Picture of Dr. Ron Borowsky

Dr. Ron Borowsky PhD Professor

Cognitive Neuroscience

152 Arts Bldg., College of Arts and Science


I grew up in northern Saskatchewan Treaty 10 territory, and did my primary and secondary schooling in Prince Albert.  Following the construction of the Wollaston Lake road in the early 1970's, our family built and operated a fishing resort at Davin and Wathaman Lakes, and I became a fishing guide.  I was very fortunate to be taught by some of the best Cree guides in the area.  I learned real-world "experimenting" techniques from my father whenever we had to fix mechanical problems in everything from outboard motors, aircraft, power generators, waterpumps, tractors and vehicles, to fridges and fishing reels... ("just try one thing at a time to figure out what's going on" he would say, and that basic scientific method principle would serve me well as I went on to study how the mind and brain worked). Working up north was a great way to save money for school, and I was the first in my family to be able to go to university. I did my undergraduate training at UofS, starting as a Physics major, but switching to Psychology upon learning about psychophysics in a 'mind-changing' course in human perception by Jim Cheesman, who eventually became my honours research supervisor. My graduate training at the University of Waterloo with Derek Besner and post-doctoral training at the University of Victoria with Mike Masson concentrated on basic research issues in reading (i.e., the development of a multistage activation framework, and a distributed neural-network memory model of orthographic, phonological, and semantic processing during visual word recognition). At UofS, I have been very fortunate to work with exceptional students, and our lab focuses on the localization of language processes, and their interactions, broadly defined (e.g., basic reading, speech, perception, object identification, attentional, and embodiment processes), both from a temporal (reaction time and duration) and spatial (fMRI and neurosurgical patients) perspective. Much of our research explores connectivity, and the hypothesis of modularity of mind (a rather broad definition of the concept whereby mental processes can be broken down into common/shared and unique/modular networks). We also maintain a program of research that strives to bridge basic research on cognitive processing to neurosurgical applications for localizing brain functions prior to surgery. Students interested in graduate training should check out our graduate program stream in Cognition and Neuroscience, and those interested in undergraduate training should check out our BSc Honours program, which was developed for those seeking to go on in cognition and neuroscience).

My wife (Dr. Patti McDougall, Developmental Psychologist) and I moved to the UofS in 1995, and our son Braedy was born in 2000 (currently a UofS student in Psychology, CompSci and Studio Art).  When we aren't working, we enjoy watching TV with our cat Lu, fishing, skiing, hiking and playing music.  When there isn't a pandemic (!) we enjoy travelling to warm destinations in mid Saskatchewan winter, and going to the movies.

Academic background and Appointments

  • 1985-1989: B.A. Hons. (UofS, supervisor: Jim Cheesman) 
  • 1989-1991: M.A. (U Waterloo, supervisor: Derek Besner)
  • 1991-1993: Ph.D. (U Waterloo, supervisor: Derek Besner)
  • 1993-1995: NSERC Post-doctoral Fellow (U Victoria, supervisor: Michael Masson) 
  • 1995-1999: Assistant Professor, Cognitive Neuroscience, Dept. of Psychology
  • 1999-2006: Associate Professor, Cognitive Neuroscience, Dept. of Psychology
  • 2006-present: Professor, Cognitive Neuroscience, Dept. of Psychology & Health Studies
  • 2007: Acting Associate Dean, College of Graduate Studies and Research
  • 2007-present: Associate Member in Neurosurgery, College of Medicine
  • NSERC Evaluation Group 1502: Biological Systems and Functions member 2010 - 2013, 2017 - 2019
  • Co-Chair for NSERC Evaluation Group 1502: Biological Systems and Functions (Section Chair for Cognitive, 2013 - 2014; Section Chair for Neuroscience, 2019 - 2020)
  • 2015-2025: University Tri-Council Leader: NSERC, Office of the Vice President Research

Courses taught at UofS

  • PSY 805.3 Statistics I: General Linear Models
  • PSY 846.3 Advanced Seminar in Human Neuroscience
  • PSY 838.3 Advanced Seminar In Language Processing: Localization of Language Processes
  • PSY 839.3 Advanced Seminar in Perception and Cognitive Processes 
  • PSY 880.3 Seminar in Cognitive and Biological Foundations
  • PSY 898.3 Special Topics: e.g., Neuroimaging, Reading Processes
  • PSY 900 Cognition and Neuroscience Research Seminar (Program Coordinator)
  • PSY 234.3 Statistical Methods in Behavioural Sciences 
  • PSY 252.3 Perceptual Processes
  • PSY 256.3 Psychology of Language
  • PSY 352.6 Advanced Seminar in Perception and Cognition
  • PSY 355.3 Research in Advanced Cognitive Science
  • PSY 356.3 Advanced Cognitive Science Independent Research Projects
  • PSY 456.3 Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Science
  • PSY 448.3 Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience
  • PSY 472/473.6 BA Honours Thesis/BSc Honours Thesis

Editorial Boards

Grant Support

Current Grant Support

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NSERC (2013 - 2025) - Basic reading processes in mind and brain 

Previous Grant Support

  • NSERC (2008 - 2013)
  • NSERC (2003 - 2008)
  • NSERC (1999 - 2003)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC 1996 - 2000)

Media coverage of our lab and our students