Keywords: Hippocampus, Schizophrenia, Memory, Spatial Cognition, fMRI, Sleep-Paralysis Hallucinations
My research interests focus on functions mediated by the medial-temporal lobe, including primarily memory and spatial cognition. I am particularly interested in the applications of this study area and approach to understanding functional consequences of medial-temporal abnormalities in clinical conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Through studies with healthy and clinical samples, my lab also hopes to inform and test theories of normal cognition. In this vein, I have moved from being primarily a behavioural neuroscientist using rodent models of cognition (Graduate studies, U Waterloo) to that of a cognitive neuroscientist studying human conditions via neuropsychological, cognitive-science, and neuroimaging methods (Post-doctoral studies, Center for Addiction & Mental Health/ U Toronto). Our lab has also been exploring the effects of recreational drug use on cognition, intelligence assessment, and the spatial and temporal nature of multimodal hallucinations accompanying sleep paralysis. The combination of these perspectives has made valuable contributions to our current research approach at Ryerson University. Some recent research questions in our lab include:
- Are functional abnormalities in the medial-temporal lobe associated with schizophrenia and PTSD regionally specific?
- How are forms of memory and mnemonic processes differentially aberrant across the schizophrenia spectrum and among users of recreational drugs like ketamine and cannabis?
- How do emotional and self-referential thought processes contribute to memory of one’s past, future thoughts, and symptoms of psychopathology (psychosis, depression)?
I teach undergraduate courses on Brain and Behaviour, Psychopharmacology, Research Methods in Psychology, and The Psychology of Thinking. I also teach graduate-level courses in Human Brain Anatomy and and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Through these courses I aim to enhance students’ appreciation of the brain and cognition, the role that neurochemicals play in normal daily life, as well as in addiction and mental illness, from the neural level to thought and behaviour, as well as statistical and research methods in psychology.
Girard, T. A., Axelrod, B. N., Patel, R., & Crawford, J. R. (2015). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV dyads for estimating global intelligence. Assessment, 22, 441-448.
Patel, R., Girard, T. A., Pukay-Martin, N., & Monson, C. (2015). Preferential recruitment of the basolateral amygdala during memory encoding of negative scenes in posttraumatic disorder. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 130, 170-176.
Paleja, M., Girard, T. A., Herdman, K. A., Christensen, B. K. (2014). Two distinct neural networks functionally connected to the human hippocampus during pattern separation tasks. Brain & Cognition, 92, 101-111.
Wilkins, L. K., Girard, T. A., Konishi, K., King, M., Herdman, K. A., King, J., Christensen, B. K., & Bohbot, V. D. (2013). Selective deficit in spatial memory strategies contrast to intact response strategies in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders tested in a virtual navigation task. Hippocampus, 23, 1015–1024.
Girard, T.A., Christensen, B.K., & Rizvi, S. (2010). Visual-spatial episodic memory in Schizophrenia: A multiple systems framework. Neuropsychology, 24 (3), 368-378.
Girard, T.A., Martius, D.L.M.A., & Cheyne, J.A. (2007). Mental representation of space: Insights from an oblique distribution of hallucinations. Neuropsychologia, 45, 1257-1269.
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