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Michael Amlung Image 2019


Dr. Amlung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, a core faculty member in the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addictions Laboratory (CNALab). He received a MS and PhD in Psychology from the University of Georgia. Before coming to McMaster, Dr. Amlung completed a NIAAA-funded postdoctoral fellowship in alcohol research at the University of Missouri. Dr. Amlung supervises MSc and PhD students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at McMaster. Interested students should contact Dr. Amlung via email.

Please note, Dr. Amlung does not plan to accept graduate students for Fall 2019.

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Featured Publications

Amlung, M., MacKillop, J., Monti, P. M., & Miranda Jr., R. (2017). Elevated behavioral economic demand in a community sample of heavy drinking smokers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78, 623-628.

Morris, V., Amlung, M., Kaplan, B. A., Reed, D. D., Petker, T., & MacKillop, J. (2017). Using crowdsourcing to examine behavioral economic measures of alcohol value and proportionate alcohol reinforcement. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25, 314-321.

Amlung, M., Vedelago, L., Acker, J., Balodis, I., & MacKillop, J. (2017). Steep delay discounting and addictive behavior: A meta-analysis of continuous associations. Addiction, 112, 51-62

Gray, J., Amlung, M., Owens, M., Acker, J., Brown, C., Brody, G., Sweet, L., & MacKillop, J. (2017). The neuroeconomics of tobacco demand: An initial investigation of the neural correlates of cigarette cost-benefit decision making. Scientific Reports, 7:41930, 1-10.

Amlung, M., Petker, T., Jackson, J., Balodis, I., & MacKillop, J. (2016). Steep discounting of delayed monetary and food rewards in obesity: A meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine, 46, 2423-2434.

Amlung, M., Morris, D. H., Hatz, L., Teeters, J., Murphy, J. G., & McCarthy, D. M. (2016). Drinking-and-driving-related cognitions mediate the relationship between alcohol demand and alcohol-impaired driving. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77, 656-660.

Raymond, H., Amlung, M., De Leo, J. A., Hashmani, T., Younger, J., & MacKillop, J. (2016). Adaptation of an acute psychiatric unit to a concurrent disorders unit to increase capacity and improve patient care. Canadian Journal on Addictions, 7(3), 5-33.

Amlung, M., McCarty, K. N., Morris, D. H., Tsai, C. L., & McCarthy, D. M. (2015). Increased behavioral economic demand and craving for alcohol following a laboratory alcohol challenge. Addiction, 110(9), 1421-8.

Amlung, M. & MacKillop, J. (2014). Understanding the effects of stress and alcohol cues on motivation for alcohol via behavioral economics. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 38(6), 1780-1789.

Amlung, M., Sweet, L. H., Acker, J., Brown, C. L. & MacKillop, J. (2014). Dissociable brain signatures of choice conflict and immediate reward preferences in alcohol use disorders. Addiction Biology. 19(4).


  • B.S., Cognitive Science, Indiana University, 2007
  • M.S., Psychology, University of Georgia, 2009
  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Georgia, 2013
  • Post-Doc, Alcohol Research, University of Missouri, 2013-2015

Research Areas

Dr. Amlung’s research seeks to understand the neurobiological and behavioural correlates of pathological decision-making and motivation, particularly in the context of substance abuse and other unhealthy behaviors. Much of his work draws on concepts from behavioral and neuro-economics to examine impaired self-control and motivation to use alcohol and other drugs in individuals with addictive disorders. His research involves a variety of approaches, including functional neuroimaging, alcohol cue exposures, and self-administration paradigms. Dr. Amlung leads the behavioral sciences core of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, where he is responsible for ensuring that the centre’s ongoing projects utilize cutting edge techniques and methods in behavioral research. He also actively collaborates with the Concurrent Disorders Program and the Forensic Psychiatry Program at SJHH.


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