Joint Faculty (with NCCIH/NIMH),
Cellular and Neurocomputational Systems Branch
Senior Investigator, Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain (NCCIH)
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph.D. - Psychology - Columbia University - New York
B.A. - Psychology - The University of Chicago - Illinois
Lauren Y. Atlas, Ph.D. is a joint faculty member at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), where she leads the Section on Affective Neuroscience and Pain. The lab’s work focuses on characterizing the psychological and neural mechanisms by which expectations and other cognitive and affective factors influence pain, emotional experience, and clinical outcomes. Our approach is multi–modal: we integrate experimental psychology, neuroimaging, psychophysiology, computational approaches, and other interventions to understand how psychological and contextual factors influence subjective experience. Current projects focus on dissociating components of expectancy (e.g., instructions vs. conditioning; stimulus vs. treatment expectancies), relating pain with other types of hedonic affective responses, and understanding social influences on pain (e.g. patient-provider interactions; health disparities). Long–term goals include revealing how specific features of the clinical context and interpersonal aspects influence patient outcomes, as well as determining whether expectancy–based processing is altered in specific patient populations.
Dr. Atlas also holds a joint appointment with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).