Kenneth Rajan Leslie, Assistant Professor

Email address:

Classes recently taught: Cognitive Neuroscience, Human Neuropsychology, Introductory Psychology 2, Neurodegenerative Diseases Seminar


B.A.Sc., University of Waterloo

B.A. (Honours), University of Waterloo

Ph.D., Brandeis University (HHMI Predoctoral Fellow)

P.D.F., Dartmouth College


Dr. Leslie is interested in applying discoveries and insights from psychology and neuroscience to address problems in the real world. Most recently, he has worked as a consumer neuroscientist for a US-based research consultancy, using brain and body measures (EEG, GSR, HR/HRV, eye tracking, automated facial affect detection) to understand consumer response to advertising and purchase decisions, both online and in the real world. Dr. Leslie has also explored the challenge of revitalizing First Nations languages in response to the effects of colonialism and residential schools. This project, called Haidawood, used a community animation approach to develop Haida language (Xaad Kil) animations aimed at encouraging beginning speakers and fostering reconciliation. Dr. Leslie has used fMRI to study the human mirror neuron system and its role in unconscious mimicry and empathy. He also has experience making whole-cell patch clamp recordings from individual neurons in dissociated cortical cultures and helped identify a novel form of synaptic plasticity called synaptic scaling (Turrigiano et al., 1998). Dr. Leslie has an abiding interest in sleep and dreaming, and has studied dream incorporation, lucid dreaming, and the role of the vestibular system in sleepiness.


Clark, K.R., Leslie, K.R., Garcia-Garcia, M. & Tullman, M.L. (2018) How Advertisers Can Keep Mobile Users Engaged and Reduce Video-Ad Blocking, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol 58 issue 3, pp. 311-325.

Leslie, K.R. & Bedard-Edenshaw, J. (2013) Haidawood: A media approach to Indigenous language revitalization. Langscape, 13(2): pp. 14-19.

Leslie, K.R., Johnson-Frey, S.H., & Grafton, S.T. (2004). Functional imaging of face and hand imitation: Towards a motor theory of empathy. Neuroimage, 21(2): pp. 601-7.

Leslie, K.R., Nelson, S.B., & Turrigiano, G.G. (2001). Postsynaptic depolarization scales quantal amplitudes in cortical pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, 21(19), RC170.

Turrigiano, G.G., Leslie, K.R., Desai, N.S., Rutherford, L.C., & Nelson, S.B. (1998) Activity-dependent scaling of quantal amplitude in neocortical neurons. Nature, Vol. 391, pp. 892-896.

Hobson, J.A., Stickgold, R., Pace-Schott, E.F., & Leslie, K.R. (1998) Sleep and vestibular adaptation: Implications for function in microgravity. Journal of Vestibular Research, Vol. 8., No. 1, pp. 81-94. 

Leslie, K.R., Stickgold, R., DiZio, P., Lackner, J., Hobson, J.A. (1997) The effect of nauseogenic optokinetic stimulation on daytime sleepiness. Archives Italiennes de Biologie, 135, pp. 219-28.

Leslie, K.R., & Ogilvie, R. (1996). Vestibular dreams: The effect of rocking on dream mentation. Dreaming, 6(1), pp. 1-16.