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Principal Investigator

Areas of Specialization: Health Psychology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Social Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, and Clinical Psychology

Interests: Self-regulation, stress and coping, mind-body relationships, behavioral interventions, meditation, research methods, the science of consciousness, and performance enhancement

David’s research focuses broadly on understanding what makes people resilient under stress. Specifically, he conducts community intervention studies, laboratory studies of stress and coping, and neuroimaging studies to understand how various stress management strategies alter coping and stress resilience. For example, he is currently working on studies that test how mindfulness meditation training impacts the brain, peripheral stress physiological responses, and stress-related disease outcomes in at-risk community samples (click here for a mini-review paper of this work). ). Much of this recent work on mindfulness meditation training focuses on the important role of learning acceptance and equanimity skills for stress reduction and health. David also explores how the use of simple strategies (self-affirmation, rewarding activities, cognitive reappraisal) can buffer stress and improve problem-solving under pressure. 

David has made some recent research forays into other areas, such as developing new experience sampling research on mental health and resilience among college students, describing the role of unconscious processes in learning and decision making, developing new theory and research on behavioral priming, and helping build a new field of health neuroscience. 

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David’s work has been published in general science, health psychology, social psychology, neuroscience, and medical journals. He was recognized in 2011 as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, and in 2014 received the American Psychological Association Early Career Award, and in 2017 he received the Herbert Weiner Early Career Award from the American Psychosomatic Society for his scientific contributions.

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Lab Director

Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA

Interests: My research seeks to understand how positive interventions and experiences (e.g., self-affirmation, mindfulness meditation, social support) may lead to reductions in threat and stress responding. I use multiple methods (behavioral, neuroimaging, psychneuroimmunological) to explore how these processese may have effects on physical health and well-being.