Department of Psychology

Department of


Department of


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Mary Olmstead

Photo of Mary Olmstead


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

T: 613-533-6208

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

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.