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psychology, neuroscience, health disparities, human-subjects research, data analysis

Please note: This stream will be ending at the end of 2023.


Why do people use drugs and alcohol despite the risks? Why do some people develop problems with drugs and alcohol while others do not? How might socio-cultural factors impact problematic substance use? Do treatments for problematic substance use really work?

To address questions like these, the Addiction Science stream engages approaches that range from basic studies of the neurobehavioral and psychological processes that underlie addictive behavior to research on the treatment of addictive behavior and psychological conditions that often co-occur. Moreover, we have a primary focus on the unique vulnerabilities and health disparities experienced by racial/ethnic minority and lower socioeconomic status communities. Based in the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, students gain exposure to the full range of approaches to discovery in addiction science.



Treatment of Addiction: Difficulties with experiencing and regulating both negative and positive affect play a significant role in the development of problematic health behaviors such as substance use. Stream research on affective vulnerabilities and addictive behavior includes novel basic laboratory and neuroimaging paradigms integrated with clinical outcomes in order to develop more targeted interventions.


Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health: Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States face numerous health disparities including differential patterns of substance use and a greater burden of negative consequences associated with substance use. Stream research aims to identify distinct vulnerability factors in the emergence and progression of health-related risk behavior among health disparity populations, and has implications for intervention targets that are currently underutilized.


Understanding and implementing Institutional Review Board (IRB) rules, guidelines, and standards required for human subjects research.

Leading participant recruitment and experimental procedures, including consent, experiment setup, debriefing, and compensation procedures.

How to collect data:

  • Graining proficiency with data collection platforms, including Brainvision Recorder, Open BCI, PyCorder, and E-Prime.  

  • Clinical physiological techniques, including electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), heart rate, oculomotor responses, galvanic skin responses, and accelerometry.  

  • Standard psychological assessments. 


How to analyze data:

  • Gaining proficiency with data analysis platforms, including R, Matlab, Brainvision Analyzer, and Open BCI.

  • Understanding how human subjects data is collected, stored securely, organized, and ultimately analyzed at both the individual and group level.

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