Lab News


  • SCANLab graduate student, Kelsey Irvin, receives Distinguished Master's Thesis Award and Life Sciences Poster Award
  • Kelsey Irvin's master's thesis project, which examined neurophysiological responses to reward in emerging adults varying in risk for depression, was selected for the Distinguished Master's Thesis Award by the MU Graduate School. Each department is allowed to forward only one nomination each year, and Kelsey was our department's nominee. Her thesis was judged against all others submitted by other MU departments for clarity of writing, scholarship, methods, and contribution to the field. In other words, Kelsey's project was recognized as the best master's thesis completed at MU in 2018. An outstanding achievement!

    In April, Kelsey also won second place in the annual MU Life Sciences Week research poster presentation competition (social and behavioral sciences division). Congratulations Kelsey!


  • Dr. Roberto Cofresí joins the SCANlab as a post-doc
  • We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Roberto Cofresí to the lab. Dr. Cofresí received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. His research interests include the neurobiology of incentive sensitization in alcohol use disorder, and translation of preclinical (animal) models to humans.

  • SCANlab graduate student, Hannah Volpert-Esmond, receives a predoctoral fellowship (F31) from the National Institutes of Health
  • Hannah Volpert-Esmond's F31 grant, also known as a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, is being funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The grant will provide two years of funding to support the remainder of Hannah's doctoral training and her dissertation research. Hannah's dissertation work will investigate potential links between the experience of everyday, subtle acts of discrimination and mental health outcomes among African American college students. Her study will combine laboratory-based measures of brain activity with reports of daily experiences recorded using a smartphone app developed by Professor Yi Shang and his team in the MU Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

  • SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow and colleague Thomas Piasecki receive new NIH grant to study the association between alcohol sensitivity, reactivity to alcohol-related cues in the lab, and drinking and related behaviors in the natural environment
  • Bartholow and Piasecki are both PIs on a new R01 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). This five-year project will involve recruitment of 420 emerging adults to participate in multiple lab sessions and rounds of daily assessments using a smartphone app (ecological momentary assessment). The overall goal of the study is to translate an influential theory of addiction from a preclinical (rodent-based) model to a human model, using a combination of psychophysiological, behavioral, subjective, and ecological assessments of alcohol cue-reactivity and drinking behavior.


  • news photo
  • SCANlab graduate student and MU Life Sciences Fellow, Hannah Volpert-Esmond, wins Best Oral Presentation at Missouri Life Sciences Week
  • The annual Missouri Life Sciences week festivities include several poster sessions, during which MU graduate students from life sciences departments across campus present their research findings. This year, Hannah Volpert-Esmond was selected as the winner of the Best Oral Presentation Award, meaning she was judged to have given the best explanation of her research and best responses to judges’ questions.


  • SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow wins 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Research and Creative Activity
  • Every two years the Chancellor’s Awards Committee selects one mid-career faculty member in the Behavioral and Social sciences who has “made outstanding contributions in research and/or creative activity and has great promise for achieving wider recognition.” Dr. Bartholow was honored as the 2016 awardee.


  • SCANlab director Bruce Bartholow selected for Fellow status in the Association for Psychological Science
  • Dr. Bartholow was named an APS fellow in recognition of “sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science.” He is very grateful to his colleague and friend, Dr. Kenneth Sher, for nominating him for this honor.

  • SCANlab student Hannah Volpert wins 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) Student Travel Award
  • Hannah Volpert will receive funds to defray the cost of her attendance at the SPR annual meeting in Seattle, WA in September. She will present the findings of an experiment showing that early visual attention, indicated by the P2 component of the event-related potential, is enhanced when people encounter others’ negative, unexpected behavior.

