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Sue Becker, PhD

Full Member of ARiEAL

Professor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
Faculty Affiliate, The Vector Institute of Artificial Intelligence
Adjunct Scientist, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital
Adjunct Member, Centre for Vision Research, York University

Psychology Building, Room 312, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West


Office Phone: (905) 525-9140 x23020



Sue Becker obtained her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Computer Science from Queen's University, her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto before joining McMaster where she has been a faculty member since 1993.

Dr. Becker's research focuses on the neural bases of learning and memory. Her lab employs a variety of methodologies including computational modelling, behavioural and neuroimaging studies to investigate questions such as how the hippocampus codes episodic and spatial memories, the role of neurogenesis in memory and mood regulation, how stress, binge drinking, exercise and neurofeedback affect hippocampal memory functions and intrinsic brain networks, and how the auditory cortex re-organizes after hearing loss. Applications of this research include the development of novel algorithms for EEG-based neurofeedback and brain-computer-interfaces. Dr. Becker has authored over 70 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts, and holds a joint patent for her invention of the Neurocompensator, a novel algorithm for intelligent hearing aids that is currently being marketed and sold by Vitasound Audio Inc. Dr. Becker received an Innovator of Distinction Award from McMaster and a Hamilton Halton Projects of the year award for the design of the Neurocompensator hearing aid.

Representative Publications

Shaw, S.B., Dhindsa, K., Reilly, J.P., Becker, S. (2019). Capturing the Forest but Missing the Trees: Microstates Inadequate for Characterizing Shorter-Scale EEG Dynamics. Neural computation, 31 (11), 2177-2211.

Keating, L.E., Becker, S., McCabe, K., Whattam, J., Garrick, L., Frey, B.N. et al. (2019), Impact of a structured, group-based running programme on clinical, cognitive and social function in youth and adults with complex mood disorders: a 12-week pilot study. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 5(1), e000521

Dhindsa, K., Gauder, K., Marszalek, K., Terpou, B., & Becker, S. (2018). Progressive Thresholding: Incorporating Shaping in Automated Neurofeedback Training. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 26(12), 2297-2305.

Hutton, C., Lemon, J., Sakic, B., Rollo, C., Boreham, D., Fahnestock, M., … Becker, S. (2018). Early intervention with a multi-ingredient dietary supplement improves mood and spatial memory in a triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 64(3):835-857

Keating, L. E., Becker, S., McCabe, K., Whattam, J., Garrick, L., Sassi, R. B., … McKinnon, M. C. (2018). Effects of a 12-week running programme in youth and adults with complex mood disorders. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 4(1), 1–7. 

Becker, S. (2017). Neurogenesis and pattern separation: time for a divorce. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 8(3), 1–15.

Dhindsa, K., Carcone, D., & Becker, S. (2017). Toward an Open-Ended BCI: A User-Centered Coadaptive Design. Neural Computation, 29(10), 2742–2768.

Goldstein, A., Dery, N., Pilgrim, M., & Becker, S. (2016). Stress and binge drinking: A toxic combination for the teenage brain. Neuropsychologia, 90, 251–260.

Finnegan, R., & Becker, S. (2015). Neurogenesis paradoxically decreases both pattern separation and memory interference. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9(October), 1–12.

Hutton, C., Dery, N., Rosa, E., Lemon, J., Rollo, C., Boreham, D., … Becker, S. (2015). Synergistic effects of diet and exercise on hippocampal function in chronically stressed mice. Neuroscience, 308, 180–193.

Dhindsa, K., Drobinin, V., King, J., Hall, G. B., Burgess, N., & Becker, S. (2014). Examining the role of the temporo-parietal network in memory, imagery, and viewpoint transformations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(September), 1–13.

Déry, N., Pilgrim, M., Gibala, M., Gillen, J., Martin Wojtowicz, J., MacQueen, G., & Becker, S. (2013). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis reduces memory interference in humans: Opposing effects of aerobic exercise and depression. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(7 APR), 1–15.

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

Byrne, P., Becker, S., & 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. (2005). A computational principle for hippocampal learning and neurogenesis. Hippocampus, 15(6), 722–738.

Chen, Z., Becker, S., Bondy, J., Bruce, I., & Haykin, S. (2005). A Novel Model-Based Hearing Compensation Design Using a Gradient-Free Optimization Method. Neural Computation, 17(12), 2648–2671.

Becker, S., Moscovitch, M., Behrmann, M., & Joordens, S. (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., & Hinton, G. E. (1992). Self-organizing neural network that discovers surfaces in random-dot stereograms. Nature, 355, 161–163.

Current Graduate Students / Postdoctoral Fellows

  • , PhD Student, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • , PhD Student, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • , PhD Student (Co-supervision), Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • , PhD Student (Co-supervision), Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • , PhD Student (Co-supervision), Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • PhD Student (Co-supervision), Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • , MSc Student (Co-supervision), Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University
  • MSc Student, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University