Dissociation and Integration of Cognition and Emotion (DICE) Lab

The DICE Lab is focused on understanding the ways in which humans interact with their environments, particularly in terms of experiencing and regulating emotions.

Matthew Jerram, PhD

To learn more about Dr. Matthew Jerram and his work, please visit his faculty page.

Current Research Projects

In the DICE lab, we are interested in the phenomenon of dissociation and its place in normative and pathological functioning. Though dissociation is a common experience, most discussions in psychology treat it as a pathological process. Our lab is interested in understanding dissociation as an innate cognitive capacity that evolved in humans because it offers certain advantages, such as the capacity for creative thinking. Dissociation, therefore, is not inherently problematic but, under particular circumstances, can be pathological. Therefore, we also examine the mechanisms that lead to these pathological experiences of dissociation.

As part of this exploration, our research examines mindfulness, creativity, executive functions, and emotional experience and regulation. We approach understanding emotion from a constructionist perspective, with a particular interest in considering understudied dimensions of emotion, such as dominance/agency. Our research methods include online data collection, self-report and performance instruments, physiological monitoring, and the use of brain imaging databases, such as the Human Connectome Project.

Resources & Materials

*denotes graduate student author.

*Falcone, G., & Jerram, M. (2018) Brain Activity in Mindfulness Depends on Experience: A Meta-analysis of fMRI Studies, Mindfulness, 9, 1319–1329, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0884-5.

*Kyte, D., Jerram, M., & DiBiase, R. (2019) Brain Opioid Theory of Social Attachment: A Review of Evidence for Approach Motivation to Harm, Motivation Science, 6(1), 12–20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/mot0000135.

*Karpel, M. & Jerram, M. (2015) Levels of dissociation and non-suicidal self-injury: a quartile risk model. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 16, 303-321.

Jerram, M., *Lee, A., *Negreira, A. & Gansler, D. (2014) The neural correlates of the dominance dimension of emotion. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 221, 135-141.

Current Graduate Students

Profile Picture of Brooke Duarte

Brooke is a fourth-year graduate student in Suffolk University's Clinical Psychology PhD program. Originally from New Hampshire, she received her B.S. from Tulane University with majors in Public Health, Psychology, and Dance in 2016 and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Suffolk University in 2020. Her clinical background includes treatment of adults with chronic pain, anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders through traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and third-wave acceptance-based behavioral therapies. She is particularly interested in enhancing emotional cue detection and distress tolerance to ultimately increase psychological flexibility among individuals experiencing emotional distress.

Brooke’s research focuses on transdiagnostic processes such as emotion and self-regulation, anxiety sensitivity, cognition, and psychological flexibility in relation to well-being. Some of her previous work has explored cognitive processes involved in a continuum of dissociative experiences, instrumental use of thought suppression, creative thinking, and factors of mindfulness. Brooke plans to complete her dissertation in the area of anxiety-related transdiagnostic factors and coping strategies involved in chronic pain and disability after orthopedic injury.

In her free time, Brooke enjoys being outdoors, traveling, spending time with her family and friends, and being creative.

Selected Presentations

Duarte, B., Joseph, A. C., Falcone, G., Jerram, M. (in press). From Daydreaming to Dissociation: An Exploratory Study on the Role of Thought Suppression and Dissociation in Fantasy Prone Individuals. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Duarte, B., Sachner, L., Kimble, S., Payne, L. [Abstract accepted]. Rejection Sensitivity and Emotional Maltreatment in Adolescent Females with Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 55th annual conference. 

Duarte, B., Payne, L., Kaplan, C., Auerbach, R., Fruzzetti, A. (2021). Examining the Role of Emotion Regulation Gains Within a DBT Program for Adolescent Females with Borderline Personality Disorder [Flash Talk]. Association for Psychological Science 2021 Virtual Convention.

