Social and Affective Neuroscience, Mindfulness, Emotions, Interoception, Self-Reference and Regulation
I study the neuroscience of human identity and emotion, with a focus on how cognitive biases shape emotional reactions that determine well-being. For example, some people seem to shrug off stressful encounters, whereas others cannot let them go. What distinguishes these people? Is it something about how they construe themselves and the world? What consequences do habitual patterns of self-reference have for well-being? How can we measure seemingly ephemeral constructs such as self-reference and emotion? To these ends, my work employs multiple levels of analysis, including first and third-person qualitative reports, behavioral task performance, physiological responses, and patterns of neural activity and connectivity derived primarily through functional MRI. In my research, I am particularly interested in how cognitive training practices such as mindfulness meditation foster resilience against stress, reducing vulnerability to affective disorders such as depression.