Angus MacDonald, III, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychology

E-MAIL: angus@umn.edu

Research Interests:

When cognitive neuroscience, and in particular neuroimaging methods, are used to address questions about the manifestation of psychopathology in human populations, a number of methodological complications are introduced. For example, do differences in cortical activity lead to poor task performance, or does poor task performance lead to reduced cortical activity? Under what circumstances can differences in performance be interpreted as impairment in a process? To address such questions we use a number of methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), behavioral genetics (twin and family studies), clinical assessment and experimental psychology. Current research areas include (1) understanding how executive control mechanisms, which are associated with prefrontal cortex functioning, modulate attentional and affective processing; (2) evaluating how impairments in such mechanisms may be related to schizophrenia and the genes associated with schizophrenia; and (3) methods development for analyzing fMRI, and psychometric confounds in the measurement of group differences.


Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Ramsay IS, MacDonald AW 3rd. The ups and downs of thalamocortical connectivity in schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 2018;83(6):473-474.
  • Kang SS, MacDonald AW 3rd, Chafee MV, Im CH, Bernat EM, Davenport ND, Sponheim SR. Abnormal cortical neural synchrony during working memory in schizophrenia. Clin Neurophysiol. 2018;129(1):210-221.
  • Ermel J, Carter CS, Gold JM, MacDonald AW 3rd, Daniel Ragland J, Silverstein SM, Strauss ME, Barch DM.Self versus informant reports on the specific levels of functioning scale: Relationships to depression and cognition in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Schizophr Res Cogn. 2017 May 9;9:1-7. 
  • Ramsay IS, Nienow TM, MacDonald AW 3rd. Increases in intrinsic thalamocortical connectivity and overall cognition following cognitive remediation in chronic schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2017;2(4):355-362.
  • Ray KL, Lesh TA, Howell AM, Salo TP, Ragland JD, MacDonald AW, Gold JM, Silverstein SM, Barch DM, Carter CS. Functional network changes and cognitive control in schizophrenia. Neuroimage Clin. 2017;15:161-170. 
  • Barch DM, Carter CS, Gold JM, Johnson SL, Kring AM, MacDonald AW, Pizzagalli DA, Ragland JD, Silverstein SM, Strauss ME. Explicit and implicit reinforcement learning across the psychosis spectrum. J Abnorm Psychol. 2017;126(5):694-711. doi: 10.1037/abn0000259.
  • Mervis JE, Capizzi RJ, Boroda E, MacDonald AW 3rd. Transcranial direct current stimulation over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia: A quantitative review of cognitive outcomes. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Feb 2;11:44. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00044
  • MacDonald AW 3rd. Studying delusions within research domain criteria: The challenge of configural traits when building a mechanistic foundation for abnormal beliefs. Schiz. Bull. 2017;43(2):260-262.
  • Ramsay IS, Nienow TM, Marggraf MP, MacDonald AW. Neuroplastic changes in patients with schizophrenia undergoing cognitive remediation: triple-blind trial. Br J Psychiatry. 2017;210:216-222.
  • Blackman RK, Crowe DA, DeNicola AL, Sakellaridi S, MacDonald AW 3rd, Chafee MV  Monkey prefrontal neurons reflect logical operations for cognitive control in a variant of the AX continuous performance task (AX-CPT). J Neurosci. 2016;36:4067-4079. 

Former Graduate Students:

Craig Moodie (Ph.D. 2014, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Angus MacDonald