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Mauricio R. Papini

Professor and Department Chair Direct: 817.257.6084
Ph.D. University of San Luis, Argentina
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Research Interests

I am interested in the comparative neuroscience of anxiety and frustration. Animals are tested under conditions involving surprising incentive loss and their adjustment is assessed both behaviorally and physiologically. Surprising incentive loss is a source of emotional modulation that may lead to behavioral suppression, drive induction, changes in agonistic behavior, release of stress hormones, and modulation of pain sensitivity. Some of the mechanisms underlying adjustment to unexpected incentive loss are hypothesized to be unique to mammals. Comparative research indicates that the type of adjustment observed in relatively more conservative vertebrates is purely cognitive, lacking the emotional tone commonly observed in analogous experiments with mammals. The goal of this research is to contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of learning mechanisms, the interface between learning and emotion, and the neurobehavioral basis of anxiety disorders.

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Click the links below to download two recent review articles:

Torres & Papini (2016). Emotional self-medication and addiction. In V. Preedy (Ed.), Neuropsychology of drug addiction and substance misuse, Vol. 1. New York: Elsevier. [PDF version]

Papini, Fuchs, & Torres (2015). Behavioral neuroscience of psychological pain. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 48, 53-69. [PDF version]

Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate courses in Experimental Psychology: Motivation and Comparative Psychology. Graduate course on Conditioning and Learning.

Service Responsibilities:

Currently Chair of the Department of Psychology.

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