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Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Basic Science

Our students lead exciting explorations into the basic ways that stigma exposure shapes the self, mind, and body in adaptive and harmful ways. We work at the intersection of social cognition, stress physiology, and psychological theory to identify the pathways through which stigma shapes mental health. As examples, this research has uncovered perceptual differences between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals, elevations in the emotional experience of shame following early stigma exposure, and a stronger linkage between depression and inflammation among sexual minority populations. An important goal of this research is to advance LGBTQ-affirmative treatments by identifying pathways capable of being modified to improve mental health.