Christine Larson

Associate Professor
 (414) 229-4996
 Garland Hall 217

Web Site:


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003

Research Interests:

My laboratory, the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, is dedicated to understanding the neural bases of healthy and pathological emotional processing. Currently, my research program has two main foci: individual differences in emotional processing which confer risk for psychopathology, particularly anxiety or depression, and characterizing the nature of stimuli in the environment which serve as signals for different types of emotions. I use neuroimaging, psychophysiological, behavioral, and self-report tools to examine affective processing broadly, including the time course, intensity, and regulation of affective responses. As such, my work sits at the intersection of emotion, psychopathology, and neuroscience research.

Current research questions include:

  • Can the time course of affective response usefully index individual differences related to risk and resilience for psychopathology?
    • Are symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with prolonged experience of negative affect? What are the neural correlates of this phenomenon?
    • Are some forms of anxiety associated with rapid onset of fear? Can this be identified at the level of the brain?
    • What, if anything, distinguishes worry and rumination? Are there separable neural instantiations of these two processes?
  • Can visual signals of threat and happiness be reduced to fundamental underlying properties, such as their underlying geometry? Do brain regions implicated in recognition and experience of threat and happiness respond to simple geometric shapes?

Courses Taught:

Psych 412: Psychopathology
Psych 611: The Science of Human Emotions
Psych 912: Developmental Psychopathology

Selected Publications

Pedersen, W., & State anxiety carried over from prior threat increases LPP amplitude during an instructed emotion regulation task. Larson, C. L. (Ed.). Emotion.
Stout, D., Shackman, A. J., Johnson, J., & Larson, C. L. (2015). Worry is associated with impaired gating of threat from working memory. Emotion, 15, 6-11.
Belleau, E., Taubitz, L. E., & Larson, C. L. (2015). Imbalance of default mode and regulatory networks during externally-focused processing in depression. Social, Cognitive, & Affective Neuroscience, 10(5), 744-751.
Taubitz, L. E., Pedersen, W. S., & Larson, C. L. (2015). BAS reward responsiveness: A unique predictor of positive psychological functioning. Personality and Individual Differences, 80, 107-112.
Taubitz, L., Robinson, J. S., & Larson, C. L. (2013). Modulation of the startle reflex across time by unpleasant pictures distinguishes dysphoric from non-dysphoric women. to affective images in dysphoria. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 87, 124-129.
Larson, C. L., Baskin-Sommers, A. R., Stout, D. M., Balderston, N. L., Schultz, D. H., Curtin, J. J., Kiehl, K. A., & Newman, J. P. (2013). The interplay of attention and emotion: Top-down attention modulates amygdala activation in psychopathy. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 757-770.
Stout, D. M., Shackman, A. J., & Larson, C. L. (2013). Failure to filter: Anxious individuals show inefficient gating of threat from working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.
Larson, C. L., Taubitz, L., & Robinson, J. S. (2010). MAOA T941G polymorphism and the time course of emotional recovery following unpleasant pictures. Psychophysiology, 47, 857-862.
Robinson, J. S., & Larson, C. L. (2010). Are traumatic events necessary to elicit symptoms of posttraumatic stress? Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
Larson, C. L., Aronoff, J., Sarinopoulos, I. C., & Zhu, D. C. (2009). Recognizing threat: Simple geometric shapes activate neural circuitry underlying threat detection. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21, 1523-1535.
Larson, C. L., Aronoff, J., Stearns, J., & (2007). The shape of threat: Simple geometric forms evoke rapid and sustained capture of attention. Emotion, 7, 526-534.
Larson, C. L., Nitschke, J. B., Davidson, R. J., & (2007). Common and distinct patterns of affective response in dimensions of anxiety and depression. Emotion, 7, 182-191.
Larson, C. L., Schaefer, H. S., Siegle, G. J., Cory, J. A., Anderle, M. J., & Davidson, R. J. (2006). Fear is fast in phobic individuals: Amygdala activation in response to fear-relevant stimuli. Biological Psychiatry, 60, 410-417.
Davidson, R. J., Putnam, K. M., Larson, C. L., , & (2000). Dysfunction in the neural circuitry of emotion regulation—A possible prelude to violence. Science, 289, 591-594.