Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Professor Neil McNaughton

Neil McNaughtonProfessor Neil McNaughton’s research interests combine a psychological analysis of emotion and memory with a physiological analysis of the rhythmical electrical activity called “theta” in both rats and humans. He uses the effects of anxiolytic drugs to link the psychological and physiological levels of analysis and to generalize from laboratory experiments to clinical situations. Anxiolytic drugs reduce anxiety in the clinic, independently of chemical type. He has shown, in rats, that these drugs impair theta and therefore the function of the temporal lobe - which is thought to be crucial for some types of memory.

At the neural level, his lab is currently investigating the pharmacology and neural control of hippocampal theta and its relation to theta activity recorded from the frontal cortex. This includes the use of “brain bypass” and other techniques to restore function after neural damage. At the psychological level, he is analyzing human EEG for specific neural signatures of goal conflict and linking this to personality measures and the neuroeconomic theory.

Professor Neil McNaughton has been extensively involved in setting up the undergraduate neuroscience programme at Otago, the only one of its kind in New Zealand, and was the director for 17 years. He also served as director of the Neuroscience Research Centre and the Neural Systems Structure and Function Research Theme and was one of the founders of the Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in October 2014.

Find out more about Professor Neil McNaughton’s research.

^ Top of page

Publications

Shadli, S. M., Ando, L. C., McIntosh, J., Lodhia, V., Russell, B. R., Kirk, I. J., Glue, P., & McNaughton, N. (2021). Right frontal anxiolytic-sensitive EEG 'theta' rhythm in the stop-signal task is a theory-based anxiety disorder biomarker. Scientific Reports, 11, 19746. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99374-x

Barnett, S. C., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Perry, B. A. L., Young, C. K., Wicky, H. E., Hughes, S. M., McNaughton, N., & Dalrymple-Alford, J. C. (2021). Anterior thalamic nuclei neurons sustain memory. Current Research in Neurobiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.crneur.2021.100022

Shadli, S. M., Tewari, V., Holden, J., & McNaughton, N. (2021). Laterality of an EEG anxiety disorder biomarker largely follows handedness. Cortex. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.025

Banstola, A., Silva, C., Ulrich, K., Ruan, M., Robertson, L., & McNaughton, N. (2021). Construction of simple, customised, brain-spanning multi-channel linear microelectrode arrays. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 348, 109011. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2020.109011

Young, C. K., Ruan, M., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Speed modulation of hippocampal theta frequency and amplitude predicts water maze learning. Hippocampus. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hipo.23281

Gray, J. A., & McNaughton, N. (2000). The Neuropsychology of Anxiety: An Enquiry into the Functions of the Septo-Hippocampal System (Second Edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 424p.

Authored Book - Research

Corr, P. J., McNaughton, N., Wilson, M. R., Hutchison, A., Burch, G., & Poropat, A. (2017). Neuroscience of motivation and organizational behavior: Putting the reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) to Work. In S.-I. Kim, J. Reeve & M. Bong (Eds.), Recent developments in neuroscience research on human motivation: Advances in motivation and achievement (Vol. 19). (pp. 65-92). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group. doi: 10.1108/S0749-742320160000019010

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N., DeYoung, C. G., & Corr, P. J. (2016). Approach/Avoidance. In J. R. Absher & J. Cloutier (Eds.), Neuroimaging personality, social cognition, and character. (pp. 25-49). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800935-2.00002-6

Chapter in Book - Research

Corr, P. J., & McNaughton, N. (2015). Neural mechanisms of low trait anxiety and risk for externalizing behavior. In T. P. Beauchaine & S. P. Hinshaw (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of externalizing spectrum disorders. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199324675.013.1

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N. (2010). Approach-avoidance conflict. In I. B. Weiner & W. E. Craighead (Eds.), The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology (Vol. 1). (4th ed.) (pp. 138-139). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2009). Central theories of motivation and emotion. In G. G. Berntson & J. T. Cacioppo (Eds.), Handbook of neuroscience for the behavioral sciences. (pp. 710-730). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Chapter in Book - Research

Corr, P. J., & McNaughton, N. (2008). Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality. (pp. 155-187). Cambridge University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N. (2008). The neurobiology of anxiety: Potential for co-morbidity of anxiety and substance use disorders. In S. H. Stewart & P. J. Conrod (Eds.), Anxiety and substance use disorders: The vicious cycle of comorbidity. (pp. 19-33). NY: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-74290-8_2

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2008). Animal cognition and human personality. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality. (pp. 95-119). Cambridge University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2008). The neuropsychology of fear and anxiety: A foundation for reinforcement sensitivity theory. In P. J. Corr (Ed.), The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality. (pp. 44-94). Cambridge University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N., & Zangrossi, Jr, H. (2008). Theoretical approaches to the modeling of anxiety in animals. In R. J. Blanchard, D. C. Blanchard, G. Griebel & D. J. Nutt (Eds.), Handbook of anxiety and fear (Vol. 17). (pp. 11-27). Amsterdam: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/S1569-7339(07)00002-1

