The Experimental Psychopathology Lab

We're the Experimental Psychopathology Lab at The University of Hong Kong

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About us

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?

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Projects

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.


Memory specificity

People who have or are at risk of a range of psychological disorders can have difficulty recalling specific events from their past. In this project we're exploring the factors which cause, and result from, these memory problems and how this contributes towards the experience of psychological disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. 


Novel interventions

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. In particular, we are developing novel Executive Control (X-Training) and Memory Specificity Training (MeST) programmes.

People

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 and a Visiting Researcher at King's College London. 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.


Research assistants

We also have a number of research assistants who help out with our research on a daily basis.

Connie Chiu. Since graduating from her bachelors degree, Connie has been working on several meta-analyses and systematic reviews in the domain of memory specificity.

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.

Tiffany Tao. Tiffany is a final year student who is helping coordinate some of the broader lab work whilst also completing her bachelors thesis.


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Publications

*corresponding author

Farina, F. R., Barry, T. J.*, Van Damme, I., Van Hie, T., & Raes, F. (in press). Depression diagnoses, but not individual differences in depression symptoms, are associated with reduced autobiographical memory specificity. British Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Barry, T. J., Del Rey, F., & Ricarte, J. J.* (in press). Valence-related impairments in the retrieval of specific autobiographical memories amongst patients with schizophrenia. British Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Baker, H. M., Barry, T. J., Kumari, V., Pandey, R., Shanta, N., & Lau, J. Y. F.* (in press). Problematic attention processing and fear learning in adolescent anxiety: testing a combined cognitive and learning processes model. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

Barry, T. J.*, Chiu, C. P. Y., Raes, F., Ricarte, J. J., & Lau, H. (2018) The neurobiology of reduced autobiographical memory specificity. Trends in Cognitive Science, 22, P1038-1049. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2018.09.001

Barry, T. J., Yeung, S. P. & Lau, J. Y. F.*  (2018). Meta-analysis of the influence of age on symptom change following cognitive-behavioural treatment for anxiety disorders. Journal of Adolescence, 68, 232-241. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.08.008

Chiu, C. P. Y., Griffith, J. W., Lenaert, B., Raes, F., Hermans, D. & Barry, T. J.* (2018). Meta-analysis of the association between rumination and reduced autobiographical memory specificity. Memory, 26, 1323-1334. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2018.1474928

Barry, T. J., Baker, H. M., Chiu, C. H. M., Lo, B. C. Y., Lau, J. Y. F.* (2018). Factor analysis and validation of a self-report measure of impaired fear inhibition. Cognition & Emotion. doi:10.1080/02699931.2018.1461064

Barry, T. J.*, Takano, K., Boddez, Y., & Raes, F. (2018). Lower Sleep Duration Is Associated With Reduced Autobiographical Memory Specificity. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Feb 9, 1–9. doi:10.1080/15402002.2018.1435542

Barry, T. J., Lenaert, B., Hermans, D., Raes, F., & Griffith, J. W.* (2018). Meta-analysis of the association between autobiographical memory specificity and exposure to trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 35-46. doi:10.1002/jts.22263

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Resources

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):

English, Chinese and  Dutch.

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

 

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Contact

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