Hello & welcome!

The New School Trauma and Affective Psychophysiology Lab investigates the effects of chronic or complex trauma, and how these effects differ from those of an acute traumatic experience, such as a single-incident assault. Evidence suggests that acute and chronic trauma have different effects on the body and brain, which may be different not only in magnitude, but also in quality.  We explore these differences using measures of attention, cognition, and emotion, as well as physiological measures of autonomic nervous system reactivity, such as: heart rate, skin conductance, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA).

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Wendy D'Andrea, Ph.D.

assistant professor of psychology

"My research focuses on the differences between acute trauma, such as an auto accident or single-incident assault, and chronic trauma, such as sustained physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. My lab investigates how information processes, especially attention and cognition, are impacted by prolonged trauma exposure and re-shaped through therapeutic interventions. I am also particularly interested in the physiological signature of chronic trauma, and the ways in which it differs from the signature of acute trauma. We use measures of autonomic reactivity such as heart rate, skin conductance, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), to investigate these differences. My other interests are in diagnostic nosology and phenomenology and psychotherapy process. When I’m not working, I love to dance and cook (sometimes at the same time)."

Ashley Doukas, M.A.

Ashley Doukas, M.A.

Ashley's primary research interests involve the embodiment of emotion regulation among complex trauma survivors. She is especially interested in the ways that people use bodily experiences to regulate or alter their emotional states, the ways that mind and body interact to produce experience, and implications of incorporating body-based interventions into clinical contexts. Part of her research has examined positive mood induction using smiling and laughter, and her dissertation work focuses on pain as part of a self-regulatory process. Her past research has also examined the role of baseline psychophysiology as a predictor of therapeutic alliance, as well as factors contributing to intimate partner violence perpetration in India. She works as a Project Coordinator for Drs. Wendy D'Andrea and Greg Siegle's NIMH-funded study examining blunted and discordant affect as a transdiagnostic construct in psychopathology.

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Steven Freed, M.A.

Steven Freed, M.A.

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Treva Van Cleave, M.A.

Treva Van Cleave, M.A.

Treva's research focuses on trauma and the body, with an emphasis on perceptual changes as a result of interpersonal violence and complex trauma. She is inspired by psychodynamic, existential and feminist theories, examining these concepts as they relate to the lived experience of the person. Treva draws on psychophysiology and narrative to explore how trauma influences dissociation, identity, self-harm, and body experience. Additionally, Treva is involved with projects related to women's health through trauma informed pelvic exams; interoceptive awareness, childhood trauma and self-injury; dissociation as it relates to loss of time in trauma survivors; and reassessing power dynamics within traumatic family systems. Treva also teaches courses in Introductory, Abnormal and Existential Psychology, and has worked in community mental health centers, Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Brooklyn VA New York Harbor Hospital.

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Nicholas Fehertoi, M.A.

Nicholas Fehertoi, M.A.

Nick's interests lie in the body, specifically to what extent felt bodily experience (interoception) affects sense of agency, sense of self, and social cognition, as well as how these can be undermined by complex trauma. He is influenced by embodied cognition, terror management theory, humanistic-existential psychology, and the phenomenology of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. His current research investigates whether interoceptive sensitivity can inhibit (or potentiate) startle reactivity (as measured by facial EMG), and if trauma exposure or symptoms moderate that relationship.

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Sarah Herzog, M.A.

Sarah Herzog, M.A.

Sarah's research interests include the cognitive and attentional mechanisms of trauma and their relations to dissociative processes, risk-perception, repeated traumatization, and autonomic and affective responding. Currently, she is working on a study examining the intersection between attentional biases to threat cues, lifetime trauma history and physiological indicators of arousal and inhibition. She is also working on a project involving autobiographical trauma narratives in collaboration with Stephanie Shiffler at the University of Georgia and the Psychoanalysis lab at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. Sarah is also assisting in fMRI data collection for an NIMH-funded R01 study headed by Drs. Wendy D’Andrea and Greg Siegle, investigating blunted affective responding across clinical diagnoses. Sarah is the recipient of the Prize Fellowship for the New School for Social Research.

Erin Stafford, M.A.

Erin Stafford, M.A.

Erin is a first year doctoral student. Her research focuses on psychophysiology of dissociation and effective clinical intervention strategies for managing dissociative symptoms in individuals with complex trauma. She is particularly interested in exploring mindfulness-based interventions and their impact on dissociation, anxiety, and physiology in a clinical undergraduate sample. She is also interested in exploring both the underlying neurological mechanisms as well as the interpersonal deficits and benefits of dissociation as a coping strategy through measures of social cognition, visual perception, and self-esteem. She has experience working in an inpatient setting on a Trauma Disorder's Unit specializing in the treatment of dissociative disorders. She currently serves as the laboratory manager for the Trauma and Affective Psychophysiology Lab. She is the recipient of the Prize Fellowship for the New School for Social Research.

