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Personal profile

Research Interests

Wendy Heller is Professor of Psychology in the Clinical/Community Division, former Director of Clinical Training and Department Head in the Psychology Department, and a part-time Beckman Institute faculty member in the Cognitive Neuroscience Group. As of 2014 she was appointed Provost Fellow with a special focus on campus diversity. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Psychology with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of Chicago. Her research investigates the neural mechanisms associated with emotion-cognition interactions and their implications for psychopathology. She is particularly interested in examining cognitive and emotional risk factors associated with the development or maintenance of anxiety and depression. She uses behavioral and neuroimaging methods such as neuropsychological task performance, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and event-related potentials (ERPs).  She draws on psychological theories to model how fundamental emotion and personality constructs can be mapped onto brain systems to clarify the neural mechanisms of emotion and psychopathology. In turn, the neuropsychological  and neuroimaging findings are used to inform psychological theories of emotion and psychopathology. Her work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Professional Information

My primary focus is on the neurobiological correlates of emotional function, including the neurological and neuropsychological processes involved in mood and emotion regulation, the development of personality and psychopathology, and the interaction of emotional processes with cognition. I am particularly interested in investigating cognition-emotion interactions in psychopathology, particularly in anxiety and depression.Neuropsychological research has demonstrated not only that the cerebral hemispheres are specialized for different cognitive functions but also that they differ in their emotional organization. Areas of the brain that are involved in information processing are thus engaged in a variety of emotional processes, concurrently and in a complementary manner, that may influence or interact with cognition at various stages of the learning or memory process. My research specializes in examining how different aspects of brain organization, including lateralization of function, as well as more specific regions of interest, influence emotional, social, and cognitive functioning.

Education

Ph.D. from the University of Chicago

Honors & Awards

Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for remarkable leadership and commitment to diversity at Illinois

Teaching

Neuropsychological Assessment
The autobiography of disability and mental illness

Office Address

715 Psychology Bldg.
603 E. Daniel Street
M/C 716
Champaign, IL 61820

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Research Output

Extreme-groups designs in studies of dimensional phenomena: Advantages, caveats, and recommendations

Fisher, J. E., Guha, A., Heller, W. & Miller, G. A., Jan 2020, In : Journal of abnormal psychology. 129, 1, p. 14-20 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Regulating positive emotions: Implications for promoting well-being in individuals with depression

    Silton, R. L., Kahrilas, I. J., Skymba, H. V., Smith, J., Bryant, F. B. & Heller, W., Feb 1 2020, In : Emotion (Washington, D.C.). 20, 1, p. 93-97 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Response interference by central foils is modulated by dimensions of depression and anxiety

    Weldon, A. L., Liu, Q., Heller, W. & Buetti, S., Jan 1 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Effective Connectivity Between Broca’s Area and Amygdala as a Mechanism of Top-Down Control in Worry

    Guha, A., Spielberg, J. M., Lake, J., Popov, T., Heller, W., Yee, C. M. & Miller, G. A., Jan 1 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Clinical Psychological Science.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Inhibitory control of emotional processing: Theoretical and empirical considerations

    Bartholomew, M. E., Heller, W. & Miller, G. A., Jan 1 2019, In : International Journal of Psychophysiology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article