  • Post-doc Liana Hone joins the SCANlab
  • We are very pleased that Dr. Liana Hone, whose research focuses on the evolutionary bases of risk-taking behaviors, has joined the SCANlab. Dr. Hone received her graduate training under the supervision of Dr. Michael McCullough at the University of Miami, focusing primarily on sex differences in behavior (e.g., using sexual selection theory as a framework for understanding college students’ drinking game motivations). In our lab, Liana is working on research aimed at understanding potential sex differences in alcohol-related risk-taking and their associations with individual differences in executive cognitive functioning abilities and other variables that are believed to increase risk for alcohol abuse. She also will be collaborating with Dr. Ken Sher on research examining associations between alcohol use and sexual coercion, and with Dr. David Geary on research examining the effects of heavy drinking and acute intoxication on expression of sexually selected traits, such as emotion recognition and spatial abilities.

  • SCANlab Graduate Students Awarded Summer Grant Writing Fellowships for 2015
  • Curt Von Gunten and Meredith Johnson were both awarded 2015 summer grant writing fellowships from the Department of Psychological Sciences. These fellowships provide two months of financial support for students to work on grant applications, to be submitted to the National Institutes of Health within the subsequent six months. Curt’s grant focuses on characterizing associations among three candidate endophenotypes for alcohol abuse (low executive functioning, low sensitivity to the effects of alcohol, and reduced amplitude of the P3 event-related potential) and how each contributes to alcoholism risk. Meredith’s grant focuses on understanding whether associating valued and devalued social groups with alcohol influences underage drinkers’ emotional and cognitive responses to beer brands.


  • Post-doc Ozlem Korucuoglu joins the SCANlab
  • Although rather old news by now, we were joined in September of 2014 by Ozlem Korucuoglu, a researcher specializing in adolescent alcohol use and other risky behaviors. Dr. Korucuoglu received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. Reinout Wiers. In the SCANlab Ozlem is focusing on learning latent variable and structural equation modeling and applying these techniques to analyze the acute effects of alcohol on executive functioning as measured with laboratory tasks. She is also involved in research examining effects of extreme binge-drinking episodes (e.g., 21st birthday celebrations) on neurocognitive functions as measured with fMRI, as well as some studies focusing on alcohol cue reactivity measured with ERPs.

  • Graduate Student Jorge Martins joins the SCANlab
  • We’re pleased to welcome our first international graduate student, Jorge Martins, to the SCAN lab. Jorge completed his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Jorge’s research interests focus on understanding the complex interplay between impulsivity (i.e., deficits in cognitive control) and affect-regulation motives for engaging in alcohol consumption and sexual behavior. In addition to his work in the SCAN lab, Jorge is also working with Dr. Lynne Cooper, studying the role of ethnic identity as a protective or risk factor of the adverse effects of perceived discrimination on psychological adjustment among non-Hispanic Whites and Mexican Americans. He was awarded a fellowship to complete his PhD at the University of Missouri-Columbia, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT; the Portuguese equivalent of the National Science Foundation).

  • Kimmy Fleming Wins 2014 RSA Memorial Award
  • Kimmy Fleming recently was notified that she is one of six winners of the annual Memorial Award, given each year by the Research Society on Alcoholism “to honor RSA members who have recently passed away.” Kimmy was selected on the basis of her symposium presentation abstract (on interactions between attention bias and inhibitory control in determining risk for substance use/abuse) and will receive $500 to defray travel costs for the upcoming RSA annual meeting in Bellevue, Washington. Congratulations, Fleming!

  • Hannah Volpert Wins 2014 Gail Raskin Staff Award, Life Sciences Doctoral Fellowship
  • Hannah Volpert has been a Project Manager in the SCN Lab for nearly two years, and has done a simply outstanding job. Her hard work and dedication recently were recognized with the Gail Raskin Research Staff Award, given each year to the most outstanding staff member in the Department of Psychological Sciences whose duties are dedicated primarily to the research mission of the department. Quoting from her nomination letter, “Hannah exemplifies every one of the qualities embodied by recognition with this award. Her service to the PI and others in the lab, as well as collaborators in other units on campus and at a collaborating university, has been extraordinary.”

    We in the SCN Lab also are very pleased that Hannah has decided to remain here at Mizzou, and to remain in the SCN Lab, to pursue her doctoral training in Social Psychology and social cognitive neuroscience. For the first four years of her graduate training Hannah will be supported by a prestigious Life Sciences Doctoral Fellowship, which provides a generous stipend, tuition waiver and other benefits and permits fellows to pursue their research interests and goals independently. These fellowships are highly competitive and are intended to attract (or, in this case, to retain) outstanding doctoral candidates in the life sciences who otherwise would pursue their graduate training elsewhere. Way to go, Hannah!


