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Margaret McKinnon


Dr. McKinnon's research focuses on the interplay between cognitive and emotional processes at the neural and behavioral level. She is particularly interested in how emotion and cognition relate to autobiographical memory and social cognition, two areas of function commonly affected by neurological illness or insult. Most of her research has been conducted in special populations, including patients with frontotemporal dementia, medial temporal lobe amnesia and post-traumatic stress disorder, along with normally aging adults. With her collaborators in the Mood Disorders Program, she is interested in identifying differences in autobiographical memory for highly emotional events (e.g., an airplane accident) and in social cognitive (e.g., theory of mind and empathy) performance between people with and without mood disorders and/or trauma exposure. An additional research focus concerns the neural mechanisms underlying these differences and the testing of treatment interventions aimed at reducing cognitive dysfunction in patients with psychiatric illness.

Dr. McKinnon received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 2003 and subsequently completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute. She holds or has held competitive grant funding from the Bickell Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran’s Health Research, the National Institute for Mental Health, NARSAD, and OMHF.

Featured Publications

McKinnon, M.C., Palombo, D., Nazarov, A., Kumar, N., Khuu, W., & Levine, B. (2015). Threat of death and autobiographical memory: A study of the passengers of Flight AT236. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(4):487-502.

Nazarov, A., McNeely, H., Kiang, M., Lanius, R. & McKinnon, M.C. (2015). The relation between morality and mental health in the North American military forces. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2015 Mar 3. doi: 10.1111/acps.12406.

Oremus, C., Oremus, M., McNeely, H.M., Losier, B., Parlar, M., Hasey, G., Hall, G.B.C., King, M., ECT & Cognition Systematic Review Team, Lanius, R., & McKinnon, M.C. (2015). Effects of electroconvulsive therapy on cognitive functioning in patients with depression: Protocol for a systematic review and meta–analysis. BMJ: Open. 2015 Mar 11;5(3):e006966. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006966.

Lanius, R., Frewen, P., Tursich, M. & McKinnon, M.C. (2015). Restoring large-scale brain networks in PTSD and related disorders: A proposal for neuroscientifically-based treatment interventions. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 27313 -

Palombo, D., McKinnon, M.C., McIntosh, A., Anderson, A., Todd, R., Levine, B. (2015). The neural correlates of memory for a life-threatening event: An fMRI study of passengers from flight AT236. Clinical Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/2167702615589308


  • BA (Hons.), University of Windsor, 1997
  • MA, University of Toronto, 1998
  • PhD, University of Toronto, 2003
  • CPsych (College of Psychologists of Ontario)

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