Marcello Spinella, Ph.D.


Dr. Spinella has served as professor of psychology at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Stockton University since 1999. His research focuses on neuropsychology, biological psychology, positive psychology, prefrontal systems, self-regulation, executive functions, neuroeconomics, altruism, mindfulness, and Buddhist psychology


In 1992, Dr. Spinella received a B.A. in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In 1999, he received a Ph.D. in neuropsychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center and served as a clinical neuropsychology resident at the Center for Head Injuries, JFK Medical Center.


Dr. Spinella discovered meditation at the age of 18, gleaning what he could from the limited books and resources available. Although he had a limited understanding of meditation, he nonetheless had the sense that there was something of great potential there. It wasn’t until he encountered Shinzen Young’s teachings around 2005 that he gained a greater sense of the practice and noticed dramatic changes in himself for the better.


It wasn’t long before his meditation practice and professional training started to intermingle and inform each other. Dr. Spinella has been teaching Shinzen Young’s mindfulness meditation system for nine years to university students and people in the local community. It has been a deep source of satisfaction to guide people in discovering this practice and reaping its benefits.



Books in Print

  1. Spinella, M. (2004). Concise Handbook of Psychoactive Herbs: Medicinal Herbs for Treating Psychological and Neurological Problems. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.
  2. Spinella, M. (2001). The Psychopharmacology of Herbal Medicines: Plant Drugs That Alter Mind, Brain, and Behavior. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Books in Preparation

  1. Spinella, M. The Neuron and the Lotus: Intersections of Buddhism, Psychology, and Neuroscience.
  2. Spinella, M. Positive Psychology for Addiction Recovery.

Book Chapters

  1. Spinella, P. & Spinella, M. (2005). “Da una guerra a una rivoluzione fino alla libertà” [From a war, to a revolution, to liberty] in Perna C.C. (ed.) Non soltanto un baule. New York: Edizioni Farinelli.
  2. Luciano, D.J., & Spinella, M. (2005). Herbal treatment of epilepsy: phytotherapy. In: Complementary And Alternative Therapies For Epilepsy. edited by Devinsky, O., Schachter, S.C., Pacia, S. New York: Demos Medical Publishing. DOC
  3. Spinella, M. (2005). Herbal medicines and sleep, in Sleep and Sleep Disorders: a Neuropsychopharmacological Approach (vol.1 & II). edited by Lader, M., Cardinali, D.P., & Pandi-Perumal, S.R. Georgetown, TX: Landes Bioscience. PDF

Journal Articles (Peer Reviewed)

