Research Interests and Ongoing Projects
The CALE lab uses a mix of methods (psychophysiology, self-report, behavioral data) to better understand the interplay of cognition and emotion. We are in the process of acquiring an electroencephalogram (EEG) to use Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to look at the brain's reaction to stimuli and behavior at the millisecond level.
Ongoing Research Questions
What is an emotion and where do they come from?
Everyone knows what an emotion is, or do they?
Is an emotion the recognition of a bodily signal after its underway (James-Lange), where you cry and then become sad, or do the two things happen at once and become sad and cry at the same time (Canon-Bard), or does it depend on the context (Schacter-Singer)?
Under what contexts do stimuli cause emotions, and how do emotions impact your perception of stimuli?
Can looking at emotional words and pictures change how you think and feel?
Can it change your attitudes and beliefs?
Can they make you happier, sadder, angrier, more grateful to be alive?
Or, if you are angry or sad, will you notice certain stimuli more than others?
What role does the body play in emotions, cognition, and decision making?
Your body is always there, but some people pay attention to it more (or better) than others.
What differentiates people who can pay attention to their body better from those who are average or poor at it?
Is there something special about perceiving the body's internal signals (interoception)?
What happens when the cognitive or emotional systems are not working well?
What is the relation between emotional stimuli processing and psychopathology? And how can that be seen in brain, body, and cognition?
How do perceptions of the body influence mental health?
What are the cognitive roots of typical and pathological eating behavior?
What inspires physical activity?
Can being too sensitive to your bodily signals cause anxiety (or vice-versa)? Or can too little cause depression (or vice versa)?
What are the boundaries between typical and pathological experiences from a cognitive and psychophysiological framework?
What social justice avenues are there in cognition and emotion?
How are systems of oppression (minoritized status, gender, race, LGBTQ+, socioeconomic status, etc.) reflected to cognitive, emotional, and mental health outcomes? And, of course, what are the social determinants and mechanisms that convey that risk?
What are key cross-cultural and individual differences in cognition and emotion that are generally bypassed in the cognitive and clinical literature?
Current and Upcoming Projects
Interoception, emotion, and cognition
Interoception is the perception of the body's internal states. Theories of emotion are centered on how, and whether, we interpret bodily signals as emotional. Although there are people who are better at identifying the body's signals than others, what does this really mean? Is the ability to attend to the body truly unique, or is it just an extension of other attentional abilities? In this series of studies, we are examining the correlates of interoception in emotion. Potential pathways for this research include examining risk of psychopathology, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and others.
Another aspect of interoception (see the panel to the left) is its link with the ability self-awareness. But is that "self" truly a beneficial entity? This series of studies examines how positive and negative self-evaluations correspond to how you feel.
Electrophysiology allows us to see the brain's activity with a high level of temporal resolution (in milliseconds). SUNY OW will be acquiring the equipment necessary to launch a lab to better understand the link between brain, behavior, and cognition. A particular focus on this lab will be attention, self-referential processing, and other avenues to better the temporal dynamics of cognition
Estimated start of Spring, 2022
Attitudes and beliefs regarding health
This aspect of our lab's work focuses on self-report data. A central theme of this work is on health psychology, namely individual differences in important constructs that correspond with physical and mental health.
Attention, Stress, and Socioeconomic Status
It is well-known that socioeconomic status (SES) in development can impact cognitive functioning. However, less is known about the time course of that functioning. In collaboration with Dr. Jane Couperus, this study seeks to better understand how both subjective and objective measures of SES can influence the brains ability to suppress (i.e., ignore) distraction when completing a difficult task.