Neil Mcmillan

Dr Neil Mcmillan

Senior Research Officer

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

I am a Senior Research Officer with the Vascular Surgery Research Group at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Research, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I was previously a Senior Research Development Officer with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. My preferred role is in making life a little easier for busy scientists, helping with (for example): research management, grant writing, strategic analysis, and professional development.

Until recently, I was a research fellow and laboratory coordinator in psychology studying animal behaviour and cognition across a range of topics, including: interval timing, decision-making, number discrimination, episodic memory, metacognition, and categorization. I completed my Honours degree at Wilfrid Laurier University and my MSc and PhD at the University of Western Ontario, as well as a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alberta (all in Canada). I also taught undergraduate courses in learning, behaviour modification, and animal cognition.

I am a passionate supporter of patient-centred healthcare, animal research, and evidence-based inquiry.

My current role is focused on researching novel technologies and implementing large, multi-institutional data registries in assessment and monitoring of diabetes-related foot complications and lower limb ischaemia, as part of the Vascular Surgery Research Group. I coordinate large, multi-centre projects including:

  • creation and testing of Virtual Reality training modules for community care workers to help in managing diabetes-related foot disease in Aboriginal people
  • blood and tissue biobanking and patient registries for diabetes-related foot disease
  • patient-centered outcomes in chronic limb-threatening ischaemia

For more on my past research interests, please check out my Reddit AMA on animal cognition!

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2022 Scierka, L. E., Mena-Hurtado, C., Shishehbor, M. H., Spertus, J. A., Nagpal, S., Babrowski, T., . . . Smolderen, K. G. (2022). The shifting care and outcomes for patients with endangered limbs – Critical limb ischemia (SCOPE-CLI) registry overview of study design and rationale. IJC Heart and Vasculature, 39, 100971.
    2019 McMillan, N., & Spetch, M. L. (2019). Anticipation of a midsession reversal in humans. Behavioural Processes, 159, 60-64.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC2
    2018 Ludvig, E. A., Madan, C. R., McMillan, N., Xu, Y., & Spetch, M. L. (2018). Living near the edge: how extreme outcomes and their neighbors drive risky choice. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(12), 1905-1918.
    DOI Scopus14 WoS16 Europe PMC4
    2017 Du, Y., McMillan, N., Madan, C. R., Spetch, M. L., & Mou, W. (2017). Cue integration in spatial search for jointly learned landmarks but not for separately learned landmarks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 43(12), 1857-1871.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC1
    2017 McMillan, N., Spetch, M. L., Roberts, W. A., & Sturdy, C. B. (2017). It's all a matter of time: Interval timing and competition for stimulus control. Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews, 12(1), 83-103.
    DOI Scopus7
    2017 McMillan, N., Hahn, A., Congdon, J., Campbell, K., Hoang, J., Scully, E., . . . Sturdy, C. (2017). Chickadees discriminate contingency reversals presented consistently, but not frequently. Animal Cognition, 20(4), 655-663.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS4 Europe PMC1
    2017 Hahn, A., Campbell, K., Congdon, J., Hoang, J., McMillan, N., Scully, E., . . . Sturdy, C. (2017). Discrimination of acoustically similar conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations by black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Animal Cognition, 20(4), 639-654.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2
    2017 Hahn, A., Congdon, J., Campbell, K., Scully, E., McMillan, N., & Sturdy, C. (2017). Mechanisms of Communication and Cognition in Chickadees: Explaining Nature in the Lab and Field. Advances in the Study of Behavior, 49, 147-197.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS3
    2017 Proppe, D., McMillan, N., Congdon, J., & Sturdy, C. (2017). Mitigating road impacts on animals through learning principles. Animal Cognition, 20(1), 19-31.
    DOI Scopus17 WoS14 Europe PMC3
    2017 Sturdy, C., Campbell, K., Congdon, J., Hahn, A., McMillan, N., & Scully, E. (2017). Moving from perceptual to functional categories in songbirds. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 30, 2-14.
    2017 Scully, E., Hahn, A., Campbell, K., McMillan, N., Congdon, J., & Sturdy, C. (2017). ZENK expression following conspecific and heterospecific playback in the zebra finch auditory forebrain. Behavioural Brain Research, 331, 151-158.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC1
    2016 Hahn, A., Hoeschele, M., Guillette, L., Hoang, J., McMillan, N., Congdon, J., . . . Sturdy, C. (2016). Black-capped chickadees categorize songs based on features that vary geographically. Animal Behaviour, 112, 93-104.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS6
    2016 McMillan, N., Sturdy, C., Pisklak, J., & Spetch, M. (2016). Pigeons perform poorly on a midsession reversal task without rigid temporal regularity. Animal Cognition, 19(4), 855-859.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS12 Europe PMC5
    2016 Congdon, J. V., Hahn, A. H., Mcmillan, N., Avey, M. T., & Sturdy, C. B. (2016). Chickadee behavioural response to varying threat levels of predator and conspecific calls. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 29, 1-19.
    DOI Scopus2
    2015 McMillan, N., & Sturdy, C. B. (2015). Commentary: A crisis in comparative psychology: Where have all the undergraduates gone?. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(OCT), 2 pages.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS6 Europe PMC2
    2015 Mcmillan, N., & Roberts, W. (2015). A three-stimulus midsession reversal task in pigeons with visual and spatial discriminative stimuli. Animal Cognition, 18(1), 373-383.
    DOI Scopus15 WoS14 Europe PMC10
    2015 Hahn, A., Hoang, J., McMillan, N., Campbell, K., Congdon, J., & Sturdy, C. (2015). Biological salience influences performance and acoustic mechanisms for the discrimination of male and female songs. Animal Behaviour, 104, 213-228.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS8
    2015 Mcmillan, N., Hahn, A., Spetch, M., & Sturdy, C. (2015). Avian cognition: Examples of sophisticated capabilities in space and song. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 6(3), 285-297.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS5 Europe PMC2
    2015 McMillan, N., Sturdy, C., & Spetch, M. (2015). When is a choice not a choice? Pigeons fail to inhibit incorrect responses on a go/no-go midsession reversal task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41(3), 255-265.
    DOI Scopus22 WoS23 Europe PMC10
    2015 Hahn, A., Guillette, L., Lee, D., McMillan, N., Hoang, J., & Sturdy, C. (2015). Experience affects immediate early gene expression in response to conspecific call notes in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Behavioural Brain Research, 287, 49-58.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS8 Europe PMC3
    2014 McMillan, N., Kirk, C. R., & Roberts, W. A. (2014). Pigeon (Columba livia) and rat (Rattus norvegicus) performance in the midsession reversal procedure depends upon cue dimensionality. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128(4), 357-366.
    DOI Scopus25 WoS25 Europe PMC13
    2014 Kirk, C., McMillan, N., & Roberts, W. (2014). Rats respond for information: Metacognition in a rodent?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 40(2), 249-259.
    DOI Scopus19 WoS19 Europe PMC9
    2013 McMillan, N., & Roberts, W. A. (2013). Pigeons rank-order responses to temporally sequential stimuli. Learning and Behavior, 41(3), 309-318.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC1
    2013 McMillan, N., & Roberts, W. A. (2013). Interval timing under variations in the relative validity of temporal cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 39(4), 334-341.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC2
    2012 McMillan, N., & Roberts, W. A. (2012). Pigeons make errors as a result of interval timing in a visual, but not a visual-spatial, midsession reversal task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 38(4), 440-445.
    DOI Scopus39 WoS39 Europe PMC14
    2012 Roberts, W., McMillan, N., Musolino, E., & Cole, M. (2012). Information Seeking in Animals: Metacognition?. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 8, 85-109.
    2010 McMillan, N., & Roberts, W. A. (2010). The effects of cue competition on timing in pigeons. Behavioural Processes, 84(2), 581-590.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS9 Europe PMC4
    2009 Roberts, W. A., Feeney, M. C., McMillan, N., MacPherson, K., Musolino, E., & Petter, M. (2009). Do Pigeons (Columba livia) Study for a Test?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 35(2), 129-142.
    DOI Scopus57 WoS50 Europe PMC40
    2008 Van Rooyen, P., McMillan, N., & Santi, A. (2008). Rats' memory for event duration in delayed matching-to-sample with nonspatial comparison response alternatives. Behavioural Processes, 78(1), 1-9.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2008 Roberts, W. A., Feeney, M. C., MacPherson, K., Petter, M., McMillan, N., & Musolino, E. (2008). Episodic-like memory in rats: Is it based on when or how long ago?. Science, 320(5872), 113-115.
    DOI Scopus112 WoS100 Europe PMC67
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2017 Mcmillan, N., Avey, M., Bloomfield, L., Guillette, L., Hahn, A., Hoeschele, M., & Sturdy, C. (2017). Avian Vocal Perception: Bioacoustics and Perceptual Mechanisms. In C. ten Cate, & S. D. Healy (Eds.), Avian Cognition (pp. 270-295). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Reducing the Allure of Winning Cues in Gambling. Alberta Gambling Research Institute Major Grant (Co-principal investigator: 2016 - 2018) [$134,506].