  1. Spinella, M., Martino, S. & Ferri, C. (2013). Mindfulness and addictive behaviors. Journal of Behavioral Health, 2(1), 1-7. PDF
  2. Niemiec, R. M., Rashid, T., & Spinella, M. (2012). Strong mindfulness: Integrating mindfulness and character strengths. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34(3), 240-253. PDF
  3. Spinella, M., Yang, B.& Lester, D.. (2008). Prefrontal cortex dysfunction and attitudes toward money: A study in neuroeconomics. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 37, 1785–1788. PDF
  4. Lester, D. & Spinella, M. (2007). The Executive Personal Finance Scale: Item analyses. Psychological Reports, 101(3), 722.
  5. Miley, W.M., & Spinella, M. (2007). Correlations among executive function scales and positive psychological attributes in college students. Psychological Reports, 100(1):24-6.
  6. Spinella, M. Yang, B., & Lester, D. (2007). Prefrontal systems in financial processing. The Journal of Socio-Economics,36, 480–489. PDF
  7. Spinella, M. (2007). Normative data and a short form of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. International Journal of Neuroscience. 117(3), 359-368. PDF
  8. Spinella, M. (2007). The role of prefrontal systems in sexual behavior. International Journal of Neuroscience.117(3),369-385. PDF
  9. Wain, O. & Spinella, M. (2007). Executive functions in moral, religious, and paranormal Beliefs. International Journal of Neuroscience. 117(1), 135-146. PDF
  10. Spinella M, Yang B. & Lester D. (2007). Development of the Executive Personal Finance Scale. International Journal of Neuroscience.117(3), 301-313. PDF
  11. Spinella, M. (2007). Measuring the executive regulation of emotion with self-rating scales in a non-clinical population. Journal of General Psychology. 134(1), 101-111. PDF
  12. Spinella, M., Lester, D., & Yang, B. (2006). A paper-and-pencil measure of prefrontal subcortical dysfunction. Psychological Reports,103: 676.
  13. Spinella, M & Wain, O. (2006). The neural substrates of moral, religious, and paranormal beliefs. Skeptical Inquirer, 30(5), 35-38.
  14. Lester, D., Yang, B., & Spinella, M. (2006). Depression, anxiety, and personal finance behavior: Implications for the classical economic conception of humans as rational decision-makers. Psychological Reports, 99, 833-34.
  15. Spinella, M., & Lester, D. (2006). Can money buy happiness? Psychological Reports, 99(3), 992.
  16. Spinella, M. and White, J. (2006). Neuroanatomical substrates for sex offenses. International Journal of Forensic Psychology. 3, 84-94. PDF
  17. Miley, W.M., & Spinella, M. (2006). Correlations among measures of executive function and positive psychological attributes in college students. Journal of General Psychology. 133(2), 175-82. PDF
  18. Spinella M., White J, Frank M., & Schiraldi, J. (2006). Evidence of orbitofrontal dysfunction in sex offenders. International Journal of Forensic Psychology, 3, 62-8. PDF
  19. Yang, B., Lester, D., & Spinella, M. (2006). Prefrontal cortex dysfunction and income: a study in neuroeconomics. Psychological Reports, 98, 37-38.
  20. Yang, B., Lester, D., & Spinella, M. (2006). Neurotransmitter-related personality traits and money attitudes: a study in neuroeconomics. Psychological Reports, 98, 21-22.
  21. Spinella, M., Lester, D., & Yang, B. (2005). Consistency of the Yamauchi/Templer Money Attitude Scale. Psychological Reports, 97, 962.
  22. Spinella, M., Lester, D., & Yang, B. (2005). Predicting credit card behavior: a study in neuroeconomics. Perceptual & Motor Skills,100(3 Pt 1), 777-8.
  23. Spinella, M. (2005). Prefrontal substrates of empathy: psychometric evidence in a healthy sample. Biological Psychology, 70, 175–181. PDF
  24. Spinella, M., & Lester, D. (2005). Money attitudes and personality. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 96, 782.
  25. Spinella, M. (2005). Self-Rated Executive Function: Development of the Executive Function Index, International Journal of Neuroscience, 115(5), 649-667. PDF
  26. Spinella, M. (2005). Mood in relation to subclinical obsessive-compulsive symptoms. International Journal of Neuroscience, 115(4), 433-443. PDF
  27. Spinella, M. (2005). Compulsive behavior in tobacco users. Addictive Behaviors. 30(1), 183-6. PDF
  28. Spinella M, Lester D, Yang B. (2004). Gambling and delaying rewards as a function of frontal system dysfunction: a study in neuroeconomics. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 99(3 Pt 1), 993-4.
  29. Spinella, M. (2004). Hypersexuality and dysexecutive syndrome after a thalamic infarct. International Journal of Neuroscience, 114(12), 1581-1590. PDF
