Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

What research are we doing at PERL?

Facial Expressions

Active Research Studies 

Prefrontal-Amygdala Circuitry in Young Children with Severe Emotion Dysregulation 

We are currently conducting a 5-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that investigates the neural basis of emotion dysregulation in young children who have severe, explosive tantrums. As part of this research, we are investigating:

  • Brain functioning in children with severe outbursts, children with ADHD without outbursts, and typically functioning children.
  • Diagnostic characteristics of young children with temper outbursts
  • Children’s ability to inhibit emotional reactions in response to frustration
  •  Parenting characteristics that may be associated with children’s tantrums
For more information about participating in this study, CLICK HERE.

An In Vivo Examination of Child Tantrum Behaviors
: Improving Parental Efficacy Through  Parent Feedback 

As part of the above study, we are conducting research that utilizes observational coding procedures to assess patterns of specific behaviors that children exhibit during tantrums. The procedures of this study are two-fold:

  • Collection of video data during the child’s visit to our laboratory.
  • Collection of video data by parents

This latter procedure involves asking parents to videotape their child during a tantrum in the child’s everyday environment and bring the recording back to our lab. Parents review the video-recording with our staff psychologist, who provides feedback about parenting behaviors during their child’s tantrums based of the interaction on the video recording. This video feedback session teaches parenting tactics that have shown to reduce child emotional and aggressive episodes over time. A secondary aim of this project is to assess whether this session results in reduced tantrum behaviors and improves parents’ self-efficacy. 
For more information about participating in this study, CLICK HERE.

Please visit our research participation page for information about participating in this study.

Cognitive Basis of Risk-Taking Over the Lifespan: Psychophysics and Brain Imaging
This study is being conducted in collaboration with Drs. Ifat Levy and Paul Glimcher of the Yale University School of Medicine and New York University, respectively. The aim is to investigate individual differences in attitudes towards risk and ambiguity, as well as their neural correlates, in adolescents, young adults, and older adults. This study is being conducted solely at the Yale and NYU sites.

Completed Research Studies 

Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Pediatric Anxiety Disorders
This five-year study examined behavioral and neural correlates of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adolescents. Specifically, the aim was to evaluate the role of intolerance of uncertainty and how that impacts decision-making and anxiety severity in this population. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to assess differences in brain function between adolescents with GAD and healthy comparisons when making decisions, and when at rest. Although this research study has ended, we continue to be interested in investigating these questions with the aim of improving our understanding of the etiology of pediatric GAD.

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