Social Cognitive and Addiction Neuroscience Lab (SCANlab)

Lab News

November 2023

SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow receives new NIH grants!

Two new R01 grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism were awarded to Bartholow.

The first project (funded by R01AA030728) will be conducted at the SCANlab’s University of Iowa location and will examine factors that can increase or decrease the likelihood that teenagers and young adults will experience problems related to drinking alcohol. The primary purpose of this study is to increase our understanding of when and how underlying causes of alcohol-related problems emerge during adolescence. Findings from this study could lead to the development of more effective interventions that might reduce or prevent problems linked to heavy drinking. For more information, visit the Card Study website.

The second project (funded by R01AA030914) will be conducted at the University of Missouri in collaboration with Dr. Denis McCarthy’s Alcohol Cognitions Lab and Dr. Clintin Davis-Stober’s Decision-Making and Data Science Lab. This project will rigorously test the factors that increase the risk of negative drinking consequences as people transition from underage drinking to legal drinking. The first 12 months following the transition to the minimum legal drinking age (currently, age 21 in the U.S.) is associated with an increase in negative drinking consequences, especially DUI arrests. This study will try to understand why that occurs and the factors that predict who is most likely to experience these consequences.

June 2023

Liam Peck, B.S., is joining the SCANlab as Research Coordinator at Mizzou!

Sandie Keerstock is joining the A&S Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) at the University of Missouri! Liam Peck, who has been a research assistant in the SCANlab for the past two years, will be stepping in as Research Coordinator for the lab at Mizzou. Welcome Liam!

June 2023

Dr. Bartholow, new Ketchel Family Chair and Professor at the University of Iowa!

The SCANlab PI, Dr. Bartholow, has accepted a new position as the Ketchel Family Chair and Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa (UI). Thus, beginning in fall 2023, part of the SCANlab will be moving to UI.

However, for at least the next year, the SCANlab also will continue to operate at the University of Missouri (MU).

The ongoing CLAS study will continue at the MU location, and a new study will begin at the MU location this fall.

Stay tuned for further updates!

April 2023

Undergraduate Research Week 2023

SCANlab undergraduate lab members presented their independent research projects at the 2023 edition of the Undergraduate Research Week.

(1) Ian Flowers, “The influence of social network drinking behavior and a family history of problematic drinking on alcohol involvement in underage, emerging-adult drinkers”

(2) Liam Peck, “Brain responses conditioned to a novel visual stimulus paired with sugar water”

(3) Hannah Drzewiecki & Jasmine Chen, “Alcohol craving in a laboratory setting among emerging adults”

(4) Elizabeth Widiger, incoming graduate student in the SCANlab in Fall 2023, also presented her undergraduate research, “Presence of evidence-based substance use prevention strategies and service provider openness to evidence-based strategies in religiously affiliated vs. non-religiously affiliated higher education institutions.”

(5) K. Taylor Bosworth, PhD student in Translational Biosciences doing an extended rotation in the SCANlab was also presenting her research, “Designing the User-Informed CommitFit Health Technologies Using a Mixed-Method Approach”

Lab alumni also presented their own independent research projects:

(5) Liz Conley, “An automated calculation to determine polymer persistence length from AFM images”

(6) Makayla Pollock, Poster 166 on the role of race in the neural processing of infant emotional cues. Makayla’s research was also featured here!

Ian, Liam, Elizabeth and Makayla also presented their research at the Midwest Psychological Association in Chicago, IL.


October 2022

SPR Presidential Address

At the 62nd annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research on Oct 1, 2022, Dr. Bruce Bartholow delivered the Presidential Address for the year 2020-2021 titled Salience And Cognitive Control: Inter- And Intra-Individual Differences And Implications For Social And Clinical Behavior.


September 2022

SPR 2022

The SCANlab was represented at the 2022 annual meeting of the Society For Psychophysiological Research (SPR), which took place Sept 28-Oct 2 in Vancouver, BC, Canada

(1) Sept 29, 2022, R.U. Cofresi, S. Morales, T.M. Piasecki, B.D. Bartholow, Time Frequency Power and Phase Synchrony Signatures of Alcohol Cue Reactivity Among Emerging Adult Alcohol Users

(2) Sept 30, 2022, P.J. Brancaleone, R.U. Cofresi, T.A. Ito, B.D. Bartholow, Conflict, Motivation and the Adjustment of Race-biased Responding

(3) Dr. Cofresi also gave a talk at the “From Bench To Bedside: Advancements In Quantifying And Modulating Neural Circuit Disfunction In Substance Use Disorders” symposium. The title of his talk was Alcohol beverage cues serve as “rewards” in humans: preliminary studies of individual differences.


