Stuart MacDonald

Stuart MacDonald

Ph.D. 2003 (Victoria) joined Department in 2007

Office: COR A261

My research is conducted primarily within two research traditions: individual differences in cognitive aging and the cognitive neuroscience of aging.

I examine patterns and predictors of cognitive decline in the healthy elderly, as well as for the developmental transition between primary and secondary aging (e.g., accelerated memory loss due to morbidity). In particular, I am interested in the early identification of risk factors (genetic, biological, psychological) that foreshadow cognitive impairment associated with age, dementia onset, and subsequent death.

Recent avenues of investigation have employed fMRI to identify brain correlates of performance variability in episodic memory, as well as longitudinal data and various statistical techniques for the analysis of change.

For more information, see my Expertise Database profile.


  • Lifespan development


MacDonald, S.W.S., Li, S-C., & Bäckman, L. (2009). Neural underpinnings of within-Person variability in cognitive functioning. Psychology and Aging, 24, 792-808.

MacDonald S.W.S., Cervenka S., Farde L., Nyberg L., & Bäckman L. (2009). Extrastriatal dopamine D2 receptor binding modulates intraindividual variability in episodic recognition and executive functioning. Neuropsychologia, 47, 2299–2304.

MacDonald, S.W.S., Hultsch, D. F., & Dixon, R. A. (2008). Predicting impending death: Inconsistency in speed is a selective and early marker. Psychology and Aging, 23, 595-607.

MacDonald, S.W.S., Nyberg, L., Sandblom, J., Fischer, H., & Bäckman, L. (2008). Increased response-time variability is associated with reduced inferior parietal activation during episodic recognition in aging. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 779-786.

MacDonald, S.W.S., Nyberg, L., & Bäckman, L. (2006). Intraindividual variability in behavior: Links to brain structure, neurotransmission, and neuronal activity. Trends in Neurosciences, 29, 474-480.