Our research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The Trauma Group
This group aims to better understand how childhood experiences of abuse and neglect influence one's perception of the self, and more specifically, emotional reactivity to one's own face. We are exploring how these early life experiences may impact emotional reaction to one's own face, to a morphed version of one's face, and whether there are patterns in the experience of depersonalization following manipulations of face related stimuli, and any correlated difficulties in recognizing the self. visit our page.
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Using Technology to regulate affect: a multidisciplinary perspective
Our aim through this project is to develop and evaluate new and innovative vibrotactile technologies that assist individuals with affect regulation. A unique aspect of our contribution comes from the interdisciplinarity of our team. Included on our team are experts in emotion regulation, haptics, electrical engineering, HCI, and distributed systems, as well as experts in the clinical application of biofeedback. We believe that such an interdisciplinary approach is necessary for making progress in the development of technology that assists in affect regulation. To learn more about the specific projects please visit our page.
The neural bases of cognitive reappraisal
This project examines the neural bases of one important form of emotion regulation, namely reappraisal, which involves altering the emotional significance of a stimulus by changing how one thinks about that stimulus. Using fMRI measures of brain activation, this project tests hypotheses concerning specific prefrontal regions thought to be associated with cognitive control, as well as specific subcortical structures such as the amygdala, thought to be associated with emotion.
The coherence of emotion
One major postulate of many contemporary theories of emotion is that emotion imposes coherence across multiple response systems (e.g., experiential, behavioral, and physiological). Surprisingly, few studies have tested this core hypothesis, and those that have done so have yielded mixed results. In this project, we are obtaining continuous measures of emotion experience, expression, and physiology, and examining the conditions under which responses coherence is evident.
Emotion regulation of mixed emotions
This project studies emotion regulation in the context of emotionally ambiguous cues. Stimuli are often not univocal, clear, and well defined regarding their emotional meaning, but are rather under-determined and ambivalent. To better understand the regulatory strategies that influence the responses to situations that may elicit mixed emotional feelings, we systematically elicit such feelings in the lab. One goal of this project is to discern how different emotion regulation strategies alter the emotional response to ambiguous situations.
Temporal dynamics of emotion generation and regulation
This project uses EEG/ERP methods to examine how the processes involved in emotion generation and regulation unfold over time. The central assumption guiding this line of research is that the temporal features of such processes can inform our understanding of how they operate, as well as how they may be rendered dysfunctional in certain forms of psychopathology.
Sleep, emotion, and emotion regulation
This project aims to understand how our daytime emotional experiences impact sleep, and how sleep influences next-day emotional experiences. In particular, we are studying the relationship between emotion regulation capability and sleep. We use a variety of methods including ecological momentary assessments, behavioral tasks, actigraphy, polysomnography, psychophysiology, EEG, and fMRI to capture the dynamics of emotions and sleep in the laboratory and out in the world during people's daily lives. We hope to understand specific deficits in emotion regulation related to poor sleep and develop interventions to improve both sleep and mood.
Appraisal as a mechanism for emotion regulation
Appraisal theories of emotion have generally focused on the relationships between appraisal and emotion generation. To build of this work, we are developing a framework that merges appraisal theory with the process model of emotion regulation, with the goal of forging a mechanistic understanding of how different emotion regulation strategies ultimately modulate emotion via the appraisal process. In this line of research, we are using self-report and physiological measures to quantify how appraisals change during not only emotion generation, but also emotion regulation.
Affect and dietary decision-making
Prior research has shown that experiencing negative affect tends to lead people to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as unhealthy eating. In a series of lab and field studies, we are examining the mechanisms by which negative affect leads to poor dietary self-control. In addition, we are exploring whether affect regulation strategies such as cognitive reappraisal might be applied to improve dietary decision-making via down-regulation of negative affect.