This is a general summary of my various lines of research. Visit my Publications page to see my published work, or the About Me page to learn more about my current projects.

You can view my full CV here.

Understanding the emotional experiences of people with schizophrenia

Through self-report, behavioral, and psychophysiological methods, I study the temporal experience of pleasure in people with schizophrenia. On the whole, people with schizophrenia experience similar in-the-moment experiences of positive emotion (or pleasure) as healthy people. However, they often report more negative emotion than others in the presence of positive stimuli and situations. People with schizophrenia, including those experiencing their first episode of psychosis, also report less pleasure in anticipation of future positive experiences. In addition to studying these differences in emotion experience, I also examine how these experiences are related to other impairments in the disorder, such as difficulties with social functioning and goal pursuit. I am also interested in whether there are gender differences in these and other aspects of emotion experience and social functioning in people with schizophrenia.

Using ecological momentary assessment & social sensing to assess loneliness & social experiences

I utilize ecological momentary assessment, also known as the experience sampling method, to understand in-the-moment, context-specific social and emotional experiences of people with and without serious mental illness. Through a smartphone app, participants respond to brief questions multiple times a day outside of the lab, allowing them to report on their experiences as they occur in their daily lives. Through this work, I examine predictors of social isolation and social pleasure in people with and without schizophrenia, as well as in healthy people who report loneliness. I also analyze social sensing metrics (e.g., GPS, ambient audio) to explore potential objective metrics that correspond with different social experiences (e.g., isolation, negative feelings when with others).

Improving social connection & positive emotion in people with serious mental illness

My research focuses on developing and evaluating psychosocial interventions that address emotional and social difficulties in people with mental illness, with a focus on digital health interventions (e.g., smartphone apps, computer-based interventions). This includes interventions based on basic affective and motivation science, cognitive behavioral therapy, and social skills training to help people with bipolar I disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia symptoms, and difficulties with social isolation. I am also interested in assessing treatment-induced changes in brain activity to better understand the potential neural mechanisms behind these difficulties. Further, I evaluate community-based solutions that address loneliness in people with and without psychopathology.