Research Group: Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory

The Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory was established at the University of Southampton in July 2011 by Professor Thomas Lynch.

The research team focuses on understanding and treating a wide range of psychopathological problems using a “translational” line of inquiry — with a special emphasis on those problems shown to be difficult to treat and/or poorly understand (e.g., refractory depression, anorexia nervosa, personality disorders etc.). Our goal is to combine basic science and bio-behavioural laboratory findings with the most recent technological advances in intervention research, in order to develop and test more effective interventions for those problems associated with high rates of disability and health care costs and which, to date, have not been shown to respond to more traditional interventions.

An important output from this work has the been the development of Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (RO-DBT), a new approach for the treatment of disorders of overcontrol. RO-DBT has been informed by over 20 years of clinical and experimental research. Find out more about the treatment and training in RO-DBT.  

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

The Lab uses a wide variety of research methods, including self-report, behavioural tasks, eye-tracking, virtual reality, fMRI, and psychophysiological measures. A major focus has been an interest in understanding emotion and emotion regulation (e.g., emotion inhibition, experiential avoidance; threat and reward sensitivity). Recently, our group has developed a neuroregulatory model of socio-emotional functioning with trans-diagnostic implications that accounts for problems associated with treatment resistant disorders whilst capitalizing on recent neurological findings associated with the parasympathetic nervous system.

Our “translational” approach involves a range of on-going clinical intervention studies informed by our experimental laboratory findings. For example, a major interest that has been on-going for 17 years focuses on applying aspects of our neuroregulatory model toward the treatment of refractory depression and co-morbid over controlled personality disorders. We are currently testing a new treatment approach with strong roots in standard DBT, namely Radically Open DBT (RO-DBT; developed by Prof. Lynch) via a large multi-centre randomized controlled trial (project REFRAMED—funded by EME-MRC). In addition, for the past 4 years our group has been collaborating with investigators from the University of Chicago (USA) and the Devon Partnership Trust Haldon Unit applying this novel treatment approach to Anorexia Nervosa. Additional studies are examining the use of novel technologies as a means to enhance treatment response—e.g., virtual reality, ecological momentary assessment.

Active Funding

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme--Medical Research Council
(C.I. Lynch) £2,156,220 (start date: Sept 2011)
Role: Chief Investigator (CI)
Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Treatment Resistant Depression: A randomized controlled trial—Project REFRAMED- REFRActory depression - Mechanisms and Evaluation of radically open dialectical behaviour therapy
This five year study is a three-site multi-centre randomized controlled trial designed to examine the efficacy and mechanisms of a new treatment that targets emotionally constricted behaviours in treatment resistant depression that was developed by the CI.

MRC Experimental Medicine in Mental Health
Award amount: £273,000
Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Garner)
Title: Towards an experimental model of anxiety for treatment development: The effects of novel psychological and pharmacological treatments on subjective, autonomic and neuropsychological response to 7.5% carbon dioxide challenge.
This two year study is designed to test the utility of a unique laboratory paradigm for eliciting anxiety as an avenue for testing treatments for anxiety—medication and mindfulness strategies.

Group Members

  • Professor Thomas Lynch

    Director of the Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory

  • Dr Roelie J. Hempel

    Assistant Director of the Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory

  • Dr Katie Gray

    Research Fellow

  • Mrs Sue McDonald

    REFRAMED Study Administrator

Professor Thomas Lynch

Professor Thomas Lynch

Dr Roelie Hempel

Dr Roelie Hempel

Dr Katie Gray

Dr Katie Gray


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):

