About the lab

The Affective Science Lab at Bard College uses clinical research methods to identify the factors behind mood disorders. The lab asks questions about how people who are depressed describe themselves—and how to make self-description more positive. In past work, we have found that adults with low mood will learn to describe themselves more positively after imagining future positive social situations. Work in the lab uses samples of adults, online and in person, across the range of depressive symptoms.

Recent Publications

(2019). Effect of cognitive bias modification-memory on depressive symptoms and autobiographical memory bias: Two independent studies in high-ruminating and dysphoric samples. Cognition and Emotion, 33, 288–304.


(2019). Association between negative cognitive bias and depression: A symptom-level approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

 DOI  Preprint Data

(2018). Positive imagery training increases positive self-referent cognition in depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 111, 72–83.

 DOI  Preprint Data

(2018). Determining optimal parameters of the Self Referent Encoding Task: A large-scale examination of self-referent cognition and depression. Psychological Assessment, 30, 1527–1540.

 DOI  Preprint Data  GitHub  Shiny

(2018). Negative self-referential processing is associated with genetic variation in the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR): Evidence from two independent studies. PLOS ONE, 13(6): e0198950.

 DOI  Preprint Data

(2018). Specificity and overlap of attention and memory biases in depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 404–412.


(2017). Sustained attentional engagement is associated with increased negative self-referent decision-making in major depressive disorder. Biological Psychology, 129, 231–241.


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Join the lab

Bard students who want to conduct research may inquire about joining the lab by emailing Professor Dainer-Best. Recruitment for research assistants may vary by semester. Research assistants work on research projects: recruiting participants, collecting data, developing new studies, and helping to present research. Applicants will be preferred who have an interest or background in psychology research, computer programming, and software development.


Bard College students are able to participate in an Affective Science Lab study for participation credit. Interested students should sign up on the Bard Psych Research website.