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N. (2002). Aminergic transmitter systems. In H. D'haenen, J. A. den Boer & P. Willner (Eds.), Biological Psychiatry, Volume 1. (Volume ed.) (pp. 895-913). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N. (2001). Approach-avoidance conflict. In W. E. Craighead & C. B. Nemeroff (Eds.), The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. (3rd Edition, Volume 1). (pp. 126-127). NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Chapter in Book - Research

McNaughton, N. (2000). Implications of the neuropsychology of anxiety for the functional role of LTP in the hippocampus. In C. Hölscher (Ed.), Neuronal Mechanisms of Memory Formation: Concepts of Long-Term Potentiation and Beyond. (pp. 362-378). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Gray, J. A., & McNaughton, N. (1996). The neuropsychology of anxiety: reprise. In D. A. Hope (Ed.), Perspectives on Anxiety, Panic and Fear. (pp. 61-134). Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Gray, J., & McNaughton, N. (2004). Ansiedad: La conexión hipocámpica. In J. Vallejo, L. Sánchez Planell, C. Diez-Quevedo & J. M. Menchón (Eds.), La neurosis de angustia en el siglo XXI. (pp. 61-84). Barcelona: Ars Medica.

Chapter in Book - Other

McNaughton, N. (2004). The neuropsychology of defence: Implications for syndromes and pharmacotherapy. In M. Maj, H. S. Akiskal, J. J. López-Ibor & A. Okasha (Eds.), Phobias. (pp. 148-152). John Wiley & Sons.

Chapter in Book - Other

Barnett, S. C., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Perry, B. A. L., Young, C. K., Wicky, H. E., Hughes, S. M., McNaughton, N., & Dalrymple-Alford, J. C. (2021). Anterior thalamic nuclei neurons sustain memory. Current Research in Neurobiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.crneur.2021.100022

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., Ando, L. C., McIntosh, J., Lodhia, V., Russell, B. R., Kirk, I. J., Glue, P., & McNaughton, N. (2021). Right frontal anxiolytic-sensitive EEG 'theta' rhythm in the stop-signal task is a theory-based anxiety disorder biomarker. Scientific Reports, 11, 19746. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99374-x

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., Tewari, V., Holden, J., & McNaughton, N. (2021). Laterality of an EEG anxiety disorder biomarker largely follows handedness. Cortex. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.025

Journal - Research Article

Glue, P., Neehoff, S., Sabadel, A., Broughton, L., Le Nedelec, M., Shadli, S., McNaughton, N., & Medlicott, N. J. (2020). Effects of ketamine in patients with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders: Exploratory double-blind psychoactive-controlled replication study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 34(3), 267-272. doi: 10.1177/0269881119874457

Journal - Research Article

Neo, P. S.-H., Tinker, J., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Goal-conflict EEG theta and biased economic decisions: A role for a second negative motivation system. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14, 342. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00342

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., High, O., Byers, B., Gibbs, P., Steller, R., Glue, P., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Human anxiety-specific "theta" occurs with selective stopping and localizes to right inferior frontal gyrus. Behavioral Neuroscience, 134(6), 547-555. doi: 10.1037/bne0000316

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., McIntosh, J., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Anxiety process "theta" biomarker in the stop signal task eliminated by a preceding relaxation test. Behavioral Neuroscience, 134(6), 556-561. doi: 10.1037/bne0000328

Journal - Research Article

Young, C. K., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Mixed effects of low-dose ethanol on cortical and hippocampal theta oscillations. Neuroscience, 429, 213-224. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.01.007

Journal - Research Article

Young, C. K., Ruan, M., & McNaughton, N. (2020). Speed modulation of hippocampal theta frequency and amplitude predicts water maze learning. Hippocampus. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hipo.23281

Journal - Research Article

Kawe, T. N. J., Shadli, S. M., & McNaughton, N. (2019). Higuchi’s fractal dimension, but not frontal or posterior alpha asymmetry, predicts PID-5 anxiousness more than depressivity. Scientific Reports, 9, 19666. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56229-w

Journal - Research Article

Sadeghi, S., McIntosh, J., Shadli, S. M., Healey, D., Rostami, R., Trani, P., & McNaughton, N. (2019). Does behavioural inhibition system dysfunction contribute to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Personality Neuroscience, 2, e5. doi: 10.1017/pen.2019.5

Journal - Research Article

Ulrich, K., Spriggs, M. J., Abraham, W. C., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., & McNaughton, N. (2019). Environmental enrichment increases prefrontal EEG power and synchrony with the hippocampus in rats with anterior thalamus lesions. Hippocampus, 29, 128-140. doi: 10.1002/hipo.23022

Journal - Research Article

Glue, P., Neehoff, S. M., Medlicott, N. J., Gray, A., Kibby, G., & McNaughton, N. (2018). Safety and efficacy of maintenance ketamine treatment in patients with treatment-refractory generalised anxiety and social anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 32(6), 663-667. doi: 10.1177/0269881118762073

