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The University of Southampton

Research Group: Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory

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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.  

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

List of related projects to Emotion and Personality Bio-behavioural Laboratory
Related ProjectsStatus
Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour TherapyActive
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