Project 01 | Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory & Affective Psychopathology
Individuals differ with regards to their sensitivities to rewarding and punishing stimuli. When pushed to an extreme, these differences make a person more likely to develop an affective disorder. Reward insensitivity, for example, is closely linked to anhedonic depression. In this project, the following questions are considered:
How do reward and punishment sensitivity interact in the development of disorders?
What cognitive mechanisms may mediate this relationship?
Are certain symptoms more closely related to reinforcement sensitivity than others?
Project 02 | Social Factors in Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Mental Health
Sexual and gender minorities are an at-risk group for a variety of psychological and behavioral issues. One major resilience factor for this group is the level of acceptance they experience from their home communities and families. In this project, the following questions are considered:
How do internalized and experienced homophobia impact a SGM person's social support network?
What are the mechanisms through which religious observance shifts from being a resilience factor to being a risk factor for SGM individuals?
Project 03 | Fostering Psychological Flexibility and Behavioral Willingness
"[T]here will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right." - Albus Dumbeldore
A hallmark of mental health is a willingness to behave in ways which are personally important, even if they end up being especially taxing in the short-term. In this project, the following questions are considered:
How do changes in short- vs long-term goals change the way we cope with problems?
How can we foster a greater willingness to take part in difficult therapeutic exercises?