August 2022

APA 2022

The SCANlab was represented at the 2022 annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), which took place Aug 4-6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Cofresí presented EEG data from one of the sessions of our on-going NIH/NIAAA-funded study (the CLAS Study) at a translational symposium organized by Division 6 of the APA: Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology. Two other APA divisions (28 [Psychopharmacology], 50 [Addiction Psychology]) also featured this symposium as part of their programming at the convention.


August 2022

Dr. Roberto Cofresi receives NIH-NIAAA K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Career Award

Postdoctoral Fellow for 4 years in the SCANlab, Dr. Cofresi received a prestigious NIH-NIAAA K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Career Award and was promoted to Research Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri. His grant title is: “A translational human laboratory Pavlovian conditioning model of individual differences in risk for alcohol cue incentive salience sensitization and longitudinal assessment of problematic alcohol use.” Project #1K99AA029169


June 2022

RSA 2022

The SCANlab was well represented at the 45th annual RSA meeting held in Orlando FL this year (2022). Graduate student Casey Kohen and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Roberto Cofresi presented the following posters:



Undergraduate research assistants Devon Terry and Gage Crum attended their first in-person RSA meeting; Devon presented a poster based on her McNair Scholar research:


Lab coordinator Dr. Sandie Keerstock was also there for support! On Sunday, we ran into lab alum, Dr. Jorge Martins, who was also presenting a poster: SEX DIFFERENCES IN NEURAL RESPONSES TO STRESS AND ALCOHOL CUES AMONG RISKY SOCIAL DRINKERS; J. S. Martins, C. M. Lacadie, R Sinha, & D. Seo


May 2022

Recent SCANlab RA Alumni going places!

At graduation, we celebrated the achievements of our research assistants Devon Terry, Gage Crum, Mikayla Rodgers and Emma G. Johnson. They have worked hard and have impressive achievements to their credit. After completing their Bachelor degrees, they are going in new and interesting directions:

  • Starting in May 2022, Devon Terry will be a Research Coordinator in The Health Neuroscience Center directed by Dr. Brett Froeliger

  • Starting in July 2022, Gage Crum will be a Research Coordinator in Dr. Shawn Christ’s Clinical Neuropsychology Lab.

  • Starting in August 2022, Mikayla Rodgers will be joining the MU Molecular Imaging and Theranostics Center as a Research Technician where she will be working on creating an animal model for alpha emitting pharmaceuticals.

  • In Fall 2022, postbac Cole Schilling, B.A. will start the Counseling MA program at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

  • Last but not least, we are very happy that Emma G. Johnson will continue to work as a Research Technician in the SCANlab this upcoming year while she is applying to Med School!

Congratulations to each of our graduating RAs!


April 2022

Undergraduate Research Week 2022

The 2022 edition of the Undergraduate Research Week at MU saw 3 SCANlab undergraduate lab members, Devon Terry, Gage Crum, and Makayla Pollock, present their independent research, as well as Research Coordinator Dr. Sandie Keerstock nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor of the Year Award!

Research projects presented:

  • Devon Terry, Thomas Piasecki & Bruce Bartholow, “The Moderation of Depression History on Coping Motives and Drinking Outomces in Young Adult Sample”

  • Gage Crum, Sandie Keerstock, Casey Kohen, Bruce Bartholow, “Refined Alcohol Sensitivity Questionnaire: Improving Our Ability to Predict Problematic Drinking”

  • Makayla Pollock, Mandar Bhoyar, Ashley Groh, “Mother’s Neural Responding to (In)sensitive Caregiving Cues: The Role of Attachment”

In addition, Devon and Makayla presented their research at the 33rd annual MU McNair Scholars Program Research Conference and the 94th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association Conference held in Chicago in April!

The Undergraduate Research Week 2022 concluded with SCANlab Research Coordinator Dr. Sandie Keerstock nominated by wonderful SCANlab RAs for the Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor of the Year Award!


April 2022

SCANlab undergrad lab members will be conducting research projects in the lab in 2022-2023

Research plans are already forming for AY 2022-2023! Two SCANlab research assistants, Ian Flowers and Liam Peck (both Psychology Major), will be doing their Honors Thesis with Drs. Bartholow/Cofresi. In addition, Ian Flowers was accepted into the McNair Scholar program 2022-2023 with Dr. Bartholow as his mentor. Congratulations to both, and looking forward to their independent research!

