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. Psychotic symptoms (e.g. hallucinations and delusions) are often accompanied by negative symptoms, such as social withdrawal, and cognitive impairment, including difficulties with attention, thinking speed, and memory. These symptoms, in attenuated form, often precede the onset of full-blown psychosis suggesting brain development plays an important role in psychotic illnesses. 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 inform 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.