Welcome to the Cognition and Emotion Lab
Research in the Cognition and Emotion Lab focuses on the interactions between cognition and emotion. A major focus of our research is to examine the effects of experimentally induced moods on selective attention and memory for emotional information (an NSERC supported research program). We use eye movement tracking and recording in many of our studies to determine how people distribute their attention to emotional images and the consequent impact on memory. We also examine attention to emotion in depressed individuals and individuals vulnerable to depression (e.g., Sears, Newman, Ference, & Thomas, 2011; Newman & Sears, 2015; Soltani, Newman, Quigley, Fernandez, Dobson, & Sears, 2015), as part of a series of studies funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Other recent studies have examined cognitive distortions and information processing biases associated with dysphoria and depression, especially effects of depression and depressed mood on the interpretation of ambiguity (e.g., Bisson & Sears, 2007; Sears, Bisson, & Nielsen, 2010; Stea, Lee, & Sears 2013). We have also examined attention to threat in PTSD (Thomas, Goegan, Newman, Arndt, & Sears, 2013), attentional control in anxiety (Wright, Dobson, & Sears, 2014), and attention to food in binge eating disorder (Popien, Frayn, von Ranson, & Sears, 2015) and those with food addiction (Frayn, Sears, & von Ranson, 2016). The lab is part of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences graduate program in the Department of Psychology.
The University of Calgary is ranked as one of Canada’s top universities. More than 30,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs, including medicine, law, and veterinary medicine. Click here for more information. The Department of Psychology consists of 40 faculty members and over 90 graduate students pursuing MSc and PhD degrees. Information on financial support for graduate students can be found here.
Research in the Cognition and Emotion Lab has been funded by a variety of agencies, including grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS), Alberta Gambling Research Institute (AGRI), and the University of Calgary Research Grants Committee. Graduate students in the lab have won major scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), CIHR, AIHS, AGRI, and NSERC.
We are located in the basement of the Administration Building (Admin 06) and we can be reached at 403-220-4667. Click here for a map of the campus. If you would like to participate in one of our studies, volunteer as a research assistant (for PSYC 499), or learn about honours thesis and graduate opportunities, please contact Dr. Sears on the People page above.