February 2022

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Roberto Cofresí, featured in Vox Magazine article discussing substance use disorder and its depiction in HBO's 'Euphoria'

The article features experts on the science of addiction, MU Professor Dr. Kenneth Sher and SCANlab postdoctoral fellow Dr. Roberto Cofresi, who weigh in on how HBO’s ‘Euphoria’ depicts addiction.

Dr. Cofresi explains that understanding addiction and withdrawal comes from acknowledging how it is grounded in biology and our bodies. He hopes that media portrayals of addiction will get people talking and inspire those suffering from substance use disorders to get help.

“I’ve seen treatment of a variety of kinds, psychological realm, group therapy and individual therapy, help people improve their lives and functioning so they can experience whatever beautiful tragic thing is the human experience,” Cofresí says.

Click here for the full Vox Magazine article

The article was also featured in the Missouri Center for Addiction Research and Engagement (click to read the article in MO-CARE)


February 2022

Dr. Bartholow gave a talk at SPSP Motivation Science Pre-Conference

Dr. Bartholow’s talk at Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) was titled: Share the Wealth: Neurophysiological and Motivational Mechanisms Contributing to Racial Discrimination in Economic Decision Making

More info about SPSP Motivation Science Pre-Conference

February 2022

An exciting year for the SCANlab Undergrad RAs!

Academic year 2021-2022 was rich in honors, achievements and projects for SCANlab RAs Devon Terry, Mikayla Rodgers, Makayla Pollock, Kristina Essig and Liz Conley!

Devon Terry, 2021-2022

Devon was accepted into the McNair Scholar Program. Mentored by Dr. Piasecki, she is conducting research using the CLAS (Characterizing Low Alcohol Sensitivity) Study data. Devon’s research project examine the moderation of coping motives and drinking outcomes by depression history in emerging adults, Devon will be sharing the results of her research at Midwestern Psychological Association meeting held in Chicago in the Spring. In parallel, Devon is also completing her honors’ thesis under the supervision of Dr. Bartholow. Devon was also inducted at Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States inviting to membership the most exceptional undergraduate students of their class.

Mikayla Rodgers, 2021-2022

Mikayla was accepted into the Nuclear Medicine program at MU. Mikayla also became the lead research assistant for Dr. Cofresi’s FMRI study at the Cognitive Neuroscience Systems (CNS) core facility, assisting with participant recruitment, scheduling, data collection, data processing and training of fellow volunteer SCANlab RA, Rawan Ebada. The study they are working on investigates potential differences in regional brain activation in response to alcohol and nicotine cues. They submitted a poster abstract to the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Makayla Pollock, 2021-2022

Makayla was accepted into the McNair Scholar Program with Dr. Ashley Groh as her mentor. Makayla’s McNair research project examines the significance of mothers’ attachment for caregiving expectations to infant attachment cues. Makayla will be sharing the results of her research at Midwestern Psychological Association meeting held in Chicago in the Spring.

Kristina Essig, Spring 2022

Our recruitment and retention specialist, Kristia Essig, was accepted in the Brussels Internship Program, MU School of Journalism. She is doing an internship as Corporate and Consumer intern at BCW Global in Brussels Belgium this Spring 2022.

Liz Conley, Summer 2022

Liz was accepted into the RISE Germany internship (Research Internships in Science and Engineering). The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has granted her a scholarship to carry out a training at Forschungszentrum Jülich (“Jülich Research Centre”). She will be working with PhD student Shukti Ramkiran on Simultaneous fNIRS-EEG for brain network monitoring during therapeutic intervention.

Congratulations to all of them for these great achievements!


January 2022

SCANlab launches new website

The lab is excited to unveil the new website:


September 2021

Dr. Roberto Cofresí, Postdoctoral Fellow in SCANlab, was highlighted in The New Yorker Magazine for his expertise in neurobiology

Dr. Cofresi shared with The New Yorker Magazine his insights about neurobiology of conditioned behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse. Click here for the full The New Yorker article


August 2021

Graduate student, Paul (PJ) Brancaleone, joins the SCANlab

Paul (PJ) Brancaleone has joined the SCANlab! He is a 1st-year graduate student in the social/personality area of the psychology PhD program at Mizzou.

PJ received a BA in psychology from Florida Atlantic University in 2016 and an MS in experimental psychology from Nova Southeastern University in 2018.

His research interests center broadly around the neuroscience of social perception, using Event related-potentials (ERPs) to study how we process traits including race, gender, and sexual orientation in others, and how the way these traits are processed translate to expressions of bias.

