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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Anthony McGregor

Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Psychology

Contact Dr Anthony McGregor (email at anthony.mcgregor@durham.ac.uk)

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

Publications

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

  • Poulter, Steven, Austen, Joseph M., Kosaki, Yutaka, Dachtler, James, Lever, Colin & McGregor, Anthony (2019). En route to delineating hippocampal roles in spatial learning. Behavioural Brain Research 369: 111936.
  • Seel, S.V., Easton, A., McGregor, A., Buckley, M.G. & Eacott, M.J. (2019). Walking through doorways differentially affects recall and familiarity. British Journal of Psychology 110(1): 173-184.
  • Kosaki, Y, Pearce, J. M. & McGregor, A (2018). The response strategy and the place strategy in a plus-maze have different sensitivities to devaluation of expected outcome. Hippocampus 28(7): 484-496.
  • Kosaki, Y., Poulter, S.L., Austen, J.M. & McGregor, A. (2015). Dorsolateral striatal lesions impair navigation based on landmark-goal vectors but facilitate spatial learning based on a "cognitive map". Learning & Memory 22(3): 179-191.
  • Austen, J. M. & McGregor, A. (2014). Revaluation of geometric cues reduces landmark discrimination via within-compound associations. Learning & Behavior 42(4): 330-336.
  • Lew, A. R., Usherwood, B., Fragkioudaki, F., Koukoumi, V., Smith, S. P., Austen, J. M. & McGregor, A. (2014). Transfer of spatial search between environments in human adults and young children (Homo sapiens): implications for representation of local geometry by spatial systems. Developmental psychobiology 56(3): 421-434.
  • Dymond, S., Haselgrove, M. & McGregor, A. (2013). Clever crows or unbalanced birds? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(5): E336.
  • Kosaki, Y., Austen, J. M. & McGregor, A. (2013). Overshadowing of geometry learning by discrete landmarks in the water maze: Effects of relative salience and relative validity of competing cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behaviour Processes 39(2): 126-139.
  • Poulter, S.L., Kosaki, Y., Easton, A. & McGregor, A. (2013). Spontaneous object recognition memory is maintained following transformation of global geometric properties. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 39(1): 93-98.
  • Austen, J. M., Kosaki, Y. & McGregor, A. (2013). Within-compound associations explain potentiation and failure to overshadow learning based on geometry by discrete landmarks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 39(3): 259-272.
  • Rosenthal, H. E. S., Norman, L., Smith, S. P. & McGregor, A. (2012). Gender-based navigation stereotype improves men’s search for a hidden goal. Sex Roles 67(11-12): 682-695.
  • McGregor, A., Horne, M. R., Esber, G. R. & Pearce, J. M. (2009). Absence of overshadowing between a landmark and geometric cues in a distinctively shaped environment: A test of Miller and Shettleworth (2007). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 35(3): 357-370.
  • Good, M. A., Barnes, P., Staal, V., McGregor, A. & Honey, R. C. (2007). Context- but not familiarity-dependent forms of object recognition are impaired following excitotoxic hippocampal lesions in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 121(1): 218-223.
  • Jones, P. M., Pearce, J. M., Davies, V. J., Good, M. A. & McGregor, A. (2007). Impaired processing of local geometric features during navigation in a water maze following hippocampal lesions in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 121(6): 1258-1271.
  • Honey, R. C., Marshall, V. J., McGregor, A., Futter, J. E. & Good, M. A. (2007). Revisiting places passed: Sensitization of exploratory activity in rats with hippocampal lesions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 60(5): 625-634.
  • Mui, R., Haselgrove, M., McGregor, A., Futter, J. E., Heyes, C. M. & Pearce, J. M. (2007). The discrimination of natural movement by budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulates) and pigeons (Columba livia). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 33(4): 371-380.
  • McGregor, A., Saggerson, A., Pearce, J. M. & Heyes, C. M. (2006). Blind imitation in pigeons (Columba livia). Animal Behaviour 72(2): 287-296.
  • McGregor, A., Jones, P. M., Good, M. A. & Pearce, J. M. (2006). Further evidence that rats rely on local rather than global spatial information to locate a hidden goal: Reply to Cheng & Gallistel (2005). Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Behavior Processes 32(3): 314-321.
  • Pearce, J. M., Graham, M., Good, M. A., Jones, P. M. & McGregor, A. (2006). Potentiation, overshadowing and blocking of spatial learning based on the shape of the environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 32(3): 201-214.
  • Graham, M., Good, M. A., McGregor, A. & Pearce, J. M. (2006). Spatial learning based on the shape of the environment is influenced by properties of the objects forming the shape. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 32(1): 44-59.
  • Esber, G. R., McGregor, A., Good, M. A., Hayward, A. J. & Pearce, J. M. (2005). Transfer of spatial behaviour controlled by a landmark array with a distinctive shape. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology B 58: 69-91.
  • McGregor, A., Good, M.A. & Pearce, J.M. (2004). Absence of an interaction between navigational strategies based on absolute and relative bearings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 30(1): 34-44.
  • McGregor, A., Hayward, A. J., Pearce, J. M. & Good, M. A. (2004). Hippocampal lesions disrupt navigation based on the shape of the environment. Behavioral Neuroscience 118(5): 1011-1021.
  • Marshall, V.M., McGregor, A., Good, M.A. & Honey, R.C. (2004). Hippocampal lesions disrupt source-dependent memory. Behavioral Neuroscience 118: 377-382.
  • Pearce, J. M., Good, M. A., Jones, P. M. & McGregor, A. (2004). Transfer of spatial behavior between different environments: Implications for theories of spatial learning and for the role of the hippocampus in spatial learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 30(2): 135-147.
  • Hayward, A., McGregor, A., Good, M.A. & Pearce, J.M. (2003). Absence of overshadowing and blocking between landmarks and the geometric cues provided by the shape of a test arena. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology B 56: 114-126.
  • Biegler, R., McGregor, A., Krebs, J.R. & Healy, S.D. (2001). A larger hippocampus is associated with longer-lasting spatial memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98: 6941-6944.
  • Biegler, R., McGregor, A. & Healy, S.D. (1999). How do animals ‘do’ geometry? Animal Behaviour 57: F4-F8.
  • McGregor, A. & Healy, S. D. (1999). Spatial accuracy in food-storing and nonstoring tits. Animal Behaviour 58: 727-734.

Supervises