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The Mood, Emotion & Development Lab directed by Dr. Autumn Kujawa is housed in the Department of Psychology & Human Development on the Peabody Campus of Vanderbilt University. Our mission is to contribute high-quality translational research that aims to reduce the burden of mood disorders on children, adolescents, parents and families.

In particular, our research examines social and emotional development and the ways in which alterations in emotion and social processing contribute to the development of mood disorders and can be translated to improve intervention and prevention efforts. We study a range of emotional processes, including reward responsiveness, emotional reactivity and regulation, and sensitivity to social feedback. Within each of these areas, we aim to:

  • Refine measurement of emotion and social functioning across development, integrating self-report, behavioral, physiological, and imaging methods, and examining psychometric properties.
  • Chart typical developmental trajectories of emotional reactivity/regulation and reward responsiveness.
  • Identify alterations in emotion that contribute to vulnerability for mood disorders and can improve identification of youth at risk. In addition, we work to understand how these vulnerabilities develop, including contributions of early parenting style and relationships and exposure to stress.
  • Promote healthy emotional and social development for children and adolescents by identifying novel targets for more personalized prevention and intervention.

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