Duarte, B. & Jerram, M.  (2020). Thought Suppression and Dissociative Experiences: A Factor Analytic Examination of the White Bear Suppression Inventory and its Relationship to Dissociation [Poster session]. New England Psychological Association annual conference, virtual format.

Duarte, B., Falcone, G., & Jerram, M. (2020). Factors of Mindfulness and Adherence to Meditation: Deficits in Non-Reactivity may Influence Decision to Quit the Practice [Poster session]. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 54th annual conference, virtual format.

Duarte, B., Falcone, G., & Jerram, M. (2020). Trait Dissociation, Engagement in Fantasy, and Emotion Regulation Strategies [Poster session]. Society for Affective Science 2020 Convention, virtual format.

Duarte, B., Joseph, A. C., Falcone, G. & Jerram, M. (2020). Creativity and Emotion Regulation: Divergent Thinking Promoting Cognitive Reappraisal [Poster session]. Association for Psychological Science Poster Showcase.

Duarte, B., Perry, L., & Hoerger, M. (2016). Delay of Gratification and Patient Reported Quality of Life in Cancer [Poster session]. Association for Clinical and Translational Science 2016 Convention, Washington D.C.

Profile Picture of Annie Joseph

Annie is currently a third-year clinical psychology doctoral student in the DICE lab under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Jerram. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience and Health & Human Services. Her research interests broadly encompass studying the psychological, cognitive, and neurobiological effects of trauma. Annie is currently working on projects looking at the correlates of normative and pathological dissociation, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. She is also involved in research at Harvard Medical School/MGH evaluating the neurobiological effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) related brain injury on women’s health. Her master’s thesis looked at the role of alexithymia in symptom reporting following IPV-related brain injuries. Her previous research experiences at both the NIH Clinical Center and Wake Forest fostered her interest in clinical neuropsychology and understanding mechanisms of recovery from trauma. She completed her first year of practicum at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute and is currently training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s psychiatry department for her second practicum.

Please feel free to reach out to via email.

Research Interests

Traumatic brain injury; trauma; neuropsychological assessment; gender differences; mindfulness; dissociation; positive psychology; neuroimaging

Publications and Selected Presentations

Valera, E. M., Joseph, A.-L. C., Snedaker, K., Brieding, M. J., Robertson, C. L., Colantonio, A., Levin, H., Pugh, M., J., Yurgelun-Todd, D., Mannix, R., Bazarian, J. J., Turtzo, L. C., Turkstra, L. S., Begg, L., Cummings, D. M., Bellgowan, P. S. F. (2021). Understanding traumatic brain injury in women: A state-of-the-art summary and future directions. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 36(1), E1–E17.

Joseph, A.-L. C., Lippa, S. M., Moore, B., Bagri, M., Row, J., Chan, L., Zampieri, C. (2020). Relating self-reported balance problems to sensory organization and dual-tasking in chronic traumatic brain injury. PM&R. DOI:10.1002/pmrj.12478

Joseph, A.-L. C., Lippa, S. M., McNally, S. M., Garcia, K. M., Leary, J. B., Dsurney, J., Chan, L. (2019). Estimating premorbid intelligence in persons with traumatic brain injury: An examination of the Test of Premorbid Functioning. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult.

Joseph, A.-L. C., Peterson, H. A., Garcia, K. M., McNally, S. M., Mburu, T. K., Lippa, S. M., … Chan, L. (2019). Rey Tangled Line Test: A measure of processing speed in TBI. Rehabilitation Psychology. 64(4), 445–452.

Joseph, A.-L. C., Duarte, B., Falcone, G. N., Jerram, M. (2020, November). A person-centered exploration of dissociative experiences and facets of mindfulness. [Poster session]. ABCT’s 54th annual conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Jerram, M., Duarte B., Joseph, A.-L. C., Falcone, G. (2020, May). Are thought and expressive suppression manifestations of dissociative processes? [Poster session]. American Psychological Society annual conference, Chicago, IL.

