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Autumn Kujawa

Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Secondary Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Vanderbilt Brain Institute Training Faculty; Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Member

Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and director of the Mood, Emotion, & Development Lab. She earned her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship in the neuroscience of mental health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Kujawa's research aims to reduce the burden of mood disorders on youth and families. In particular, she examines how children and adolescents process and respond to emotion, the ways in which alterations in emotional processing contribute to the development of mood disorders, and how this knowledge can be translated to improve interventions. Her work focuses on a range of emotions, including reward responsiveness, threat reactivity and regulation, and sensitivity to social feedback, and takes a multimethod approach incorporating physiological, brain circuit, and behavioral measures. Dr. Kujawa has been recognized as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science, received an Early Career Award from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, and has been awarded research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation, and American Psychological Foundation. 

Lab Website

Representative Publications

*Dickey, L, *Pegg, S., *Cárdenas, E. F., *Green, H., *Dao, A., Waxmonsky, J., Pérez-Edgar, K., & Kujawa, A. (2023). Neural predictors of improvement with cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescent depression: An examination of reward responsiveness and emotion regulation. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 51, 1069-1083.

Mackin, D. M., Goldstein, B. L., Mumper, E., Kujawa, A., Kessel, E., Olino, T. M., Nelson, B. D., Hajcak, G., & Klein, D. N. (2023). Longitudinal associations between reward responsiveness and depression across adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 62, 816-828.

Burkhouse, K. L., & Kujawa, A. (2023). Annual Research Review: Emotion processing in offspring of mothers with depression diagnoses - A systematic review of neural and physiological research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 64, 583-607.

*Hill, K. E., *Dickey, L., *Pegg, S., *Dao, A., Arfer, K. B., & Kujawa, A. (2023). Associations between parental conflict and social and monetary reward responsiveness in adolescents with clinical depression. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 51, 119-1

*Gupta, R. S., *Dickey, L., & ^Kujawa, A. (2022). Neural markers of emotion regulation difficulties moderate effects of COVID-19 stressors on adolescent depression. Depression and Anxiety. 39, 515-523.

Bettis, A. H., Benningfield, M. M., *Dao, A., *Dickey, L., *Pegg, S., *Venanzi, L., & ^Kujawa, A. (2022). Self-injurious thoughts and behaviors and alterations in positive valence systems: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 156, 579-593.

*Pegg, S., Lytle, M., Arfer, K. B., & ^Kujawa, A. (2022). The time course of reactivity to social acceptance and rejection feedback: An examination of event-related potentials and behavioral measures in a peer interaction task. Psychophysiology, 59, e14007.

 *Dickey, L., *West, M., *Pegg, S. *Green, H., & Kujawa, A. (2021). Neurophysiological responses to interpersonal emotional images prospectively predict the impact of COVID-19 pandemic-related stress on internalizing symptoms. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

*Pegg, S., Arfer, K. B., & Kujawa, A. (2021). Altered reward responsiveness in depression: An examination of social and monetary reward domains and interactions with rejection sensitivity. Journal of Affective Disorders. 

*Pegg, S. *Jeong, H. J., Foti, D., Kujawa, A. (2021). Differentiating stages of reward responsiveness: Neurophysiological measures and associations with facets of the behavioral activation system. Psychophysiology.

Kujawa, A., *Green, H., Compas, B. E., *Dickey, L., & *Pegg, S. (2020). Exposure to COVID-19 pandemic stress: Associations with depression and anxiety in emerging adults in the U.S. Depression and Anxiety, 37, 1280-1288.

*Pegg, S., *Dickey, L., *Green, H., & Kujawa, A. (2020). Differentiating clinically depressed adolescents with and without active suicidality: An examination of neurophysiological and self-report measures of reward responsiveness. Depression and Anxiety, 37, 876-884.

Kujawa, A., Burkhouse, K. L., Karich, S. R., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2019). Reduced reward responsiveness predicts change in depressive symptoms in anxious children and adolescents following treatment. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 29, 378-385.

Kujawa, A., Hajcak, G., & Klein, D. N. (2019). Reduced reward responsiveness moderates the effect of maternal depression on depressive symptoms in offspring: Evidence across levels of analysis. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 60, 82-90.

Kujawa, A., & Burkhouse, K. L. (2017). Vulnerability to depression in youth: Advances from affective neuroscience. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2, 28-37.

Kujawa, A., Hajcak, G., Danzig, A. P., Black, S. R., Bromet, E. J., Carlson, G. A., Kotov, R., & Klein. D. N. (2016). Neural reactivity to emotional stimuli prospectively predicts the impact of a natural disaster on psychiatric symptoms in children. Biological Psychiatry, 80, 381-389.

Kujawa, A., Swain, J. E., Hanna, G. L., Koschmann, E., Simpson, D., Connolly, S., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2016). Prefrontal reactivity to social signals of threat as a predictor of treatment response in anxious youth. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41, 1983-1990.

Kujawa, A., Proudfit, G. H., Laptook, R., Klein, D. N. (2015). Early parenting moderates the association between parental depression and neural reactivity to rewards and losses in offspring. Clinical Psychological Science, 3, 503-515.


Society for Psychophysiological Research Early Career Award (2023)

American Psychological Foundation John and Polly Sparks Early Career Grant for Psychologists Investigating Serious Emotional Disturbance (2021)

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD) Young Investigator (2019)

Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Fellowship (2017)

Association for Psychological Science Rising Star (2016)