The Laboratory of Brain and Cognition is directed by Nathan Spreng, a Full Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. The lab examines large-scale brain network dynamics and their role in cognition. Currently, we investigate attention, memory, cognitive control, and social cognition, and the interacting brain networks that support them. We are also actively involved in the development and implementation of multivariate and network-based statistical approaches to assess brain structure, connectivity and activity. In doing so, we aim to better understand the properties of brain networks underlying cognitive processes as they change across the lifespan in health and disease.

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator


Prof. Nathan Spreng

Full Professor

Postdoctoral Researchers


Alfie Wearn

Postdoctoral Researcher


Colleen Hughes

Postdoctoral Researcher

Graduate Students


Giulia Baracchini

PhD candidate


Jing Zhou

PhD student


Manesh Girn

PhD candidate


Miriam Taza

MSc student


Shanny Foo

PhD candidate


Yigu Zhou

Undergraduate student


  • Dr. Roni Setton (MA & PhD student 2017-2021, Cornell & McGill Universities)
  • Amber Lockrow (MA student 2017-2021, Cornell & McGill Universities)
  • Dr. Taylor Schmitz (Research Associate, 2017-2018)
  • Dr. Michael A. Ferguson (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2017, Cornell University)
  • Dr. Anne Laurita (PhD, 2017, Cornell University)
  • Elizabeth DuPre (MA, 2016, Cornell University)



  • Setton, R., Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Girn, M., Lockrow, A. W., Baracchini, G., Hughes, C., . . . Spreng, R. N. (2022). Age differences in the functional architecture of the human brain. Cerebral Cortex. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhac056 pdf
  • Kantarovich, K., Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Fernández-Cabello, S., Setton, R., Baracchini, G., Lockrow, A. W., . . . Turner, G. R. (2022). White matter lesion load is associated with lower within- and greater between- network connectivity across older age. Neurobiology of Aging, 112, 170-180. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2022.01.005 pdf
  • Pehlivanoglu, D., Lin, T., Lighthall, N. R., Wilson, R. C., Turner, G. R., Spreng, R. N., & Ebner, N. C. (2022, January 11). Facial Trustworthiness Perceptions Across the Adult Lifespan. doi:https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/rknu2 pdf
  • Justine, H., Golia, S., Ross, M., Kelly, S., Sylvia, C., Yanjun, W., . . . Bratislav, M. (2022). Nature Portfolio. doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-1040925/v1 pdf


