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Autumn Kujawa

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development

Autumn Kujawa, Ph.D. is an Assistant 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 research fellowship in the neuroscience of mental health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Dr. Kujawa's research examines how children and adolescents process and respond to emotion, and the ways in which alterations in emotional processing may contribute to the development of mood disorders. She examines a range of emotions, including reward responsiveness, threat reactivity and regulation, and sensitivity to social feedback. Within each of these areas, she aims to:

  1. Refine measurement of these processes, integrating self-report, behavioral, physiological, and imaging methods.
  2. Chart the development of emotion in order to better understand the emergence of mood disorders within the context of typical development.
  3. Identify alterations in emotional processing that contribute to vulnerability for mood disorders in combination with stress, certain parenting styles, and neurobiological mechanisms.
  4. Improve long-term outcomes for children and adolescents by identifying more specific targets for treatment and predictors of treatment response.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

*Cardenas, E. F., Kujawa, A., Humphreys, K.L. (in press). Neurobiological changes across the perinatal period: Implications for health and behavior. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

*Pegg, S., *Dickey, L., Mumper, E., Kessel, E., Klein, D. N., & Kujawa, A. (in press). Stability and change in emotional processing across development: A 6‐year longitudinal investigation using event‐related potentials. Psychophysiology, e13438.

Kujawa, A., Arfer, K. B., Finsaas, M., Kessel, E. M., Mumper, E., & Klein, D. N. (in press). Effects of maternal depression and mother-child relationship quality in early childhood on neural reactivity to rejection and peer stress in adolescence: A 9-year longitudinal study. Clinical Psychological Science.

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

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.

*Pegg, S., Ethridge, P., Shields, G. S., Slavich, G. M., Weinberg, A., & Kujawa, A. (2019). Blunted social reward responsiveness moderates the effect of lifetime social stress exposure on depressive symptoms. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience13, 178.

Babinski, D. E., Kujawa, A., Kessel, E. M., Arfer, K. B., & Klein, D. N. (2019). Sensitivity to peer feedback in young adolescents with symptoms of ADHD: Examination of neurophysiological and self-report measures. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47, 605-617. 

Bunford, N., Kujawa, A., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2018). Convergence of BOLD response and ERP measures of neural reactivity to emotional faces in children and adolescents with and without anxiety disorders. Biological Psychology, 134, 9-19.

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., Kessel, E. M., Carroll, A., Arfer K., & Klein, D. N. (2017). Social processing in early adolescence: Associations between neurophysiological, self-report, and behavioral measures. Biological Psychology, 128, 55-62. 

Ethridge, P., Kujawa, A., Dirks, M., Arfer, K., Kessel, E., Klein, D. N., & Weinberg, A. (2017). Neural responses to social and monetary reward in early adolescence and emerging adulthood. Psychophysiology, 54, 1786-1799.

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., Wu, M., Klumpp, H., Pine, D. S., Swain, J. E., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2016). Altered development of amygdala-frontal connectivity during emotional face processing in anxious youth and young adults. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 1, 345-352.

Kujawa, A., Weinberg, A., Bunford, N., Fitzgerald, K. D., Hanna, G. L., Monk, C. S., Kennedy, A. E., Klumpp, H., Hajcak, G., & Phan, K. L. (2016). Error-related brain activity in youth and young adults before and after treatment for generalized or social anxiety disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 71, 162-168.

Burkhouse, K. L., Kujawa, A., Kennedy, A., Shankman, S., Langenecker, S., Phan, K. L., & Klumpp, H. (2016). Reward reactivity as a neural predictor of CBT response in anxiety and depression. Depression and Anxiety, 33, 281-288.  

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.

Kujawa, A., Glenn, C. R., Hajcak, G., & Klein, D. N. (2015). Affective modulation of the startle response among children at high and low risk for anxiety disorders. Psychological Medicine, 45, 2647-2656. 

Kujawa, A., MacNamara, A., Fitzgerald, K. D., Monk, C. S., & Phan, K. L. (2015). Enhanced neural reactivity to threatening faces in anxious youth: Evidence from event-related potentials. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 1493-1501.

Kujawa, A., Proudfit, G. H., Kessel, E., Dyson, M., Olino, T., & Klein, D. N. (2015). Neural reactivity to monetary rewards and losses in childhood: Longitudinal and concurrent associations with observed and self-reported positive emotionality. Biological Psychology, 104, 41-47. 

Kujawa, A., Proudfit, G. H., & Klein, D. N. (2014). Neural reactivity to rewards and losses in offspring of mothers and fathers with histories of depressive and anxiety disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123(2), 287-297.

Kujawa, A., Dougherty, L., Durbin, C. E., Laptook, R., Torpey, D., & Klein, D. N. (2014). Emotion recognition in preschool children: Associations with maternal depression and early parenting. Development & Psychopathology, 26(1), 159-170.


NARSAD Young Investigator (2019)

Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Fellowship (2017)

Association for Psychological Science Rising Star (2016)

Society for Affective Science Flash Talk Award (2016)

Society of Biological Psychiatry Chair’s Choice Award (2015)

Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP) Outstanding Student Researcher (2014)