Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour >> Systems & Behavioural Neuroscience

The question of how the brain works is one of the great mysteries of science and a major focus of the Systems and Behavioural Neurosciences. Perception, cognition, learning, memory, reasoning, emotion, and all other aspects of psychological functioning depend on communication that occurs among the brain's neurons. Behavioural Neuroscientists study behaviour and its functional correlates in the brain with the goal of understanding the neural bases of psychological and behavioural responses. At McMaster University, systems and behavioural neuroscientists study behavioural mechanisms using techniques ranging from recording of activity in single neurons to imaging activity in the human brain.

For Graduate Students

The Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience group includes 15 laboratories, creating opportunities for integrated, multidisciplanary research in the areas of Attention, Development, Learning & Memory, Neural Plasticity, and the Neural Basis of Perception and Cognition.

We have a tradition of collegiality and collaboration that makes this a strong training environment. Our laboratories include state-of-the-art facilities for studies at all levels of neuroscience including: cellular/molecular, brain imaging, electrophysiology, computational modeling, psychophysics, optical imaging, ERP, and behavoural studies.

There are opportunities for students to hear and present research throughout the year. Browse through the Web pages of our systems and behavioural neuroscience faculty to learn more about the research laboratories, and visit our graduate web page for details on applying to our graduate programme.

For Undergraduate Students

The Department offers a variety of courses that are relevant to the study of Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience, including neuroanatomy and neurophysiology (PNB 2XB3) which provides a solid foundation from which students can branch into more specialized coursework in their later years.  Students may then study topics in audition (PSYCH 3A03), cognitive neuroscience (PSYCH 3BN3, 4BN3), Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (PSYCH 3FA3), Visual Neuroscience (PSYCH 3J03), Neural Circuits (NEUROSCI 3SN3), Hormones, Neurochemistry and Behaviour (PSYCH 4Y03), and Neurobiology (BIOLOGY 4T03).  Valuable laboratory experience is available from several relevant lab courses (PNB 3EE3, 3L03, 3MM3).  Students interested in pursuing post-graduate studies should take one of the thesis courses (PNB 4D09, 4D06, 4DD6), which allows a full year of experience in the laboratory of one of our faculty members.  It is also recommended that student have some physics and chemistry.  Students who have studied in this area will be well prepared for careers in areas related to biomedical sciences and neuroscience.

Systems and Behavioural Neuroscience Faculty

  • Sue Becker - Computational and cognitive neuroscience of learning and memory. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Patrick Bennett - Visual perception, psychophysics, perceptual learning & development, aging & vision, ideal observer theory. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Nicholas Bock – Healthy and disrupted brain structure and composition in humans and animals measured with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • Denys deCatanzaro - Behaviour and neuroendocrine interactions in stress and pregnancy. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Paul Faure - animal communication; audition; biological sonar; bioacoustics; echolocation; evolutionary neurobiology; hearing; neural mechanisms of acoustically-evoked behavior; neuroethology; psychoacoustics; sensory ecology; sensory systems. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Deda Gillespie - sensory neuroscience, systems neuroscience, activity-dependent plasticity, synaptic plasticity, synaptic inhibition, auditory development, sound localization. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Dan Goldreich - Tactile perception and psychophysics, Tactile perceptual consquences of cortical plasticity following sensory deprivation' Tactile perception as Bayesian inference. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Geoffrey Hall - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Bruce Milliken attention and visual perception. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Kathryn Murphy - Neural development and plasticity, visual neuroscience, optical imaging of brain function. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Judith M. Shedden - MRI and ERP studies of the processes involved in spatial attention.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • David I. Shore - Crossmodal temporal processing, memory and visual search, varieties and effects of attention. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Allison Sekuler - Cognition neuroscience, visual perception, perceptual organization, face and object recognition, motion perception, aging and vision, neuroimaging. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Louis Schmidt - Neural basis of human emotion, developmental psychophysiology, social emotional development in children. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Hongjin Sun - Visual neuroscience, visual motion processing and visuomotor control, virtual reality.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Laurel Trainor - Auditory development, ERP measures of auditory cognition in normal and low birth-weight infants as predictors of language development.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Scott Watter - Divided attention and executive control. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1
Canada