Theoretical work in the Lifespan Affective Neuroscience Lab includes development of an allostatic model of the stress process that allows modeling of the interplay over time between social context, stressor exposure, internal regulation of bodily processes, and health outcomes. This theoretical work drives the lab's imaging research, which uses multimodal techniques in neuroimaging, genetics, and neuroendocrinology to examine long-term stress-related neural plasticity and damage as an important link between life stress and health.
Neuroimaging research from Lifespan Affective Neuroscience Lab has provided evidence that amygdala reactivity mediates the association between prior life stress and current anxiety in nonclinical adults and children. Consistent with current theory, these effects are not dependent on psychopathology but may constitute a vulnerable preclinical state. We are now expanding this research using neuroimaging and genetics to examine the neural mechanisms underlying long-term stress-related neural plasticity and its influence on emotional cognition in the lab (emotion regulation and emotional decision-making) and on real-life risky decision-making.