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., Kawe, T., Martin, D., McNaughton, N., Neehoff, S., & Glue, P. (2018). Ketamine effects on EEG during therapy of treatment-resistant generalized anxiety and social anxiety. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 21(8), 717-724. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyy032

Journal - Research Article

Frost, R., & McNaughton, N. (2017). The neural basis of delay discounting: A review and preliminary model. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 79, 48-65. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.04.022

Journal - Research Article

Glue, P., Medlicott, N. J., Harland, S., Neehoff, S., Anderson-Fahey, B., Le Nedelec, M., Gray, A., & McNaughton, N. (2017). Ketamine's dose-related effects on anxiety symptoms in patients with treatment refractory anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 31(10), 1302-1305. doi: 10.1177/0269881117705089

Journal - Research Article

Ruan, M., Young, C. K., & McNaughton, N. (2017). Bi-directional theta modulation between the septo-hippocampal system and the mammillary area in free-moving rats. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 11, 62. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00062

Journal - Research Article

Young, C. K., Ruan, M., & McNaughton, N. (2017). A critical assessment of directed connectivity estimates with artificially imposed causality in the supramammillary-septo-hippocampal circuit. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 11, 72. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2017.00072

Journal - Research Article

Zhang, S., McIntosh, J., Shadli, S. M., Neo, P. S.-H., Huang, Z., & McNaughton, N. (2017). Removing eye blink artefacts from EEG: A single-channel physiology-based method. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 291, 213-220. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.08.031

Journal - Research Article

McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2016). Mechanisms of comorbidity, continuity, and discontinuity in anxiety-related disorders. Development & Psychopathology, 28(4, Pt. 1), 1053-1069. doi: 10.1017/s0954579416000699

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., Smith, M. J., Glue, P., & McNaughton, N. (2016). Testing an anxiety process biomarker: Generalisation from an auditory to a visual stimulus. Biological Psychology, 117, 50-55. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.02.011

Journal - Research Article

Tyree, S. M., Munn, R. G. K., & McNaughton, N. (2016). Anxiolytic-like effects of leptin on fixed interval responding. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior, 148, 15-20. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2016.05.005

Journal - Research Article

Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Harland, B., Loukavenko, E. A., Perry, B., Mercer, S., Collings, D. A., Ulrich, K., Abraham, W. C., McNaughton, N., & Wolff, M. (2015). Anterior thalamic nuclei lesions and recovery of function: Relevance to cognitive thalamus. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 54, 145-160. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.007

Journal - Research Article

Munn, R. G. K., Tyree, S. M., McNaughton, N., & Bilkey, D. K. (2015). The frequency of hippocampal theta rhythm is modulated on a circadian period and is entrained by food availability. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 61. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00061

Journal - Research Article

Shadli, S. M., Glue, P., McIntosh, J., & McNaughton, N. (2015). An improved human anxiety process biomarker: Characterization of frequency band, personality and pharmacology. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e699. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.188

Journal - Research Article

Harland, B. C., Collings, D. A., McNaughton, N., Abraham, W. C., & Dalrymple-Alford, J. C. (2014). Anterior thalamic lesions reduce spine density in both hippocampal CA1 and retrosplenial cortex, but enrichment rescues CA1 spines only. Hippocampus, 24, 1232-1247. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22309

Journal - Research Article

McNaughton, N. (2014). Development of a theoretically-derived human anxiety syndrome biomarker. Translational Neuroscience, 5(2), 137-146. doi: 10.2478/s13380-014-0220-z

Journal - Research Article

Ulrich, K., Aitken, P. N., Abraham, W. C., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., & McNaughton, N. (2014). Effects of thalamic lesions on repeated re-learning of a spatial working memory task. Behavioural Brain Research, 261, 56-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.12.002

Journal - Research Article

Corr, P. J., DeYoung, C. G., & McNaughton, N. (2013). Motivation and personality: A neuropsychological perspective. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 7(3), 158-175. doi: 10.1111/spc3.12016

Journal - Research Article

McNaughton, N., Swart, C., Neo, P., Bates, V., & Glue, P. (2013). Anti-anxiety drugs reduce conflict-specific “theta”: A possible human anxiety-specific biomarker. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148(1), 104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.057

Journal - Research Article

Stevenson, M., & McNaughton, N. (2013). A comparison of phenylketonuria with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Do markedly different aetiologies deliver common phenotypes? Brain Research Bulletin, 99, 63-83. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2013.10.003

Journal - Research Article

Corr, P. J., & McNaughton, N. (2012). Neuroscience and approach/avoidance personality traits: A two stage (valuation–motivation) approach. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 2339-2354. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.09.013

Journal - Research Article

Neo, P., Carter, D., Zheng, Y., Smith, P., Darlington, C., & McNaughton, N. (2012). Septal elicitation of hippocampal theta rhythm did not repair cognitive and emotional deficits resulting from vestibular lesions. Hippocampus, 22(5), 1176-1187. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20963

Journal - Research Article

More publications...