We have two current programs:

Understanding the Etiology of Anxiety Disorders via Virtual Reality

We are examining factors that affect the etiology of anxiety and trauma-based disorders, toward the development of prevention protocols. Participants will be placed in in virtual reality worlds, with behavioral, cognitive, and psychophysiological outcomes measured.

The Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption, Exercise, and Heartbeat Perception

The purpose of this study is to examine whether acute alcohol consumption and exercise affect the accuracy of heartbeat perception. The findings may have implications for why acute alcohol consumption lowers the prospective risk of a panic attack.

We have recently completed two programs:

An Examination of the Relation Between Nicotine Dependence and Fear Reactivity to Bodily Sensations

We applied nicotine patches of various strengths to daily smokers and subsequently measured carbon dioxide sensitivity. Our aim was to understand why frequent smokers are at elevated risk for developing panic disorder. In brief, participants re-breathed elevated rates of carbon dioxide while a number of physiological and subjective parameters were measured. Increased sensitivity to carbon dioxide in the lab is thought to reflect an increased propensity to experience panic attacks outside the lab. Data from this study are currently being analyzed.

Predictive Validity of the Smoking Abstinence Expectancies Questionnaire (SAEQ)

We have developed and published a questionnaire that assesses, among regular smokers, expected psychological and physiological responses to abstaining from smoking for a 24-hour period. The questionnaire may assist prediction models of successful quitting and enable clinicians to target specific expectancies in their treatment of smokers.