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Research Projects

Treatment of Phobias in Children

Specific phobias are common in children and associated with significant anxiety, distress and impairment for youth as well as families. The aim of this study is to examine whether a post-treatment sleep period enhances fear reduction among children with specific phobia. The one-session exposure treatment used in this study has been shown to be effective in treating phobias in youth; however, we would like to see whether a nap following treatment can improve these outcomes.

We are looking for children between the ages of 6-12 who have a fear of insects or animals, such as dogs, cats, snakes, bees, wasps, etc. After an initial assessment, children will learn to face their fear in a one-time treatment session followed by a nap or rest period. Children will be asked to return to the lab for two brief follow-ups. Participating families will receive a free psychological evaluation and behavioral treatment. Additionally, families may be compensated up to $30 for their time. To learn more, please contact Jennifer Cowie at 713-743-8792 or

Adolescent Sleep Extension Study

In this study, we are examining how sleeping more impacts adolescent’s use of technology. We are looking for healthy teens between the ages of 13-17 who do not have any serious medical, psychological or sleep problems. Adolescents will participate in two in-person sessions at the University of Houston and will wear a wrist watch that will monitor their sleep over 12 nights.  Teens will be randomized to either sleeping more than usual or to follow their typical sleep schedule for the last five nights.

Participating families will receive a free sleep assessment, and will be compensated with a $50 Target gift card for their time.  To learn more please contact Katie Reynolds at 713-743-8985 or This project has been reviewed by the University of Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (713) 743-9204.

Emotion and Sleep-based Risk during Human Space Flight

Psychological reactions pose serious risks to crew members and mission success during space flight. Long-duration exploration missions (e.g., Mars) will prolong exposure to a range of extreme stressors including confinement, sleep-wake dysfunction, lack of novel environmental stimuli, separation from family, and limited privacy. The primary goal of this NASA-funded study is to identify psychological symptoms most likely to occur in isolated, confined and extreme (ICE) environments and to estimate associated threat for mission-based performance.

Validation of Self-Report Measures for NASA

We are developing several new questionnaires to assist NASA in detecting problematic emotional and physical reactions during future long duration space missions. These measures are currently being tested in Antarctica, where isolation, confinement, and extreme conditions provide an analog for space. We are also seeking volunteers to complete these brief measures as part of validation procedures. If you would like to assist with this important project and are above age 18, you can participate here: Community Validation Study