Neuroscience and Cognition in Parkinson’s Disease

On this project, CMAC investigates the effect of Parkinson’s Disease on cognition and emotion. The project uses advances in functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) techniques, new psychophysical cognitive priming techniques, and classical “on-off” levodopa (LD) comparative techniques to identify brain system alterations linked with patients’ cognition changes.

In addition, two doctoral students and one post-doctoral fellow are being trained in the scientific background and experimental techniques relevant to this project. CMAC believes that this work with these patients will identify key sources of their challenges as well as illuminate fundamental issues in the neuroscience of beliefs, behaviors, and experiences. Years Active: 2012–2017.


Key Personnel

Patrick McNamara (PI)
LeRon Shults
Ann Taves
Wesley Wildman (Co-PI)
Raymon Durso
David Salat
Chris Halloran
Jonathan Morgan

Research Partners

Boston VA Research Institute (BVARI)
VA Boston Healthcare System

Relevant Publications

Butler, Paul M., Patrick Mcnamara, and Raymon Durso. 2010. “Deficits in the Automatic Activation of Religious Concepts in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.” Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 16 (2): 252–61.

Butler, Paul M., Patrick McNamara, and Raymon Durso. 2011. “Side of Onset in Parkinson’s Disease and Alterations in Religiosity: Novel Behavioral Phenotypes.” Behavioural Neurology 24 (2): 133–41.

Butler, Paul M., Patrick McNamara, Jessica Ghofrani, and Raymon Durso. 2011. “Disease-Associated Differences in Religious Cognition in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 33 (8): 917–28.

Harris, Erica, Patrick McNamara, and Raymon Durso. 2017. “Possible Selves in Patients with Right- versus Left-Onset Parkinson’s Disease.” Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition 24 (2): 198–215.

McNamara, Patrick. 2001. “Religion and the Frontal Lobes.” Religion in Mind: Cognitive Perspectives on Religious Belief, Ritual, and Experience, Ed. J. Andresen, 237–56.

———. 2006. “The Frontal Lobes and the Evolution of Cooperation and Religion.” Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion 2: 189–204.

———. n.d. “Neuroscience Can Contribute to Pastoral Care and Counseling.”

McNamara, Patrick, and Raymon Durso. 2018. “The Dopamine System, Parkinson’s Disease and Language Function.” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, The Evolution of Language, 21 (June): 1–5.

McNamara, Patrick, Raymon Durso, and Ariel Brown. 2006. “Religiosity in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 2 (3): 341–48.

McNamara, Patrick, Raymon Durso, Ariel Brown, and Erica Harris. 2006. “The Chemistry of Religiosity: Evidence from Patients with Parkinson’s Disease.” Where God and Science Meet 2: 1–14.

McNamara, Patrick, April Minsky, Victoria Pae, and Alina Gusev. 2015. “Cognitive Phenomenology of Religious Experience in Religious Narratives, Dreams, and Nightmares.” Archive for the Psychology of Religion 37 (3): 343–57.

Morgan, Jonathan, Dustin Clark, Yorghos Tripodis, Christopher S. Halloran, April Minsky, Wesley J. Wildman, Raymon Durso, and Patrick McNamara. 2016. “Impacts of Religious Semantic Priming on an Intertemporal Discounting Task: Response Time Effects and Neural Correlates.” Neuropsychologia89: 403–13.

Smart, Karishma, Raymon Durso, Jonathan Morgan, and Patrick McNamara. 2016. “A Potential Case of Remission of Parkinson’s Disease.” Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine 13 (3): 311–15.