Duarte, B., Joseph, A.-L. C., Falcone, G., Jerram, M. (2020, May). Creativity and emotion regulation: Divergent thinking may promote cognitive reappraisal [Poster session]. American Psychological Society annual conference, Chicago, IL.

Jerram, M., Falcone, G., Joseph, A.-L. C., Duarte, B. (2020, April). Absorbed in meditation: The impact of dissociative tendencies on mindfulness practice [Poster session]. Society for Affective Science annual conference, San Francisco, CA.

Joseph, A.-L. C., Duarte, B., Falcone, G., Jerram, M. (2020, April). Personality factors related to continued mindfulness meditation [Poster session]. Society for Affective Science annual conference, San Francisco, CA

Virginia McCaughey is a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University. She graduated from the College of Charleston in South Carolina in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Crime, Law, and Society. Upon graduation, she began working as a research assistant at the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Virginia’s research interests focus on investigating risk and resiliency in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder as well as identifying key variables that hinder or promote recovery from PTSD.

Selected Publications and Presentations:

McCaughey, V. K., & Street, A. E. (in press). What is psychological trauma? In V. Ades (Ed.), Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: A Complete Clinical Guide. New York, NY: Springer.

McCaughey, V. K., & Scholten, J. (2019). Gender differences in outcomes after traumatic brain injury among service members and veterans. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

McCaughey, V. K., Gradus, J., Street, A. E. (2019). The associations between deployment experiences, PTSD, and alcohol use among male and female veterans. Addictive Behaviors. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106032

McCaughey, V. K. & Galovski, T. E. (2019, November). Modifying cognitive processing therapy: Do treatment gains extend beyond primary outcomes? In S. Krill Williston (Chair), Modifying trauma-focused evidence-based psychotherapies: What? Why? And How? Symposium to be conducted at the 35th annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Boston, MA.

McCaughey, V. K. (2018, September). Embracing mentorship and creating a network of professional support. International Society for Traumatic Stress, StressPoints, 32, 5.

McCaughey, V. K., Fuentes-Carpentier, M., Smith, B., Resick, P. A., & Galovski, T. E. (2017, November). Brain injury incurred during domestic violence: The influence on recovery from PTSD. Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL.

Profile Picture of Elena Molokotos

I am a fifth-year graduate student in Suffolk University’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program. I spent part of my childhood in Athens, Greece before moving with my family to Connecticut. After high school, I graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in psychology followed by an M.A. in psychology from Boston University. Some of my research interests include understanding individual variability in behavioral and neurobiological responses to rewards, decision-making processes, and the implications of these for treatment of different psychiatric disorders. My dissertation was completed in June of 2020 and focused on the relationship between behavioral responding to rewards in nicotine-dependent individuals and their ability to remain abstinent from smoking in exchange for monetary rewards. My clinical interests included evidence-based interventions for obsessive-compulsive and other anxiety-spectrum disorders, as well as a particular focus on targeting a range of psychiatric presentations using exposure-based and ACT approaches to treatment.

Selected publications

Molokotos, E.K., Peechatka, A.L., Kainan, S.W., Pizzagalli, D.A., Janes, A.C. (2020). Caudate reactivity to smoking cues is associated with increased responding to monetary reward in nicotine-dependent individuals. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 209, pp: 107951. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107951

Wang, K. S., Zegel, M., Molokotos, E., Moran, L. V., Olson, D. P., Pizzagalli, D. A., & Janes, A. C. (2020). The acute effects of nicotine on corticostriatal responses to distinct phases of reward processing. Neuropsychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-0611-5

Peechatka, A.L., Molokotos, E.K., Zegel, M., Janes, A.C. (2019). Examining nicotine-free electronic cigarettes as a method for reducing cue-induced craving. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00559

Janes, A.C., Zegel, M., Ohashi, K., Betts, J., Molokotos, E., Olson, D., … Pizzagalli, D.A. (2018). Nicotine normalizes cortico-striatal connectivity in non-smoking individuals with major depressive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43, 2445-2451. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-018-0069-x