Director: Heidemarie Laurent, Ph.D.
We work to understand how people regulate stress within close relationships. Our research connects across different facets of regulation: observable behavior, brain activity, and peripheral physiology.
We are a group of behavioral researchers working to understand and prevent stress-related problems in living, such as depression and anxiety. These difficulties often run in families and perpetuate across generations as parents’ stress shapes the biology and behavior of their children. Our research aims to interrupt such intergenerational cycles by answering the following questions:1) What does neurobehavioral regulation look like in a particular social context? What should we try to foster in the brain and other physiological systems to support stress resilience?3) Which early (prenatal and postnatal) experiences shape developing regulation?4) How can we intervene to create the optimal conditions for stress regulation in high-risk families?
We use self-report and behavioral observation, as well as measures of the brain (fMRI) and peripheral physiology (i.e., salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, nerve growth factor), to get at these questions. We are committed to disseminating high-quality scientific research that not only answers intellectually interesting questions about human well-being, but also works to promote it.
Longitudinal Infant Stress Study
Funded by the Victoria S. Levin Award through the Society for Research on Child Development, this study follows mothers and their infants across a crucial period of early development from 12 weeks to 18 months postnatal. We will be assessing how infants respond to stress behaviorally and physiologically across several time points to better understand conditions fostering stability vs. change in stress regulation.