I am currently on the faculty at Assumption College, where I direct the Laboratory for Cognitive and Affective Science and serve as Associate Director for Grants and Research in the Center for Teaching Excellence.
I also collaborate with Heather L. Urry’s Emotion, Brain, and Behavior Laboratory as a Research Affiliate. I earned my doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Tufts University, studying with Lisa M. Shin in her Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Neuroimaging Lab.
My research considers whether the strategies people choose to regulate their emotions and the degree to which they successfully accomplish this regulation can predict trajectories of psychological functioning over time. I have explored these questions in college students exposed to mood inductions, in a cross-cultural trauma-exposed sample, and in the context of remitted major depression. Most recently, I am investigating whether small interventions targeting emotions at the start of class can yield benefits for student learning. This work is funded by a generous grant from the Davis Educational Foundation.
My teaching focuses on emotion, motivation, and neuroscience. I was hired by Assumption as a biopsychology professor, and teach the majority of our department’s offerings in physiological psychology and neuroscience. In 2011 I led our department in developing a Psychology major with a Brain, Behavior, and Cognition concentration.
My book, The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, is being published by West Virginia University Press as part of James Lang’s series on teaching and learning in higher education. You can more read about it here.
I also enjoy sharing psychological science with a public audience. Currently I blog on affective neuroscience for Psychology Today and write ad hoc essays for online and print magazines, including Motherboard and Darling magazine. In the past I have written a blog for Whole Living magazine on topics relevant to motivation and positive psychology. I have appeared on the Martha Stewart television show to speak about healthy living and on Whole Living’s Sirius show to speak about the scientific study of procrastination. I have also appeared on New England Cable News discussing the science of romantic love and on Higher Education Today to discuss a variety of neuroscience topics.
I have also spoken with groups and organizations about applying the science of motivation and emotion to their efforts, including the Bose Corporation, Subforum, and Mount Auburn Hospital. You can read more my consulting work here.
In my free time I enjoy devouring fiction (especially the fantastical), spending time near the ocean (especially with my canine and human daughters), and cooking up pescetarian meals for good friends.