Dan Norton, PhD

Alumnus of the Vision and Cognition Lab, Boston University
BA Psychology, Gordon College
MA Psychology, Boston University

Research Interests

My active research projects have two foci.  One is  trying to understand why some people with Parkinson’s seem to have visuospatial neglect. I am running a series of psychophysical experiments aimed at beginning to answer that question.  My other focus, which is more in line with what I plan to pursue in the future, is on inhibitory processing within the visual system in major depressive disorder. Overall, the idea in my research generally is to use relatively simple visual processes as a window to understand how the brain and mind change when people get a psychological disorder (or a neurological one, in the case of Parkinson’s disease).

Relevant Experience

Worked as a research assistant under Dr. Yue Chen at McLean hospital from 2005-2009. Studied vision in schizophrenia, healthy aging, and autism. Methods used were mostly psychophysical but also did some fMRI.Clinical experience at CARD treating depression and anxiety with CBT, and now working at McLean’s BHP, doing short-term CBT for acute patients with a wide variety of diagnoses.


Backpacking, Guitar/banjo, building a wooden standup paddle board!


Original Articles

Norton, D., Öngür, D., Stromeyer, C., Chen, Y. (2008) Altered ‘three-flash’ illusion in response to two light pulses in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 103, 275-82.


Norton, D., McBain, R., Chen, Y. (2009) Age-related decline in the detection of line drawn faces and its association with spatiotemporal visual processing. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 64, 328-34.


Norton, D., McBain, R., Holt, D., Öngür, D., Chen, Y. (2009) Association of impaired facial affect recognition with basic facial and visual processing deficits in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry, 65, 1094-8


Norton, D., Chen Y. (2011) Diminished priming of visual motion in schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia Research, 127, 264-5.


Norton, D.J., McBain, R., Öngür, D., Chen, Y. (2011) Perceptual training strongly improves visual motion perception in schizophrenia. Brain and Cognition. 77, 248-56

Norton, D.J., McBain, R.K., Pizzagalli, D.A., Cronin-Golomb A., Chen Y., Dysregulated inhibition of visual motion in major depression.  In Preparation

Chen, Y., Bidwell, L.C., Norton, D. (2006) Trait vs. state markers for schizophrenia: identification and characterization through visual processes.  Current Psychiatry Reviews, 2, 431-8.

Chen, Y., Norton, D., Öngür, D., Heckers, S. (2008) Inefficient face detection in schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia Bulletin, 34, 367-74.

Chen, Y., Norton, D., Öngür, D. (2008) Altered center-surround motion inhibition in schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry, 64, 74-7.


Chen, Y., Norton, D., McBain, R. (2008) Can persons with schizophrenia appreciate art?  Schizophrenia Research, 105, 245-51.


Chen, Y., Norton, D., McBain, R., Öngür, D., Heckers, S. (2009) Visual and cognitive processing of face information in schizophrenia: Detection, discrimination and working memory. Schizophrenia Research, 107, 92-8.

McBain R., Norton D., Chen Y. (2009) Females excel at basic face perception. Acta Psychologica, 130, 168-73

Chen, Y., Norton, D., McBain R. (2009) Visual processing as trait and state markers for schizophrenia. In: M Ritsner (Ed) Neuropsychiatric Biomarkers, Endophenotypes, and Genes: Promises, Advances, and Challenges. Springer, New York.

McBain, R., Norton, D., Chen, Y. (2010) A female advantage in basic face recognition absent in schizophrenia.  Psychiatry Research, 177, 12-7.

McBain, R., Norton, D., Chen, Y. (2010) Is visual motion processing vulnerable to early aging? The Open Behavioral Science Journal, 4, 26-30.

McBain, R., Norton, D., Chen, Y. (2010) Differential roles of low and high spatial frequency content in abnormal facial emotion perception in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 122, 151-5.

Chen, Y., McBain, R., Norton, D., Öngür, D. (2011). Schizophrenia patients show augmented spatial frame illusion for visual and visuomotor tasks. Neuroscience, 172, 419-26


Chen, Y., Cataldo, A.C., Norton, D., Öngür, D. (2012). Distinct facial processing in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders. Schizophrenia Research, 134, 95-100.

Chen Y., Norton D.J., McBain R., Gold .J., Frazier J.A., Coyle J.T. (2012) Enhanced local processing of dynamic visual information in autism: Evidence from speed discrimination.  Neuropsychologia, 50, 733-9.

McBain, R., Norton D., Kim J., Chen, Y. (2011) Reduced volitional control of a visually-bistable image in schizophrenia.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 9, 1-6.


McBain R, Norton D.J., Morris J, Yasamy M.T., Betancourt T.S. (2012). The role of health systems factors in facilitating access to psychotropic medicines: a cross-sectional analysis of the WHO-AIMS in 63 low- and middle-income countries. PLoS Medicine, 9, e1001166.

