Catharine Fairbairn is a Helen Corley Petit Associate Professor in the department of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her doctoral training in clinical-health psychology spanned multiple disciplines ranging from social psychology to biostatistics, a transdisciplinary perspective that has expanded through her years as an independent investigator to encompass fields ranging from machine learning to social neuroscience. In recognition of her alcohol research, she was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, a Lincoln Excellence Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, and was the 2020 recipient of the Early Career Investigator award from the Research Society on Alcoholism. She has also built her program of work while managing a major visual disability, an element she shares in hopes that we might develop a sense of possibility and belongingness among trainees from a range of backgrounds.
- Social processes
My work focuses on basic social and emotional processes driving alcohol use as well as the application of novel methods and measures within addiction science more broadly. In the Alcohol Research Laboratory, we employ lab-based alcohol-administration procedures, as well as ambulatory measures assessing alcohol response outside the laboratory, to better understand basic factors that might motivate heavy drinking. A primary aim of this program of work is to examine alcohol's impact within social contexts and how alcohol’s social and emotional rewards might ultimately contribute to the etiology of alcohol use disorder. Within our laboratory research, we have employed a range of measures including analyses of facial muscle movement during live interaction, eye tracking, and also electroencephalography recordings. Within our ambulatory research, we employ photographic measures of drinking contexts and alcohol biosensors that assess drinking via transdermal means. Our laboratory also has developed a focus on research synthesis and meta-analysis, the application of machine learning methods within addiction science, as well as the validation of alcohol biosensing technology.
For prospective students:
I do expect to be reviewing doctoral applications in the 2022-2023 admissions cycle. Although there are a variety of opportunities for graduate engagement in my lab, in the coming years most are likely to be in the areas of computational modeling and/or alcohol biosensing (see ongoing trial; collaborator Nigel Bosch) and social neuroscience (see neuroscience sub-trial here; collaborator Kara Federmeier)
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Dawson, D. N., Jones, M. C., Fairbairn, C. E., & Laurent, H. K. (2022). Mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions with Black Americans: A meta-analysis of intervention efficacy for depressive symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 90(2), 123-136. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000706
Fairbairn, C. E., Creswell, K. G., Hales, A. H., Williams, K. D., & Wilkins, K. V. (2022). Mixing Misery and Gin: The Effect of Alcohol Administration on Ostracism Response. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 48(8), 1269-1283. https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672211038450
Kang, D., Fairbairn, C. E., Lee, Z., & Federmeier, K. D. (Accepted/In press). The effect of acute alcohol intoxication on alcohol cue salience: An event-related brain potential study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000779
Yu, J., Fairbairn, C. E., Gurrieri, L., & Caumiant, E. P. (2022). Validating transdermal alcohol biosensors: a meta-analysis of associations between blood/breath-based measures and transdermal alcohol sensor output. Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.15953
Fairbairn, C. E., Kang, D., & Federmeier, K. D. (2021). Alcohol and Neural Dynamics: A Meta-analysis of Acute Alcohol Effects on Event-Related Brain Potentials. Biological Psychiatry, 89(10), 990-1000. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.11.024