Skip to main content

Autumn Kujawa

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (secondary appointment)

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 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 children, adolescents, and families. In particular, she examines how children and adolescents process and respond to emotion, and the ways in which alterations in emotional processing contribute to the development of mood disorders. 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 and received 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

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

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

 *Cárdenas, E. F., Kujawa, A., Humphreys, K. L. (in press). Benevolent childhood experiences and childhood maltreatment history: Examining their roles in depressive symptoms across the peripartum period. Adversity and Resilience Science.

*Dickey, L., *Pegg, S., & Kujawa, A. (2021). Neurophysiological responses to interpersonal emotional images: Associations with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Cognitive Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience.

 King, L., Salo, V., Kujawa, A., & Humphreys, K. L. (2021). Advancing the RDoC initiative through the assessment of caregiver social processes. Development and Psychopathology.

 *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.

 *Kesselring, I., Yaremych, H. E., *Pegg, S., *Dickey, L., & Kujawa, A. (2021). Zoom or in-person? An ecological momentary assessment study of the effects of time with friends and depressive symptoms on affect in emerging adults. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

*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., Arfer, K. B., Finsaas, M., Kessel, E. M., Mumper, E., & Klein, D. N. (2020). 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, 8, 657-672.

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.

*Cárdenas, E. F., Kujawa, A., Humphreys, K.L. (2020). Neurobiological changes across the perinatal period: Implications for health and behavior. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1097-1110.

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.

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. 


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)

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)