McBain R., Norton D.J., Chen Y. (2012) Differential Spatial Frequency Modulations on Facial Emotion Detection. The Open Behavioral Science Journal, 6, 1.

Kim, J, Norton, D.J., McBain R., Ongur, D., Chen, Y.  (2013). Deficient biological motion perception in schizophrenia: results from a motion noise paradigm. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 391.

Hodges, B.H., Meagher, B.R., Norton, D.J., McBain, R., Sroubek, A. (in press).  Speaking form ignorance: Not agreeing with others we believe are correct. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Abstracts, Papers, Posters Presented

Norton, D., Heckers, S., Ongur, D., Chen, Y. (2006) Perceptual priming of visual motion discrimination.  Poster presented at annual meeting for the Society for Research in Psychopathology, and at Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Day.


Norton, D., Chen, Y. (2007) Dynamic and static visual functions in early and late stages of mental aging.  Presented at Harvard Medical Mysell School Psychiatry Day


Norton, D., Ongur, D., Stromeyer, C., Chen, Y. (2007).  Altered temporal interaction in response to two light pulses in schizophrenia.  Presented at Society for Research in Psychopathology. 


Norton, D., McBain, R., Holt, D., Öngür, D., Chen Y. (2008) Roles of emotional, facial and visual signals in emotion recognition in schizophrenia. Presented at conference for “the Biological Basis for Psychiatric Disease” at MIT McGovern Institute and Harvard Medical School Mysell Psychiatry Day


Norton, D., McBain, R., Kim, J., Chen Y.  (2009) Improvement of deficient visual motion perception in schizophrenia through perceptual learning. Presented at Harvard Medical School Mysell Psychiatry Day.

Norton, D., McBain, R., Chen Y.  (2010) Reduced Ability to Detect Facial Configuration in Middle-Aged and Elderly Individuals: Associations With Spatiotemporal Visual Processing.  Presented at Cognitive Aging Conference

Norton, D., McBain, R., Ongur, D., Chen, Y. (2010) Perceptual learning strongly improves visual motion perception in schizophrenia. Presented at annual conference for Association for Psychological Science.

Norton, D. (2010) Altered Visual Perception in Depression. Presented at McLean Hospital to funding donors for the Rossano Mind, Brain and Behavioral Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

Norton, D., Laudate, T.M., Cronin-Golomb, A. (2011) Hemineglect in Left-Onset Parkinson’s Disease is Independent of Visual Scanning Patterns. Presented at annual conference for the International Neuropsychological Society.

Norton, D.J., Gallart Palau, X., Chen, Y., Cronin-Golomb, A. (2011) Opposite central and peripheral perceptual biases during bisection of short and long lines: compensation by attention?  Presented at the European Conference on Visual Perception.

Norton, D.J., Chen Y.  (2012) Visual inhibition in depression. Presented at McLean Research Day, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA.

Norton, D.J., Cronin-Golomb, A., Pizzagalli, D.A., Chen, Y. (2013) Increased center-surround suppression of early visual motion processing in current major depression.  Presented at Association for Psychological Science, Washington D.C.

Norton, D.J., Cronin-Golomb, A. (2013) Altered perception of spatial frequency but not contrast in left-onset Parkinson’s Disease.  To be presented at World Congress on Parkinson’s Disease and related disorders, Geneva Switzerland.

Cook, K., Orton, P., Norton, D., Mendes, D. (2005) Khmer Buddhist and Christian: Qualitative descriptions of their moral landscapes. Presented at Association for Moral Education.

Chen, Y., Norton, D., Öngür, D. (2006) Reduced Center-Surround Interaction in Visual Motion Processing of Schizophrenia: Evidence for Altered Spatial Organization of the Visual System. Neuropsychopharmacology 31 (supp. 1) s256.

Chen, Y., Norton, D., Ongur, D. (2007) Relationship between visual feature modulation and art appreciation in schizophrenia.  Presented at Society for Research in Psychopathology.

Chen, Y., Norton, D.,  McBain, R., Gold, J.,  Frazier, J., Coyle, J. (2008) Basic face detection deficit in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.  Presented at Autism Consortium Annual Symposium.

Hodges, B.H., Norton, D. (2008) Dissent as Cooperation, and Carrying as Caring: Asch, Gibson, and Values. Presented at Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Meagher, B., Dennis, A., McBain, R., Norton, D., Wu, J., Hodges, B.  (2008)  Speaking from ignorance: an inverse Asch effect.  Presented at the meetings of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

McBain, R., Norton, D., Ongur, D., Chen, Y. (2009) A female advantage in perceptual processing of facial information absent in schizophrenia.  Presented at conference for “the Biological Basis for Psychiatric Disease” at MIT McGovern Institute and Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Day

Reynolds, G.O., Norton, D.J., Desai, N, Di Gaetano L., Cronin Golomb A.  Differences in line bisection in younger and older adults: relation to peripheral contrast sensitivity.  To be presented at Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA.