Valorie Niloufar Salimpoor

Dr. Valorie Niloufar Salimpoor


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Research Focus

  • Reward-Based Learning: Dopaminergic contributions to learning, particularly in cognitive training and video games
  • Neuroscience of Autism:  How autism impacts the brain, how people with autism perceive their environments and assign salience/relevance to stimuli, how attention to irrelevant information may change perceptions, and how personalized intrinsic and extrinsic rewards can be used in interventions to focus attention on task-relevant and socially-relevant stimuli.
  • Neural Connectivity: Improvement of neural integration through cognitive training and assessment of neural connectivity using brain imaging. 
  • Neuroscience of Math:  Development of engaging ways to enhance conceptual understanding of mathematical information and strengthening cognitive fucntions that support math.


Music and the Brain

An examination of how music is interpreted as pleasurable by the brain, individual differences in music preferences, extra-musical influences on music processing, and neural basis of music purchasing decisions.

Cognitive Training

The role of internal motivation and reward-related learning in cognitive training and video games.  How can video games be used to increase intelligence and cognitive function.


Title Source (Journal/Book/Conference) Authors/Presenters Published On Type
Predictions and the brain: how musical sounds become rewarding. Trends in Cognitive Science Salimpoor, VN, Zald DH, Zatorre RJ, Dagher A, McIntosh AR 1433131200 Journal Article
Interactions Between the Nucleus Accumbens and Auditory Cortices Predict Music Reward Value Science Salimpoor, VN, van den Bosch, I, Kovacevic, N, McIntosh, R, Dagher, A, Zatorre, R 1365739200 Journal Article
Neural interactions that give rise to musical pleasure Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts Salimpoor VN, Zatorre RJ 1360299600 Journal Article
Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music Nature neuroscience Salimpoor VN, Benovoy M, Larcher K, Dagher A, Zatorre RJ 1293858000 Journal Article
Differential contribution of specific working memory components to mathematics achievement in 2nd and 3rd graders Learning and individual differences Meyer ML, Salimpoor VN, Wu SS, Geary DC, Menon V 1262322000 Journal Article
Neural basis of repetition priming during mathematical cognition: repetition suppression or repetition enhancement? Journal of cognitive neuroscience Salimpoor VN, Chang C, Menon V 1262322000 Journal Article
The rewarding aspects of music listening are related to degree of emotional arousal PloS one Salimpoor VN, Benovoy M, Longo G, Cooperstock JR, Zatorre RJ 1230786000 Journal Article
Standardized assessment of strategy use and working memory in early mental arithmetic performance Developmental neuropsychology Wu SS, Meyer ML, Maeda U, Salimpoor V, Tomiyama S, Geary DC, Menon V 1199163600 Journal Article

Professional Affiliations

Distinctions and Awards

  • 2013: Distinguished Dissertation Award in Biological and Life Sciences, Council of Graduate Studies - Proquest
  • 2013: Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Banting - NSERC
  • 2012: Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience - NSERC-Create Fellowship (declined)
  • 2012: CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)
  • 2011: American Psychological Association, Division 10: Frank X Barron Award for Outstanding Research by a Student
  • 2011: Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience - NSERC-Create Internship Award
  • 2011: McGill University Faculty of Medicine - MedStar Award
  • 2010: Montreal Neurological Institute - Jeanne Timmins Costello Graduate Student Fellowship
  • 2010: McGill University Psychology Department - Best Teaching Assistant Award
  • 2009: Sigma Xi - Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research Award
  • 2008: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology Research Fellowship
  • 2007: NSERC - Postgraduate Scholarship - Doctoral
  • 2004: NSERC - Postgraduate Scholarship - Masters
  • 2003: Autism Society of Ontario - Summer Student Research Scholarship

Research Projects


  • 2015: URL

    Sponsors: SEMPRE: Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research