Suzanna (Sue) Becker

PhD (University of Toronto)

Sue Becker Professor,Department of Psychology Neuroscience & Behaviour
McMaster University

Bldg 34, Rm 312
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1
+1-905-525-9140 ext23020

Contact and affiliations
Members of my lab

Research interests: Neural basis of learning and memory, behavioural studies, VR, neuroimaging, computational modelling

Spatial cognition : Neural circuits involved in spatial memory, imagery and navigation
Episodic memory: Neural basis of episodic and contextual memory formation
Hippocampal neurogenesis: Functional significance for learning and memory
Stress and depression: Effects on hippocampal neurogenesis-dependent memory functions
Alcohol: Effects of adolescent alcohol bingeing on memory and cognition
Exercise and diet: Benefits of exercise and diet supplementation on mood and memory, and on age- and stress-related cognitive decline
Dopamine: Interaction between dopaminergic reinforcement learning and hippocampal memory system
Hearing loss: Tinnitus, auditory cortical reorganization, neural model-based hearing aids (see

Representative publications

Han, X. and Becker, S. (in revision), One spatial map or many? Spatial coding of connected environments.

Chrostowski, M., Stolzberg, D., Becker, S., Bruce, I.C. and Salvi, R. J. (submitted), Potential Role for Homeostatic Plasticity in Adult Primary Auditory Cortex.

Dery, N., Noseworthy, M.D., Toulouse, T., Gibala, M., Gillen, J., Wojtowicz, J.M., Macqueen, G. and Becker, S. (in revision), Magnetic resonance-based correlates of hippocampal neurogenesis and the cognitive benefits of exercise training

Toulouse, T. and Becker, S. (in revision), When do animals generalize, and when do they act on specific experiences? A Bayesian account of dopamine in reward learning and incentive salience,

[pdf] Dery, N., Pilgrim, M., Gibala, M., Gillen, J., Wojtowicz, J.M., MacQueen, G. and Becker, S. (2013), Adult hippocampal neurogenesis reduces memory interference in humans: opposing effects of aerobic exercise and depression, Frontiers in Neuroscience 7:66, DOI:10.3389/fnins.2013.00066 10.3389 pp.66

[pdf] Han, X., Byrne, P. Kahana, M. and Becker, S. (2012), When do objects become landmarks? A VR study of the effect of task relevance on spatial memory. PLoS ONE Volume: 7 Issue: 5 Article Number: e35940 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035940.

Luu, P., Sill, O., Gao, L., Becker, S., Wojtowicz, J.M. and Smith, D. (2012), The Role of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Reducing Interference. Behavioural Neuroscience 126(3):381-391.

Winocur, G., Becker, S., Luu, P., Rosenzweig, S. and Wojtowicz, J.W. (2011), Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and memory interference. Behavioural Brain Research doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.05.032

Vaillancourt, T., Duku, E., Becker, S., Schmidt, L.A., Nicol, J., Muir, C. and MacMillan, H. (2011), Peer victimization, depressive symptoms and high salivary cortisol predict poorer memory in children, Brain and Cognition. Special Issue on Human aggression and victimization: Genetic, neurobiological, and neuroendocrine considerations doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2011.06.012

Chrostowski, M., Yang, L., Wilson, H., Bruce, I. and Becker, S. (2011), Can homeostatic plasticity in deafferented primary auditory cortex lead to traveling waves of excitation? Journal of Computational Neuroscience 30(2):279-299. DOI 10.1007/s10827-010-0256-1

Becker, S., MacQueen, G. and Wojtowicz, J.M. (2009), Computational modeling and empirical studies of hippocampal neurogenesis-dependent memory: Effects of interference, stress and depression. Brain Research 1299:45-54.

Turnock, M. and Becker, S. (2008), A neural network model of hippocampal-striatal-prefrontal interactions in contextual conditioning. Brain Research 1202:87-96

[pdf] Byrne, P. and Becker, S. (2008), A principle for learning egocentric-allocentric transformations. Neural Computation. 20(3):709-737.

Byrne, P., Becker, S. and Burgess, N. (2007), Remembering the past and imagining the future: a neural model of spatial memory and imagery. Psychological Review 114(2):340-375.

Becker, S. and Wojtowicz, J.M. (2007), A model of hippocampal neurogenesis in memory and mood disorders. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11(2):70-76.

Smith, A., Li, M., Becker, S. and Kapur, S. (2007), Linking animal models of psychosis to computational models of dopamine function. Neuropsychopharmacology 32(1):54-66, doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301086

Becker, S. (2005) A computational principle for hippocampal learning and neurogenesis, Hippocampus 15(6):722-738.

Bondy, J., Becker, S., Bruce, I., Trainor, L. and Haykin. S. (2004). A novel signal-processing strategy for hearing-aid design: NeuroCompensation. Signal Processing 84(7):1239-1253.

Becker, S. and Lim, J. (2003), A computational model of prefrontal control in free recall: strategic memory use in the California Verbal Learning Task, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 15(6):347-374.

Becker, S., Moscovitch, M. Behrmann, M. and Joordens (1997), Long-term semantic priming: A computational account and empirical evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 23(5):1059-1082.

Becker, S. and Hinton, G. E. (1992), A self-organizing neural network that discovers surfaces in random-dot stereograms, Nature, Vol. 355, pp. 161-163.

Teaching (2011-2012 academic year)