Mateja Perović

neuroscience phd candidate
mack Lab, University of Toronto

Computational neuroscientist interested in women’s brain health, mixed methods, and sex and gender science. My primary research interest is in the effects of ovarian hormones on cognition, with a focus on category learning across the menstrual cycle. I have previously studied cognition in women with early estradiol deprivation, and in polycystic ovary syndrome.My secondary research focus is on psychosocial stress and cognitive aging. Specifically, the association between early life adversity and dementia risk in mixed-sex cohorts, as well as minority stress and cognitive aging in sexual minority women.

CV march 2024

You can find my CV here.

© Mateja Perovic

Current research Projects

Ovarian hormones and cognitionOvarian hormones have wide-ranging effects on the brain. In my work on rule-plus-exception learning across the menstrual cycle, I find that successfully learning exceptions to category rules varies with the menstrual cycle in a manner that matches the changes in estradiol levels across the cycle. These findings are consistent with the known impacts of estradiol on hippocampal function and structure and reveal a key behavioural signature of this cycle-dependent neural variability.Relevant first-author publications:
Perović, M., Heffernan, E. M., Einstein, G., & Mack, M. L. (2023). Learning exceptions to category rules varies across the menstrual cycle. Scientific Reports, 13(1), 21999.
Perović, M., Heffernan, E., Einstein, G., & Mack, M. (2022). Category learning across the menstrual cycle: Learning exceptions to the rule varies by ovarian milieu. Cognitive Science.
Perović, M., Wugalter, K., & Einstein, G. (2022). Review of the Effects of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome on Cognition: Looking Beyond the Androgen Hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 101038.
Early life adversity and dementia riskThere are known sex differences in dementia trajectories with women having higher risk and faster progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This risk may be compounded by a history of adverse childhood experiences, yet sex differences in the effect of ACE on dementia risk remain understudied. My work examines this interaction in people along a continuum of risk for Alzheimer's disease: healthy controls, subjective cognitive decline, amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease itself. In another line of work, I examine the effect of adverse childhood experience on reports of subjective cognitive decline in sexual minority women.Minority stress and cognitive aging in sexual minority womenWomen bear the greatest burden of Alzheimer’s disease and chronic stress further increases the risk of pathological aging. Past research on health outcomes in sexual minority cohorts shows that sexual minority individuals report worse mental and physical health outcomes as well as higher rates of disability and lower social support than heterosexuals. All of these factors may contribute to accelerated cognitive aging and an increased risk of dementia. My dissertation examines cognitive performance in sexual minority women along a range of cognitive states – healthy aging, subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment – allowing for a detailed study of dementia risk in this population.


Department of Psychology,University of Toronto (2023 - 2024)
PhD Recruitment Committee, Student member
Psychology Graduate Student Association, University of Toronto (2021 – 2023)
Academic Representative
School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto (2022 – 2023)
Member of Mental Health Advisory Committee
Psychology Graduate Student Association Symposium, University of Toronto (2022)
Organizer; Poster judge
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto (2022)
Panelist for Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience recruitment
School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto (2021 – 2022)
Co-Chair of Mental Health Advisory Committee
University of Toronto Graduate Student Union, University of Toronto (2019 – 2020)
Executive-At-Large; External Commissioner; Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee
Psychology Graduate Student Association, University of Toronto (2019 – 2020)
MA Representative; International Student Representative
Study Association of Psychology Students, Leiden University (2015 – 2016)
President of the International Committee
Honors College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Leiden University (2015 – 2016)
Member of the Education Committee