The WELL lab research program supports three neuroscience-based research areas focused on the relationships between emotions and cognition in order to understand how these basic building blocks of the mind influence psychological and physical wellbeing.
BASIC: Neural Correlates of Affect & Cognition
We study the associations between positive emotions and cognitive function, primarily using electroencephalography (EEG) methods to investigate the role of the cortical networks involved in affective and cognitive functions. Our research is primarily focused on understanding the relationship between positive emotions and and attention. Related projects involve studying the neurophysiological correlates of positive emotion regulation, savoring, and happiness. We also study how health behaviors such as physical activity and sleep influence emotion and cognition. Addressing these basic psychological science research areas will inform psychopathology and promote wellbeing in novel ways.
CLINICAL: Depression, Postpartum Depression, and Chronic Pain Disorders
Depression and chronic pain disorders are extremely debilitating conditions that frequently co-occur and disproportionally influence the lives of women and girls. These disorders are often characterized by low levels of positive affect, attentional impairments, somatic (bodily) symptoms, and poor social support. Our transdiagnostic research strives to understand the primary contributing psychological and neurobiological factors that confer vulnerability and maintain symptoms in order to work toward identifying and developing effective, affordable, and accessible interventions that directly target and modify these contributing factors.
TRANSLATIONAL: Neurobiological Correlates of Mindfulness-Based Interventions
Many individuals with depression/postpartum depression and chronic pain disorders lack the vitality that is related to savoring, experiencing, and anticipating pleasant events. We are using EEG methods to study how Mindfulness-based interventions enhance positive emotions, savoring, and improve attentional functions in individuals who experience high levels of stress.