About our Lab
Our facilities at PERL are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments that help us conduct cutting-edge research on childhood emotional dysregulation.
Our mock scanner looks very similar to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, but does not contain any magnetic fields. Our mock scanner simulates all of the procedures that children would experience in a real MRI scan, and allows them to become comfortable with MRI procedures as well as practicing to lie still while in the scanner.
The mock scan prepares children for a second study visit in which they will complete functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they are at rest. This cutting-edge procedure allows us to investigate the functioning in specific brain structures as well as networks of structures, or the connections between two regions of the brain that work together to control emotional regulation.
Our facial expression recognition software allows us to record children’s facial emotional expressions with a computer program. This sophisticated program allows us to study the facial expressions that children exhibit when they become upset, as well as whether emotionally dysregulated children can stop themselves from showing a negative facial expression when they become frustrated or upset.
In order to have a better understanding of the specific pattern of behaviors that children exhibit during temper outbursts, we are video-recording child behaviors when they encounter frustration during a laboratory task and when they exhibit a temper outburst episode in the home environment. In addition to providing us with important information about patterns of tantrum behaviors, recording child tantrums in the home has been very useful as a parent training intervention that provides parents with feedback about how their behaviors may contribute to their child’s tantrums.