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Alison Schreiber, a graduate student in Clinical Psychology, is the recipient of a 2021 Baughman Dissertation Research Award.

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC offers the Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award annually to 2-3 top researchers within the department. The purpose of this award is to promote and support innovative dissertation research in our department and to support award recipients in their completion of their dissertation projects.

Alison won for her dissertation titled “The role of neurocomputational decision processes in affect-based impulsivity in Borderline Personality.” People with Borderline Personality Disorder commonly engage in impulsive behaviors when upset, and these impulsive behaviors contribute to problems in daily life. Alison’s research recasts this behavioral phenomenon in terms of Pavlovian and goal-directed decision systems: impulsive behaviors reflect the increased influence of the Pavlovian system and the decreased influence of the goal-directed system on decision making. Alison developed a task and corresponding computational models of behavior that can dissociate these decision systems and will examine how changes in affect alter the balance of these decision systems in individuals with greater BPD symptoms. Alison will receive a Baughman Dissertation Award of $6,000 to support her innovative research and dissertation project. Congratulations, Alison!

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