The Woodward Lab investigates the brain-basis of psychotic and neurodevelopmental disorders. Approximately 1-3% of people will be diagnosed with a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. Individuals with a psychotic disorder often manifest subtle changes in behavior and cognitive function many years before the onset of psychotic symptoms suggesting abnormal brain development. Psychotic symptoms, such hallucinations and delusions, are often accompanied by negative symptoms, such as social withdrawal, and cognitive impairment, including difficulties with attention, thinking speed, and memory. We are especially interested in understanding why individuals with a psychotic illness have cognitive problems and if the cognitive deficits can be alleviated. We use a variety of methods to investigate the brain, including neuroimaging, neuropsychological testing, and cognitive neuroscience experiments. Ultimately, we hope that our work will shed light on the neural basis of psychotic disorders, contribute to the development of better treatments, and improve the lives of those affected by these illnesses.
The Woodward Lab is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and has received past support from the Brain and Behavior Research Fund.