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Threat: “something unpleasant or dangerous that might happen, especially if a particular action is not taken...”
Reward: “the attractive and motivational property of a stimulus that induces appetitive behavior, also known as approach behavior...”

Our clinical experience shows that compared with healthy individuals patients with different psychopathologies show increased fear-related processes as well as aberrant reward functioning, leading to depression, anxiety and maladjusted counterproductive behaviors. The overarching goal of the Threat and Reward in Psychopathology Lab is to explore these processes from an attentional perspective. 


Our research explores differences between various psychopathologies and healthy individuals focusing on two main research domains: 


(1) Attention Allocation: The way in which     

     different cues in our environment receive our

     attentional resources (i.e., attentional priority).


(2) Selection History: The effects of prior experiences

     on subsequent attention allocation. Our focus is on

     how attention is affected by reward/threat (history)

     as well as other types of history effects.

In accordance, example projects in the lab include:

(1) Attention Allocation:

     a. Examining the link between depressive

         tendencies and the way people allocate their

         attention while using an Internet news site.

     b. Examining differences in gaze patterns to social

         and non-social stimuli between socially anxious

         and non-anxious individuals while using social 

         networking sites, such as Facebook.

     c. Examining attention processes to different

         negatively-valenced cues in PTSD patients,

         trauma-exposed healthy controls, and healthy


(2) Selection History:

     a. Examining the association between visual

         attention patterns following reward learning 

         and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

     b. Examining the association between depressive

         tendencies and the ability to learn through

         musical feedback (i.e., reward). Namely, learning

         to modify attention allocation.

     c. Examining the clinical efficacy of a novel gaze-

         contingent music reward therapy designed to

         reduce attention allocation to threats, in a variety

         of psychopathological disorders.

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