, 443-450. PubMed Abstract

Hellemans, K.G.C., Benge, L.C. & Olmstead, M.C. (2004). Adolescent enrichment partially reverses the social isolation syndrome. Developmental Brain Research, 150, 103-115. PubMed Abstract

Paine, T.A., Dringenberg, H.C. & Olmstead, M.C. (2003). Effectes of chronic cocaine on impulsivity: Relation to cortical serotonin mechanisms. Behavioral Brain Research, 147, 135-147. PubMed Abstract

Dringenberg, H.C. and Olmstead, M.C. (2003). Integrated contributions of basal forebrain and thalamus to neocortical activation elicited by pedunculopontine tegmental stimulation in urethane anesthetized rats. Neuroscience, 119, 839-853. PubMed Abstract

Halpert, A.G., Olmstead, M.C., Beninger, R.J. (2003). Dimenhydrinate produces a conditioned place preference in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 175, 173-179. PubMed Abstract

Ortner, C.N.M., MacDonald, T.K. and Olmstead, M.C. (2003). Alcohol decreases impulsivity in a delay discounting task in humans. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 38, 151-156. PubMed Abstract

Paine, T.A., Jackman, S.L. & Olmstead, M.C. (2002). Psychopharmacology of cocaine-induced anxiety: Role of benzodiazepine, serotonin, and anti-histamine systems. Behavioural Pharmacology, 13(7), 511-523. PubMed Abstract

Hellemans, K.G.C., Shaham, Y., and Olmstead, M.C. (2002). Dissociable effects of acute and prolonged opiate abstinence on drug-seeking and drug-taking. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 56(4), 241-252. PubMed Abstract

Powell, K.J., Abul-Husn, N.S., Jhamandas, A., Olmstead, M.C., Beninger, R.J. and Jhamandas, K. (2002). Paradoxical effects of the opioid antagonist naltrexone on morphine analgesia, tolerance and reward. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 300(2), 588-96. PubMed Abstract

Halpert, A.G., Olmstead, M.C., & Beninger, R.J. (2002). Mechanisms and abuse liability of dimenhydrinate. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(1), 61-67. PubMed Abstract

Inglis, W.L., Olmstead, M.C., and Robbins, T.W. (2001). Selective deficits in attentional performance on the 5-choice serial reaction time task following pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesions. Behavioral Brain Research, 123, 117-131. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Lafond, M. Everitt, B.J. and Dickinson, A. (2001). Cocaine-seeking by rats is a goal-directed action. Behavioral Neuroscience, 115, 394-402. PubMed Abstract

Johnston, L.D., Beninger, R.J. and Olmstead, M.C. (2001). Pimozide, like extinction, devalues stimuli associated with sucrose-taking. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 68, 583-590. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Parkinson, J.A., Miles, F.J., Everitt, B.J. and Dickinson, A. (2000). Cocaine-seeking by rats: Regulation, Reinforcement and Activation. Psychopharmacology, 152, 123-131. PubMed Abstract

Inglis, W.L.,Olmstead, M.C., and Robbins, T.W. (2000). Pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesions impair stimulus-reward learning in autoshaping and conditioned reinforcement paradigms. Behavioral Neuroscience, 114, 285-294. PubMed Abstract

Everitt, B.J., Parkinson, J.A., Olmstead, M.C., Arroyo, M., Robledo, P. and Robbins, T.W. (1999). Associative processes in addiction and reward: the role of amygdala-ventral striatal subsystems. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 877, 412-438. PubMed Abstract

Parkinson, J.A., Olmstead, M.C., Burns, L.H., Robbins, T.W. and Everitt, B.J. (1999). Dissociation in effects of the nucleus accumbens core and shell on appetitive Pavlovian approach behavior and the potentiation of conditioned reinforcement and locomotor activity by d-amphetamine. Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 2401-2411. PubMed Abstract | Free article from J. Neurosci

Olmstead, M.C., Inglis, W.L., Bordeaux, C.P, Clarke, E.J., Wallum, N.P., Everitt, B.J. and Robbins, T.W. (1999). Lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus do not affect sucrose consumption, choice or contrast effects. Behavioral Neuroscience, 113, 732-743. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C., Munn E.M., Franklin K.B. and Wise R.A. (1998). Effects of pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesions on responding for intravenous heroin under different schedules of reinforcement. Journal of Neuroscience, 18, 5035-5044. PubMed Abstract | Free article from J. Neurosci

Olmstead M.C., Robbins T.W. and Everitt B.J. (1998). Basal forebrain cholinergic lesions enhance conditioned approach responses to stimuli predictive of food. Behavioral Neuroscience, 112, 611-629. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1997). The development of a conditioned place preference to morphine: effects of microinjections into various CNS sites. Behavioral Neuroscience, 111, 1324-1334. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1997). The development of a conditioned place preference to morphine: effects of lesions of various CNS sites. Behavioral Neuroscience, 111, 1313-1323. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1996). Differential effects of ventral striatal lesions on the conditioned place preference induced by morphine or amphetamine. Neuroscience, 71, 701-708. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1994). Lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus abolish catalepsy and locomotor depression induced by morphine. Brain Research, 662, 134-140. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1994). Lesions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus block drug-induced reinforcement but not amphetamine-induced locomotion. Brain Research, 638, 29-35. PubMed Abstract

Olmstead, M.C. and Franklin K.B. (1993). Effects of pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus lesions on morphine-induced conditioned place preference and analgesia in the formalin test. Neuroscience, 57, 411-8.PubMed Abstract

Kofman O., McGlynn S.M., Olmstead M.C. and Yeomans J.S. (1990). Differential effects of atropine, procaine and dopamine in the rat ventral tegmentum on lateral hypothalamic rewarding brain stimulation. Behavioral Brain Research, 38, 55-68. PubMed Abstract

Book Chapters

Hancock, S.D., & Olmstead, M.C. (2010). Animal models of eating disorders. In: Olmstead, M.C. (Ed.).  Animal Models of Drug Addiction Totowa NJ: Humana Press Inc.

Balodis, I.M. & Olmstead, M.C. (2009). Laboratory measures of risk-taking: Relevance to pathological gambling. In: Columbus, F.E. (Ed.). The Psychology of Gambling. Hauppauge HY: Nova Science Publishers.

Hayton, S.J. & Olmstead, M.C. (2009). Fractionating animal models of motor impulsivity: Reconciling the neurochemistry of disinhibition. In: Granon, S. (Ed.) Endophenotypes of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders in animal models. Kerala India: Transworld Research Network.

Burns, L.H., Leri, F. & Olmstead, M.C.  (2006). Ultra-low-dose naltrexone reduces dependence and addictive properties of opioids. In: Dean, R., Bilsky, E., Negus, S. & Wickens J. (Eds.). Opioid Receptors and Antagonists: From Bench to Clinic. Volume in Contemporary Neuroscience Series. 

Beninger, R.J. and Olmstead, M.C. (1999). The role of dopamine in the control of locomotor activity and reward-related incentive learning. In: Miller, R. & Wickens, J. (Eds.) Brain Dynamics and the Striatal Complex. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers.