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Florin Dolcos

Division: Cognitive Neuroscience

Assistant Professor of Psychology

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Specializations

  • Affective Disorders (Depression & Anxiety).
  • Brain Imaging (fMRI & ERP).
  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging (Affect & Cognition).
  • Individual Differences (Personality, Sex, Age).
  • Social Cognition (Social Neuroscience).
  • Affective Neuroscience (Emotion-Cognition Interactions).

Research Description

My main research interests concern the neural correlates of affective-cognitive interactions in healthy and clinical populations, as studied with brain imaging techniques (e.g., fMRI and ERP). My program can be divided into the following two main directions: 1. BASIC RESEARCH investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the impact of emotion on cognition in healthy participants. This direction focuses on identifying the mechanisms that are common to both the enhancing and the impairing effects of emotion on cognitive functions (e.g., enhanced memory for emotional events and enhanced susceptibility to emotional distraction, respectively), and on identifying the mechanisms that dissociate these two opposing effects of emotion on cognition. 2. TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH investigating the role of individual differences in mediating the emotion-cognition interactions. This direction focuses on identifying the neural circuitry responsible for differential ability to experience, remember, and regulate emotions associated with age-, gender-, and personality-related differences, in both healthy and clinical cohorts. We investigate these issues using brain imaging methods (fMRI, ERP) in conjunction with other psychophysiological (electrodermal responses) and behavioral assessments (performance in cognitive and neuropsychological tasks, personality questionnaires).Investigation of these issues has direct implications for understanding the neural correlates of affective dysregulation observed in mood and anxiety disorders, which are characterized by pathological biases in processing negative emotions, intrusive recollection of distressing events, and increased emotional distractibility.

Distinctions / Awards

  • Laird Cermak Award for Early Contributions to Memory Research from the Memory Disorders Research Society.
  • Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.
  • CPRF Award from the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation.
  • NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Courses

  • PSYC/NEUR 421: Principles of Psychophysiology (Fall)
  • PSYCH 496: Cognitive Neuroscience of Emotion (Spring).
  • PSYCH 593: Current Topics in Affective Neurosciences (Fall/Spring).

Recent Publications

Denkova, E., Wong, G., Dolcos, S., Sung, K., Wang, L., Coupland, N., & Dolcos, F (2010). The Impact of Anxiety-Inducing Distraction on Cognitive Performance: A Combined Brain Imaging and Personality Investigation. PLoS ONE 5(11): e14150.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014150.

Dolcos, F. (2010). The Impact of Emotion on Memory: Evidence from Brain Imaging Studies. VDM Verlag Book (ISBN: 3639188659).

*Ritchey, M., *Dolcos, F., *Eddington, K.M., Strauman, T.J., Cabeza, R. (2010). Neural Correlates of Emotional Processing in Depression: Changes with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Predictors of Treatment Response. Journal of Psychiatric Research [Epub ahead of print; doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.09.007].

Dolcos, F., LaBar, K., & Cabeza, R. (2004). Interaction Between the Amygdala and the Medial Temporal Lobe Memory System Predicts Better Memory for Emotional Events. Neuron, 42, 855-863.

Dolcos, F., LaBar, K.S., & Cabeza, R. (2005). Remembering One Year Later: Role of the Amygdala and the Medial Temporal Lobe Memory System During Retrieval of Emotional Memories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 102(7), 2626-2631.

Dolcos, F., McCarthy, G. (2006). Brain Systems Mediating Cognitive Interference by Emotional Distraction. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(7):2072-2079.

Wang, L., Krishan, R.R., Steffens, D.C., Potter, G., Dolcos, F., & McCarthy, G. (2008). Depressive State- and Disease-Related Alterations in Neural Responses to Affective and Executive Challenges in Geriatric Depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 165: 863-871.

See here extended list of publications.