The Cognitive-Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab is directed by Dr. Cecile Ladouceur and is part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Psychiatry Department.

What regions are involved in the identification and regulation of emotions?

Research suggests functional connectivity across the ventrolateral-prefrontal cortex-amygdala regions

What regions are involved in the cognitive control of reward information?

Depressed vs healthy adolescents show differing activation of key areas (significan regions shown in red).

Multi-Modal Research Methods

Our research blends together multiple domains of data collection.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) works by using magnetic waves to detect patterns of blood flow activity inside the brain. This allows us to see what areas of the brain are working during different tasks. Our lab uses a 3T MRI scanner, located at the Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an MRI technique that uses the diffusion of water molecules in the brain to study the location, orientation, and anisotropy of white matter tracts.


Electroencephalography (EEG) uses small metal discs placed on the scalp to measure real-time electrical activity in the brain.


Event-related potentials (ERPs) are continuous measures of brain responses. ERPs allow us to pinpoint when the brain is responding to different events.


Participants are given wrist-worn devices to wear outside the lab. These devices collect data on participants’ activity level, sleep patterns, and ambient light exposure in their daily lives.

Clincial Interviews

Trained researchers conduct clinical interviews with teens and their families to better understand their perspective of their mood and behavior. These interviews cover information across the lifetime, up until the present day.

Behavioral Measures

Our behavioral measures include tasks that measure response time, delayed gratification, emotion regulation, and risk taking behavior.

Self-Report Measures

Participants and their families complete self-report measures that ask questions about themselves, their background, and their mood. These are completed both in the lab, as well as at their home through an online portal.

CAN-D Lab News



2021 DANS Conference Postponed

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2021 Developmental Affective Neuroscience Symposium has been postponed until 2023. Get updates here.

July 2018: Mood and Brain Circuitry in Adolescence Study Now Recruiting

To find out more information about participating, visit the study website.

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