Our work merges insights from basic psychological science and clinical practice to model and investigate the core mechanisms involved in the onset, maintenance and treatment of psychological disorder in young people and adults. Our research asks several questions:
1) How do people develop psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, schizophrenia)?
2) What explains why these disorders persist over time?
3) How can we treat these disorders?
Attention and anxiety
In this project we're utilising novel machine learning techniques to measure and analyse the way in which people look at things they're afraid of, such as images of angry people or of people experiencing pain. We're interested in understanding how different patterns of looking correspond with people's ability to manage negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety and sadness.
Within this project we're investigating the problems that some people with, or at risk of, emotional disorders experience in projecting themselves i) back into their autobiographical past, ii) forward into their possible future; and iii) into the perspectives of other people.
While our other projects are more concerned with causal mechanisms, we're also interested in using this knowledge to develop novel interventions. As such, we are developing methods for ameliorating some of the attention and memory problems that are associated with psychological problems.
We are fortunate enough to have many people passing through our lab and helping with our projects - far too many to list here. Here are our more permanent staff and a brief intro to who they are and what they do.
Tom J. Barry, Ph.D.
Tom is the director of the EPL. He is an Assistant Professor (Research) at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and a Visiting Researcher at King's College London. Tom is also the director of HKU’s Bachelors in Arts and Sciences (BASc) programme. Tom's research interests are also those of the lab!
Christine Chiu, M.S.
Christine is a graduate student in the lab, currently conducting research as part of her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Christine's research concerns the social causes and consequences of reduced memory specificity.
Charlene Lam, M.Soc.Sc.
Charlene is also a graduate student and is studying for her Ph.D. in Affective Neuroscience with Prof. Tatia Lee (and is co-supervised by Tom). Charlene's research concerns the development of implicit techniques for treating fear.
Fred Chan, B.Soc.Sc.
Fred is the latest addition to the lab and is currently studying for his M.Phil. in the area of attentional processes in chronic pain.
Kris Martens, M.Sc.
Kris is based in The University of Leuven, Belgium, where he is completing his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychopathology with Prof. Filip Raes (and is co-supervised by Tom). Kris is a Clinical Psychologist who is developing novel methods for improving memory specificity in people with depression.
We also have a number of research assistants who help out with our research on a daily basis.
Riddhi Pitliya. Riddhi is an undergraduate students who is primarily helping with our work in fear conditioning and attention and also helps coordinate the broader work of the lab.
Kristy Lam. Kristy is an undergraduate student who helps with a number of projects regarding autobiographical memory specificity.
Barry, T. J., Hernández-Viadel, J. V., Fernández, D., Ros, L., Ricarte, J. J.*, & Berna, F. (in press). Retrieval of negative autobiographical memories is associated with hostile attributions in ambiguous situations amongst people with schizophrenia. Scientific Reports.
Martin, S., Zabala, C., Del Monte, J., Graziani, P., Aizpurua, E., Barry, T.J., & Ricarte, J. J.* (in press). Examining the Relationships between Impulsivity, Aggression, and Recidivism for Prisoners with Personality Disorders. Aggression & Violent Behaviour.
Chiu, C. H. M., Ma, H. W., Boddez, Y., Raes, F., & Barry, T. J.* (in press). Social support from friends predicts changes in memory specificity following a stressful life event. Memory. doi:10.1080/09658211.2019.1648687
Martens, K., Barry, T. J.*, Takano, K., Onghena, P., & Raes, F. (in press). Efficacy of online Memory Specificity Training in adults with a history of depression, using a multiple baseline across participants design. Internet Interventions. doi:10.1016/j.invent.2019.100259
Barry, T.J., Vinograd, M., Boddez, Y., Raes, F., Zinbarg, R.E., Mineka, S., & Craske, M.G.* (2019). Reduced autobiographical memory specificity affects general distress through poor social support. Memory, 27(7), 916-923. doi:10.1080/09658211.2019.1607876.
Carretero, L.M., Latorre, J.M., Fernández, D., Barry, T.J.*, & Ricarte, J.J. (in press). Effects of positive personal and non-personal autobiographical stimuli on emotional regulation in older adults. Aging, Clinical and Experimental Research. doi:10.1007/s40520-019-01147-0
Barry, T. J.*, Sze, W. Y., & Raes, F. (2019). A meta-analysis and systematic review of Memory Specificity Training (MeST) in the treatment of emotional disorders. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 116. 36-51. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2019.02.001
Martens, K., Takano, K., Barry, T. J.*, Goedleven, J., Van den Meutter, L. & Raes, F. (2019). Remediating Reduced Autobiographical Memory in Healthy Older Adults With Computerized Memory Specificity Training (c-MeST): An Observational Before-After Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(5). doi:10.2196/13333
Martens, K., Barry, T. J.*, Takano, K.; Raes, F. (2019). The Transportability of Memory Specificity Training (MeST): Adapting an Intervention Derived from Experimental Psychology to Routine Clinical Practices. BMC Psychology, 7(5), 1-13. doi:10.1186/s40359-019-0279-y
Farina, F. R., Barry, T. J.*, Van Damme, I., Van Hie, T., & Raes, F. (2019). Depression diagnoses, but not individual differences in depression symptoms, predict reduced autobiographical memory specificity. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(2), 173-186. doi:10.1111/bjc.12207
Barry, T. J., Del Rey, F., & Ricarte, J. J.* (2019). Valence-related impairments in the retrieval of specific autobiographical memories amongst patients with schizophrenia. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(2), 140-153. doi:10.1111/bjc.12205
Barry, T. J., Baker, H. M., Chiu, C. H. M., Lo, B. C. Y., Lau, J. Y. F.* (2019). Factor analysis and validation of a self-report measure of impaired fear inhibition. Cognition & Emotion, 33(3), 512-523. doi:10.1080/02699931.2018.1461064
We've created a number of questionnaires to assist us in our research and you're free to use them if you'd like.
The Emotional Attention Control Scale (eACS)
The eACS is a 14-item questionnaire that focuses on the modulation of attention control by emotions, including items regarding the voluntary focusing, shifting and updating of attention. For example, ‘My attention easily shifts to my emotions’ and ‘I am able to put my feelings aside when I need to focus’. Responses are given on a 4-point scale from 1 (almost never ) to 4 (always). The eACS is available in three languages (click to download):
The Fear Inhibition Questionnaire (FIQ)
The FIQ is an 18-item questionnaire that assesses the extent to which people have difficulty learning to inhibit fear. For example, 'After I've been in an anxiety-provoking situation, I find it difficult to be relaxed in these situations in the future.' Participants respond on 5-point scales from 1 (never) to 5 (always). The FIQ is available in English and Chinese.