Current Research Projects

We are a research and teaching laboratory conducting high impact research while training the next generation of scholars and practitioners.


  • Estrogen

    Biological factors associated with female anxiety

    Women are two times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men. However, biological factors associated with this increased risk is not well understood. We study the influence of endogenous (made naturally in the body) reproductive hormones (i.e., estrogen and progesterone) and exogenous (pharmacologically induced) hormone modulators (i.e., combined oral contraceptives) on emotion regulatory behaviors in women compared to men. 

    • Childhood Trauma

      Early life trauma, abuse, and neglect and its relation to adult emotion regulation

      Early life experiences shape our brains and ensuing behaviors. When these experiences involve trauma and abuse, there may be deleterious consequences to mental health. We measure fear responses in people who experienced childhood physical and emotion abuse as well as neglect and compare them to people who didn't in order to characterize differences in emotion regulatory processes.

      • D9-THC

        Marijuana use and fear behaviors among college students

        Marijuana use is on the rise in this country. Currently, marijuana is the most commonly used drug among college students. There is some evidence to suggest that chronic marijuana use may be associated with abnormal psychological functioning. However, very little is known about the influence of marijuana on people's ability to regulate their emotions. We study the impact of high versus low marijuana use on emotion regulation in college students.

        • Girl drinking beer while studying

          Alcohol use and its relation to emotion regulation

          Second to marijuana, alcohol is the next most commonly used drug among college students. There is a great deal of research examining causes and consequences of problematic alcohol use in college age adults. We approach this problem by comparing emotion regulatory behaviors in heavy drinkers relative to nondrinkers.

          • Test Anxiety

            Test Anxiety and its biological implications

            Test anxiety is a set of physiological and behavioral responses that accompany fear and worry surrounding test situations. Approximately 25–40% of individuals in the U.S. have suffered from test anxiety in their lifetime. Nevertheless, very little is known about the brain mechanisms underlying this condition. We probe for heightened amygdala in people who report high versus low test anxiety symptoms in order to understand its role in emotion regulatory processes.