  • Spreng, R. N., & Turner, G. R. (2021). From exploration to exploitation: a shifting mental mode in late life development. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(12), 1058-1071. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2021.09.001 pdf
  • Kiesow, H., Spreng, R. N., Holmes, A. J., Chakravarty, M. M., Marquand, A. F., Yeo, B. T. T., & Bzdok, D. (2021). Deep learning identifies partially overlapping subnetworks in the human social brain. Communications Biology, 4(1), 65. doi:10.1038/s42003-020-01559-z pdf
  • Kong, R., Yang, Q., Gordon, E., Xue, A., Yan, X., Orban, C., . . . Yeo, B. T. T. (2021). Individual-Specific Areal-Level Parcellations Improve Functional Connectivity Prediction of Behavior. bioRxiv, 2021.2001.2016.426943. doi:10.1101/2021.01.16.426943 pdf
  • Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., & Spreng, R. N. (2021). Social exclusion reliably engages the default network: A meta-analysis of Cyberball. NeuroImage, 227, 117666. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117666 pdf
  • Xu, N., Doerschuk, P. C., Keilholz, S. D., & Spreng, R. N. (2021). Spatiotemporal functional interactivity among large-scale brain networks. NeuroImage, 227, 117628. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117628 pdf
  • Spreng, R. N., & Bzdok, D. (2021). Loneliness and Neurocognitive Aging. Advances in geriatric medicine and research, 3(2), e210009. doi:10.20900/agmr20210009 pdf
  • Anderson, K. M., Ge, T., Kong, R., Patrick, L. M., Spreng, R. N., Sabuncu, M. R., . . . Holmes, A. J. (2021). Heritability of individualized cortical network topography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(9), e2016271118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2016271118 pdf
  • Girn, M., Roseman, L., Bernhardt, B., Smallwood, J., Carhart-Harris, R., & Spreng, R. N. (2021). Serotonergic psychedelic drugs LSD and psilocybin reduce the hierarchical differentiation of unimodal and transmodal cortex. bioRxiv, 2020.2005.2001.072314. doi:10.1101/2020.05.01.072314 pdf
  • Kupis, L., Goodman, Z. T., Kornfeld, S., Hoang, S., Romero, C., Dirks, B., . . . Uddin, L. Q. (2021). Brain Dynamics Underlying Cognitive Flexibility Across the Lifespan. Cerebral Cortex, 31(11), 5263-5274. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab156 pdf
  • Setton, R., Lockrow, A. W., Turner, G. R., & Spreng, R. N. (2021). Troubled past: A critical psychometric assessment of the self-report Survey of Autobiographical Memory (SAM). Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-021-01604-7 pdf
  • Liu, Z.-Q., Vázquez-Rodríguez, B., Spreng, R. N., Bernhardt, B. C., Betzel, R. F., & Misic, B. (2021). Time-resolved structure-function coupling in brain networks. bioRxiv, 2021.2007.2008.451672. doi:10.1101/2021.07.08.451672 pdf
  • Denis, D., DiPietro, C., Spreng, R. N., Schacter, D. L., Stickgold, R., & Payne, J. (2021, July 8). Sleep and testing both strengthen and distort story recollection. doi:https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/abt56 pdf
  • Baracchini, G., Mišić, B., Setton, R., Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Girn, M., Nomi, J. S., . . . Spreng, R. N. (2021). Inter-regional BOLD signal variability is an organizational feature of functional brain networks. NeuroImage, 237, 118149. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118149 pdf
  • Zajner, C., Spreng, N., & Bzdok, D. (2021). Lacking social support is associated with structural divergences in hippocampus-default network co-variation patterns. bioRxiv, 2021.2008.2019.456949. doi:10.1101/2021.08.19.456949 pdf
  • Huang, S., Faul, L., Sevinc, G., Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Setton, R., Lockrow, A. W., . . . De Brigard, F. (2021). Age differences in intuitive moral decision-making: Associations with inter-network neural connectivity. Psychology and Aging, 36(8), 902-916. doi:10.1037/pag0000633 pdf
  • Zajner, C., Spreng, R. N., & Bzdok, D. (2021). Loneliness is linked to specific subregional alterations in hippocampus-default network covariation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 126(6), 2138-2157. doi:10.1152/jn.00339.2021 pdf
  • Lin, T., Horta, M., Heald, K., Heemskerk, A., Darboh, B., Levi, A., . . . Ebner, N. C. (2021). Loneliness Progression Among Older Adults During the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States and Canada. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbab229 pdf
  • Lockrow, A. W., Setton, R., Spreng, K. A. P., Sheldon, S., Turner, G. R., & Spreng, R. N. (2021). Taking stock of the past: A psychometric evaluation of the Autobiographical Interview. bioRxiv, 2021.2012.2022.473803. doi:10.1101/2021.12.22.473803 pdf


