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James MacKillop


Dr. MacKillop trained as a clinical psychologist at the State University of New York at Binghamton (BA, MA, PhD) and Brown University (predoctoral internship). Dr. MacKillop is the inaugural holder of the Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research, Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Co-Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research

Dr. MacKillop’s research has generated over 200 peer-reviewed publications and other works to date, and has been recognized by awards from the Society for Addiction Psychology, the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the American Psychological Association. His research program has been funded by extramural grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and other extramural funders since 2005. In addition to his own research, he is active in peer review, serving in editorial roles for the journals Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental ResearchNicotine and Tobacco Research, and Addiction. He is also a member of the College of Reviewers for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

Featured Publications

MacKillop, J. & Munafò, M. (Eds.) (2013). Genetic Influences on Addiction: An Intermediate Phenotype Approach. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. More Information

MacKillop, J. & de Wit, H. (Eds.) (2013). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on Addiction Psychopharmacology. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK. More Information 

MacKillop, J., Kenna, G., Leggio, L., & Ray L.A. (Eds.) (2017). Integrating Psychological and Pharmacological Treatments for Addictive Disorders: An Evidence-Based Guide. Routledge: New York, NY. More Information

Owens, M.M., Gray, J.C., Amlung, M.T., Oshri, A., Sweet, L., & MacKillop, J. (2017). Neuroanatomical foundations of delayed reward discounting. NeuroImage, 161, 261-270.

Oshri, A., Kogan, S., Kwon, J., Wickrama, K., VanderBroek†, L., Palmer, A.A., & MacKillop, J. (2017). Impulsivity as a mechanism linking child abuse and neglect, and substance use in adolescence and adulthood. Development & Psychopathology, 13, 1-19.

Amlung, M.T., Vedelago, L. Acker, J., Balodis, I. MacKillop, J. (2017). Steep delay discounting and addictive behavior: a meta-analysis of continuous associations. Addiction,112(1), 51-62.

Metrik, J. Aston, E. Kahler, C., Rohsenow, D.J., McGeary, J.G., Knopik, V., & MacKillop, J. (2016). Cue-elicited increases in incentive salience for marijuana: craving, demand, and attentional bias. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 167, 82-88.

MacKillop, J. (2016). The behavioral economics and neuroeconomics of alcohol use disorders. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40, 672-685.

Raymond, H, Amlung, M.T., 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, 25-33.

Aston, E.R., Metrik, J., Amlung, M., Kahler, C.W., & MacKillop, J. (2016). Interrelationships between marijuana demand and discounting of delayed rewards: Convergence in behavioral economic methods. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 169, 141-147.

Owens, M. M., Ray, L.A., MacKillop, J. (2015). Behavioral economic analysis of stress effects on acute motivation for alcohol. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 103(1):77-86.

MacKillop, J., Amlung, M.T., Acker, J.D., Gray, J., Brown, C.L., Murphy, J.G., Ray, L.A., Sweet, L.H. (2014). The neuroeconomics of alcohol demand: An initial investigation of the neural correlates of alcohol cost-benefit decision making in heavy drinking men. Neuropsychopharmacology, 39, 1988-1995.

MacKillop, J., Few, L.R., Murphy, J.G., Wier, L.M., Acker, J., Murphy, C., Stojek, M.K., Carrigan, M., Chaloupka, F.J. (2012). High-resolution behavioral economic analysis of cigarette demand to inform tax policy. Addiction, 107, 2191-2200.


  • PhD, State University of New York at Binghamton

Research Areas

This faculty member is a core member of the Research and Clinical Training (RCT) stream in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University.  

I conduct translational research on addictive behavior, often applying behavioral economics and neuroeconomics to understand maladaptive decision making in addiction. I am primarily interested in the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of alcohol use disorder, tobacco use disorder, cannabis use disorder, gambling disorder and obesity/food addiction. My work integrates perspectives and methods from behavioural science, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural genetics, and clinical research to understand these complex conditions. With regard to cannabis, I am interested in understanding cannabis use disorder both as a public health problem and to inform its risk profile in medicinal applications. In addition, I am interested in in systematically evaluating potential adverse effects of cannabis as a novel therapeutic, particularly its abuse potential and neurocognitive effects.  

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