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2012 - 2013) [$15,000]

NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarship (2009 - 2012) [$105,000]

Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (2008 - 2009) [$15,000]


Principles of Learning and Behaviour (PS381); University of Alberta (2016)

*Behaviour Modification (PS282); University of Alberta (2015; 2017)

*Theory in Learning & Comparative Cognition (PS485); University of Alberta (2014; 2016)

Introduction to Behaviour (PS281); MacEwan University (2014)

*Department of Psychology Teaching Honour Roll with Distinction & 2017 Interdisciplinary Science Students’ Association Award for Excellence in Teaching


  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - 2016 Secretary Postdoctoral Fellows Association University of Alberta Canada
    2015 - 2016 Member 3-Minute Thesis Judging Panel University of Alberta Canada
    2015 - 2016 Member Department of Psychology Council University of Alberta Canada
    2012 - 2013 Secretary Ontario Ecology, Ethology, & Evolution Colloquium Organizing Committee University of Western Ontario Canada
    2011 - 2011 Member Space and Facilities Committee University of Western Ontario Canada
    2009 - 2010 Member Society of Graduate Students University of Western Ontario Canada
    2007 - 2011 Member Graduate Teaching Assistant Union University of Western Ontario Canada
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2018 - 2018 Enquiries Desk & Oncology Ward Support Volunteer Public Community Engagement Calvary North Adelaide Hospital Australia
    2017 - 2017 Patient/Family Safety Advisory Panel Health Quality Council of Alberta Canada
    2016 - 2017 New Patient Facilitator, Wayfinder, & Patient Advisor Public Community Engagement Cross Cancer Institute Canada
    2016 - 2016 Communications Working Group IMAGINE Citizens for Health Canada
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2017 - 2022 Associate Editor Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews United States
  • Position: Senior Research Officer
  • Email:
  • Campus: Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Building: Institute Building, floor Second Floor
  • Org Unit: Surgical Specialities

Connect With Me
External Profiles