  • Weissberger, G. H., Mosqueda, L., Nguyen, A. L., Axelrod, J., Nguyen, C. P., Boyle, P. A., . . . Han, S. D. (2020). Functional Connectivity Correlates of Perceived Financial Exploitation in Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 12. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2020.583433 pdf
  • Spreng, R. N., Dimas, E., Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Dagher, A., Koellinger, P., Nave, G., . . . Bzdok, D. (2020). The default network of the human brain is associated with perceived social isolation. Nature Communications, 11(1), 6393. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-20039-w pdf | suppl
  • Laurita, A. C., DuPre, E., Ebner, N. C., Turner, G. R., & Spreng, R. N. (2020). Default network interactivity during mentalizing about known others is modulated by age and social closeness. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15(5), 537-549. doi:10.1093/scan/nsaa067 pdf
  • Fernandez-Cabello, S., Kronbichler, M., Van Dijk, K.R.A., Goodman, J.A., Spreng, R.N., & Schmitz, T.W. (2020). Basal forebrain volume reliably predicts the cortical spread of Alzheimer’s degeneration. Brain, 143, 993–1009. pdf
  • Schmitz, T.W., Soreq, H, Poirier, J. & Spreng, R.N. Longitudinal basal forebrain degeneration interacts with TREM2/C3 biomarkers of inflammation in pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. (2020). Journal of Neuroscience, 40, 1931–1942. pdf
  • Ebner, N.C., Ellis, D.M., Lin, T., Rocha, H.A., Yang, H., Dommaraju, S., Soliman, A., Woodard, D.L., Turner, G.R., Spreng, R.N. & Oliveira, D. (2020). Uncovering susceptibility risk to online deception in aging. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. pdf


  • Spreng, R.N., DuPre, E., Ji., J.L., Yang, G., Diehl, C., Murray, J., Pearlson, G. & Anticevic, A. (2019). Structural covariance reveals alterations in control and salience network integrity in chronic schizophrenia. Cerebral Cortex, 29, 5269–5284. pdf
  • Uddin, L.Q., Yeo, B.T.T., & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Towards a universal taxonomy of macro-scale functional human brain networks. Brain Topology, 32, 926–942. pdf
  • Lowe, A.J., Paquola, C., Vos de Wael, R., Girn, M., Lariviere, S., Tavakol, S., Royer, J., Caldairou, B., Schrader, D., Bernasconi, A., Bernasconi, N., Spreng, R.N. & Bernhardt, B.C. (2019). Targeting age-related differences in brain and cognition with multimodal imaging and connectome topography profiling. Human Brain Mapping, 40, 5213–5230. pdf
  • Rodriguez-Vazquez, B., Suarez, L.E., Shafiei, G., Markello, R., Paquola, C., Hagmann, P., Van Den Heuvel, M., Bernhardt, B.C., Spreng, R.N. & Misic, B. (2019). Gradients of structure-function tethering across neocortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 116, 21219–21227. pdf
  • Maillet, D., Beaty, R.E., Adnan, A., Fox, K.C.R., Turner, G.R. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Aging and the wandering brain: Age-related differences in the neural correlates of stimulus-independent thoughts. Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE. 14(10): e0223981. pdf
  • Li, J., Bolt, T., Bzdok, D., Nomi, J.S., Yeo, B.T.T., Spreng, R.N. & Uddin, L.Q. (2019). Topography and behavioral relevance of the global signal in the human brain. Scientific Reports, 9, 14286. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Fernandez-Cabello, S., Turner, G.R. & Stevens, W.D. (2019). Take a deep breath: Multi-echo fMRI denoising effectively removes head motion artifacts, obviating the need for global signal regression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, (Letter), 116, 39, 19241–19242. pdf
  • Lemire-Rodger, S., Lam, J., Viviano, J., Stevens, W.D., Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2019). Inhibit, switch and update: A within-subject fMRI investigation of executive control. Neuropsychologia, 132, 107134. pdf
  • Setton, R., Fisher, G. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Mind the gap: Congruence between present and future motivational states shapes prospective decisions. Neuropsychologia, 132, 107130. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2019). The shifting architecture of cognition and brain function in older adulthood. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14, 523–542. pdf
  • Ngo, G.H., Eickhoff, S.B., Nguyen, M., Sevinc, G., Fox, P.T., Spreng, R.N. & Yeo, B.T.T. (2019). Beyond consensus: Embracing heterogeneity in curated neuroimaging meta-analysis. NeuroImage, 200, 142–158. pdf
  • Laurita, A.C., Hazan, C. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Neural signatures of chronic accessibility in parent – adult child attachment bonds. Social Neuroscience, 14, 462–469. pdf
  • Mwilambwe-Tshilobo, L., Ge, T., Chong, M., Ferguson, M.A., Misic, B., Burrow., A.L., Leahy, R. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Loneliness and meaning in life are reflected in the intrinsic network architecture of the brain. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 14, 423–433. pdf
  • Dimech, C.J., Anderson, J.A.E., Lockrow, A.W., Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2019). Sex differences in the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain function in older adulthood. Journal of Applied Physiology, 126, 1032–1041. pdf
  • Bhattasali, S., Fabre, M., Luh, W.-M., Al Saied, H., Constant, M., Pallier, C., Brennan, J.R., Spreng, R.N. & Hale, J. (2019). Localising memory retrieval and syntactic composition: A fMRI study of naturalistic language comprehension. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34, 491–510. pdf
  • Horta, M., Ziaei, M., Lin, T., Porges, E., Fischer, H., Feifel, D., Spreng, R.N. & Ebner, N.C. (2019). Oxytocin alters patterns of brain activity and amygdalar connectivity by age during dynamic facial emotion identification. Neurobiology of Aging, 78, 42–51. pdf
  • Laurita, A.C., Hazan, C. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). An attachment theoretical perspective for the neural representation of close others. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 14, 237–251. pdf
  • Adnan, A., Beaty, R., Lam, J., Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2019). Intrinsic default – executive coupling of the creative aging brain. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 14, 291–303. pdf
  • Adnan, A., Beaty, R., Silvia, P., Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2019). Creative aging: Functional brain networks associated with divergent thinking in older and younger adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 75, 150–158. pdf
  • Sullivan, M.D., Anderson, J.A.E., Turner, G.R. & Spreng, R.N. (2019). Intrinsic neurocognitive network connectivity differences between normal aging and mild cognitive impairment are associated with cognitive status and age. Neurobiology of Aging, 73, 219–228. pdf