  • Kimmy Fleming Awarded Pre-doctoral NRSA Grant
  • Since starting in the SCN lab as a graduate student 3 years ago, Kimmy Fleming has been investigating the neural and behavioral correlates of low sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol, a known risk factor for the development of problem drinking. Now, with a new grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, she will take this work in an exciting new direction for her doctoral dissertation. The primary aim of Fleming's grant project is to determine whether an influential model of addiction developed with studies of rodents (Incentive Sensitization Theory) translates to humans, using an innovative experimental design that will permit examination of the neural processes linking neutral learning stimuli with alcohol-related cues (the smell of alcohol).

  • Bruce Bartholow elected Secretary of SPR
  • At the business meeting and luncheon of its annual meeting in Florence, Italy, the Society for Psychophysiological Research announced that Bruce Bartholow is the incoming Secretary-Elect for the Society. The Secretary-Elect shadows the current Secretary for one year before taking over the position, for a term of 4 years. The Secretary is one of five officers in the Society.

  • Kim Fleming Wins First Place in Research Forum
  • Kim Fleming presented findings from her master’s thesis research at the 30th Annual Research and Creative Activities Forum sponsored by the University of Missouri Graduate School and Graduate Professional Council, and won first place in the Behavioral Sciences Category. Her thesis research also represents preliminary findings for a predoctoral fellowship grant application with NIH (F31), which recently received an outstanding priority score by the grant review panel.


  • Chris Loersch and Keith Payne win ISCON Best Paper Award
  • On September 4, 2012, the International Social Cognition Network (ISCON) announced that former SCN post-doctoral trainee Chris Loersch (now Research Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder) and one of his former mentors, B. Keith Payne of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (and a dear friend of the SCN lab), are the winners of the 2011 Best Paper Award. This prestigious award signifies the outstanding theoretical contribution made by a paper based on Dr. Loersch's doctoral research: Loersch, C., & Payne, B. K. (2011). The situated inference model of priming: An integrative account of construal, behavior, and goal priming. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 234-252.

  • Post-doc Kira Bailey joins SCN Lab
  • We are very pleased that Dr. Kira Bailey has joined the lab this year. Dr. Bailey received her graduate training under the supervision of Dr. Robert West at Iowa State University, focusing primarily on using event-related brain potentials to understand cognitive control processes. In our lab, Kira is focusing on applying these techniques to investigate effects of alcohol on cognitive control processes involved in performance monitoring and adjustment. She is also interested in understanding pathological video game use as a form of addiction, and the implications of excessive video game use for cognitive function.


  • New NIH grant awarded to SCN Lab director Bruce Bartholow and colleagues will investigate neurocognitive mechanisms of the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing
  • Recent data indicate that exposure to televised alcohol advertising among U.S. adolescents increased 71% from 2001-2009 (CAMY, 2010). Although research suggests an association between exposure to alcohol advertising and youth drinking (Anderson et al., 2009), causal effects for such relations have yet to be identified. This project aims to investigate a potential causal mechanism for the effects of alcohol advertising and marketing on adolescents' alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors. The over-arching hypothesis of this work is that alcohol advertising and marketing efforts affect basic motivational and attentional processes with known links to approach and consummatory behavior and related attitudes. We propose that, through changes in these basic processes, exposure to alcohol cues through advertising and marketing shapes alcohol-related attitudes and compels alcohol-seeking and use, and could influence the propensity for risk-taking behavior more generally. This general hypothesis will be investigated using a combined behavioral and psychophysiological approach in three sets of experiments conducted in the SCN lab and the PRIME lab (MU School of Journalism) at MU, and the Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado.

