We incorporate psychological and neuroscientific approaches to the study of processes relevant to emotions. Our research is yielding 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 our 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.
Researchers across the Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience division are strongly interconnected, with joint research grants and projects, co-supervision of PhD students funded by internal and external grants 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. These include 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? , a self-help guide for teenagers which has been selected as part of the Books on Prescription scheme and which will be held in all libraries. Over 54,000 people have signed up to Professor Reynolds’ online course, Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT, since it was launched in May 2016 and the course was recently approved for distance-learning continuous professional development by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Book-sharing and improving infants’ language skills
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, The Mikhulu Trust, to facilitate the dissemination of the training materials developed in the course of this work.
How postnatal depression impacts children’s development
Researchers from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences are looking at the impact of postnatal depression on child development.
A recent study co-authored by Professor Peter Cooper and Professor Lynne Murray from the School of Psychology, together with universities of Oxford and Bristol and UCL, shows that severe postnatal depression which persists beyond six months of age increases the risk of children exhibiting behavioural problems, achieving lower GCSE mathematics grades at 16 years and having depression at 18 years of age.
The research has major implications for the care of women with postnatal depression, how they are monitored and the approach to psychological intervention.
Find out more
Al-Mosaiwi, M. and Johnstone, T. (2018) In an absolute state: elevated use of absolutist words is a marker specific to anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Clinical Psychological Science. ISSN 2167-7034 doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702617747074
Hill, C., Creswell, C., Vigerland, S., Nauta, M. H., March, S., Donovan, C., Wolters, L., Spence, S. H., Martin, J. L., Wozney, L., McLellan, L., Kreuze, L., Gould, K., Jolstedt, M., Nord, M., Hudson, J. L., Utens, E., Ruwaard, J., Albers, C., Khanna, M., Albano, A. M., Serlachius, E., Hrastinski, S. and Kendall, P. C. (2018) Navigating the development and dissemination of internet cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) for anxiety disorders in children and young people: a consensus statement with recommendations from the #iCBTLorentz Workshop Group. Internet Interventions, 12. pp. 1-10. ISSN 2214-7829 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2018.02.002
Hsu, C.-T., Neufeld, J. and Chakrabarti, B. (2018) Reduced reward-related neural response to mimicry in individuals with autism. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 47 (6). pp. 610-618. ISSN 0953-816X doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13620
Osmanagaoglu, N., Creswell, C. and Dodd, H. F. (2018) Intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety and worry in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225. pp. 80-90. ISSN 0165-0327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.07.035
Pass, L., Hodgson, E., Whitney, H. and Reynolds, S. (2018) Brief Behavioural Activation treatment for depressed adolescents delivered by non-specialist clinicians: a case illustration. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 25 (2). pp. 208-224. ISSN 1077-7229 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2017.05.003
van Reekum, C. M., Schaefer, S. M., Lapate, R. C., Norris, C. J., Tun, P. A., Lachman, M. E., Ryff, C. A. and Davidson, R. J. (2018) Aging is associated with a prefrontal lateral-medial shift during picture-induced negative affect. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13 (2). pp. 156-163. ISSN 1749-5024 doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx144
Embark on a postgraduate programme at the School of Psychology and Speech Language Therapy and benefit from a vibrant and supportive research environment, staffed by internationally recognised researchers.
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