Florin Dolcos

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Beckman Institute

Cognitive and Affective Neurosciences, Memory, Aging, Clinical Conditions

Florin Dolcos’ research interests concern the neural correlates of affective-cognitive interactions in healthy and clinical populations, as studied with brain imaging techniques (e.g., fMRI and ERP). Florin Dolcos’ program can be divided into the following two main directions:

1. Basic research investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the impact of emotion on cognition in healthy participants. This direction focuses on identifying the mechanisms that are common to both the enhancing and the impairing effects of emotion on cognitive functions (e.g., enhanced memory for emotional events and enhanced susceptibility to emotional distraction, respectively), and on identifying the mechanisms that dissociate these two opposing effects of emotion on cognition.

2. Translational research investigating the role of individual differences in mediating the emotion-cognition interactions. This direction focuses on identifying the neural circuitry responsible for differential ability to experience, remember, and regulate emotions associated with age-, gender-, and personality-related differences, in both healthy and clinical cohorts.

Dr. Dolcos’ research group investigates these issues using brain imaging methods (fMRI, ERP) in conjunction with other psychophysiological (electrodermal responses) and behavioral assessments (performance in cognitive and neuropsychological tasks, personality questionnaires.

Investigation of these issues has direct implications for understanding the neural correlates of affective dysregulation observed in mood and anxiety disorders, which are characterized by pathological biases in processing negative emotions, intrusive recollection of distressing events, and increased emotional distractibility.

Representative Publications

Pannu Hayes, J., LaBar, K.S., McCarthy, G., Selgrade, E., Nasser, J., Dolcos, F., VISN 6 Mid-Atlantic MIRECC workgroup, & Morey, R.A (2010). Reduced hippocampal and amygdala activity predicts memory distortions for trauma reminders in combat-related PTSD. Journal of Psychiatric Research (in press).

Denkova, E., Wong, G., Dolcos, S., Sung, K., Wang, L., Coupland, N., & Dolcos, F. (2010). The impact of anxiety-inducing distraction on cognitive performance: A combined brain imaging and personality investigation. PLoS ONE (in press).

Chuah, L.Y.M., Dolcos, F., Chen, A.K., Zheng. H., Parimal, S., Chee, M.W.L (2010). Sleep deprivation and interference by emotional distracters. SLEEP, 33(10):1305-1313.

*St. Jacques, P.L., *Dolcos, F., & Cabeza, R. (2010). Effects of aging on functional connectivity of the amgydala during negative evaluation: A network analysis of fMRI data. Neurobiology of Aging, 31, 315-327. (* shared first authorship)

*St. Jacques, P.L., *Dolcos, F., & Cabeza, R. (2009). Effects of aging on functional connectivity of the amygdala for subsequent memory of negative pictures: A network analysis of fMRI data. Psychological Science, 20(1), 74-84. (* shared first authorship)

Dolcos, F. (2009). The Impact of Emotion on Memory: Evidence from Brain Imaging Studies. VDM Verlag Book (ISBN: 3639188659); 160 pages.