What we do
The goal of our research is to identify biological pathways that give rise to disordered emotional experience. This involves using multiple methodologies, but primarily event-related potentials (ERPs), to measure responses to threats and rewards, and working to establish reliable links between the function of these systems and behavior in healthy populations. With this basic scientific work as a foundation, we have identified abnormalities in multiple systems that characterize emotional dysfunction and risk for emotional dysfunction across multiple forms of psychopathology.
In particular, our work focuses on depression and anxiety, two of the most prevalent and pernicious forms of disease worldwide. They are challenging to treat and even more challenging to untangle from one another. Our research to date has been concerned with using neural responses to reward and threat to identify processes specific to anxiety and depression. Future work, and the focus of the TRAC lab going forward, will seek to a) describe patterns of neural response that identify individuals vulnerable to anxiety and/or depression, and b) identify environmental processes by which biological vulnerabilities are translated into psychopathology.