Our primary research focus is on anxiety and stress-related disorders, with a particular emphasis on the role of cognitive biases in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders. We use cognitive-experimental paradigms, randomized controlled trials, and a Cognitive-Developmental-Neuroscience approach to explore questions such as:
- To what extent biases in threat monitoring are automatic?
- What is the relative involvement of state and trait variables in threat processing?
- What are the neural and genetic correlates of cognitive biases in anxious individuals?
- What are the effects of acute stress and trauma on threat processing?
- Is it possible to modify emotional vulnerability to stress and reduce anxiety and trauma-related symptoms through modification of selective information processing modules?
We utilize a multiple-levels-of-analysis approach to explore the biological and cognitive-behavioral aspects of psychopathology such as Social Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. We use the knowledge gained through basic research to develop new strategies for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of anxiety and stress-related disorders. Finally, we test the efficacy of these novel treatments in randomized controlled trials with anxious children, adolescents, and adults.