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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Anthony McGregor

Professor in the Department of Psychology

Contact Professor Anthony McGregor (email at

My research is concerned with the fundamental mechanisms underlying complex non-human animal cognition. In particular I am interested in the psychological processes involved in spatial learning and cognition. I try to answer these questions using approaches derived from experimental psychology, behavioural neuroscience, and ethology. Rodents are ideal subjects for such research. They are extremely adept in their navigational ability, there is a wealth of knowledge behind the behavioural and neural basis of spatial learning in rodents, and the experimenter can ensure they are experimentally naïve at the beginning of experiments. Broadly I am interested in three questions regarding spatial learning: 1. What is the nature of an animal’s representation of space; 2. What are the rules that govern how learning based on spatial information progresses; 3. What are the neural substrates of spatial learning.

In addition, I am interested in translating the results of my research with animals to understanding similar problems with humans. I am also interested more broadly in animal cognition.

Research Groups

Department of Psychology

Teaching Areas

  • Classic Papers: A tutorial introduction to psychological science

  • Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

  • Introduction to Psychology 1: Animal learning and cognition

  • Learning and Animal Cognition

  • MSc Cognitive Neuroscience: Spatial cognition


Chapter in book

  • McGregor, A. (2017). Geometric Module. In Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Vonk, J. & Shackleford, T. Cham: Springer.
  • McGregor, A. (2016). The relation between spatial and nonspatial learning. In The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning. Murphy, R. A. & Honey, R. C. John Wiley & Sons. 313-347.
  • McGregor, A. & Haselgrove, M. (2010). Pigeons and Doves. In The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals. Hubrecht, R. Blackwell Science, London. Volume 1: Terrestrial Vertebrates: 686-697.

Journal Article


Selected Grants

  • 2016: Flexible and habitual mechanisms of human navigation (£338813.44 from ESRC)
  • 2015: ESRC grant - Flexible and habitual mechanisms of human navigation, £451,000
  • 2012: EPS Small Grant - Hippocampal function, place-learning, and path integration, £2500
  • 2009: EPS Small Grant - The role of recall and familiarity on cue competition effects in human spatial learning, £2000
  • 2008: BBSRC grant - Interaction between components of spatial learning: behavioural and neural basis, £435,000
  • 2008: Nuffield Undergraduate Bursary - Sex differences in learning in a virtual environment, £1400