• Multidimensional scaling representation of differential attention to body size and affect
  • Dating-relevant affect identification task
  • Signal Detection Theory representation of sexual-interest judgments
  • Influence of unhealthy craving induction on visual attention to food
  • Feedback-based modification of sexual-interest judgments
  • Explicit classification of sexual risk in social situations
  • Food Healthiness Ratio-Scale Rating Task

Role of Sexual Perception in Acquaintance-Initiated Sexual Aggression 

Male-initiated sexual aggression toward female acquaintances is a major public-health problem on college campuses.  Theoretical models of sexual coercion and aggression between acquaintances implicate misperception of women’s sexual interest as a proximal predictor of sexually aggressive behavior.  The inclusion of misperception in theoretical models is supported by a burgeoning literature linking impoverished processing of women’s sexual interest to increased risk of sexually coercive or aggressive behavior.  For example, we have shown that high-risk men, relative to low-risk men, show less attention to, sensitivity to, and memory for women’s affective cues, and are more influenced by provocativeness of dress and other physical characteristics of women when judging women’s dating-relevant affect in full-body photographs.  Recently, we have begun the development and evaluation of training procedures designed to enhance the accuracy of men’s judgments of women’s sexual interest.  Both trial-by-trial feedback and explicit instruction about non-verbal affective indicators of women’s sexual interest have increased men’s focus on women’s affective cues and decreased men’s focus on women’s non-affective cues when judging women’s sexual interest.  Currently, we are beginning an NIAAA-funded study to evaluate the extent to which an enhanced training protocol fosters robust transfer to a moderate dose of alcohol. 

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Role of Affective Processing in Disordered Eating 

Researchers increasingly have focused on the role of cognitive factors in the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of disordered eating.  Investigations have focused to a far greater degree on deficits in the processing of information about the self, rather than others, although social-comparison processes play a critical role in the development and maintenance of eating disorders.  Furthermore, this body of work has focused almost exclusively on the processing of disorder-specific information (i.e., shape, weight, eating, and food).  Preoccupation with shape, weight, eating, and food may result in or from impoverished processing of other significant information, however, such as affective information. Many women who struggle with eating-disorder symptoms report a keen sense of social ineffectiveness and display marked deficits in interpersonal problem solving and affect regulation.  Attention to, memory for, and learning about affective information is central to effective social interactions, suggesting that examination of affective processing may prove useful. Thus, we use tools drawn from cognitive science to investigate whether women reporting eating-disorder symptoms differentially process body-size and affective information presented in photos of other women.   

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About Us

The research conducted in the Clinical-Cognitive Science Laboratory leverages the theoretical, measurement, and computational models of contemporary cognitive science to investigate the role of cognitive processing in the development, maintenance, and modification of numerous clinical problems.  To investigate the feasibility and utility of this hybrid clinical-cognitive approach, we deliberately pursue parallel lines of research in multiple areas of psychopathology, with a primary focus on acquaintance-initiated sexual aggression and disordered eating, and secondary foci on anxiety disorders, depression, and alcohol-related problems. 

News

  • NIAAA Funding

    August 5, 2014

    NIAAA has funded an R21 grant application entitled “Alcohol Effects on Transfer of Men...

  • Clinical-Cognitive Science at APS!

    May 26, 2014

    Marianne Rizk, Jodi Smith, Erin Church, and Teresa Treatpresented their work at APS in...

  • NIAAA Funding

    February 1, 2014

    NIAAA has funded an R21 grant application entitled “Risk Processing, Alcohol Use, and...