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Nadia Nieves, M.A.

Nadia Nieves, M.A.

LABORATORY MANAGER & PROJECT COORDINATOR.

Nadia is a second year doctoral student. Her main interests include clinical neuropsychology and social-cognitive neuroscience, focusing on anterior insula activity and its role in social behavior in both trauma-exposed and non-traumatized samples. She is mainly interested in researching interoceptive awareness and its impact on the maintenance of interpersonal relationships, especially in individuals who experience dissociative symptoms. She has extensive experience in Applied Behavior Analysis working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. She also has experience in conducting cognitive remediation therapy with patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. Nadia is the current lab manager for the Trauma Lab and the Project Coordinator for the Emotions and Physiological Assessment Study. She is also a neuropsychology extern at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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Vivian Khedari, M.A

Vivian Khedari, M.A

Vivian is a first year doctoral student. Her main interests include psychophysiology research focusing on differences in signal coherence between trauma-exposed and non-traumatized samples. Additionally, she is currently working on exploring the link between fantasizing and dissociative symptoms. Vivian works as the site data manager for an NIMH-funded R01 study headed by Drs. Wendy D’Andrea and Greg Siegle, investigating blunted affective responding across clinical diagnoses. She also assists in fMRI data collection and clinical interviewing for this project. Her past experience includes social impact measurements of a youth empowerment program for teenagers living in high-risk Venezuelan slums and qualitative research into school violence and bullying in Caracas. Vivian is the recipient of the Dean's Fellowship for the New School for Social Research.

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Eran Barzilai, M.A.

Eran Barzilai, M.A.

Eran's primary interest is concerned with emotion regulation, suicidal behavior and psychotherapeutic interventions for these conditions. Specifically, he is interested with how early interactions with attachment figures shape one's ability to identify, label and verbally communicate painful feelings; it's hypothesized that with increased hopelessness, suicidal behavior ensues. In his future work, Eran aims to answer two questions: 1. what are the cognitive, emotional, physiological and behavioral signatures of suicidal behaviors, and 2. whether the ability to recognize different emotional states, as well as being able to communicate them to a close other, as acquired interpersonal skills, can reduce mental pain and increase distress tolerance. In Eran's free time, he enjoys playing and watching soccer, running and reading poetry. 

Kellie Ann Lee, B.A.

Kellie Ann Lee, B.A.

Kellie is interested in the ways dissociation manifests from chronic and complex trauma, and how it can be identified through psychophysiological measures. In particular, she addresses trauma from a feminist lens, identifying notions of choice and control, or lack thereof, in regards to reproductive and obstetric health. In addition, she is also curious about the cognitive and social mechanisms underlying cooperation and prosociality among inter- and intra-group relations, specifically attending to aspects of decision-making, risk assessment and altruistic tendencies. In her free time, Kellie enjoys reading about, cooking and eating food, and taking long nature walks. 

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Gabriella Robinson, B.S.

Gabriella Robinson, B.S.

Gabriella’s research interests include psychophysiology, and culturally sensitive treatments for underserved populations in regards to trauma and substance abuse. Her past experience includes working as a clinical research interviewer on a research study of genetic and trauma-related risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder in a highly traumatized, low socioeconomic status, African American, urban population. Additionally, she worked as a neurophysiology research assistant to assess fear-related physiology for the longitudinal study: Trauma Exposure and Stress Response in Mothers and Their Children - Mechanisms of Intergenerational Impact of Maternal Trauma. 

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Wesley Ellen Gregory, B.A.

Wesley Ellen Gregory, B.A.

Wesley's primary research interest is examining factors that contribute to the development of self-injurious behavior. Specifically, she is interested in examining the relationship between self-compassion and pain perception in the context of trauma. Her past experiences include working in the Aggression Lab of Gettysburg College examining the appraisal and decision processes in the General Aggression Model. She also has experience conducting diagnostic interviews for Gettysburg College's Personality Lab.

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Brandon Joachim, B.A.

Brandon Joachim, B.A.

Brandon is a second year MA student. His research interests include the impact of trauma on emotional well-being, as well as the development of a sense of self and the ability to be intrinsically motivated. He is particularly interested in emotional trauma's relationship to the ability to experience complete immersion and absorption in a variety of situations, in other words, the ability of those who have experienced trauma to experience "flow states". He is also interested in exploring the psychophysiological traits associated with resilience as well as the implications of using dissociation as a copy strategy, and predictive factors of positive change in trauma survivors following treatment. 

Lina Ledvin, B.A.

Lina Ledvin, B.A.