  • Racial Bias Symposium to Focus on Latest Findings
  • A one-day symposium focusing on the latest research into implicit racial bias will take place on the MU campus on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, hosted by Dr. Bruce Bartholow. The symposium will feature talks by Dr. Keith Payne (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Dr. Jeffrey Sherman (University of California-Davis), two of the top researchers in this field. Other speakers will include Dr. Bartholow, Drs. Tiffany Ito and Akira Miyake from the University of Colorado, and Dr. Joshua Correll from the University of Chicago. The symposium is part of a collaborative grant awarded to Dr. Bartholow and his colleagues (Miyake, Ito, Friedman and Correll) from the National Science Foundation, aimed at investigating how individual differences in cognitive control abilities contribute to the expression of racial bias in laboratory tasks. (For more information about this project, visit the National Science Foundation website)

  • Grace Allen wins Undergraduate Research Award
  • Grace Allen, currently a senior Psychology major and honors student at MU, was honored at the annual Psychology Day on April 29, 2011, with the presentation of the Max F. Meyer Award for her poster presentation, which displayed the findings of her research on heavy drinking and cognitive abilities among young adults. Grace plans to attend graduate school in the fall to seek a Master's of Social Work degree. Good work, Grace!

  • Chris Loersch to Attend ERP Bootcamp
  • Chris Loersch is the resident expert in attitudes and social cognition in the SCN Lab, and soon will be able to add "ERP expert" to his list of skills. Dr. Loersch was notified in April that his application to attend the two-week intensive ERP training course, known informally as "ERP Bootcamp," hosted by Dr. Steven Luck each summer at the University of California-Davis Center for Mind and Brain, was approved. Although other SCN Lab members have applied in the past, Chris is the first SCN Lab affiliate to be accepted for this opportunity. Good luck, Chris!

  • New collaborative work between SCN lab and UC-Davis Social Cognition lab
  • As part of ongoing efforts to understand effects of alcohol on social behaviors, and related efforts aimed at understanding processes that influence expression of implicit racial bias, SCN lab members Chris Loersch and Bruce Bartholow have teamed up with Dr. Jeffrey Sherman (UC-Davis), an expert in social cognition, to conduct experiments investigating these issues. The work is being funded in part by a grant awarded to Dr. Sherman from the National Science Foundation.


  • Bruce Bartholow elected to the Board of Directors of the SPR
  • At the business meeting and luncheon of its annual meeting in Portland, OR, the Society for Psychophysiological Research announced that Bruce Bartholow was one of two individuals elected to serve a 3-year term on the Board of Directors for the Society. The Board meets each year to discuss scientific, educational and fiscal matters pertinent to the society and its goals.

  • SCN Lab graduate students Chris Engelhardt and Sarah Lust both win poster awards from SPR
  • Each year at its annual conference, SPR recognizes a small number of graduate students for outstanding research presentations with a student poster award. This year, around 250 posters were first-authored by students, but only 16 were selected for this honor, which includes a $300 award. Good job Chris and Sarah!

  • Elena Stepanova (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis) joins SCN lab as post-doctoral trainee
  • We are very pleased to have Dr. Elena Stepanova join the lab this year. Elena is a social psychologist whose research examines conceptualization of social categories. Elena is interested in understanding the ways in which alcohol might influence processing of visual cues associated with social categories such as race. Elena will also be working on one of our ongoing alcohol administration projects, which is designed to specify effects of alcohol on sub-components of executive cognitive functioning. Welcome, Elena!

  • Undergraduate Student Alissa Rasmussen wins Psi Chi Research Award
  • Alissa Rasmussen was 1 of only 26 winners (out of 420 submissions) of the Psi Chi Research Award for her abstract submitted to the 2010 Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago, IL. Alissa’s project investigated the effects of acute violent video game exposure on aspects of executive cognitive functioning, including behavioral inhibition and interference control.


