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Human Development and Family Studies

Faculty Profile

University of Southern California, 1982

Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center


My area of expertise is Cognitive Neuroscience, a hybrid discipline that combines principles of Experimental Psychology with aspects of Behavioral Neurology. Essentially, I am interested in how cognitive models of higher order mental processes like perception, memory, and language relate to the underlying structures and neural circuitry of the human brain. In this regard, my current research interest is the investigation of the specialized functions of the left and right cerebral hemispheres and how they serve as a neurological basis for the development of individual differences in higher-order thinking processes, particularly as they relate to handedness, sex , autism, ADHD and mathematical giftedness.

Recent Publications:

Prescott, J., Gavrilescu, M., Cunnington, R, O’Boyle, M.W. & Egan, G.F. (2010). Enhanced intra-hemispheric fronto-parietal connectivity in math gifted adolescents: An fMRI study of mental rotation. Cognitive Neuroscience, 277-288.

James, R. N., III & O’Boyle, M. W.  (2014). Charitable estate planning as visualized autobiography: An fMRI study of its neural correlates. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(2), 355-373.

Jai, C., Fang, D., & O’Boyle, M.W. (2014). Neural correlates of sensory enabling presentation: An fMRI study of rotation and zooming video effects on online apparel shopping. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 1-9, DOI-10.1002/cb.1476.

Pati, D., O'Boyle, M., Amor, C., Hou, J., Valipoor, S., & Fang, D. (2014). Neural correlates of nature stimuli: An fMRI study. Health Environments Research and Design Journal, 7(2), 9-28.

Mutreja, R., Craig, C. & O’Boyle, M. (in press). Attentional network deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurorehabilitation.

Recent Grants:

Project Title: South Plains Mathematics Scholars Project. Co-PI, National Science Foundation, 2007-2012, $571,580.
Project Title: Neuropsychological and cognitive sequelae of binge drinking. Co-PI, Texas Tech University-Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Joint Initiative Grant, 2008-2009, $253,342.

Project Title: Modeling of the human brain through synergistic neuroimaging. Co-PI, Texas Tech University Research Development Grant, 2008-2010, $480,928.

Project Title: Integrated STEM Initiative on the South Plains. Senior Personnel, National Science   Foundation, 2009-2014, $977,962.

Project Title:  RMR-TTU: Recruitment, mentoring, and research in mathematics and science at Texas Tech University, Senior Personnel, National Science Foundation, 2010-2015, $1,457,733.

Project Title: East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood, Co-PI, U.S. Department of Education, Promise Neighborhood Grant, 2013-2017, $24,560,115.