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Allen Thornton

Primary Area of Research:
Brain, Behaviour & Development
Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
Professor, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Mailing Address:
Human Neuropsychology Laboratory 
Department of Psychology 
Simon Fraser University  
Burnaby, BC 
V5A 1S6

Research Areas

  • Clinical Neuropsychology 

  • Neuropsychological Assessment 

  • Neurocognitive Disorders in Medical and Psychiatric Patients 

  • Neuropsychology of Memory 

  • Frontal Lobe Functioning

About Dr. Thornton

My research interests are in the area of clinical neuropsychology, with a focus on memory, working memory, and executive functions. The following is a summary of my recent work:

My work in multiple sclerosis (MS) addresses controversies regarding the nature of MS-associated cognitive impairment. The research has contributed to deconstructing the popular retrieval-based account of memory dysfunction. Furthermore, previously unrecognized clinical features of MS that are associated with memory dysfunction have been elucidated.

I have an ongoing interest in the neurocognitive features of schizophrenia. This work is designed to elucidate the nature of memory impairment in schizophrenia and associations between illness-related factors and cognition.

I have strong interests in concussion and traumatic brain injury. This work is focused on determining who is at greatest risk for poor cognitive outcome following concussion. This research also evaluates the relationship between the extent of concussion exposure (single and multiple injuries) and neurocognitive impairment. Theoretically, these issues are important in understanding brain reserve capacity and threshold concepts in neuropsychology.

Recent publications

View Dr. Thornton's recent publications on ORCID

Selected Publications

Profiles of individuals seeking psychiatric help for psychotic symptoms linked to methamphetamine abuse – Baseline results from the MAPS (methamphetamine and psychosis study) Lecomte, T., Mueser, K.T., MacEwan, G.W., Laferriere-Simard, M.C., Thornton, A.E., Buchanan, T., Goldner, E., Brink, J., Ehmann, T.S., Lang, D., Kang, S., Barr, A.M., & Honer, W.G. (2010).  Mental Health Subst Abuse, 3, 168-181.

The ecological validity of everyday cognition in hospitalized patients with serious mental illness. Thornton, A.E., Kristinsson, H., DeFreitas, V.G., & Thornton W.L. (2010).  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 32:3, 299-308.

Hippocampal plasticity in response to exercise in schizophrenia. Pajonk, F. G., Wobrock, T., Gruber, O., Scherk, H., Berner, D., Kaizl, I., Kierer, A., Müller, S., Oest, M., Meyer, T., Backens, M., Schneider-Axmann, T., Thornton, A.E., Honer, W.G., & Falkai, P. (2010).  Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(2), 133-143.

A novel mechanism and treatment target for presynaptic abnormalities in specific striatal regions in schizophrenia. Barakauskas, V. E., Beasley, C. L., Barr, A. M., Ypsilanti, A. R., Li, H. Y., Thornton, A. E., Wong, H., Rosokija, G., Mann, J.J., Mancevski, B., Jakovski, Z., Davceva, N., Illevski, B., Dwork, A.J., Falkai, P., & Honer, W. G. (2010). Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(5), 1226-1238.

Prenatal tobacco exposure in first-episode psychosis. Smith, G.N., MacEwan, G.W., Kopala, Lang, D.J., Barr, A.M., Honer, W.G., Ehmann, T.S., Good, K., Thornton, A.E., & Neilson, H. (2010) Schizophrenia Research, 119(1-3), 271–272.

Predictors of starting to smoke cigarettes in patients with first-episode psychosis. Smith, G.N., Wong, H., MacEwan, G.W., Kopala, L.C., Ehmann, T.S., Thornton, A.E., Lang, D.J., Barr, A.M., Procyshyn, R., Austin, J.C., Flynn, S.W., & Honer, W.G. (2009). Schizophrenia Research, 108(1-3), 258-264.

The neuropsychology of multiple sclerosis. Thornton, A.E., & DeFreitas, V.G. (2009).  In I. Grant and K.M. Adams (Eds.), Neuropsychological Assessment of Neuropsychiatric and Neuromedical Disorders, 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press.

The Clozapine and Risperidone Enhancement Study Group. (2007). Changes in serum lipids, independent of weight, are associated with changes in symptoms during long-term clozapine treatment. Procyshyn, R. M., Wasan, K. M., Thornton, A. E., Barr, A. M., Chen, E. Y., Pomarol-Clotet, E., Stip, E., Williams, R., MacEwan, G.W, & Birmingham, C.L.,  Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, 32(5), 331-338.

Cumulative concussion exposure in rugby players: Neurocognitive and symptomatic outcomes. Thornton, A.E., Cox D.N., Whitfield, K. & Fouladi R.T. (2008).  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 30:4, 398-409.

 MAG gene variation and cortical gray matter volume in first episode schizophrenia. Voineskos, A.N., Lang, D.J., Zai, G., Bulgin, N., Shaikh, S., Su, W., Kopala, L.C., MacEwan, G.W., Thornton, A.E., Smith, G.N., Austin, J.C., Honer, W.G., & Kennedy, J.L. (2008). Brain Imaging & Behavior., 2(2), 117-122. 

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