My students and I are study behaviours and concepts directly relevant to the psychological well-being of both healthy and psychiatric populations. The primary studies focus on: interpersonal communication and evaluations, and the effects of chronic marijuana use. We use self-report, experimental, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate these topics.

Interpersonal Communications and Evaluations

We are conducting a series of investigations into the online acquaintanceship process. Which types of statements typically are used to convey interest or disinterest during online chats? Are certain types of statements more salient (influential) than others? Which online signals point to a SHIFT in the mood of the conversations. 
We also are investigating how personality characteristics and interpersonal expectations alter the online acquaintanceship process.

The larger goal is aimed at developing a comprehensive model of the communication process to enhance understanding of various types of relationships including closer friendships, romantic connections, and pathological ones (fake, manipulative, and hurtful).






Chronic Marijuana Use – Addiction?

A second general research area focuses on the effects of chronic marijuana use on people’s memory functions, emotional reactivity, and interpersonal tendencies. We use computer-based cognitive and emotional experiments to provide sensitive measures of cognitive performance and emotional reactions among non-users, recreational users, and abusers of marijuana.

 With access to a world-class fMRI international dataset, we are investigating the neural (fMRI) correlates of marijuana use on cognitive and emotional processing.

Methods and Training

We use person-to-person online communication protocols, computer-based experimental assessments, and sophisticated neuroimaging statistical evaluations in our research.

Students will have the opportunity to learn the research process from start to finish including: study design, ethical approval, measurement development, data collection, analysis, and the presentation and write-up of study results.

Depending upon current research activities, some students may learn about brain structure, brain function, and methods for investigating larger brain (not at the neuron level) functional brain imaging datasets.