THE MECHANISMS OF DISINHIBITION (MoD) LABORATORY
Director: Arielle Baskin-Sommers, Ph.D.
Disinhibition is central to many conceptualizations of psychopathology and can be expressed in different ways from impulsivity to criminality to aggression. Although many disinhibited individuals display similar behaviors (e.g., impulsivity, aggression, criminal behavior, substance use), the factors underlying these behaviors are relatively distinct. Research in the Mechanisms of Disinhibition (MoD) Lab utilizes multidisciplinary theoretical principles and methods (e.g., electrophysiology, neuroimaging, behavior, self-report) to distinguish the underlying mechanisms and identify correlates at micro, mezzo, and macro levels in order to improve the identification of these syndromes and develop innovative syndrome-specific interventions.
Behavior unfolds through multiple stages of information processing from encoding, to clarifying, to interpreting, to responding to a cue. At each of these stages environmental (e.g., exposure to violence), affective (e.g., reward/punishment, positive/negative), and cognitive (perceptual/early selective attention, executive function, and value-based decision-making) factors influence behavior. Dysfunction associated with any one component may disrupt processing associated with any other component. Understanding how these processes affect each other is important and, ultimately, it is the relationships (i.e., interactions) among these processes that determine the specific behavior problems related to distinct forms of disinhibition. Our goal is to identify and specify the common and unique processes contributing to the most chronic and most socially and individually damaging disinhibited behaviors. So as to best accomplish this goal, the MoD Lab explores disinhibited behavior across various populations, including currently incarcerated inmates, community samples, and youth.
General Research Interests
- Interactions among selective attention, executive functions, and emotion in disinhibition
- Etiopathogenesis of Psychopathy, Antisocial Behavior, and Substance Use Disorders
- Psychophysiological and neural correlates of aggression
- Environmental factors that contribute to disinhibited behavior
- Development of mechanism-matched cognitive remediation strategies for disinhibition