Positive Emotional Processing: Exploring Novel Treatment in Social Phobia

Eligibility Criteria
  • Ages 18 to 55
  • Experiencing excessive social anxiety 
  • MRI compatible

Our research team is conducting a study to learn more about how a computer-based training program affects emotions, behaviors, and brain systems that are important for social relationships.

We are seeking volunteers who experience difficulties with anxiety in social situations. The results of this study may help develop procedures to improve social relationship functioning in individuals with elevated social anxiety symptoms.

Identification of Neural Predictors of Response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Depression and Anxiety

Eligibility Criteria

18 to 25 years old
Suffering from depression
18 to 55 years old
Suffering from an anxiety disorder


Exclusion Criteria

Volunteers may not have metal in their body.


This study is testing to see what behavior and brain function can tell us about treatment success in depression using cognitive-behavioral therapy, a standard psychotherapy treatment for depressive disorders.
The study purpose is to evaluate what brain function can tell us about treatment success in anxiety disorders.

Time commitment is about 33 hours over 22 visits.

Volunteers will participate in the following:

Dose Timing of D-Cycloserine to Augment CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder

Eligibility Criteria
  • Male or female outpatients 18 or older with a primary psychiatric diagnosis (designated by the patient as the most important source of current distress) of social anxiety disorder as defined by DSM-5 criteria 
  • A total score ? 60 on the LSAS 
  • Physical examination and laboratory findings without clinically significant abnormalities 
  • Willingness and ability to participate in the informed consent process and comply with the requirements of the study protocol
Exclusion Criteria
  • A lifetime history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, delusional disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder; an eating disorder in the past 6 months; organic brain syndrome, mental retardation or other cognitive dysfunction that could interfere with capacity to engage in therapy; a history of substance or alcohol abuse or dependence (other than nicotine) in the last 6 months or otherwise unable to commit to refraining from alcohol use during the acute period of study participation
  • PTSD within the past 6 months. Entry of patients with other mood or anxiety disorders will be permitted if the social anxiety disorder is judged to be the predominant disorder, in order to increase accrual of a clinically relevant sample. Patients with significant suicidal ideation (MADRS item 10 score > 3) or who have enacted suicidal behaviors within 6 months prior to intake will be excluded from study participation and referred for appropriate clinical intervention.
  • Patients must be off concurrent psychotropic medication (e.g., antidepressants, anxiolytics, beta blockers) for at least 2 weeks prior to initiation of randomized treatment.
  • Significant personality dysfunction likely to interfere with study participation
  • Serious medical illness or instability for which hospitalization may be likely within the next year
  • Patients with a current or past history of seizures
  • Pregnant and lactating women, and women of childbearing potential who are not using medically accepted forms of contraception (e.g., IUD, oral contraceptives, barrier devices, condoms and foam, or implanted progesterone rods stabilized for at least 3 months)
  • Any concurrent psychotherapy initiated within 3 months of baseline, or ongoing psychotherapy of any duration directed specifically toward treatment of the SAD is excluded. Prohibited psychotherapy includes CBT or psychodynamic therapy focusing on exploring specific, dynamic causes of the phobic symptomatology and providing management skills. General supportive therapy initiated more than 3 months prior is acceptable.
  • Prior non-response to adequately-delivered exposure (as defined by the patient?s report of receiving specific and regular exposure assignments as part of a previous treatment).
  • Patients with a history of head trauma causing loss of consciousness, seizure or ongoing cognitive impairment. Current use of isoniazid or ethionamide compounds
  • Insufficient command of the English language



The first purpose is to evaluate the efficacy of d-cycloserine (DCS) in augmenting treatment for social anxiety disorder. Individuals will receive 5 weeks of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), randomized into one of four treatment groups. Participants will receive either one pill of DSC or one placebo pill, both one hour prior to sessions 2, 3, 4, and 5 and immediately afterward. The investigators hypothesize that individuals receiving post-session DCS will show a greater decrease in social anxiety symptoms after receiving CBT.

Modification of Interpretive Biases in Pediatric Social Anxiety Disorder

Eligibility Criteria

(a) between ages 8-12, (b) a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, (c) an overall IQ score of 80 or greater, (d) speak English fluently as the primary language, and (e) a working internet connection with access to Skype or Facetime video conferencing software. Exclusion criteria include (a) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder, (b) Pervasive developmental disorder or autism-spectrum disorder, (c) past or active psychosis, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, (d) current evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatment for social anxiety problems, (e) past cognitive behavioral treatment for social anxiety problems that lasted at least 3 sessions, (f) significant suicidal ideation and/or attempts within the past 3 months, (g) any recent (within the past 4 weeks) or planned changes in medication, and (h) a reading disorder or impairment in reading ability.


The current study aims to test the effectiveness of computer-based interpretation bias modification training as a therapeutic intervention for social anxiety disorder. Individuals who experience social anxiety often have difficulty in engaging in social situations, such as speaking in front of a group and maintaining a conversation. For youth, this may take the form of avoidance, including avoiding situations such as raising hand in class, eating in front of other people, and participating in small group activities.