Research at the Laboratory

Ongoing Reseach

CADRe Lab's Commitment to Diverse Participation

The CADRe lab is committed to recruiting from diverse populations for our studies. We welcome people from diverse backgrounds and from underrepresented groups to participate in our research.

Measuring Emotion Regulation Over the Years: A Systematic Review

Emotion regulation (ER) is a fundamental process in determining human behaviour, and one that is particularly influential to our psychological well-being. ER has been a topic of interest for numerous researchers, resulting in approximately 1,800 published articles within the last 5 years. Despite this proliferating interest in ER, the large majority of this research has been conducted using select few measures of ER such as the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). While these measures have been validated, multiple studies have been unable to replicate their factor models. Additionally, there is a variety of alternative ER measures that currently exist and have the ability to measure other essential yet overlooked domains of ER that are crucial to positive socioemotional adaptation (e.g., self-efficacy, interpersonal contexts, emotional expression). Thus far, a systematic review of child and adolescent ER measures has been conducted, however, the same effort has not been undertaken in the adult literature. Accordingly, a systematic review is warranted to help researchers identify the varying and available measures of ER that may lend themselves to diverse research goals, such as the emerging role of ER in contemporary cognitive-behavioral theory. A comprehensive literature search is being conducted using multiple electronic databases including PsycINFO, PubMed/Ovid MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Register. Terms indicative of ER (i.e., Emotion regulation, emotion dysregulation, affect regulation, affect dysregulation, emotional expression) will be combined in each database. Inclusion criteria will be articles that were 1) written in English, 2) published in a peer-reviewed journal up to January 2020, and 3) measuring ER in an adult sample (≥ 18 years). Each article will be evaluated using these pre-defined inclusion criteria through an abstract, title, test measures, and keyword(s) search. Test measures of ER will be extracted from each study, and integrated into a comprehensive list of all ER measures. Finally, for each ER measure, an overview of the following data will be provided: ER strategies assessed, aspects of ER addressed (e.g., cognitive constructs, behavioural implications), whether it considers components of ER flexibility (e. g. , goals, context, state ER), psychometric properties, number of empirical articles including the measure, number of clinical trials for CBT including the measure, and the field of research in which it has been published (e.g., clinical psychology, neuropsychology, sports psychology, oncology). Although research in ER has made notable progress in defining the many strategies we use to regulate our emotions, this review will serve to update and strengthen our understanding of how ER has been defined and measured to date. Finally, by highlighting the components of ER included in CBT research to date, this project will provide valuable insight regarding the current status of ER in Cognitive Behavioural Therapies.

“I’m only going for one drink”: Investigating Thoughts, Emotions, and Drinking Behaviours

The purpose of this study is to better understand people’s thoughts, emotions, and drinking behaviours. Individuals willing to participate will be asked to complete a number of online questionnaires.    

Watch Where You Look! A New Way of Measuring Spider Fear 

The aim of this study is to test new ways of measuring cognition related to fear of spiders. Participants must have completed the online study entitled “Understanding Thoughts & Feelings 2” and be sent an invitation code in order to participate in this study. Participants will come in to the laboratory for 2 one-hour sessions, which will take place 7 days apart. Participants will be asked to book both sessions when they sign up. During those two sessions, participants will complete questionnaires, as well as computerized and in-person cognitive and behavioural tasks. Data collection for this study is currently on pause due to COVID-19.

What do YOU think? Helping to improve people’s interpersonal relationships

The aim of this study is to develop a training program to increase individuals’ social skills. Individuals willing to participate in this one-hour online study will be asked to accept a Zoom meeting invitation from a research assistant and stay connected to the meeting for the duration of the study. Participants will complete a number of online questionnaires, in addition to a behavioural task, and a computerized task. For the purposes of this study, participants must be very fluent in English, as the measures are only available in English. We also require that participants have a good internet connection, participate on a computer (e.g., desktop/laptop) or a tablet that has a webcam and microphone that can be turned ON, and a private and distraction-free area (e.g., a closed bedroom in a shared apartment/house) for the duration of the study. Participants will be required to provide their email address, phone number, and current address upon initiating the study. However, once they have completed the study, we will delete this information. Compensation: Participation will take approximately one hour, and participants will be compensated with one (1) course credit (ISPR students) or will have their name put in a draw for one of three gift cards. After signing up, participants can expect an email at least 24 hours in advance with invitations/instructions for Zoom. Additionally, based on participants’ responses, they may be contacted by the CADRe Laboratory for future studies, if they consent and provide their name and email address during the study. Please contact Ryan Ferguson at

