Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience Social Psychology
Dr. Regina Lapate earned her PhD in 2015 under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied the function of conscious awareness in emotion, and the neural correlates of successful emotion regulation. In 2016, she was awarded an NIH postdoctoral fellowship to examine the representational properties and causal mechanisms of lateral prefrontal function in emotion with Dr. Mark D'Esposito at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2018, she co-edited the 2nd edition of The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions.
A hallmark of the human condition is the experience of continuously shifting emotional spaces. These spaces are both endogenous and exogenous: We carry with us affective dispositions (moods and action tendencies) that continually interact with external emotional signals. Together, these emotional states and signals profoundly color our everyday lives, sculpting sensory information processing and informing the selection of behavioral goals.
My laboratory investigates fundamental mechanisms that give rise to subjective (conscious) emotional experiences, determine the influence of emotional signals, and promote adaptive responding to emotional events. Our research examines questions such as:
- What is the function of conscious awareness—including metacognitive awareness?
- What neural mechanisms promote effective emotion regulation?
- How do representations in distinct prefrontal regions modulate emotional behavior?
To answer these questions, we use a multimodal approach that emphasizes causal inference, and includes transcranial magnetic stimulation, recordings of peripheral physiology, electroencephalography, and functional neuroimaging—often combined with behavioral assays and analyses anchored in individual differences. The long term goal of our research program is to uncover basic mechanisms underlying function and dysfunction in emotion generation and regulation that promote resilience and are at the core of mood, anxiety, and addiction disorders—therefore ultimately informing their optimal intervention.
Fox, A. S., Lapate, R. C., Shackman, A. J. & Davidson, R. J. (Eds.). (2018). The nature of emotion: Fundamental questions (2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
Lapate, R. C. (2018). Regulatory benefits of conscious awareness: insights from the emotion misattribution paradigm and a role for lateral prefrontal cortex. In: Fox, A.S., Lapate, R.C., Shackman, A.J. & Davidson, R.J. (Eds.), The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions (2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press.
Lapate, R. C., Samaha, J., Rokers, B., Hamzah, H., Postle, B. R., Davidson, R. J. (2017). Inhibition of lateral prefrontal cortex produces emotionally biased first impressions: A TMS/EEG study. Psychological Science, 28, 942-53.
Lapate, R. C., Rokers, B., Tromp, D. P. M., Orfali, N. S., Oler, J. A., Doran, S., Adluru, N., Alexander, A. L., Davidson, R. J. (2016). Awareness of emotional stimuli determines the behavioral consequences of amygdala activation and amygdala-prefrontal connectivity. Scientific Reports, 6, 25826.
Lapate, R. C., Rokers, B., Li, T., Davidson, R. J. (2014). Nonconscious emotional activation colors first impressions: A regulatory role for conscious awareness. Psychological Science, 25, 349-357.
Heller, A. S., Lapate, R. C., Mayer, K., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). The face of negative affect: Trial-by-trial corrugator responses to negative pictures are positively associated with amygdala and negatively associated with ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2102–2110.
Lapate, R. C., van Reekum, C. M., Schaefer, S. M., Greischar, L. L., Norris, C. J., Bachhuber, D. R. W., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). Prolonged marital stress is associated with short-lived responses to positive stimuli. Psychophysiology, 51(6), 499–509.
Heller, A. S., van Reekum, C. M., Schaefer, S. M., Lapate, R. C., Radler, B. T., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Sustained striatal activity predicts eudaemonic well-being and cortisol output. Psychological Science, 24(11) 2191–2200.
Schaefer, S. M., Boylan J. M., van Reekum C. M., Lapate R. C., Norris C. J., Ryff C. D., & Davidson R. J. (2013). Purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli. PLoS ONE, 8(11), e80329.
Lapate, R. C., Lee, H., Salomons, T. V., van Reekum, C. M., Greischar, L. L., & Davidson, R. J. (2012). Amygdalar function reflects common individual differences in emotion and pain regulation success. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(1), 148-158.
Javaras, K. N., Schaefer, S. M., van Reekum, C. M., Lapate, R. C., Greischar, L. L., Bachhuber, D. R., Dienberg Love, G., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2012). Conscientiousness predicts greater recovery from negative emotion. Emotion, 12(5), 875-881.