Welcome PJ!


June 2021

Dr. Roberto Cofresí, Postdoctoral Fellow in SCANlab, was featured in MO-CARE

Kristin Black wrote a piece about SCANlab Postdoctoral Fellow, Roberto Cofresí for the Missouri Center for Addiction Research and Engagement (MO-CARE). The article talks about Dr. Cofresí’s experience with MO-CARE, and how the integrated approach of MO-CARE was an opportunity for him to combine his expertise in pre-clinical models, basic science research and human psychology to pursue interdisciplinary answers to the puzzle of addiction.

Click here to read the full article

MO-CARE article

July 2020

SCANlab graduate student, Hannah Volpert-Esmond, successfully defended her PhD dissertation. She is now Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso.

img In July 2020, Hannah successfully defended her dissertation titled Racial discrimination and mental health : temporal dynamics and neurocognitive moderators. Dr. Volpert-Esmond is now Assistant Professor in Psychology at The University of Texas at El Paso. Congratulations, Dr. Volpert-Esmond!

May 2020

SCANlab graduate student, Jorge Martins, successfully defended his PhD dissertation. He is now Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale Stress Center, Yale School of Medicine

img Jorge successfully defended his dissertation and has accepted a position at Yale as a Postdoctoral Associate. in Congratulations, Dr. Martins!

January 2020

2020 Midwinter President's Letter signed by Bruce Bartholow

You can read Bruce’s President’s Letter on the SPR website:

August 2019

Graduate student, Casey Kohen, joins the SCANlab

Casey completed his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his master’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. He is broadly interested in using event-related potentials (ERPs) to understand how neurocogntive processes contribute to the etiology, maintenance, and abatement of substance use disorders.

May 2019

SCANLab graduate student, Kelsey Irvin, receives Distinguished Master's Thesis Award and Life Sciences Poster Award

MU Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

Kelsey Irvin’s master’s thesis project, which examined neurophysiological responses to reward in emerging adults varying in risk for depression, was selected for the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award by the MU Graduate School. Each department is allowed to forward only one nomination each year, and Kelsey was our department’s nominee. Her thesis was judged against all others submitted by other MU departments for clarity of writing, scholarship, methods, and contribution to the field. In other words, Kelsey’s project was recognized as the best master’s thesis completed at MU in 2018. An outstanding achievement!

Excellence award at Missouri Life Sciences Week

Congratulations Kelsey Irvin who was recognized for excellence at the Missouri Life Sciences Week poster competition. Her research poster, “Sensitivity of the Reward Positivity Event-Related Potential to a Savoring Affect Regulation Strategy” earned second place in the Social & Behavioral Sciences category.


July 2018

Dr. Roberto Cofresí joins the SCANlab as a post-doc

We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Roberto Cofresí to the lab. Dr. Cofresí received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. His research interests include the neurobiology of incentive sensitization in alcohol use disorder, and translation of preclinical (animal) models to humans.

May 2018

SCANlab graduate student, Hannah Volpert-Esmond, receives a predoctoral fellowship (F31) from the National Institutes of Health

Hannah Volpert-Esmond’s F31 grant, also known as a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, is being funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The grant will provide two years of funding to support the remainder of Hannah’s doctoral training and her dissertation research. Hannah’s dissertation work will investigate potential links between the experience of everyday, subtle acts of discrimination and mental health outcomes among African American college students. Her study will combine laboratory-based measures of brain activity with reports of daily experiences recorded using a smartphone app developed by Professor Yi Shang and his team in the MU Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

February 2018

SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow and colleague Thomas Piasecki receive new NIH grant

Bartholow and Piasecki are both PIs on a new R01 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). THe NIH grant is to study the association between alcohol sensitivity, reactivity to alcohol-related cues in the lab, and drinking and related behaviors in the natural environment.

This five-year project will involve recruitment of 420 emerging adults to participate in multiple lab sessions and rounds of daily assessments using a smartphone app (ecological momentary assessment). The overall goal of the study is to translate an influential theory of addiction from a preclinical (rodent-based) model to a human model, using a combination of psychophysiological, behavioral, subjective, and ecological assessments of alcohol cue-reactivity and drinking behavior.

January 2017

SCANlab graduate student and MU Life Sciences Fellow, Hannah Volpert-Esmond, wins Best Oral Presentation at Missouri Life Sciences Week

hannah The annual Missouri Life Sciences week festivities include several poster sessions, during which MU graduate students from life sciences departments across campus present their research findings. This year, Hannah Volpert-Esmond was selected as the winner of the Best Oral Presentation Award, meaning she was judged to have given the best explanation of her research and best responses to judges’ questions.