Lina is a fourth-year undergraduate and first-year MA psychology student in the BA/MA dual degree program for psychology with a concentration in substance abuse counselling. She hopes to fulfill her dream of treating substance abuse disorders through a harm reduction oriented scope and integrating a trauma-centered lens through research. Lina has maintained her status as Dean's List recipient and awardee throughout her educational career, and is very excited to be part of the lab. 

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Prescilla D. John, M.S., LMSW

Prescilla D. John, M.S., LMSW

Prescilla's primary research is in investigating the cognitive, psychological, social and biological factors that influence and maintain trauma stress responses. She is interested in understanding the relationship between childhood trauma and attachment styles, and exploring potential neural markers for risk and resilience to PTSD. In addition to this, Prescilla is also interested in exploring the mechanisms involved in the learning and unlearning of trauma responses and understanding how the emotional significance of stimuli play a role in fear acquisition and extinction processes of learned fear. She believes that clinical practice with populations vulnerable to trauma stress can be significantly improved with better understanding of how specific cues impact the learning and unlearning of fear as well as the biomarkers for risk and resilience to PTSD. 

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Jacqueline Fidelman, B.A.

Jacqueline Fidelman, B.A.

Jacqueline is primarily interested in the way complex trauma manifests in somatic symptoms, and ways in which interoceptive awareness can mitigate the effect. In addition, she is also interested in how culture can affect trauma symptom presentation. Her past experience include working as a research assistant at the Brain Injury Research Center and the Spinal Cord Injury Center at Mount Sinai. 

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Vivian-Raquel Dayan is a senior in the undergraduate program at Eugene Lang College, The New School. She is interested in studying the correlation between the mind, brain, and the imagination. Additionally, Vivian-Raquel is interested in how they all react to one another, and how the mind, brain, and imagination’s relationship changes once one has gone through a traumatic experience. Vivian-Raquel is majoring in psychology and minoring in fiction-writing, and plans on going to graduate school to further her education in psychology.

Sarah is a fourth year undergraduate student studying psychology and dance at The New School. She is interested in mind to body and body to mind processing in people with trauma exposure. Sarah teaches trauma sensitive yoga to female survivors of domestic and sexual assault, where she combines her knowledge of physiology from her dance and yoga background with her study of psychology and trauma. In addition to working with adults, Sarah teaches developmental movement to infants 3 weeks to 3 years old. Sarah brings a deep interest in innate movement patterns and spinal development to her study of the psychophysiology of trauma. 

Elisa Monti, M.A.

Elisa Monti, M.A.

Elisa is a doctoral student in experimental psychology. Her concentration is voice, specifically investigating the potential predictive power of different kinds of childhood trauma on different aspects of voice, looking into acoustics and physiology of the "normal" voice.

Karina Vahitova, B.A.

Karina Vahitova, B.A.

Karina is a post Soviet queer poet, a cautious art historian, writer, and dancer from Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated from Eugene Lang College where she studied critical theory, art history, and molecular biology. Together with her two cofounders she runs The Void Academy, an organization helping artists learn how to make a sustainable living. Currently she is working on her first book of lyrical theory about female queerness, totalitarianism, violence, and women in the Soviet Union. She joined the lab in order to deepen her knowledge of psychophysiology of trauma for the purposes of writing scientifically informed feminist advocacy. 

Alyce Foster, Ph.D

Alyce Foster, Ph.D

Alyce Foster, Ph.D., is a Senior Psychologist in the NYU School of Medicine WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence (NYUSOM CCE). Dr. Foster received a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans before completing her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York City. Her involvement in the WTC Health Program began during her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship training at Bellevue Hospital/NYU Langone Medical Center. She continued as the Clinical Psychology Post-doctoral Fellow for the program before assuming a full-time position as a psychologist. Dr. Foster has obtained specialized training in empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic stress including short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, STAIR, and Prolonged Exposure. She also has extensive pre-doctoral training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Her research interests include understanding trauma-related psychopathology throughout the life span and the relation between trauma exposure and mechanisms of emotion dysregulation. Her doctoral dissertation investigated the relation between complex trauma exposure and self-injurious behaviors among ethnic minority adolescents

Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D

Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D

Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychology Post-doctoral Fellow in the NYU School of Medicine WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence (NYUSOM CCE). Dr. DePierro received his B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University; and his M.A. in General Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, respectively, from The New School for Social Research. He completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at Bellevue Hospital/NYU Langone Medical Center. Jonathan has received training in long and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR), and Cognitive Therapy. His research interests include the impact of trauma on emotional development, including how trauma exposure may lead to paradoxically negative emotional responses to positive events; the impact of dissociation on information processing; and the use of psychophysiological methods (including heart rate variability, fMRI, EMG, and skin conductance) to supplement clinical diagnosis and treatment.