Project Cognition: The majority of smokers are motivated to quit. However, most quit attempts end in failure. Many relapses occur in the first few days. It is therefore important to understand the mechanisms underlying relapse to smoking, so that more effective interventions can be developed. Most research on the psychological processes underlying relapse has used questionnaire (self-report) measures. In this NIDA-funded study (RO1 DA020436), we are using computerized reaction time tasks, derived from experimental cognitive psychology, to assess processes ("implicit processes") that may not be captured by self-report. Two-hundred and forty adult smokers wishing to quit are being enrolled in a smoking cessation study. All participants attend five laboratory sessions. At each session, they complete a battery of cognitive and questionnaire assessments. Some participants also carry around a hand-held computer for one week (see below). The study focuses on smokers who want to quit without using nicotine replacement or other medications. However, participants are provided with counseling. We seek to evaluate the clinical and theoretical utility of the implicit cognitive measures. For example, data collected in this study may identify those individuals who are at high risk for an early relapse.
ThinkingAboutQuitting.com: Project Cognition's webpage with resources, information, and research related to smoking, cognition, and the lab.
Project Colors: Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) has been described as the "method of the future" in clinical psychopharmacology (Moskowitz, & Young, 2006). EMA involves assessing phenomena at the moment they occur in a person's natural environment. Assessments may be done at random times, or when participants experience heightened emotions. The data are highly detailed. They can reveal important patterns of change that occur over a few hours (Shiffman & Waters, 2004). The development of hand-held computers (PDAs) has facilitated the collection of EMA data. PDAs can be programmed to randomly prompt the person (e.g., through beeping). In addition, reaction time tasks can be administered on a PDA (Waters & Li, 2008). We are currently investigating whether changes in implicit and explicit cognitions - assessed on a PDA — can help us determine the timing of a relapse to smoking (RO1 DA020436-S3). In addition, in collaboration with Ingmar Franken at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, we are investigating whether changes in implicit and explicit cognitions can help us predict whether or not individuals complete a drug detoxification program (funded by Zon-Mw). We are also assessing the efficacy of a cognitive retraining intervention administered on a PDA.
Aimee Ruscio is a fourth year student (U.S. Army officer) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Aimee earned her bachelor's degree in American History from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2003. After graduating, Aimee served in the 1st Infantry Division as a Medical Service Corps Officer, deploying twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is particularly interested in mindfulness meditation and its possible applications in military populations. Aimee can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
William Kerst is a fifth year student (U.S. Air Force) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. William earned his bachelor's degree in Psychology (2007) from Chapman University in Orange, California. While at Chapman, he worked as a student research assistant in studies of special needs children and their families. He is particularly interested in research in cognitive psychology, especially in attentional retraining, cognitive bias modification, as well as event-related potential (ERP) applications to cognitive research. His clinical interests are in neuropsychology and traumatic brain injury (TBI). At USUHS, he has worked on research projects investigating cognitive predictors of smoking cessation and relapse and EEG brain synchronization in TBI. For his master's thesis, William is examining the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering attentional retraining of smoking attentional biases in smokers via handheld computers. William is a member of Psi Chi; the National Honor Society in Psychology, as well as a student member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. William can be contacted by email: email@example.com.
Jessica Forde is a fifth year student (U.S. Navy) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Jessica earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology (2007) from Montana State University in Bozeman. While at Montana State, she worked as an assistant at a group home for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder and other trauma and abuse-related psychopathologies. She is particularly interested in research in the detection of deception and misrepresentation with cognitive tasks. Her clinical interests are in the treatment of addictions and comorbid disorders. For her master's thesis and doctoral dissertation, Jessica is examining the relationship between self-report attitudes and cognitions, implicit attitudes and cognitions, and social desirability in a smoking cessation program. Jessica is a student member of the American Psychological Association. Jessica can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cendrine Robinson is a third year student working towards a Ph.D. in Medical & Clinical Psychology. Cendrine earned her bachelor's degree in Brain & Cognitive Science (2007) from the University of Rochester. Cendrine is interested in the interrelationships between implicit processes and neurocognitive processes as they relate to addiction. Her Masters Thesis will examine poor executive function as a moderator of the relationship between attentional bias and relapse in smokers. She is also interested in Health Disparities research, specifically, patterns of smoking and cessation among Minority populations. She is currently completing a Neuropyschology practicum at NIMH and a practicum in Behavioral Health at the Washington, D.C. VA. Cendrine can be contacted by email: email@example.com.
Nicole Kang is a second year student (U.S. Navy) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice (2005) from California State University, Long Beach. While at Long Beach State, she developed her senior honors thesis, examining verdict and sentencing as a function of pre-trial attitudes in alleged rape cases. As a clinical research associate at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Los Angeles, CA, she examined neurocognitive functioning in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and assessed disease damage and progression. She also worked as a research assistant at San Diego State University in CA, investigating alcohol's terotogenic effects on development, using a neuropsychological framework. Nicole is particularly interested in investigating the roles of neurocognitive functioning as it applies to drug addiction. Nicole can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edwin Szeto is a first year civilian student in the Medical & Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. He graduated from Ohio State University (2008) with B.S.'s in Psychology, Mathematics, Chinese, and a minor in sexuality studies, and completed a thesis titled "Thinking Outside of the Closet: Negotiations of Taiwanese Gay and Lesbian Subjectivities in Modern Fiction, 1994-1998." He then served as the research/lab coordinator at Dr. Marjan Holloway's Laboratory for the Treatment of Suicide-related Ideation and Behavior at USU, working on suicide behavior clinical trials, medical chart & psychological autopsy reviews, and a Marine suicide prevention program evaluation. Edwin's EMA research interests in depression and addiction lie in the context of etiology and treatment mechanism: 1. the role & re-formation of verbal behavior, 2. reaction strategies (e.g. mindfulness/acceptance and attention/emotion regulation, etc), and 3. substance-less addictions (e.g. sexual and gambling addictions). He is also interested in the psychology of sexuality/gender issues such as sexual behaviors and orientations. He speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taiwanese, and is a travel & movie/TV email@example.com.
Chantal Meloscia is a first year student (U.S. Navy) working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. After graduating, Chantal was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy. After three years, she transferred to the Information Warfare community serving for an additional 3 years. Prior to attending USUHS, Chantal studied at the Ohio State University and assisted in their Depression Research Lab and Memory and Language Laboratory. Her current research is focused on the use of attentional retraining delivered by a handheld computer to assist with smoking cessation. Chantal can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brigid Rowell earned her master's degree in counseling and her bachelor's degree in psychology from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Brigid is a National Certified Counselor and a licensed counselor in the state of Maryland. She worked as a research assistant at Oakland University examining life satisfaction as it relates to religion and politics. Her clinical experience has focused on behavioral problems in children, with special emphasis on foster care populations. Brigid can be contacted by email: email@example.com
Diana J. Fitek, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow in the Waters' laboratory. She earned her B.A. in Psychology at Cornell University, and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Mason University. She completed her APA-accredited internship at Springfield Hospital Center and advanced clinical training in dissociative disorders at Sheppard Pratt Hospital's Trauma Disorders Unit. Her research interests include resilience, barriers to help-seeking in the military, post-deployment adjustment, and the use of mobile technology for real-time assessment and delivery of psychological health interventions. Dr. Fitek is also studying for licensure as a psychologist in Maryland. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Dr. Fitek can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.