Postdoctoral Research Associates
My research focuses primarily on the acquisition and effective implementation of emotion understanding and emotion regulation strategies in childhood and adolescence. More specifically, I am interested in how life stress (e.g., poverty, negative life events) may impact the development of individual differences in emotional control and coherent affective processes. My current research includes a longitudinal examination of neural, physiological, and cognitive development through childhood and adolescence with particular emphasis on the development of internalizing symptoms/disorders.
Broadly speaking, I am interested in the fields of contemplative, affective and cognitive neuroscience. In particular, I am interested in studying both the short and long-term effects of mental training designed to improve well-being, prosocial behavior, and mindfulness in both adults and adolescents. I believe that video games can be a wonderful tool for providing such training to adolescents. Therefore I am currently focused on studying the effects of games designed for training and improving well-being. I am interested in using functional brain imaging to assay the neural effects of this mental training.
I am interested in the use of neuroimaging methods to investigate individual differences in cognitive and affective processes, with the goal of understanding how extreme differences in these processes leads to psychopathology. My current research is focused on the anticipation of future events under conditions of uncertainty, as well as the relationship between cognitive biases surrounding uncertainty and anxiety disorders.
My research focuses on investigating psychological and biological risk factors for the development of eating disorders and overweight/obesity, with the ultimate goal of informing prevention and treatment efforts. I'm particularly interested in the role played by self-control and reward, as instantiated at levels from the brain to behavior. I also focus on developing statistical methodology and measurement tools to support investigations into the etiology of mental and physical health outcomes.
I studied psychology in France and Canada. While doing my master's in neuroscience in the Netherlands I discovered a strong interest in the study of emotion. During my doctoral training and postdoc at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences and the University of Geneva, I studied the neural activity associated with the perception and mimicry of facial expressions, as well as those linked to voluntary emotion regulation. I received funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation to come to Madison, where I am investigating, under the supervision of Drs. Niedenthal and Davidson, the neural correlates of voluntary and spontaneous facial mimicry. I use a variety of techniques, such as EEG, EMG, fMRI, and TMS. When not working, I enjoy traveling, skiing and hiking in the mountains, playing ultimate frisbee, and recovering from ultimate-related injuries.
My research interests: My research has focused on executive functions: cognitive control, attention, error-detection, conflict monitoring, goal-directed behavior, and planning. I’ve been studying these processes using neuroimaging (fMRI), eye-tracking, and behavioral methodologies. Recently, I’ve become interested in neural and cognitive mechanisms of meditation, in particular, the effects of meditative and contemplative practices on executive processes.
My work is dedicated to understanding the behavioral and neural correlates of learning and emotion in persons with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Currently, I am involved in projects that examine developmental maturation of white matter tracts in the brains of both individuals with ASD and individuals with typical development. My hope is that this research will help us better understand how changes in brain structure across the lifespan affect learning and emotion.