  • Maillet, D., Beaty, R.E., Jordano, M.L., Touron, D.R, Adnan, A., Silvia, P.J., Kwapil, T.R., Turner, G.R, Spreng, R.N. & Kane, M.J. (2018). Age-related differences in mind-wandering in daily life. Psychology and Aging. 33, 643–653. pdf
  • Schmitz, T.W., Mur, M., Aghourian, M., Bédard, M.-A. & Spreng, R.N. (2018). Longitudinal Alzheimer’s degeneration reflects the spatial topography of cholinergic basal forebrain projections. Cell Reports, 34, 28–36.pdf
  • Parikh, N., Ruzic, L., Stewart, G.W., Spreng, R.N. & De Brigard, F. (2018). What if? Neural activity underlying semantic and episodic counterfactual thinking. NeuroImage, 178, 332-345. pdf
  • Markello, R., Spreng, R.N., Luh, W.-M., Anderson, A. & DeRosa, E. (2018). Functional segregation of the human basal forebrain using resting state functional connectivity MRI. NeuroImage, 173, 287–297. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Madore, K.P. & Schacter, D.L. (2018). Better imagined: Neural correlates of the episodic simulation boost to prospective memory performance. Neuropsychologia, 113, 22–28. pdf
  • Dixon, M.L., De La Vega, A., Mills, C. Andrews-Hanna, J.R., Spreng, R.N., Cole, M. & Christoff, K. (2018). Heterogeneity within the frontoparietal control network and its relationship to the default and dorsal attention networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 115(7), E1598–E1607. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Lockrow, A.W., DuPre, E., Setton, R., Spreng, K.A.P. & Turner, G.R. (2018). Semanticized autobiographical memory and the default – executive coupling hypothesis of aging. Neuropsychologia, 110, 37–43. pdf
  • Mar, R.A. & Spreng, R.N. (2018). Episodic memory solves both social and nonsocial problems, and evolved to fulfill many different functions. Behavioral and Brain Sciences [commentary], 41, e20. pdf


