Youth Emotions, Thoughts, and Interactions (YETI)

Supervising Faculty: Leslie Horton, PhD

Contact: Leslie Horton, hortonle2@upmc.edu

Area of Research: Psychosis risk in adolescence

Description of Research: The Youth Emotions, Thoughts, and Interactions (YETI) lab studies thinking patterns, stressors, emotions, and social interactions in young people at-risk for psychosis using psychophysiological and behavioral methods.

Duties of Students:

  1. Directed reading of the literature on psychosis risk, stress, and social functioning in adolescence.
  2. One-on one and group meetings, including meeting weekly with the lab group, weekly with the Research Coordinator or Postdoctoral Associate of YETI Lab studies, and at least monthly and as needed with Dr. Horton.
  3. Completion of an end-of-the-semester research product as specified in the Learning agreement.
  4. Hands-on practical work on NIMH-funded research studies examining clinical high-risk for psychosis in adolescents and young adults. Responsibilities will be specified in the Learning Agreement and may vary based on interest, but can include:
    1. Serving as a panelist for the Trier Social Stress test (TSST) administered with research participants
    2. Participating in the collection, data cleaning, and data analysis of laboratory measurements of psychophysiology (e.g., heart rate variability and skin conductance)
    3. Shadowing and administering research study clinical visits, including cognitive assessments and clinical interviews, as well as EEG and fMRI procedures.
    4. Assisting with research administrative tasks, such as data entry, literature reviews, and assistance with research participant scheduling.
    5. Assisting with ambulatory assessment procedures, including heart rate variability and phone-based questionnaires

Requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lab
  • 2-term commitment encouraged, but not required

Recruitment Process: All initial interviews and inquiries will be conducted by phone, with second-round interviews in person or via Zoom. Both use standardized questions to determine interests, student goals, and assess fit between the lab and the student.

Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 4

Lab website: www.yetilab.pitt.edu See projectreporter.nih.gov for more information on both lab projects: R01MH121386-01 and 1U01MH124639-01.