My research characterizes the developmental psychopathology of personality dysfunction in adolescence and young adulthood. I am interested in how personality traits, interpersonal relationships, and disrupted maturation of neurobehavioral systems are associated with the emergence of personality dysfunction, especially borderline personality disorder (BPD). Work in our laboratory spans clinical, behavioral, and neuroimaging assessments of personality and psychopathology. As a developmental psychopathologist, my research also focuses on the normative maturation of brain systems implicated in self-control, reward processing, and emotion regulation, which informs a better understanding of abnormal trajectories in BPD.
Research in the lab extends latent variable modeling techniques to clarify the structure of personality and psychopathology. For example, a current project in the lab applies novel latent variable models to clarify the within-person covariation of mood, anxiety, personality disorders, and traits over time. Methodologically, neuroimaging projects build on the emerging field of decision neuroscience, which combines computational models of decision-making with model-driven analyses of fMRI data. In this way, specific cognitive or emotional processes can be quantified, and individual differences in their neural correlates can be characterized through trialwise analyses of brain activity and functional connectivity. A current project focuses on the effect of approach and threat cues on real-time decision-making using a computational model of exploratory behavior and emotional bias in teens and young adults with BPD symptoms.