Recruitment Poster

Towards a culturally-informed understanding of emotion regulation: Knowledge synthesis and international expert consensus

We were delighted to receive a 2-year Insight Development Grant from SSHRC for this project. Emotion regulation (ER)—people’s ability to modify the type, intensity, or expression of an emotion—is a fundamental process that plays a role in virtually every human experience. Although researchers have explored various cross-cultural differences in specific components of ER, there is no overarching model of ER that incorporates culture as a core feature. This 2-year research program funded by SSHRC is a crucial first step in developing an evidence-based model of ER founded in cross-cultural psychology. Our overarching goal is to identify the key cultural factors that must be included in any future model of emotion regulation, informed by both the research literature and international expert consensus. Throughout this project, we have prioritized best practices in knowledge synthesis and group consensus methods, supported by team members with the appropriate expertise (Dr. Ouimet, along with Drs. Gioia Bottesi, Marta Ghisi, Monnica Williams, Susan Humphrey-Murto, and Mr. Patrick Labelle) . We are currently conducting a Scoping Review (Study 1) to answer two important questions: 1) Which cultural factors or characteristics have been studied in relation to ER broadly? 2) Which specific features of ER have been studied in relation to culture? Using contemporary methodological guidelines, we will map the current state of the literature to produce a list of cultural factors potentially important to ER. Then, we will bring together researchers in emotion regulation and cross-cultural psychology worldwide to obtain international expert consensus on the KEY cross-cultural factors that MUST be included in any future model of emotion regulation (Delphi, Study 2). This final list of factors will serve as a springboard for a larger future research project in which we will develop and test a culturally-informed model of ER.

How do you feel? Exploring reactions to emotional pictures

The aim of this study is to investigate how people regulate their feelings when asked to view emotional pictures. Participants will first complete a set of questionnaires, they will then view a series of emotional pictures, and complete a behavioural task. In addition, participants will be asked to wear sensors on their face and hand for a portion of the study. Data collection for this study is currently on pause due to COVID-19.

Understanding Emotion Regulation With and Without Anxiety

See the recruitment posters below!

Recruitment Poster 1

Recruitment Poster 2

Recruitment Poster 3


Completed Research

Exploring the impact of safety behaviour use on cognitive, psychophysiological, emotional and behavioural responses during a speech task

There is a debate among researchers and clinicians regarding whether the judicious use of safety behaviours (SBs) during exposure therapy is helpful or detrimental. Central to this debate is the premise that SBs may interfere with one’s ability to gather disconfirmatory evidence. No study to date has assessed how SB use may impact cognitive mechanisms implicated during an exposure-like task. We investigated multiple cognitive, emotional, and psychophysiological underpinnings of exposure with and without SBs. Speech anxious participants (N = 111) were randomly assigned to deliver an evaluated speech with or without SBs. Self-reported anxiety ratings and psychophysiological arousal measures were recorded at baseline, in anticipation of the speech, and following the speech. Measures of working memory, ability to gather disconfirmatory evidence, speech duration, objective and subjective speech performance, and speech task acceptability were administered. There were no differences between conditions on working memory, self-reported anxiety, psychophysiological arousal, ability to gather disconfirmatory evidence, speech duration, or objective and subjective speech performance. All participants were able to gather disconfirmatory evidence. However, condition did influence willingness to deliver future speeches. Our sample was largely female undergraduate students, and we offered only a small number of specific safety behaviours. Judicious SB use may not necessarily be detrimental, but clients may believe them to be more helpful than they actually are. Read the published article describing this work here!

Dealing with feelings

The aim of this study was to investigate emotion regulation to better understand the relationships between thinking and feeling. Participants first completed a set of questionnaires; then, they viewed a number of pictures while wearing sensors on the face and hand, which measured subtle changes in involuntary psychophysiological activity. 