  • DuPre, E. & Spreng, R.N. (2017). Structural covariance networks across the lifespan, from 6 to 94 years of age. Network Neuroscience, 1, 302–323. pdf
  • Hill, P.F., Yi., R., Spreng, R.N. & Diana, R.A. (2017). Neural congruence between intertemporal and interpersonal decision making: Evidence from delay and social discounting. NeuroImage, 162, 186–198. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Cassidy, B.N., Darboh, B., DuPre, E., Lockrow, A.W., Setton, R. & Turner, G.R. (2017). Financial exploitation is associated with structural and functional brain differences in healthy older adults. The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 72, 1365–1368. pdf
  • Ferguson, M.A., Anderson, J.S. & Spreng, R.N. (2017). Fluid and flexible minds: Intelligence reflects synchrony in the brain’s intrinsic network architecture. Network Neuroscience, 1, 192–207. pdf
  • Sevinc, G., Gutvit, I.H & Spreng, R.N. (2017). Salience network engagement with the detection of morally laden information. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 12, 1118–1127. pdf
  • Laurita, A.C., Hazan, C. & Spreng, R.N. (2017). Dissociable patterns of brain activity for mentalizing about known others: A role for attachment. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 12, 1072–1082. pdf
  • Chong, M., Bhushan, C., Joshi, A.A., Choi, S.Y., Haldar, J.P., Shattuck, D.W., Spreng, R.N. & Leahy, R.M. (2017). Individual parcellation of resting fMRI with a group functional connectivity prior. NeuroImage, 156, 87–100. pdf
  • Xu, N., R. Spreng, R.N. & Doerschuk, P.C. (2017). Initial validation for the estimation of resting-state fMRI effective connectivity by a generalization of the correlation approach. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Brain Imaging Methods, 11, 271. pdf
  • Dixon, M.L., Andrews-Hanna, J.R., Spreng, R.N., Irving, Z.C. & Christoff, K. (2017). Anticorrelations between default and dorsal attention networks vary by default subsystem and across cognitive states. NeuroImage, 147, 632–649. pdf


  • DuPre, E., Luh, W.-M. & Spreng, R.N. (2016). Multi-echo fMRI replication sample of autobiographical memory, prospection and theory of mind reasoning tasks. Scientific Data, 3, 160116. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Karlawish, J. & Marson, D.C. (2016). Cognitive, social and neural determinants of diminished decision-making and financial exploitation-risk in aging and dementia: A review and new model. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 28, 320–344. pdf
  • Risk, B.B., Matteson, D.S., Spreng, R.N. & Ruppert, D. (2016). Spatiotemporal mixed modeling of multi-subject task fMRI via method of moments. NeuroImage, 142, 280–292. pdf
  • Schmitz, T.W. & Spreng, R.N. (2016). Basal forebrain degeneration precedes and predicts the cortical spread of Alzheimer’s pathology. Nature Communications, 7, 13249. pdf
  • Christoff, K., Irving, Z.C., Fox, K.C.R., Spreng, R.N. & Andrews-Hanna, J.R. (2016). Mind-wandering as spontaneous thought: A dynamic framework. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 17, 718–731. pdf
  • De Brigard, F., Giovanello, K.S., Stewart, G.W., Lockrow, A., O’Brien, M.M. & Spreng, R.N. (2016). Characterizing the subjective experience of episodic past, future and counterfactual thinking in healthy young and older adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 2358–2375. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Stevens, W.D., Viviano, J. & Schacter, D.L. (2016). Attenuated anticorrelation between the default and dorsal attention networks with aging: Evidence from task and rest. Neurobiology of Aging, 45, 149–160. pdf
  • Burrow, A.L. & Spreng, R.N. (2016). Waiting with purpose: A reliable but small association between purpose in life and impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 187–189. pdf


