Helena Rutherford PhD

Associate Research Scientist in the Child Study Center

Research Interests

parenting; maternal brain; neurobiology; EEG/ERP; emotion perception and regulation; addiction; depression

Current Projects

Individual differences in the neural correlates of infant cue perception

Maternal distress tolerance and stress reactivity

Emotion regulation in parents and non-parents

Research Summary

Dr Rutherford's research focuses on understanding the neurobiology of parenting and the development of new approaches to assess parenting in the laboratory. She uses primarily behavioral and electrophysiological assessments, and her recent work has focused on measuring sensitivity to infant cues (visual and auditory) as well as top-down regulation of response to infant cues by cognitive control. She is also interested in how addiction may impact these processes, as well as assessing the contribution of other individual difference measures to the neural correlates of parenting. Dr Rutherford’s additional research interests include emotion perception and regulation, as well as developmental changes that occur during adolescence in sensitivity to reward and stress.

Dr. Rutherford is the Yale Course Tutor for the University College London / Anna Freud Centre and Yale Child Study Center Masters degree in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.


Selected Publications

  • Noll L.K., Mayes, L.C., Rutherford, H.J.V. Investigating the impact of parental status and depression symptoms on the early perceptual coding of infant faces: An event-related potential study. Social Neuroscience, in press.
  • Rutherford H.J.V., S.K. Williams, S. Moy, L.C. Mayes, J.M. Johns. Disruption of maternal parenting circuitry by addictive process: Rewiring of reward and stress systems. Front. Psychiatry. 2011, 2:37.
  • Rutherford H.J.V., and L.C. Mayes. Primary maternal preoccupation: Using neuroimaging techniques to explore the parental brain. Psyche. 2011, 65:973-988.
  • Rutherford H.J.V., and A.K. Lindell. Thriving and surviving: Approach and avoidance motivation and lateralization. Emotion Review. 2011, 3:3 333-343.
  • Rutherford H.J.V., L.C. Mayes, M.N. Potenza. Neurobiology of adolescent substance use disorders: Implications for prevention and treatment. Child Adol Psych Cl. 2010, 3:3 479-492.

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