Associate Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
Indiana Alcohol Research Center
How separable aspects of impulsivity and their neurocognitive mechanisms influence risk-taking and maladaptive behaviors
My program of research concerns how impulsivity and its neurocognitive mechanisms impart risk for a wide range of clinical disorders and maladaptive risk-taking behaviors. Impulsivity is the most commonly cited criterion in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, APA, 2013). However, impulsivity comprises a multi-faceted and varied set of traits that reflect both common and discrete pathways of risk. A decade of work in my lab has led the field in three coherent domains: 1) Describing and documenting the multidimensionality of impulsivity has yielded important implications for which traits uniquely predict different aspects of risk behavior and specific diagnoses. 2) Recognizing the unique importance of emotion-based tendencies toward rash action (i.e., ‘urgency’) has provided a strong empirical understanding of underlying risk across multiple diagnoses and disorders (i.e., ‘transdiagnostic prediction’). 3) Characterizing discrete neurocognitive mechanisms underlying impulsivity-related traits has begun to lead to the development of translational models, laboratory-based objective measurements, and interventions for these discrete traits. Thus, my work is cross-disciplinary and evidence-based, and, at its core, has a goal of bettering the lives of people who suffer from substance use and other forms of maladaptive risk-taking.