  • Turner, G.R. & Spreng, R.N. (2015). Prefrontal engagement and reduced default network suppression co-occur and are dynamically coupled in older adults: The default – executive coupling hypothesis of aging. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 2462–2476. Turner and Spreng are co-first authors. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Gerlach, K.D., Turner, G.R. & Schacter, D.L. (2015). Autobiographical planning and the brain: Activation and its modulation by qualitative features. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 2147–2157. pdf
  • Pillemer, K., Connolly, M.T., Breckman, R., Spreng, R.N. & Lachs, M.S. (2015). Elder mistreatment: Priorities for consideration by the White House conference on aging. Gerontologist, 55, 320–327. pdf
  • Fox, K.C.R., Spreng, R.N., Ellamil, M., Andrews-Hanna, J.R. & Christoff, K. (2015). The wandering brain: Meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies of mind-wandering and related spontaneous thought processes. NeuroImage, 111, 611–621. pdf
  • Payne, J.D., Kensinger, E.A., Wamsley, E., Spreng, R.N., Alger, S., Gibler, K., Schacter, D.L. & Stickgold, R. (2015). Napping and the selective consolidation of negative aspects of scenes. Emotion, 15, 176–186. pdf
  • De Brigard, F., Spreng, R.N., Mitchell, J.P. & Schacter, D.L. (2015). Neural activity associated with self, other, and object-based counterfactual thinking. NeuroImage, 109, 12–26. pdf


  • Xu, N., Spreng, R. N., & Doerschuk, P. C. (2014, 27-30 Oct. 2014). Directed interactivity of large-scale brain networks: Introducing a new method for estimating resting-state effective connectivity MRI. Paper presented at the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP). pdf
  • Szpunar, K.K., Spreng, R.N. & Schacter, D.L. (2014). A taxonomy of prospection: Introducing an organizational framework for future-oriented cognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 111, 18414–18421. pdf
  • Gerlach, K.D., Spreng, R.N., Madore, K.P. & Schacter, D.L. (2014). Future planning: Default network activity couples with frontoparietal control network and reward-processing regions during process and outcome simulations. Social Cognitive &Affective Neuroscience, 9, 1942–1951. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., DuPre, E., Selarka, D., Garcia, J., Gojkovic, S., Mildner, J., Luh, W.-M. & Turner, G.R. (2014). Goal-congruent default network activity facilitates cognitive control. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 14108–14114. pdf
  • Persson, J., Spreng, R.N., Turner, G.R., Herlitz, A., Morell, A., Stening, E., Wahlund, L.-O. Wikström, J. & Söderlund, H. (2014). Sex differences in volume and structural covariance of the anterior and posterior hippocampus. NeuroImage, 99, 215–225. pdf
  • Hassabis, D., Spreng, R.N., Rusu, A.A., Robbins, C.A., Mar, R.A. & Schacter, D.L. (2014). Imagine all the people: How the brain creates and uses personality models to predict behavior. Cerebral Cortex, 24, 1979–1987. Hassabis and Spreng are co-first authors. pdf | suppl.
  • Andrews-Hanna, J.R., Smallwood, J. & Spreng, R.N. (2014). The default network and self-generated thought: Component processes, dynamic control, and clinical relevance. The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1316, 29–52. pdf
  • Stevens, W.D. & Spreng, R.N. (2014). Resting-state functional connectivity MRI reveals active processes central to cognition. Wiley International Reviews (WIREs) Cognitive Science, 5, 233–245. pdf
  • Sevinc, G. & Spreng, R.N. (2014). Contextual and perceptual brain processes underlying moral cognition: A quantitative meta-analysis of moral reasoning and moral emotions. Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE, 9: e87427. pdf
  • Brainerd, C.J., Reyna, V.F., Gomes, C.F.A., Kenney, A.E., Gross, C.J., Taub, E.S. & Spreng, R.N. (2014). Dual-retrieval models and neurocognitive impairment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 41–65. pdf


