Erin B. Tone, PhD
Department of Psychology
School of Arts and Sciences
Georgia State University
My research focuses on social cue processing and its role in the emergence and maintenance of anxiety disorders across development. In particular, I use behavioral and neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI) techniques to help elucidate associations between anxiety and the ways in which people respond to social stimuli. I am especially interested in the ways in which social threat cues, such as negative emotional faces or cues of rejection or betrayal, elicit different patterns of behavior and neural activity in the context of anxiety. A core NICHD-funded line of current research in my lab focuses on attention biases for emotional faces; in particular, we are interested in understanding how individual characteristics, such as gender, race/ethnicity, and age, may interact with emotional characteristics (e.g., facial expression) to influence patterns of attention in various anxious or high risk populations, including adults and children with trauma histories and adults with social anxiety. Additional ongoing work examines possible attention bias subtypes among individuals with social anxiety disorder, CBT-related changes in neural activation, and behavioral and neural responses to dynamic, complex, ecologically valid stimuli such as simulated threatening social interactions.
Clinical practice represents a core aspect of my professional identity and one that informs both my research and my teaching. In keeping with this tight coupling of academic and clinical work, my current primary clinical interests, like my research interests, revolve around the evaluation and treatment of youths and adults with anxiety and mood disorders. My commitment to the use of empirically supported approaches to treatment of mood and anxiety disturbances is longstanding. Within this broad framework, however, I work from an integrative, pragmatic stance that merges interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and family systems perspectives.