The Psychopathology & Affective Neuroscience (PAN) Research Division incorporates psychological and neuroscientific approaches to the study of emotion-relevant processes in clinical and non-clinical populations. Our guiding principle is to ensure that our research yields health benefits across the lifespan, from infancy to old age.
We have internationally recognised strengths in development of emotion and psychopathology, treatment of psychopathology, emotion regulation, and the brain, bodily and genetic mechanisms of social cognition and emotional order and disorder.
With a focus on translational research, we are dedicated to advancing understanding of the underlying causes and effective treatment of depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders and autism in children and younger adults, as well as neurodegeneration and wellbeing in older adults.
Our team includes founders of the Winnicott Research Unit, the Charlie Waller Institute of Evidence Based Psychological Treatments, the Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY) research clinic, the Centre for Autism and the Berkshire Autism Research Network, and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics.
The Division's research strength is unique in the UK and researchers within PAN are strongly interconnected, as evidenced by joint research grants and projects, co-supervision of PhD students funded by internal and external grants – including an MRC Doctoral Training Grant – and the organisation of events and meetings such as the annual Reading Emotions symposia.
Our researchers’ expertise has also benefited wider society through the publication of books, including Professor Lynne Murray’s The Psychology of Babies and Professor Shirley Reynolds and Dr Monika Parkinson's Am I Depressed And What Can I Do About It?. The latter, a self-help guide for teenagers, has been selected as part of the Books on Prescription scheme and will be held in all libraries.
The findings of a study led by PAN researchers are breaking new ground in the delivery of interventions to improve cognitive and language development in children in low and middle income countries
Working alongside colleagues from South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, Professors Peter Cooper and Lynne Murray showed that their programme to enhance the book-sharing skills of carers of young children led to significant improvements in infants’ attention and language skills.
The success of this research, which was carried out in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, has inspired a larger scale study in Lesotho. Further research is currently underway or planned in South Africa, El Salvador, Brazil, and America.
Peter Cooper and Lynne Murray have set up a charity, www.mikhulutrust.org, to facilitate the dissemination of the training materials developed in the course of this work.
Hiller, R. M., Apetroaia, A., Clarke, K., Hughes, Z., Orchard, F., Parkinson, M. and Creswell, C. (2016) The effect of targeting tolerance of children's negative emotions among anxious parents of children with anxiety disorders: a pilot randomised controlled trial. Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Macdonald, B., Murray, L., Moutsiana, C., Fearon, P., Cooper, P. J., Halligan, S. L. and Johnstone, T. (2016) Altered engagement of autobiographical memory networks in adult offspring of postnatally depressed mothers. Biological Psychology.
Panasiti, M. S., Puzzo, I. and Chakrabarti, B. (2016) Autistic traits moderate the impact of reward learning on social behaviour. Autism Research, 9 (4). pp. 471-479.
Sakaki, M., Yoo, H. J., Lin, N., Lee, T.-H., Thayer, J. and Mather, M. (2016) Heart rate variability is associated with amygdala functional connectivity with MPFC across younger and older adults. NeuroImage
Steel, C. (2016) Cognitive emotion regulation as a mediator between posttraumatic stress symptoms and hypomanic personality within a non-clinical population. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 44 (1). pp. 104-111.
A selection of our latest news stories:
'Imaging: show me where it hurts'. Technology for peering into the brain is revealing a pattern of pain, and differences between the acute and chronic forms. (13 July 2016)
'Ground breaking online course on understanding anxiety and depression launched'. A free online course on anxiety, depression and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), believed to be the first of its kind, has been delivered by the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading. (06 May 2016)
'Meaning of brain scans for 'pain called into question'. Patterns of brain activity thought to show pain responses have been called into question after researchers from UCL and the University of Reading saw such patterns in rare patients born without a sense of pain. (26 April 2016)
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