  • Gaesser, B., Spreng, R.N., McLelland, V.C., Addis, D.R. & Schacter, D.L. (2013). Imagining the future: Evidence for a hippocampal contribution to constructive processing. Hippocampus, 23, 1150–1161. pdf
  • Mar, R.A., Spreng, R.N. & DeYoung, C.G. (2013). How to produce personality neuroscience research with high statistical power and low additional cost. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 674–685. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2013). Structural covariance of the default network in healthy and pathological aging. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 15226–15234. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. (2013). Examining the role of memory in social cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 437. Introduction to the Research Topic (special issue), edited by R.N. Spreng pdf | full issue
  • Spreng, R.N. & Levine, B. (2013). Doing what we imagine: Completion rates and frequency attributes of imagined future events one year after prospection. Memory, 21, 458–466. pdf
  • Patel, R., Spreng, R.N. & Turner, G.R. (2013). Functional brain changes following cognitive and motor skills training: A quantitative meta-analysis. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 27, 187–199. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Sepulcre, J., Turner, G.R., Stevens, W.D. & Schacter, D.L. (2013). Intrinsic architecture underlying the relations among the default, dorsal attention, and frontoparietal control networks of the human brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25, 74–86. pdf


  • Schacter, D.L., Addis, D.R., Hassabis, D., Martin, V.C., Spreng, R.N. & Szpunar, K.K. (2012). The future of memory: Remembering, imagining, and the brain. Neuron, 76, 677–694. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Schacter, D.L. (2012). Default network modulation and large-scale network interactivity in healthy young and old adults. Cerebral Cortex, 22, 2610–2621. pdf
  • Patel, R., Spreng, R.N., Shin, L.M. & Girard, T.A. (2012). Neurocircuitry models of post-traumatic stress disorder and beyond: A meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 2130–2142. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. (2012). The fallacy of a “task-negative” network. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 145. pdf
  • Turner, G.R. & Spreng, R.N. (2012). Executive functions and neurocognitive aging: Dissociable patterns of brain activity. Neurobiology of Aging, 33, 826.e1–826.e13. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Mar, R.A. (2012). I remember you: A role for memory in social cognition and the functional neuroanatomy of their interaction. Brain Research, 1428, 43–50. pdf


  • Spreng, R.N., Drzezga, A., Diehl-Schmid, J., Kurz, A., Levine, B. & Perneczky, R. (2011). Relationship between occupation attributes and brain metabolism in frontotemporal dementia. Neuropsychologia, 49, 3699–3703. pdf
  • Cusi, A., MacQueen, G., Spreng, R.N. & McKinnon, M.C. (2011). Altered empathic responding in major depressive disorder: Relation to symptom severity, illness burden, and psychosocial outcome. Psychiatry Research, 188, 231–236. pdf
  • Gerlach, K.D., Spreng, R.N., Gilmore, A.W. & Schacter, D.L. (2011). Solving future problems: Default network and executive activity associated with goal-directed mental simulations. NeuroImage, 55, 1816–1824. pdf


  • Spreng, R.N., Stevens, W.D., Chamberlain, J., Gilmore, A.W. & Schacter, D.L. (2010). Default network activity, coupled with the frontoparietal control network, supports goal-directed cognition. NeuroImage, 53, 303–317. pdf | suppl
  • Spreng, R.N., Rosen, H., Strother, S., Black, S., Chow, T., Diehl-Schmid, J., Freedman, M., Graff-Radford, N., Hodges, J., Lipton, A., Mendez, M., Morelli, S., Miller, B. & Levine, B. (2010). Occupation attributes relate to location of atrophy in frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Neuropsychologia, 48, 3634–3641. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Wojtowicz, M. & Grady, C. (2010). Reliable differences in brain activity between young and old adults: A quantitative meta-analysis across multiple cognitive domains. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 1178–1194. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Grady, C. (2010). Patterns of brain activity supporting autobiographical memory, prospection and theory-of-mind and their relationship to the default mode network. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 1112–1123. pdf


  • Spreng, R.N., Mar, R.A. & Kim, A.S.N. (2009). The common neural basis of autobiographical memory, prospection, navigation, theory of mind and the default mode: A quantitative meta-analysis. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 489–510. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., McKinnon, M.C., Mar, R.A. & Levine B. (2009). The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire: Scale development and initial validation of a factor-analytic solution to multiple empathy measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 62–71. pdf