Can You Believe It?  Examining the Influence of Safety Behaviour Beliefs on Speech Task Outcomes

Beliefs and expectations about treatment have been shown to significantly impact treatment outcomes in medical settings. However, researchers have seldom examined the role of beliefs within the context of cognitive behavioural therapy. Beliefs may be particularly salient for safety behaviour (SB) use in exposure therapy, as clinicians often hold opinions about whether judicious SB use facilitates or inhibits treatment. These beliefs may consequently be relayed during psychoeducation, influencing client expectations of safety behaviour helpfulness and exposure efficacy. We investigated experimentally the influence of SB beliefs on: working memory, speech predictions, speech duration, anxiety, performance, and speech acceptability. Speech anxious undergraduate participants (N = 144) received psychoeducation on exposure and were told (using random assignment) either that SBs: increase anxiety (unhelpful), decrease anxiety (helpful), or were provided with no information on SBs (control). People in the helpful condition only believed the exposure would be more successful. Crucially, exposure expectancy mediated the relationship between the helpful (but not unhelpful) condition and willingness to engage in future exposures. There were no effects of condition on most cognitive, emotional, or behavioural outcomes, suggesting that SBs (and SB beliefs) may have less impact on exposure outcomes than is currently believed. See a poster presented on this topic here: WCBCT Poster (WCBCT Poster, 757.13 KB). You can also check out the newly published article here!

Measuring implicit associations in social anxiety: Anxious or rejected?

We had two main goals in this study. First, we tested whether we could use facial electomyography (f-EMG)—measuring subtle facial movements through physiological equipment—to assess people’s implicit associations related to social anxiety. 42 participants with high social anxiety and 39 participants with low social anxiety completed several online questionnaires to assess their baseline anxiety and depression symptoms. Then they completed two implicit association tests (IATs) measuring the degree to which they associate themselves (vs. others) with anxiety (vs. calmness) and rejection (vs. being accepted), respectively, while equipped with f-EMG sensors. Finally, they completed a 5-minute impromptu, judged speech for up to 5 minutes, and reported on their anxiety before and during the speech. We are currently analyzing data for this study (Check back later!). We think that people in the high social anxiety group will show stronger social anxiety-relevant implicit associations and, moreover, will exhibit more “frowning” during inconsistent pairings (e.g., self-accepted) on the f-EMG measure, compared to the low social anxiety group. We also think that the implicit associations and f-EMG measure will predict their behaviour on the speech task (i.e., strong implicit associations will be related to decreased time speaking and more anxiety during the speech), over and above their self-reported social anxiety. We hope that our findings will provide important information about the way that implicit cognition—which people can’t always report—contributes to symptoms and may even hinder effective treatment.

Are You Flexible? Validating New Measures of Mental and Physical Health.

The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of malleability beliefs (i.e., the extent to which one believes they can change their emotion in the moment) on emotion regulation flexibility in an anxiety-provoking context (i.e., stressful speech-task). Adaptive emotion regulation (or ER Flexibility) comprises several components that, in combination, contribute to its adaptive value. These components include one’s ability to: 1) regulate their emotions in ways that facilitate the pursuit of meaningful goals (e.g., goal pursuit); 2) use a variety of strategies to regulate emotions (e.g., ER variability/repertoire); 3) perceive contextual demands and implement ER strategies accordingly (e.g., context sensitivity); and 4) monitor and adjust regulatory behaviour (e.g., responsiveness to feedback), 5) one’s effort to regulate emotion in the moment (e.g., state ER) and 6) the ways in which emotion is regulated (e.g., ER strategies). We also looked at whether greater ER flexibility was linked to greater general markers of well-being (i.e., symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and heart rate variability). Due to COVID-19, data collection ended in March, 2020. Data analysis is currently ongoing.

You & Me: Examining Beliefs and Behaviours

The purpose of this study is to obtain information about how one’s views about themselves and others influences how we think, feel, and act. Data collection for this study has ended and we are currently writing the results for publication! Stay tuned for the paper!

Do you like me? Exploring the factors contributing to likeability

The aim of this study is to better understand the relationships between emotions and likeability. Participants will first complete a set of questionnaires. Then, they will complete a video-recorded behavioural task, while wearing sensors to measure subtle changes in emotional signs.

How does that make you feel? Exploring new tools for studying social skills

The aim of this study was to validate new tools for studying social skills. Individuals participated in a number of online questionnaires, in addition to a brief computerized task and a behavioural task. Participants were asked to wear electrodermal activity sensors on their non-dominant hand for the duration of the laboratory visit. Data collection for this study has ended and we are currently writing the results for publication! Stay tuned for the paper!



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