One line of work involves the assessment of people's perceptions of the costs and potential benefits of a given task, how these perceptions influence willingness to work for reward, and the role of emotion in driving these decisions. We have found that some people who experience mood and thinking problems (e.g., those with psychosis or depression) might over-estimate the work required to obtain a reward, and thus not exert the requisite effort to accomplish their goals. Others (e.g., those with mania) might under-estimate costs associated with goal pursuit, which can also lead to unwanted consequences. We conduct this line of work both in the laboratory (using interviews and tasks completed on the computer) as well as out in the "real-world" using phones or other mobile devices. Relevant manuscripts:
Fulford, D., Treadway, M. T., & Woolley, J. (accepted). Social motivation in schizophrenia: The impact of oxytocin on vigor in the context of social and non-social reinforcement. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Schlosser, D. A., Fisher, M., Gard, D. E., Fulford, D., Loewy, R. L., & Vinogradov, S. (2014). Motivational deficits prior to the onset of psychosis and across the course of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 158, 52-57.
Johnson, S. L., Fulford, D., & Carver, C. S. (2012). The double-edged sword of goal engagement: Consequences of goal pursuit in bipolar disorder. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 19, 352-362.
Fulford, D., Johnson, S. L., Llabre, M. M., & Carver, C. S. (2010). Pushing and coasting in dynamic goal pursuit: Coasting is attenuated in bipolar disorder. Psychological Science, 21, 1021-1027.
The AMP Lab - where the magic happens
Predictors of Psychosocial Functioning
Another, parallel, line of research focuses on identifying the variables most critical for role and social functioning among persons with physical and mental health needs. Our previous work has identified individual differences in emotion, social cognition, and motivation that directly influence meaningful outcomes for people who struggle with work or social functioning, across the lifespan and spectrum of psychosocial difficulties.
Fulford, D.,Piskulic, D., Addington, J., Kane, J. M., Schooler, N. R., & Mueser, K. T. (in press). Prospective relationships between motivation and functioning in recovery after a first episode of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin.
Granholm, E., Ben-Zeev, D., Fulford, D., & Swendsen, J. (2013). Ecological Momentary Assessment of social functioning in schizophrenia: Impact of performance appraisals and affect on social interactions. Schizophrenia Research, 145, 120-124.
Fulford, D., Peckham, A., Johnson, K., & Johnson, S. L. (2014). Emotion perception and quality of life in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 152, 491-497.
Fulford, D., Niendam, T. A., Floyd, E., Carter, C. S., Mathalon, D. H., Vinogradov, S., Stuart, B. K., & Loewy, R. L. (2013). Symptom dimensions and functional impairment in early psychosis: More to the story than just negative symptoms. Schizophrenia Research, 147, 125-131.
Technology-Supported Evidence-Based Interventions and Experimental Therapeutics
Ultimately, findings from the above experimental studies, as well as those conducted in other research labs, inform the development of interventions aimed at improving social and occupational outcomes for people who struggle with motivational and emotional dysregulation. We are currently testing the use of novel technologies to support motivational and emotional functioning in people with schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses.
Johnson, S.L., & Fulford, D. (2009). Preventing mania: Preliminary examination of the GOALS program. Behavior Therapy, 40, 103-113.
Fulford, D., Tuot, D. S., & Mangurian, C. (2016). Electronic psychiatric consultation in primary care in the safety net. Psychiatric Services, 67, 1-3.
Woolley, J. D., Chuang, B., Fussell, C., Scherer, S., Biagianti, B.,Fulford, D., Mathalon, D.H., & Vinogradov, S. (in press). Intranasal oxytocin increases facial expressivity, but not ratings of trustworthiness, in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Psychological Medicine.