Group Research

Self-control as value-based choice

The usual way that laypeople and researchers alike think about self-control is as a battle between “hot” impulsive forces, such as craving, and “cold” calculating ones, such as a distant goal to be healthy. But research has not consistently supported that hot-cold dichotomy. For example, the hot and cold processes are not always opposed to one another during self-control, […]

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Meditation reduces pain, and blocking opioid receptors makes that effect even stronger!

Describe your research and the big picture problem or puzzle it addresses. Over the last 10 years, a series of well-designed laboratory studies using pain induction and healthy meditation practitioners have shown that meditation can be helpful for dealing with pain. When meditators are given the same kind of stimulation and pain is compared before vs. […]

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Do personalized Text Messages Help Smokers Quit?

Changing habits and behaviors is hard. We can all think of a time that we set a goal – cutting down on sweets, for example – and didn’t stick with it despite our best intentions. Quitting smoking is such a goal for many people. Specialized quitting programs can increase success, but those programs are not […]

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How does motivation influence attention? It depends on the context.

Motivation is a powerful driving force behind goal pursuit in our daily lives. Two opposing motivational states that underlie much of our behavior are approach, the impulse to move towards, and avoidance, the impulse to move away. The type of motivation we feel can have a dramatic impact on what we pay attention to, which in turn affects our […]

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Parenting an Early Adolescent: a Pilot Study Examining Neural and Relationship Quality Changes of a Mindfulness Intervention

Relationship between parents and their adolescent children are notoriously rocky, but research shows that a warm, caring parent-child bond can protect kids from problems during adolescence such as substance abuse, depression, and delinquency. That’s why it’s important to understand how parents can strengthen their relationships with their teenage kids. In this research, we studied whether […]

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How does “brain training” to build self-control work, and why doesn’t it generalize?

The recent proliferation of commercial “brain-training” services that promise to enhance intelligence and cognitive functioning is understandable: Who wouldn’t want more working memory, attention, and inhibitory control? However, the effectiveness of these services has been questioned, particularly with respect to how well their training generalizes to the real world. My students Lauren Kahn and Junaid […]

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