  • Spreng, R.N. & Levine, B. (2006). The temporal distribution of past and future autobiographical events across the lifespan. Memory & Cognition, 34, 1644–1651. pdf

Book Chapters

  • Spreng, R. N., Ebner, N. C., Levin, B. E., & Turner, G. R. (2021). Aging and Financial Exploitation Risk. In Aging and Money (pp. 55-73). Cham: Springer International Publishing. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Turner, G.R. (2019). Structure and function of the aging brain. In Samanez-Larkin, G. (Ed.) The Aging Brain. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. pdf
  • DuPre, E. & Spreng, R.N. (2018). ​Rumination is a sticky form of spontaneous thought​. In Fox, K. C. R. and Christoff, K., eds. The Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought: Mind-wandering, Creativity, Dreaming, and Clinical Conditions. New York: Oxford University Press. pdf
  • Andrews-Hanna, J.R., Fox, K.C.R., Irving, Z.C., Spreng, R.N. & Christoff, K. (2018). The neuroscience of spontaneous thought: An evolving, interdisciplinary field. In Fox, K. C. R. and Christoff, K., eds. The Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought: Mind-wandering, Creativity, Dreaming, and Clinical Conditions. New York: Oxford University Press. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N., Shoemaker, L. & Turner. G.R. (2017). Executive functions and neurocognitive aging. In Goldberg, E, ed. Executive functions in health and disease. Academic Press: Elsevier, pp. 169–196. pdf
  • Laurita, A.C. & Spreng, R.N. (2017). The hippocampus and social cognition. In D.E. Hannula & M.C. Duff (Eds). Hippocampus from Cells to Systems: Structure, Connectivity, and Functional Contributions to Memory and Flexible Cognition. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 537–558. pdf
  • Szpunar, K.K., Spreng, R.N., & Schacter, D.L. (2016). Toward a taxonomy of future thinking. In Michaelian, K., Klein, S.B. & Szpunar, K.K. (Eds). Seeing the future: Theoretical perspectives on future-oriented mental time travel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 21–35. pdf
  • Spreng, R.N. & Andrews-Hanna, J.R. (2015). The default network and social cognition. In A.W. Toga (Ed), Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference. Academic Press: Elsevier, pp. 165–169. pdf

Join the Lab

We are looking for motivated individuals whose presence will be beneficial to overall lab productivity. Lab members are expected to participate and contribute in group efforts as well as being capable of working independently towards personal and lab goals. Members must be able to quickly learn the concept of experimental design, data collection, and analysis. Programming experience is not necessary but would be extremely beneficial as it is essential for this line of research. Contact Dr. Spreng with the following information:

  • Your CV
  • Recent academic transcript
  • A letter detailing your specific interests, intentions, and capabilities The subject header should read “LBC Undergraduate Volunteer Inquiry”.

Graduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Spreng to express their interest in working in the lab. Here is some advice for prospective students:

  • Contact Dr. Spreng in the early Fall before the application deadline. Most decisions are made in Winter regarding incoming students.
  • Experience in functional neuroimaging analysis is a plus that will distinguish top candidates. Be sure to do your best to become involved in research during your undergraduate degree or immediately following.
  • Familiarity with coding (e.g., MATLAB and/or Python, R) is a strong asset.
  • You will be applying to the McGill University Integrated Program in Neuroscience. See their website for requirements and deadlines.
  • Make sure to apply for government sources of funding for your graduate studies (NSERC or CIHR if you are Canadian). Deadlines are often in the Fall, a year before graduate studies begin.
  • Grades are very important both in getting funding, as well as in decisions for admission — so make sure to get as good grades as possible in your remaining courses.
  • Letters of recommendation are very important. Make sure to ask recommenders who not only have good things to say about you, but also know you enough to be able to provide detail in their letters about you.

Post-doctoral candidates are also encouraged to contact Dr. Spreng directly.


  • CIHR
  • Alzheimer’s Association