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Responses to threat: what is a normative threat response in development versus a pathological one

   Department of Psychology

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  Dr L Levita  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Adults and adolescents respond to different kinds of threat differentially, for example in the way they learn to predict danger and learn something is safe via fear conditioning and extinction. This project will focus on the adaptive nature of these differences, and examine what is a normative threat response in development versus a pathological one (i.e., one that can led to or is a symptom of a mental health issue). This project will explore these questions using a mixture of behavioural, psychophysiological and EEG methodologies.


Levita, L., Howsley, P., Jordan, J., & Johnston, P. (2015). Potentiation of the early visual response to learned danger signals in adults and adolescents. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 10(2), 269-277

Howsley, P., & Levita, L. (2017) Anticipatory representations of reward and threat in perceptual areas from preadolescence to late adolescence. Dev Cogn Neurosci. doi:

Heller, A. S., & Casey, B. (2016). The neurodynamics of emotion: delineating typical and atypical emotional processes during adolescence. Developmental Science, 19(1), 3-18. doi:10.1111/desc.12373

Funding Notes

Self funded or externally sponsored students only. Intakes are usually October and March annually.

NB The University has some scholarships under competition each year. More details can be found - View Website

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