Catharine Edith Ann Fairbairn, Assistant Professor

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Personal profile

Professional Information

I'm interested in how alcohol impacts social interactions and how alcohol’s social rewards might contribute to disordered drinking. More specifically, I explore how alcohol's ability to foster feelings of social closeness and facilitate social bonding might be helpful in understanding the roots of heavy drinking and addiction. Questions I’ve examined in my work include: How does alcohol impact perceptions of social rejection? Do people at risk for alcohol use disorder gain more social reward from alcohol than others? Might specific social drinking contexts be particularly likely to foster alcohol reward? I come at these questions using a range of experimental and non-experimental methods, including ambulatory methods, employing objective transdermal measurement of Blood Alcohol Content, and laboratory-based alcohol administration methods, using group drinking paradigms and anatomically-based facial measures of social reward.

Research Interests

  • Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • Social processes

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., University of of Pittsburgh

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Research Output

A dynamic analysis of the effect of alcohol consumption on humor enjoyment in a social context

Fairbairn, C. E., Velia, B. A., Creswell, K. G. & Sayette, M. A., Jan 2020, In : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 86, 103903.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A multimodal, longitudinal investigation of alcohol's emotional rewards and drinking over time in young adults

    Venerable, W. J. & Fairbairn, C. E., Aug 2020, In : Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 34, 5, p. 601-612 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • A meta-analysis of the effect of substance use interventions on emotion outcomes

    Kang, D., Fairbairn, C. E. & Ariss, T. A., Dec 2019, In : Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 87, 12, p. 1106-1123 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Estimating the distribution of random parameters in a diffusion equation forward model for a transdermal alcohol biosensor

    Sirlanci, M., Luczak, S. E., Fairbairn, C. E., Kang, D., Pan, R., Yu, X. & Rosen, I. G., Aug 2019, In : Automatica. 106, p. 101-109 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Estimating the quantity and time course of alcohol consumption from transdermal alcohol sensor data: A combined laboratory-ambulatory study

    Fairbairn, C. E., Rosen, I. G., Luczak, S. E. & Venerable, W. J., Dec 2019, In : Alcohol. 81, p. 111-116 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle