Skip to main content

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Discover ARiEAL / ARiEAL Team / John Connolly, PhD

John Connolly, PhD

Full Member of ARiEAL

Professor EmeritusDepartment of Linguistics and Languages, McMaster University 

Co-DirectorLanguage, Memory and Brain Lab, McMaster University 

Supervisory Member, McMaster Graduate Neuroscience Program 

Associate Member, Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University

Associate Member, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University

Faculty, School of Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University

Faculty Affiliate, The Vector Institute of Artificial Intelligence

Togo Salmon Hall, Room 506, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West


Office Phone: (905) 525-9140 x27095



Dr. John Connolly was the Senator William McMaster Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (2010-2020). He co-directs the Language, Memory & Brain Lab with Dr. Elisabet Service.  

His primary area of investigation involves the application of his basic neuroscience research on cognitive function to the investigation of brain injury and developmental neuropathology. Part of this investigation targets improved neurocognitive assessment procedures with reference to disorders of consciousness in the unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, minimally conscious states, and coma. He also is involved in major projects studying concussion. This work focuses on developing brain imaging tools to enable the assessment of cognitive functioning in patients who are unable to communicate through language or gesture. Dr. Connolly's work also includes research in both neurocognitive assessment and brain-computer interfacing with locked-in syndrome patients. This research in clinical and basic neuroscience emphasizes the use of brain imaging techniques both sensitive in the time domain and characterized by “components” known to reflect specific cognitive processes. Thus, his work uses electroencephalography and event-related potentials primarily while other aspects of his work have used both magnetoencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging as complementary measures.   

Dr. Connolly has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals for 40 years. He has been an invited speaker at numerous scientific conferences in Europe, Asiaand North America. His research has been supported by Canadian, American, British, and European funding agencies. He has served on the Editorial Board and as an Associate Editor of Clinical Neurophysiology, on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychophysiology, and reviews regularly for a range of journals. He has also served as reviewer for North American, European and Asian agencies and institutions and as a panel reviewer for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.

Representative Publications

Krokhine, S. N., Ewers, N. P., Mangold, K. I., Boshra, R., Lin, C.-Y. A., & Connolly, J. F. (2020). N2b reflects the cognitive changes in executive functioning after concussion: A scoping review. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14, 601370.

Ruiter, K. I., Boshra, R., DeMatteo, C., Noseworthy, M., & Connolly, J. F. (2020). Neurophysiological markers of cognitive deficits and recovery in concussed adolescents. Brain Research, 1746, 146998.

Connolly, J. F., Reilly, J. P., Fox-Robichaud, A., Britz, P., Blain-Moraes, S., Sonnadara, R., Hamielec, C., Herrera-Diaz, A., & Boshra, R. (2019). Development of a point of care system for automated coma prognosis: a prospective cohort study protocol. BMJ Open, 9, e029621.

Boshra, R., Dhindsa, K., Boursalie, O., Ruiter, K. I., Sonnadara, R., Samavi, R., Doyle, T. E., Reilly, J. P., & Connolly, J. F. (2019). From Group-Level Statistics to Single-Subject Prediction: Machine Learning Detection of Concussion in Retired Athletes. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 27(7), 1492–1501.

Ho, A., Boshra, R., Schmidtke, D., Oralova, G., Moro, A. L., Service, E., & Connolly, J. F. (2019). Electrophysiological evidence for the integral nature of tone in Mandarin spoken word recognition. Neuropsychologia, 131(July 2018), 325–332.

Ruiter, K. I., Boshra, R., Doughty, M., Noseworthy, M., & Connolly, J. F. (2019). Disruption of function: Neurophysiological markers of cognitive deficits in retired football players. Clinical Neurophysiology, 130(1), 111–121.

Armanfard, N., Komeili, M., Reilly, J. P., & Connoly, J. (2019). A Machine Learning Framework for Automatic and Continuous MMN Detection with Preliminary Results for Coma Outcome Prediction. IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, 23, 1794-1804.

Mah, R. & Connolly, J. F. (2018) A framework for the extended monitoring of levels of cognitive function in unresponsive patients. PLoS ONE, 13(7): e0200793. pone.0200793

Blain-Moraes, S., Boshra, R., Ma, H. K., Mah, R., Ruiter, K., Avidan, M., Connolly, J. F., & Mashour, G. A. (2016). Normal Brain Response to Propofol in Advance of Recovery from Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 1–6.

Harrison, A. H., & Connolly, J. F. (2013). Finding a way in: A review and practical evaluation of fMRI and EEG for detection and assessment in disorders of consciousness. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(8), 1403–1419.

Newman, R., Forbes, K., & Connolly, J. F. (2012). Event-related potentials and magnetic fields associated with spoken word recognition. In M. Spivey, M. F. Joanisse, & K. McRae (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Psycholinguistics (pp. 127–156). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Gawryluk, J. R., D’Arcy, R. C., Connolly, J. F., & Weaver, D. F. (2010). Improving the clinical assessment of consciousness with advances in electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. BMC Neurol, 10, 11.

Duncan, C. C., Barry, R. J., Connolly, J. F., Fischer, C., Michie, P. T., Näätänen, R., … Van Petten, C. (2009). Event-related potentials in clinical research: Guidelines for eliciting, recording, and quantifying mismatch negativity, P300, and N400. Clinical Neurophysiology, 120(11), 1883–1908.

Newman, R. L., & Connolly, J. F. (2009). Electrophysiological markers of pre-lexical speech processing: Evidence for bottom-up and top-down effects on spoken word processing. Biological Psychology, 80(1), 114–121.

Kujala, A., Alho, K., Service, E., Ilmoniemi, R. J., & Connolly, J. F. (2004). Activation in the anterior left auditory cortex associated with phonological analysis of speech input: Localization of the phonological mismatch negativity response with MEG. Cognitive Brain Research, 21(1), 106–113.

Helenius, P., Salmelin, R., Service, E., Connolly, J. F., Leinonen, S., & Lyytinen, H. (2002). Cortical activation during spoken-word segmentation in nonreading-impaired and dyslexic adults. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 22(7), 2936–2944.

Current Graduate Students / Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Co-supervision), ARiEAL Research Centre, McMaster University
  • , PhD Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program, McMaster University 
  • , PhD Student (Co-supervision)Cognitive Science of Language Program, McMaster University
  • PhD Student (Co-supervision)Cognitive Science of Language Program, McMaster University
  • , MSc Student, Cognitive Science of Language Program, McMaster University
  • MSc Student, Neuroscience Graduate Program, McMaster University