Featured Research


Dr. Eva Telzer: Adolescent Neural Responses to Reward for Healthy Development
During adolescent brain development, there is heightened activity in the reward system that orients teens towards risky behaviors. Dr. Telzer examines neural responses to prosocial decision making in adolescence and how teens perceive risks. Her research reveals that heightened activity in the reward system can actually lead adolescents away from risks and motivate adolescents to engage in more thoughtful behaviors.

Dr. David Thissen: How Much Change is a Change?
Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures have become increasingly important in medical research and drug trials. PRO measures are usually psychological questionnaires with the patients as respondents, so they benefit from the application of modern psychometric theory. Dr. Thissen’s group in the Psychometric Lab has collaborated for over a decade with colleagues in the UNC Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and at other institutions, on the interdisciplinary NIH-initiated Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System® (PROMIS®). One recent task was to determine an answer to the question “how much change is a change?”.

Dr. Keely Muscatell: Neural and Physiological Responses to Stress
Stressful experiences are processed by the brain and translated into bodily changes that can impact our health. Using fMRI and measuring physiological processes, Dr. Muscatell investigates how stress can impact the brain and body and lead to the development of chronic diseases and psychological disorders. Recent studies examine stress in breast cancer survivors and how the brain reacts to social feedback as it is processed across the racial divide.