Melissa A. Cyders

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA


My primary research area is the role of emotional experiences in risk processes for a wide range of maladaptive addictive behaviors, including alcohol use, drug use, gambling, risky sexual practices, sexting, and eating disorders. To summarize, much research concerning impulsivity as a risk factor for maladaptive behaviors has included a wide range of traits under the broad concept of "impulsivity." Impulsivity actually subsumes many different tendencies toward rash action, including tendencies toward risky behaviors while in extreme mood states, both positive and negative. These two specific tendencies, referred to as positive and negative urgency in the literature, respectively, tend to predispose an individual toward more extreme risk behaviors that tend to have a higher rate of negative outcomes. Although these distal trait predictors are important for risk prediction, they, alone cannot determine behavior. They do, however, influence an individual to develop positive outcome expectancies for risk behaviors, which in turn are reinforced by participation in the risk behaviors. I specialize in structural equation modeling with self-report data, fMRI analysis of reactions to alcohol aromas during extreme emotional states, attentional biases toward stimuli and the role of these biases toward increased addictive behaviors, and the integration of behavioral lab tasks and self-report impulsivity.

Biography Updated on 1 April 2012

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