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Psychological Sciences at MU
Bruce D. Bartholow

Bruce D. Bartholow, Preceptor

10 McAlester Hall
(573) 882-1805
Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Research area(s):

My research generally focuses on two broad but related areas. First, I am interested in basic aspects of social cognition including priming (i.e., construct activation), automaticity and control, and cognition-emotion interactions. We investigate these issues within the context of person perception, aggression, and self-regulatory control. Much of our work also investigates the acute effects of alcohol on these processes. Alcohol is known to cause a number of cognitive impairments and affective changes that lead to deficits in behavioral control, many of which have implications for social behaviors (e.g., aggression, risk-taking). Contemporary models of many social-cognitive phenomena emphasize the role of cognitive and behavioral control in social behavior. Thus, studying the effects of alcohol on social cognition provides a way to understand not only the implications of intoxication, but also the function of various cognitive mechanisms that are important for flexible, adaptive social functioning.

The second broad line of research in the lab examines how social/environmental factors (e.g., peer influences, drinking context) and individual differences (e.g., alcohol sensitivity, executive cognitive function) contribute to alcohol involvement among young adults, and how neurocognitive reactivity to alcohol-related cues might predict vulnerability to alcohol abuse and related disorders.

In most of our research, we employ a combination of behavioral and psychophysiological measures (especially event-related brain potentials; ERPs) to provide a broad basis for understanding how environmental contingencies and stimulus events are interpreted and processed at a basic neurocognitive level, and how these basic processes mediate or explain overt behaviors.


Pedersen, W. B., Vasquez, E., Bartholow, B. D., Grosvenor, M., & Truong, A.  (in press). Are you insulting me? Exposure to alcohol primes increases aggression following ambiguous provocation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

 Bailey, K., Bartholow, B. D., Saults, J. S., & Lust, S. A. (2014). Give me just a little more time: Effects of alcohol on the failure and recovery of cognitive control. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 152–167.

Amodio, D. A., Bartholow, B. D., & Ito, T. A. (2014). Tracking the dynamics of the social brain: ERP approaches for social cognitive and affective neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 385-393.

Fleming, K. A., & Bartholow, B. D. (2014). Alcohol cues, approach bias, and inhibitory control: Applying a dual process model of addiction to alcohol sensitivity. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 85-96.

Bartholow, B. D., Henry, E. A., Lust, S. A., Saults, J. S., & Wood, P. K. (2012). Alcohol effects on performance monitoring and adjustment: Affect modulation and impairment of evaluative cognitive control. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 173–186. 

 For a complete list of publications, please see my lab web page.

2009 Curators of the University of Missouri. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

For more information about the program, e-mail