Samuel M. McClure
Department of Psychology
I am a Professor in the
Department of Psychology
where I direct the
Decision Neuroscience Lab.
My research is in the area of
Cognitive Neuroscience. Specifically, I am interested in brain systems important for
learning the value of items in the world and/or actions required to obtain these items.
This interest has led me to a broader interest in decision-making. One line of work in my
lab investigates how we value rewards that can only be obtained in the future. This
valuation process is fundamental for our ability to delay gratification, and addresses
classic intertemporal choice problems from behavioral economics. Additionally, we have
become interested in behaviors related to competitive drive and study brain activity
that predicts the degree to which people will pay too much in a competitive auction task
to beat their competitors.
From a neuroscience perspective, my research interests begin with the midbrain dopamine
system. I use fMRI to investigate dopaminergic function pertaining to valuation,
decision-making, and cognitive control processes. We have made
methodological contributions that permit studying the ventral tegmental area and substantia
nigra directly, and are interested in parsing computational processes subserved by these nuclei
above and beyond reporting reward prediction errors. This interest extends to striatal function:
recent work from our lab has used fMRI in conjunction with DTI and functional connectivity
measures to parcellate distinct cognitive processes subserved by separate striatal regions. Our
aim is to link distinct mesostriatal and corticostriatal pathways to computational models
of cogntion in order to elucidate the nature of mental processes involved in learning
and decision-making. These neural and cognitive processes have direct relevance to addiction,
ADHD, and Parkinson's Disease, and we are deeply involved in projects applying our findings
to these areas.
My research is generously funded by the National Science Foundation
National Institutes of Health
Foundational Publications for Current Work:
- Elliott, B.L., D’Ardenne, K., Murty, V.P., Brewer, G.A., McClure, S.M. (2022) Midbrain-hippocampus structural integrity selectively predicts motivated memory encoding. Journal of Neuroscience 42(50): 9426-9434.
- Elliott, B. L., D’Ardenne, K., Mukherjee, P., Schweitzer, J. B., & McClure, S. M. (2022). Limbic and executive meso-and nigrostriatal tracts predict impulsivity differences in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging 7(4), 415-423.
- Snider, S.E., Turner, J.K., McClure, S.M., Bickel, W.K. (2021) Reinforcer pathology in cocaine use disorder: Temporal window determines cocaine valuation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 225: 108795.
- Ballard, I.C., Wagner, A.D., McClure, S.M. (2019) Hippocampal pattern separation supports reinforcement learning. Nature Communications 10: 1073.
- Ballard, I.C., Aydogan, G., Kim, B., McClure, S.M. (2018) Causal evidence for the dependence of the magnitude effect on dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Scientific Reports 8: 16545.
- Van den Bos, W., Rodriguez, C.A., Schweitzer, J., McClure, S.M. (2015) Adolescent impatience decreases with increased fronto-striatal connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(29): E3765-74.
- Hennigan, K., D'Ardenne, K., McClure, S.M. (2015) Distinct midbrain and habenula pathways are involved in processing aversive events in humans. Journal of Neuroscience 35(1): 198-208.
- Van den Bos, W., Rodriguez, C., Schweitzer, J.B., McClure, S.M. (2014) Connectivity strength of dissociable striatal tracts predicts individual differences in temporal discounting. Journal of Neuroscience 34(31): 10298-10310.
- Magen, E.*, Kim, B.*, Dweck, C.S., Gross, J.J., McClure, S.M. (2014) Behavioral and neural correlates of increased self-control in the absence of increased willpower. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(27): 9786-9791.
- Fassbender, C., Houde, S., Silver-Balbus, S., Ballard, K., Kim, B., Rutledge, K.J., Dixon, J.F., Iosif, A.M., Schweitzer, J.B., McClure, S.M. (2014) The decimal effect: Behavioral and neural bases for a novel influence on intertemporal choice in healthy individuals and in ADHD. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 26(11): 2455-2468.
- Van den Bos, W., Talwar, A., McClure, S.M. (2013) Neural correlates of reinforcement learning and social preferences in competitive bidding. Journal of Neuroscience 33(5): 2137-2146.
- D'Ardenne, K., McClure, S.M., Nystrom, L.E., & Cohen, J.D. (2008) BOLD responses reflecting dopaminergic signals in the human ventral tegmental area. Science 319: 1264-1267.
- McClure, S.M., Laibson, D.I., Loewenstein, G., Cohen, J.D. (2004) Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed rewards. Science 306: 503-507.
- McClure, S.M.*, Li, J.*, Tomlin, D., Cypert, K.S., Montague, L.M., Montague, P.R. (2004) Neural correlates of behavioral preference for culturally familiar drinks. Neuron 44: 379-387.
- McClure, S.M., Daw, N.D., Montague, P.R. (2003) A computational substrate for incentive salience. Trends in Neurosciences 26: 423-428.
- McClure, S.M., Berns, G.S., Montague, P.R. (2003) Temporal prediction errors in a passive learning task activate human striatum. Neuron 38: 339-346.
Reprints of these and other papers can be found on my lab's web site