January 2016

SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow wins 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Activity

Every two years the Chancellor’s Awards Committee selects one mid-career faculty member in the Behavioral and Social sciences who has “made outstanding contributions in research and/or creative activity and has great promise for achieving wider recognition.” Dr. Bartholow was honored as the 2016 awardee.

December 2015

SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow selected for Fellow status in the Association for Psychological Science

Dr. Bartholow was named an APS fellow in recognition of “sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science.” He is very grateful to his colleague and friend, Dr. Kenneth Sher, for nominating him for this honor.

June 2015

SCANlab student Hannah Volpert wins 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) Student Travel Award

Hannah Volpert will receive funds to defray the cost of her attendance at the SPR annual meeting in Seattle, WA in September. She will present the findings of an experiment showing that early visual attention, indicated by the P2 component of the event-related potential, is enhanced when people encounter others’ negative, unexpected behavior.

January 2015

Post-doc Liana Hone joins the SCANlab

We are very pleased that Dr. Liana Hone, whose research focuses on the evolutionary bases of risk-taking behaviors, has joined the SCANlab.

Dr. Hone received her graduate training under the supervision of Dr. Michael McCullough at the University of Miami, focusing primarily on sex differences in behavior (e.g., using sexual selection theory as a framework for understanding college students’ drinking game motivations). In our lab, Liana is working on research aimed at understanding potential sex differences in alcohol-related risk-taking and their associations with individual differences in executive cognitive functioning abilities and other variables that are believed to increase risk for alcohol abuse. She also will be collaborating with Dr. Ken Sher on research examining associations between alcohol use and sexual coercion, and with Dr. David Geary on research examining the effects of heavy drinking and acute intoxication on expression of sexually selected traits, such as emotion recognition and spatial abilities.

January 2015

SCANlab Graduate Students Awarded Summer Grant Writing Fellowships for 2015

Curt Von Gunten and Meredith Johnson were both awarded 2015 summer grant writing fellowships from the Department of Psychological Sciences. These fellowships provide two months of financial support for students to work on grant applications, to be submitted to the National Institutes of Health within the subsequent six months. Curt’s grant focuses on characterizing associations among three candidate endophenotypes for alcohol abuse (low executive functioning, low sensitivity to the effects of alcohol, and reduced amplitude of the P3 event-related potential) and how each contributes to alcoholism risk. Meredith’s grant focuses on understanding whether associating valued and devalued social groups with alcohol influences underage drinkers’ emotional and cognitive responses to beer brands.

September 2014

Post-doc Ozlem Korucuoglu joins the SCANlab

We were joined in September of 2014 by Ozlem Korucuoglu, a researcher specializing in adolescent alcohol use and other risky behaviors.

Dr. Korucuoglu received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Reinout Wiers. In the SCANlab Ozlem is focusing on learning latent variable and structural equation modeling and applying these techniques to analyze the acute effects of alcohol on executive functioning as measured with laboratory tasks. She is also involved in research examining effects of extreme binge-drinking episodes (e.g., 21st birthday celebrations) on neurocognitive functions as measured with fMRI, as well as some studies focusing on alcohol cue reactivity measured with ERPs.

September 2014

Graduate Student Jorge Martins joins the SCANlab

We’re pleased to welcome our first international graduate student, Jorge Martins, to the SCAN lab.

Jorge completed his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Jorge’s research interests focus on understanding the complex interplay between impulsivity (i.e., deficits in cognitive control) and affect-regulation motives for engaging in alcohol consumption and sexual behavior. In addition to his work in the SCAN lab, Jorge is also working with Dr. Lynne Cooper, studying the role of ethnic identity as a protective or risk factor of the adverse effects of perceived discrimination on psychological adjustment among non-Hispanic Whites and Mexican Americans. He was awarded a fellowship to complete his PhD at the University of Missouri-Columbia, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT; the Portuguese equivalent of the National Science Foundation).

July 2014

Kimmy Fleming Wins 2014 RSA Memorial Award

Kimmy Fleming recently was notified that she is one of six winners of the annual Memorial Award, given each year by the Research Society on Alcoholism “to honor RSA members who have recently passed away.” Kimmy was selected on the basis of her symposium presentation abstract (on interactions between attention bias and inhibitory control in determining risk for substance use/abuse) and will receive $500 to defray travel costs for the upcoming RSA annual meeting in Bellevue, Washington. Congratulations, Fleming!

