Feelings, emotions, and moods are at the core of human existence. They reflect internal affective states that continuously interact with the external world, shaping our thoughts and motivating our behaviors. These affective states are adaptive – they boost survival and foster social connectedness. However, they can also negatively impact our own health and others’ well-being.
The Rage of Achilles - Fresco by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1757, Villa Valmarana, Vicenza, Italy)
My research aims to elucidate the bio-psycho-social mechanisms that underlie affective states such as anger and pain, and how they manifest in health and illness. My overarching goal is to benchmark these mechanisms in order to reduce suffering, and to promote adaptive responding and pro-social behavior.
I conduct studies that pose questions such as:
What neural mechanisms underlie effective/dysfunctional emotion regulation?
How do social interactions alter emotional experiences and expressions?
How do socio-emotional contexts influence cognitive processes?
What neuro-psychological markers predict individual differences in pathological symptomatology?
Can we non-invasively alter brain function for therapeutic prevention and/or intervention?
Hypothesized model for how the human brain processes anger - Gilam & Hendler (2015)
To answer these questions, I combine basic and clinical research in humans from a Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience perspective. My approach:
Incorporates psychological theory within biological constraints, and through a contextualized socio-cultural prism
Integrates multi-modal/multi-level/multi-variate research methods and analytics
Emphasizes the development and validation of interactive experimental paradigms
Utilizes behavioral, psychophysiological, neuroimaging, and neuromodulation techniques, as well as psychometric assays and patient-reported outcomes
Anger-infused dynamic social interactions - Gilam et al. (2017)
Neuro-stimulation effects on brain processing of anger - Gilam et al. (2018)