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About Us

Research program

Work at the Developmental Psychopathology Lab is conducted within the broader framework of a developmental psychopathology approach. A developmental psychopathology approach refers to a quantitative integrative discipline that seeks to unify contributions from multiple fields of inquiry with the goal of understanding psychopathology across the lifespan and its relation to normative adaptation within a developmental, lifespan framework. Our work therefore cuts across multiple levels of explanation and analysis including the neurobiological, affective, cognitive and the behavioral and is most firmly situated within the RDoC domain of “social systems and processes”.

Our work is also guided by a translational approach. We therefore design our studies such that the investigation of the basic processes involved in cognitive, emotional and reward processing may directly inform clinical questions about childhood disorder; and we extend our findings to develop assessment tools for clinical settings and social-cognitive interventions for psychiatric problems. Many of our studies focus on patient populations (the Adolescent Treatment Program of the Menninger Clinic and the Harris County Psychiatric Center), thereby acknowledging the fact that many valuable lessons can be learnt about basic processes by studying them in atypical populations. Finally, by studying the effectiveness of interventions which identifies social cognition as its mechanism of change, we further adhere to a translational approach by bringing our research into a real-life clinical context.