Lynch, Thomas R., Gray, Katie L.H., Hempel, Roelie J., Titley, Marian, Chen, Eunice Y. and O'Mahen, Heather A. (2013) Radically open-dialectical behavior therapy for adult anorexia nervosa: feasibility and outcomes from an inpatient program. BMC Psychiatry, 13, 293. (doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-293).
O'Mahen, Heather A., Woodford, Joanne, McGinley, Julie, Warren, Fiona C., Richards, David A., Lynch, Thomas R. and Taylor, Rod S. (2013) Internet-based behavioral activation treatment for postnatal depression (Netmums): a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders (doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.03.005i). (PMID:23602514). (In Press).
Smoski, Moria J., Salsman, Nicholas, Wang, Lihong, Smith, Veronica, Lynch, Thomas R., Dager, Stephen R., Labar, Kevin S. and Lineham, Marsha M. (2011) Functional imaging of emotion reactivity in opiate-dependent borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 2, (3), 230-241. (doi:10.1037/a0022228).
Lynch, Thomas R., Rosenthal, M.Z. and Smoski, M.J. (2011) Dialectical behavior therapy: Evidence for efficacy, proposed mechanisms, and practical application. Psychiatric Times (In Press).
Rosenthal, M.Z., Kim, K., Herr, N.R., Smoski, M.J., Cheavens, J., Lynch, TR. and Kosson, D.S. (2011) Speed and accuracy of facial expression classification in avoidant personality disorder: A preliminary study. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment (In Press).
Lynch, T.R. and Cuper, P. (2011) Dialectical behaviour therapy of borderline and other personality disorder. In, Oxford Handbook of Personality Disorders. Oxford, GB, Oxford Press. (In Press).
Neacsiu, Andrada D., Rizvi, Shireen L., Vitalino, Peter P., Lynch, Thomas R. and Linehan, Marsha M. (2010) The dialectical behavior therapy ways of coping checklist: development and psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66, (6), 563-582. (doi:10.1002/jclp.20685). (PMID:20455249).
Zanarini, Mary C., Stanley, Barbara, Black, Donald W., Markowitz, John C., Goodman, Marianne, Pilkonis, Paul, Lynch, Thomas R., Levy, Kenneth, Fonagy, Peter, Bohus, Martin, Farrell, Joan and Sanislow, Charles (2010) Methodological considerations for treatment trials for persons with borderline personality disorder. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 22, (2), 75-83. (PMID:20445834).
Lynch, T.R. and Linehan, M. (2009) The skills to quit: acquisition of skillful behaviours and emotional competencies in DBT as a mediator of drug absinence and psychopathology. In, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 43rd Annual Convention, New York, US, 19 - 22 Nov 2009.
Hempel, R.J., Tulen, J.H.M., van Beveren, N.J.M., Roder, C.H. and Hengeveld, M.W. (2009) Cardiovascular variability during treatment with haloperidol, olanzapine or risperidone in recent-onset schizophrenia. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 23, (6), 697-707. (doi:10.1177/0269881108091254). (PMID:18562420).
Smoski, Moria J., Felder, Jennifer, Bizzell, Joshua, Green, Steven R., Ernst, Monique, Lynch, Thomas R. and Dichter, Gabriel S. (2009) fMRI of alterations in reward selection, anticipation, and feedback in major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 118, (1-3), 69-78. (doi:10.1016/j.jad.2009.01.034). (PMID:19261334).
Lynch, Thomas R. and Cozza, Caroline (2009) Behavior therapy for nonsuicidal self-injury. In, Nock, Matthew K. (ed.) Understanding Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: Origins, Assessment, and Treatment. Washington, US, American Psychological Association, 211-250. (doi:10.1037/11875-012).
Smoski, Moria J., Lynch, Thomas R., Rosenthal, M. Zachary, Cheavens, Jennifer S., Chapman, Alexander L. and Krishnan, Ranga R. (2008) Decision-making and risk aversion among depressive adults. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 39, (4), 567-576. (doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2008.01.004). (PMID:18342834).
Cukrowicz, K.C., Franzese, A.T., Thorp, A.T., Cheavens, J.S. and Lynch, T.R. (2008) Personality traits and perceived social support among depressed older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 12, (5), 662-669. (doi:10.1080/13607860802343258). (PMID:18855183).
Gupta, Sumati, Rosenthal, M. Zachary, Mancini, Anthony D., Cheavens, Jennier S. and Lynch, Thomas R. (2008) Emotion regulation skills mediate the effects of shame on eating disorder symptoms in women. Eating Disorders, 16, (5), 405-417. (doi:10.1080/10640260802370572). (PMID:18821364).
Cheavens, Jennifer S., Rosenthal, M. Zachary, Banawan, Sammy F. and Lynch, Thomas R. (2008) Differences in emotional experience and emotion regulation as a function of age and psychiatric condition. Aging & Mental Health, 12, (4), 478-487. (doi:10.1080/13607860802224284). (PMID:18791895).
Cukrowicz, Kelly C., Duberstein, Paul R., Vannoy, Stephen D. and Lynch, Thomas R. (2008) Course of suicide ideation and predictors of change in depressed older adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 113, (1-2), 30-36. (doi:10.1016/j.jad.2008.05.012). (PMID:18617271).
Lynch, Thomas R. and Cheavens, Jennifer S. (2008) Dialectical behavior therapy for comorbid personality disorders. [in special issue: Treating Comorbid Personality Disorders] Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64, (2), 154-167. (doi:10.1002/jclp.20449). (PMID:18186120).
Rosenthal, M. Zachary, Gratz, Kim L., Kosson, David S., Cheavens, Jennifer S., Lejuez, C.W. and Lynch, Thomas R. (2008) Borderline personality disorder and emotional responding: a review of the research literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, (1), 75-91. (doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2007.04.001). (PMID:17544188).
Lynch, Thomas R. and Cheavens, J.S. (2007) Dialectical behavior therapy for depression with co-morbid prsonality disorder: an extension of standard DBT with a special emphasis on the treatment of older adults. In, Dimeff, Linda A., Koerner, Kelly and Linehan, Marsha M. (eds.) Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Clinical Practice: Applications Across Disorders and Settings. New York, US, Guilford, 264-297.
Chapman, Alexander L., Lynch, Thomas R., Rosenthal, M. Zachary, Cheavens, Jennifer S., Smoski, Moria J. and Krishnan, K. Ranga Rama (2007) Risk aversion among depressed older adults with obsessive compulsive personality disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, (2), 161-174. (doi:10.1007/s10608-006-9114-x).
Lynch, Thomas R., Cheavens, Jennifer S., Cukrowicz, Kelly C., Thorp, Steven R., Bronner, Leslie and Beyer, John (2007) Treatment of older adults with co-morbid personality disorder and depression: a dialectical behavior therapy approach. [in special issue: Psychosocial Interventions for Mental Illness in Late-Life] International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22, (2), 131-143. (doi:10.1002/gps.1703). (PMID:17096462).
Lynch, Thomas R., Schneider, Kristin G., Rosenthal, M. Zachary and Cheavens, Jennifer S. (2006) A mediational model of trait negative affectivity, dispositional thought suppression, and intrusive thoughts following laboratory stressors. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, (4), 749-761. (doi:10.1016/j.brat.2006.06.009).
Lynch, Thomas R., Cheavens, J.S. and Morse, J.Q. (2004) A model predicting suicidal ideation and hopelessness in depressed older adults: The impact of emotion inhibition and affect intensity. Aging & Mental Health, 8, (6), 486-497. (doi:10.1080/13607860412331303775). (PMID:15724830).
Lynch, Thomas R., Morse, Jennifer Q., Medelson, Tamar M.A. and Robins, Clive J. (2003) Dialectical behavior therapy for depressed older adults: a randomized pilot study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 11, (1), 33-45. (PMID:12527538).


Members of staff associated with this group:

Research projects

Research projects associated with this group: