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Welcome to the Cognition and Anxiety Disorders Research Laboratory (CADRe Lab)!

We are a research lab devoted to understanding the development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders. We are particularly interested in how different types of thinking contribute to the experience of anxiety. Moreover, we are hopeful that we can use this knowledge to continue to refine cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for these problems.

Main Areas of Research

We like to believe that as humans, we form opinions, make decisions, judge situations, vote for political leaders, and choose our behaviours based on complex, logical, and most importantly, controlled cognitive processes. However, a surge of research in the last 15 years has demonstrated that much of our seemingly “rational” decision-making is based on ‘implicit’ or ‘automatic’ cognition—or at the very least—the interplay between implicit and explicit cognition. Our research is focused on applying this idea directly to understanding anxiety and anxiety-related behaviour, specifically as it relates to CBT. We are also interested in understanding how these two types of thinking may be related to how we pay attention to, make meaning of, and remember things in our environment.

To this end, we focus on developing and refining measurement of implicit cognition as it relates to anxiety, understanding how people use explicit processes (e.g., reappraisal) to override implicit impulses (e.g., urges), figuring out when implicit and explicit cognition are more likely to impact people’s anxiety-related behaviour, and integrating this information with CBT models both to understand limitations in current treatment (i.e., why some people don’t get better) and to provide potential interventions (i.e., to target both implicit and explicit processes). We feel very fortunate to conduct much of our research at the University of Ottawa’s state of the art INSPIRE Laboratory.

Other Areas of Research

We also conduct research (or are in the process of developing new research!) related to anxiety disorders in the following areas:

  • Emotion regulation, and specifically, the way that beliefs about emotions contribute to anxiety
  • The use of psychophysiological measures as they relate to information processing in anxiety
  • Reassurance-seeking
  • Check back soon!

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