  30. Spinella M, Yang B, Lester D. (2004). Income and prefrontal system dysfunction: a preliminary study in neuroeconomics. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 15, 217-223.
  31. Spinella M., Miley W.M. (2004). Orbitofrontal function and educational attainment. College Student Journal, 38(3), 333-338.
  32. Lyke, J. and Spinella, M. (2004). Associations among aspects of impulsivity and eating factors in a non-clinical sample. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 36(2), 229-233. PDF
  33. Spinella M., Yang, B., and Lester D. (2004). Prefrontal system dysfunction and credit card debt. International Journal of Neuroscience. 114(10), 1323-1332. PDF
  34. Spinella, M. (2004). Methodological issues in the neuropsychological effects of cannabis. International Journal of Forensic Psychology, 1(2), 21-32.
  35. Yang, B. Spinella, M., & Lester, D. (2004). Credit card use and prefrontal cortex dysfunction: a study in neuroeconomics. Psychological Reports, 94, 1267-8.
  36. Spinella, M., Lester, D. & Yang, B. (2004). Reliability of a brief credit card attitude scale. Psychological Reports, 94, 1392.
  37. Spinella M. and Eaton LE. (2004). Hypomania induced by herbal and pharmaceutical psychotropic medicines following mild traumatic brain injury. Psychiatry Review Journal.
  38. Spinella, M. (2004). Neurobehavioral correlates of impulsivity. International Journal of Neuroscience, 114(1), 95-104. PDF
  39. Spinella, M. and Lyke, J. (2004). Executive personality traits and eating behavior. International Journal of Neuroscience, 114(1), 95-104. PDF
  40. Spinella M, Miley WM. (2003). Impulsivity and educational achievement in college students. College Student Journal, 37(4), 545-549.
  41. Spinella M. (2003). Evolutionary mismatch, neural reward circuits, and pathological gambling. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113(4), 503-12. PDF
  42. Spinella M. (2003). Relationship between drug use and prefrontal-associated traits. Addiction Biology, 8(1), 67-74. PDF
  43. Spinella M. (2002). Correlations among behavioral measures of orbitofrontal function. International Journal of Neuroscience, 112(11), 1359-69. PDF
  44. Spinella M. (2002). Correlations between orbitofrontal dysfunction and tobacco smoking. Addiction Biology, 7(4), 381-384. PDF
  45. Spinella M. (2002). A Relationship between smell identification and empathy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 112(6), 605-612. PDF
  46. Spinella M. (2002). The Importance of pharmacological synergy in psychoactive herbal medicines. Alternative Medicine Review, 7(2), 130-137. PDF
  47. Spinella M. and Eaton LE. (2002). Hypomania induced by herbal and pharmaceutical psychotropic medicines following mild traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, 16(4), 359-67. PDF
  48. Spinella M. (2001) Herbal medicines and epilepsy: the potential for adverse interactions. Epilepsy and Behavior, 2(6), 524-32. PDF
  49. Spinella M. (2001). Psychoactive herbal medications: how do we know they work? Skeptical Inquirer, 25(1), 43-49.
  50. Bundick T Jr, Spinella M. (2000). Subjective experience, involuntary movement, and posterior alien hand syndrome. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 68(1), 83-85. PDF
  51. Spinella, M., Znamensky, V., Moroz, M., Ragnauth, A., & Bodnar, R.J. (1999). Actions of NMDA and cholinergic receptor antagonists in the rostral ventromedial medulla upon beta-endorphin analgesia elicited from the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray. Brain Research, 829(1-2),151-9.
  52. Spinella, M., Schaeffer, L.A., and Bodnar, R.J. (1997). Ventral medullary mediation of mesencephalic morphine analgesia by muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic receptor antagonists in rats. Analgesia, 3, 119‑30.
  53. Hopkins, E., Spinella, M., Pavlovic, Z.W., and Bodnar, R.J. (1997). Alterations in swim stress‑induced analgesia and hypothermia following serotonergic or NMDA antagonists in the rostral ventral medulla of rats. Physiology and Behavior, 64(3), 219‑25.
  54. Spinella, M., Cooper,, M., & Bodnar, R.J. (1996). Excitatory amino acid antagonists in the rostroventral medulla inhibit mesencephalic morphine analgesia in rats. Pain, 64, 545‑52. PDF
  55. Spinella, M., and Bodnar, R.J. (1994). Nitric oxide synthase inhibition selectively potentiates swim stress analgesia. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 47(3), 727‑33.

Book/Film Reviews

  1. Spinella, M. (2008). Subduing inner demons. Vol 53 (38). Review of Grant, J. E. (2008). Impulse control disorders: A clinician’s guide to understanding and treating behavioral addictions. New York: Norton.
  2. Spinella, M. (2010). Mopping up gore as a spiritual practice. PsycCRITIQUES, Vol 55(9), 2010. Review of Sunshine Cleaning. PDF