Research

The overarching goal of the IDDP Lab is to characterize etiological mechanisms that underlie the development and persistence of psychopathological behaviors, particularly externalizing and related behaviors (e.g., aggression, delinquency, substance use, psychopathy). Specifically, projects in our lab focus on the role of individual differences – particularly temperamental and neurocognitive indices of (dis)inhibitory, regulatory, and social processes – as central mechanisms in the development of these problem behaviors.

Current projects include, for example, examinations of differential associations between components of temperamental disinhibition and executive functioning and various outcomes of interest (e.g., aggression, substance use, psychopathy). Additionally, we are currently working on studies examining associations between various theoretical and measurement approaches of (dis)inhibitory and regulatory processes. We also examine the dynamic interplay among individual differences and various contextual factors. For example, recent work has focused on the role of various contextual factors (e.g., parenting, early rearing) in both adaptive and maladaptive development within various populations of interest. Finally, a key feature of our research is its focus on measurement issues concerning how best to understand and assess the nature of psychopathological and neuropsychological constructs involved in the development of psychopathological behaviors. For example, recent work has focused on elucidating the structure of executive functioning and temperamental Disinhibition (vs. Constraint; DvC).

We also extend this work to nonhuman primates. Research with nonhuman primates affords the unique opportunity to undertake complex and innovative investigations that would not be possible with human subjects due to a host of sociocultural confounds. Specifically, in collaboration with colleagues from a variety of disciplines, we are working on projects examining, for example, the neurobiological and evolutionary basis of personality among chimpanzees and associations with neuroanatomy. We are additionally working on developing chimpanzee models of psychopathology for use in neurobiological examinations of processes underlying various psychopathological phenotypes.

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