  • Several new grants awarded to SCN Lab Director Bruce Bartholow and colleagues
  • Thanks to 3 new research grants (all started in 2009), a number of exciting new projects recently have begun in the SCN lab:

    (1) “Collaborative Research:  Individual Differences in Executive Functions and Expressions of Racial Biases: Behavioral and ERP Investigations,” funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS 0847872; Co-PI: Bartholow), investigates the role of cognitive control processes in performance on laboratory tasks of race bias;

    (2) “Alcohol Effects on Executive Cognitive Function: Specifying Component Processes,” funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/NIAAA (as part of the Multidisciplinary Alcoholism Research Center [2P60 AA011998-11]; PI: Andrew Heath), investigates acute effects of alcohol on specific sub-components of executive functioning; and

    (3) “Behavioral and Neurophysiological Effects of Co-Use of Alcohol and Caffeine,” funded by the NIAAA (Co-investigators: Bartholow and Denis McCarthy), investigates the extent to which combining alcohol and caffeine influences neurocognitive (ERP) and behavioral responses during performance of cognitive control tasks assessing skills relevant for driving.

    These grants are in addition to an ongoing project, “Alcohol Effects on Performance Monitoring: Affective and Cognitive Components,” also funded by the NIAAA, which investigates the effects of alcohol on error processing using behavioral and ERP methods.

  • SCN Graduate Student Erika Henry receives National Research Service Award (F31) from NIAAA
  • Erika Henry’s dissertation research, which investigates the extent to which individual differences in emotion regulation interact with acute effects of alcohol to influence performance monitoring and adjustment processes, is being funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the NIAAA.  This is Erika’s first research grant. (Mentors include Bruce D. Bartholow and Kenneth J. Sher.)

  • Chris Loersch (Ph.D., Ohio State University) joins SCN lab as post-doctoral trainee
  • We are very fortunate to have Dr. Chris Loersch join the lab this year as a post-doctoral trainee (supported by grant 2T32 AA013526-06 from the NIAAA).  Chris is a social psychologist specializing in social cognition (especially priming effects).  Chris is particularly interested in applying his “Situated Inference” model of priming to understanding predictors of alcohol use and effects of alcohol on generation of novel behaviors.

  • SCN Graduate Student Erika Henry Wins 2008 SPR Student Travel Award
  • Doctoral candidate Erika Henry received a 2008 travel award to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) in Austin, TX. Her poster, entitled " Alcohol, ERN Amplitude, and State Affect: Unhappy Drunks Still Experience Distress," reports the results of a recent SCN lab experiment showing that alcohol-induced reductions in the amplitude of the ERN (error-related negativity) are not due to failures to detect errors, but rather are associated with changes in positive and negative affect following alcohol consumption. Erika was one of only 15 North American students to receive an award, out of 157 eligible student members of the Society.

  • Student Geoffrey Kerr wins Psi Chi Regional Research Award for 2008
  • Geoff Kerr was 1 of only 21 honorees (out of 320 submissions) to receive a Psi Chi Research Award for his abstract submitted to the 2008 Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago, IL. Geoff’s project investigated the effects of acute and chronic violent video game exposure on brain activity and aggressive behavior.

  • SCN Lab Director Bruce Bartholow receives the 2007 Award for a Distinguished Early Career Contribution to Psychophysiology
  • Each year the Society for Psychophysiological Research recognizes the achievements of an early career scientist (or scientists). Dr. Bartholow is the 2007 awardee for work investigating the neural mechanisms of social cognition. Dr. Bartholow will receive the award in October at the annual meeting of the Society, which will take place in Savannah, GA.

  • 2 new post-doctoral scholars join the SCN Lab in summer 2007
  • Eunsam Shin, who received her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, joined the SCN lab in August. She has been extending her work on neural attention mechanisms to the study of alcohol cue reactivity and effects of alcohol on attention.

    Eduardo Vasquez, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 2006, joined the SCN lab in July 2007. Dr. Vasquez's research focuses primarily on understanding triggered displaced aggression. So far, his work in the SCN Lab has focused on understanding effects of brief exposure to alcohol cues on disinhibition of aggression.

  • SCN graduate student Sarah Lust wins SPR travel award
  • Master's candidate Sarah Lust received a 2006 SPR travel award to attend the annual meeting of the Society in Vancouver, BC. Her poster, entitled "Sex, Booze, and ERPs: Preliminary Distinctions Between Implicit and Explicit Condom Attitudes," attracted a great deal of attention at the meeting.