Research

Projects in the HEAD Lab

Our work in the HEAD lab focuses on identifying brain-behavior relationships in information processing and studying developmental shifts in neural circuitry to understand the emergence and maintenance of psychopathology during adolescence. We examine behavioral and neural correlates of affective processing as it relates to social stimuli (e.g., facial emotion, social evaluation) and non-social stimuli (e.g., monetary incentives). In addition, we are interested in understanding associations among social contextual risk and protective factors and neural mechanisms that are associated with three highly common forms of psychopathology in adolescence: anxiety, depression, and substance use. Overarching questions of the research conducted in the HEAD lab include: 1) What concurrent and longitudinal patterns of brain function and structure can help us to identify which adolescents are at the greatest risk for developing psychopathology? 2) How do individual differences, social settings and environmental factors operate in conjunction with neural responses to emotionally-salient stimuli to predict psychopathology? 3) How do these relationships and processes unfold in typical development and change with age or vary by gender? Three main projects are currently underway in the HEAD lab – click on the links to learn more.