Katherine Haigler is a master’s student in the psychological sciences program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she works with Drs. Sanda and Florin Dolcos in the SCoPE Neuroscience Lab. She received her BA in psychology at McGill University in 2010. Prior to attending the University of Illinois, she worked in publishing as a managing editor and copyeditor of nonfiction books.
Katherine is interested in the intersection of memory and emotion in clinical PTSD and GAD populations. Anxious individuals often experience intrusive, emotional negative memories; strong emotional responses to possible future events; and heightened emotional responses to potential threats. Her research focuses on investigating the cognitive processes that underpin emotional memory, with the intent of identifying the neural and behavioral mechanisms that produce these maladaptive behaviors.
Katherine is pursuing this vein of study from two different directions: Employing a battery of behavioral assessments and cognitive tasks, eye-tracking, fMRI, and an emotional-regulation training program, her work in the SCoPE Neuroscience Lab aims to elucidate the role different emotion-regulation strategies can play in behavioral emotion regulation and the effect of long-term emotion-regulation training on neural circuitry.
Additionally, she is exploring the role of fear generalization—the attribution of threat to neutral or safe stimuli that bear a strong resemblance to threat stimuli—in anxiety disorders. Specifically, she aims to study population differences in the neural and behavioral processes thought to be involved in fear generalization, such as pattern completion and pre-frontal inhibition of the amygdala threat circuit, which may be implicated in maladaptive enhanced fear generalization in anxiety disorders.
McGill University, BA