June 2014

Hannah Volpert Wins 2014 Gail Raskin Staff Award, Life Sciences Doctoral Fellowship

Hannah Volpert has been a Project Manager in the SCANlab for nearly two years, and has done a simply outstanding job. Her hard work and dedication recently were recognized with the Gail Raskin Research Staff Award, given each year to the most outstanding staff member in the Department of Psychological Sciences whose duties are dedicated primarily to the research mission of the department. Quoting from her nomination letter, “Hannah exemplifies every one of the qualities embodied by recognition with this award. Her service to the PI and others in the lab, as well as collaborators in other units on campus and at a collaborating university, has been extraordinary.”

We in the SCANlab also are very pleased that Hannah has decided to remain here at Mizzou, and to remain in the SCANlab, to pursue her doctoral training in Social Psychology and social cognitive neuroscience. For the first four years of her graduate training Hannah will be supported by a prestigious Life Sciences Doctoral Fellowship, which provides a generous stipend, tuition waiver and other benefits and permits fellows to pursue their research interests and goals independently. These fellowships are highly competitive and are intended to attract (or, in this case, to retain) outstanding doctoral candidates in the life sciences who otherwise would pursue their graduate training elsewhere. Way to go, Hannah!

December 2013

Kimmy Fleming Awarded Pre-doctoral NRSA Grant

Since starting in the SCN lab as a graduate student 3 years ago, Kimmy Fleming has been investigating the neural and behavioral correlates of low sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol, a known risk factor for the development of problem drinking.

Now, with a new grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, she will take this work in an exciting new direction for her doctoral dissertation. The primary aim of Fleming’s grant project is to determine whether an influential model of addiction developed with studies of rodents (Incentive Sensitization Theory) translates to humans, using an innovative experimental design that will permit examination of the neural processes linking neutral learning stimuli with alcohol-related cues (the smell of alcohol).

October 2013

Bruce Bartholow elected Secretary of SPR

At the business meeting and luncheon of its annual meeting in Florence, Italy, the Society for Psychophysiological Research announced that Bruce Bartholow is the incoming Secretary-Elect for the Society. The Secretary-Elect shadows the current Secretary for one year before taking over the position, for a term of 4 years. The Secretary is one of five officers in the Society.

March 2013

Kim Fleming Wins First Place in Research Forum

Kim Fleming presented findings from her master’s thesis research at the 30th Annual Research and Creative Activities Forum sponsored by the University of Missouri Graduate School and Graduate Professional Council, and won first place in the Behavioral Sciences Category. Her thesis research also represents preliminary findings for a predoctoral fellowship grant application with NIH (F31), which recently received an outstanding priority score by the grant review panel.

September 2012

Chris Loersch and Keith Payne win ISCON Best Paper Award

On September 4, 2012, the International Social Cognition Network (ISCON) announced that former SCN post-doctoral trainee Chris Loersch (now Research Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder) and one of his former mentors, B. Keith Payne of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (and a dear friend of the SCN lab), are the winners of the 2011 Best Paper Award. This prestigious award signifies the outstanding theoretical contribution made by a paper based on Dr. Loersch’s doctoral research: Loersch, C., & Payne, B. K. (2011). The situated inference model of priming: An integrative account of construal, behavior, and goal priming. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 234-252.

January 2012

Post-doc Kira Bailey joins SCN Lab

We are very pleased that Dr. Kira Bailey has joined the lab this year. Dr. Bailey received her graduate training under the supervision of Dr. Robert West at Iowa State University, focusing primarily on using event-related brain potentials to understand cognitive control processes. In our lab, Kira is focusing on applying these techniques to investigate effects of alcohol on cognitive control processes involved in performance monitoring and adjustment. She is also interested in understanding pathological video game use as a form of addiction, and the implications of excessive video game use for cognitive function.

October 2011

New NIH grant awarded to SCN Lab director Bruce Bartholow and colleagues will investigate neurocognitive mechanisms of the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing

Recent data indicate that exposure to televised alcohol advertising among U.S. adolescents increased 71% from 2001-2009 (CAMY, 2010). Although research suggests an association between exposure to alcohol advertising and youth drinking (Anderson et al., 2009), causal effects for such relations have yet to be identified. This project aims to investigate a potential causal mechanism for the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing on adolescents’ alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors. The over-arching hypothesis of this work is that alcohol advertising and marketing efforts affect basic motivational and attentional processes with known links to approach and consummatory behavior and related attitudes. We propose that, through changes in these basic processes, exposure to alcohol cues through advertising and marketing shapes alcohol-related attitudes and compels alcohol-seeking and use, and could influence the propensity for risk-taking behavior more generally. This general hypothesis will be investigated using a combined behavioral and psychophysiological approach in three sets of experiments conducted in the SCN lab and the PRIME lab (MU School of Journalism) at MU, and the Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado.

