PhD in Psychology. University of Leuven, Belgium (2011-2015).
Thesis: Words Fail Me: The Conceptual Generalization of Fear and Avoidance
MSc (Distinction) in Applied Psychology. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (2010-2011).
Thesis: The use of an anxiety management programme for adults with Asperger Syndrome.
BSc (Hons) in Psychology with science. Maynooth University, Ireland (2006-2010).
- ADHD and Anxiety: Children with ADHD are three times more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than those without ADHD. These symptoms often continue into adolescence and adulthood, negatively impacting quality-of-live. My research objective is to understand the neuropsychological basis for comorbid anxiety and ADHD. I use human fear conditioning paradigms to experimentally model human anxiety. These tools replicate the acquisition and generalization of fear, as well as the emergence of safety behaviors that evade perceived threat. I also use neurocognitive protocols to study cognitive processes that are important in ADHD (e.g. the stop-signal task and the probabilistic selection task). I record output from multiple domains including brain (electroencephalography) and psychophysiological activity (skin conductance & fear-potentiated startle).
- Anxiety Disorder: I study the phenomenon of fear (over)-generalization. This refers to the tendency of problematic emotional states and behaviors to extent to novel (and even sometimes safe) events and/or situations that never actually featured in a traumatic episode. Fear (over)-generalization is a core mechanism in the development of psychopathology (e.g. anxiety disorder) as well as health related disorders (e.g. chronic pain). I am analyzing a (longitudinal) sample of adolescents with social anxiety symptomology (n = 80). This project is titled Brain Processes in Adolescents with Social Anxiety (BiAS) and is part of the IMAGEN consortium.
- Category-based generalization of fear and avoidance
- The psychology of avoidance and escape learning.
- Pain-related fear in chronic pain disorders.
- Theories of learning (e.g. associative learning, propositional learning, functional accounts like relational frame theory).
I am affiliated with the Centre for the Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology (University of Leuven, Belgium) and the Centre for Excellence on Generalization in Health and Psychopathology (University of Leuven, Belgium). My doctoral research was co-supervised by Dr. Simon Dymond, Experimental Psychopathology Lab at Swansea University.
- Irish Research Council, Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
- 2016: International Brain Research Organisation, InEurope Short Stay Award.