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Escape Room Pittsburgh

4 Apr 2018

The lab saved the world from the illuminati at Escape Room Pittsburgh!

AFNI Camp

Ally and Destany participated in a workshop for AFNI, an analysis tool we use, and met the developer Bob Cox!

Military Families Appreciation Picnic

Grace and Ally went to show their support for our military families and inform families about stress and healthy brain development!

Of note, Dr. Hanson will be accepting new graduate students for Fall 2019. For those interested, the LIFE Lab is primarily focused on three areas right now-

1. Continued work on a number of interrelated studies focused on stress exposure and reward learning. These studies are predicated on the idea that the ventral striatum contributes to more incremental habitual learning, while the hippocampus is central to more flexible contextual learning over time. Variations in hippocampal versus striatal differences may uniquely explain the negative outcomes seen after adversity.

2. Focusing on and expanding current conceptual models of the effects of early adversity. The lab has started to work on ideas of “stress sensitization” models which argue that risk for poor mental health is particularly elevated for individuals who have suffered early life stress and who then continue to face stressors in adolescence or adulthood. Other work could include building off dimensional models of adversity (e.g., deprivation versus threat) in relation to psychopathology. Additionally, the lab group is also digging into how environmental consistency in adverse context may impact learning and learning-associated brain circuitry.

3. Expanding into a focus on education. I have been working in collaboration with a professor in education at Pitt (Dr. Ming-Te Wang) to examine connections between executive functioning, intrinsic motivation, and academic achievement. We hope to move this work into a neuroimaging context to understand how the brain contributes to these associations, especially for "at-risk" youth.