June 2011

Racial Bias Symposium to Focus on Latest Findings

A one-day symposium focusing on the latest research into implicit racial bias will take place on the MU campus on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, hosted by Dr. Bruce Bartholow. The symposium will feature talks by Dr. Keith Payne (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Dr. Jeffrey Sherman (University of California-Davis), two of the top researchers in this field. Other speakers will include Dr. Bartholow, Drs. Tiffany Ito and Akira Miyake from the University of Colorado, and Dr. Joshua Correll from the University of Chicago. The symposium is part of a collaborative grant awarded to Dr. Bartholow and his colleagues (Miyake, Ito, Friedman and Correll) from the National Science Foundation, aimed at investigating how individual differences in cognitive control abilities contribute to the expression of racial bias in laboratory tasks. (For more information about this project, visit the National Science Foundation website)

May 2011

Grace Allen wins Undergraduate Research Award

Grace Allen, currently a senior Psychology major and honors student at MU, was honored at the annual Psychology Day on April 29, 2011, with the presentation of the Max F. Meyer Award for her poster presentation, which displayed the findings of her research on heavy drinking and cognitive abilities among young adults. Grace plans to attend graduate school in the fall to seek a Master’s of Social Work degree. Good work, Grace!

March 2011

Chris Loersch to Attend ERP Bootcamp

Chris Loersch is the resident expert in attitudes and social cognition in the SCN Lab, and soon will be able to add “ERP expert” to his list of skills. Dr. Loersch was notified in April that his application to attend the two-week intensive ERP training course, known informally as “ERP Bootcamp,” hosted by Dr. Steven Luck each summer at the University of California-Davis Center for Mind and Brain, was approved. Although other SCN Lab members have applied in the past, Chris is the first SCN Lab affiliate to be accepted for this opportunity. Good luck, Chris!

February 2011

New collaborative work between SCN lab and UC-Davis Social Cognition lab

As part of ongoing efforts to understand effects of alcohol on social behaviors, and related efforts aimed at understanding processes that influence expression of implicit racial bias, SCN lab members Chris Loersch and Bruce Bartholow have teamed up with Dr. Jeffrey Sherman (UC-Davis), an expert in social cognition, to conduct experiments investigating these issues. The work is being funded in part by a grant awarded to Dr. Sherman from the National Science Foundation.

October 2010

Bruce Bartholow elected to the Board of Directors of the SPR

At the business meeting and luncheon of its annual meeting in Portland, OR, the Society for Psychophysiological Research announced that Bruce Bartholow was one of two individuals elected to serve a 3-year term on the Board of Directors for the Society. The Board meets each year to discuss scientific, educational and fiscal matters pertinent to the society and its goals.

October 2010

SCN Lab graduate students Chris Engelhardt and Sarah Lust both win poster awards from SPR

Each year at its annual conference, SPR recognizes a small number of graduate students for outstanding research presentations with a student poster award. This year, around 250 posters were first-authored by students, but only 16 were selected for this honor, which includes a $300 award. Good job Chris and Sarah!

September 2010

Elena Stepanova (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis) joins SCN lab as post-doctoral trainee

We are very pleased to have Dr. Elena Stepanova join the lab this year. Elena is a social psychologist whose research examines conceptualization of social categories. Elena is interested in understanding the ways in which alcohol might influence processing of visual cues associated with social categories such as race. Elena will also be working on one of our ongoing alcohol administration projects, which is designed to specify effects of alcohol on sub-components of executive cognitive functioning. Welcome, Elena!

May 2010

Undergraduate Student Alissa Rasmussen wins Psi Chi Research Award

Alissa Rasmussen was 1 of only 26 winners (out of 420 submissions) of the Psi Chi Research Award for her abstract submitted to the 2010 Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago, IL. Alissa’s project investigated the effects of acute violent video game exposure on aspects of executive cognitive functioning, including behavioral inhibition and interference control.

December 2009

Several new grants awarded to SCN Lab Director Bruce Bartholow and colleagues

Thanks to 3 new research grants (all started in 2009), a number of exciting new projects recently have begun in the SCN lab:

(1) “Collaborative Research: Individual Differences in Executive Functions and Expressions of Racial Biases: Behavioral and ERP Investigations,” funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS 0847872; Co-PI: Bartholow), investigates the role of cognitive control processes in performance on laboratory tasks of race bias;

(2) “Alcohol Effects on Executive Cognitive Function: Specifying Component Processes,” funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/NIAAA (as part of the Multidisciplinary Alcoholism Research Center [2P60 AA011998-11]; PI: Andrew Heath), investigates acute effects of alcohol on specific sub-components of executive functioning; and

(3) “Behavioral and Neurophysiological Effects of Co-Use of Alcohol and Caffeine,” funded by the NIAAA (Co-investigators: Bartholow and Denis McCarthy), investigates the extent to which combining alcohol and caffeine influences neurocognitive (ERP) and behavioral responses during performance of cognitive control tasks assessing skills relevant for driving.

These grants are in addition to an ongoing project, “Alcohol Effects on Performance Monitoring: Affective and Cognitive Components,” also funded by the NIAAA, which investigates the effects of alcohol on error processing using behavioral and ERP methods.

November 2009

SCN Graduate Student Erika Henry receives National Research Service Award (F31) from NIAAA

Erika Henry’s dissertation research, which investigates the extent to which individual differences in emotion regulation interact with acute effects of alcohol to influence performance monitoring and adjustment processes, is being funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the NIAAA. This is Erika’s first research grant. (Mentors include Bruce D. Bartholow and Kenneth J. Sher.)

September 2009

Chris Loersch (Ph.D., Ohio State University) joins SCN lab as postdoc

We are very fortunate to have Dr. Chris Loersch join the lab this year as a post-doctoral trainee (supported by grant 2T32 AA013526-06 from the NIAAA). Chris is a social psychologist specializing in social cognition (especially priming effects). Chris is particularly interested in applying his “Situated Inference” model of priming to understanding predictors of alcohol use and effects of alcohol on generation of novel behaviors.

September 2008

SCN Graduate Student Erika Henry Wins 2008 SPR Student Travel Award

Doctoral candidate Erika Henry received a 2008 travel award to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) in Austin, TX. Her poster, entitled “ Alcohol, ERN Amplitude, and State Affect: Unhappy Drunks Still Experience Distress,” reports the results of a recent SCN lab experiment showing that alcohol-induced reductions in the amplitude of the ERN (error-related negativity) are not due to failures to detect errors, but rather are associated with changes in positive and negative affect following alcohol consumption. Erika was one of only 15 North American students to receive an award, out of 157 eligible student members of the Society.

April 2008

Student Geoffrey Kerr wins Psi Chi Regional Research Award for 2008

Geoff Kerr was 1 of only 21 honorees (out of 320 submissions) to receive a Psi Chi Research Award for his abstract submitted to the 2008 Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago, IL. Geoff’s project investigated the effects of acute and chronic violent video game exposure on brain activity and aggressive behavior.

September 2007

SCN Lab Director Bruce Bartholow receives the 2007 Award for a Distinguished Early Career Contribution to Psychophysiology

Each year the Society for Psychophysiological Research recognizes the achievements of an early career scientist (or scientists). Dr. Bartholow is the 2007 awardee for work investigating the neural mechanisms of social cognition. Dr. Bartholow will receive the award in October at the annual meeting of the Society, which will take place in Savannah, GA.

July 2007

Dr. Eunsam Shin and Dr. Eduardo Vasquez join the lab as postdoc

2 new post-doctoral scholars join the SCN Lab in summer 2007, Drs Eunsam Shin and Eduardo Vasquez! Welcome!

Dr. Eunsam Shin, who received her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, joined the SCN lab in August. She has been extending her work on neural attention mechanisms to the study of alcohol cue reactivity and effects of alcohol on attention.

Dr. Eduardo Vasquez, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 2006, joined the SCN lab in July 2007. Dr. Vasquez’s research focuses primarily on understanding triggered displaced aggression. So far, his work in the SCN Lab has focused on understanding effects of brief exposure to alcohol cues on disinhibition of aggression.

October 2006

SCN graduate student Sarah Lust wins SPR travel award

Master’s candidate Sarah Lust received a 2006 SPR travel award to attend the annual meeting of the Society in Vancouver, BC. Her poster, entitled “Sex, Booze, and ERPs: Preliminary Distinctions Between Implicit and Explicit Condom Attitudes,” attracted a great deal of attention at the meeting.