Research Area: Clinical Science
I am a graduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, specializing in Clinical Science. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 with a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology and Film Studies, and with a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. The majority of my undergraduate research was conducted at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and focused on understanding changes in the brain associated with aging, as well as computational modeling approaches to understand cognitive control and their disturbances in serious mental illness and early psychosis.
After graduation, I worked as a research specialist in the Affect Analysis Group under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Cohn. My post-baccalaureate work (from 2015-2017) investigated numerous topics in the affective science realm, including the behavioral reactivity of individuals with PTSD, the effects of alcohol on emotion/ social bonding, and how infants respond affectively to a change in social interaction with their mother. I am certified in the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) by the Paul Ekman Group.
I joined the Department of Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt University in 2017 as a Clinical Psychology PhD student. My doctoral research focuses on interoception (the sense of the physiological condition of the body) across domains, as well as the analysis of non-verbal and interpersonal behavior. I am broadly interested in exploring how emotion is felt in the body. My clinical work centers primarily on the treatment of trauma/ PTSD and mood disorders (i.e., depression, anxiety), as well as supporting those with neurodevelopmental disorders in all life stages.
Peer Reviewed Publications/ Under Review --
Bruni, P.T., Heidelberg, N., & Maloney, E. The Benefit of Behavioral Activation in Older Adults with Depression. (under review). Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Bruni, P.T. & Bachorowski, J.A. (2021). Comparing Measures of Interoception Across Cardiac and Respiratory Domains. (under review). Biological Psychology.
Bruni, P.T. & Cohn, J. (2021). Perceived Emotion & Contextual Framing: Re-Examining the Kuleshov Effect. (under review). Journal of Non-Verbal Behavior.
Bruni, P.T. (2020). Listen to Your Gut: Why the Gut-Brain Connection Matters and How it Can Improve Your Life. APS Observer, 33(6), 47-48
Conference Poster Presentations --
Bruni, P.T. & Schlundt, D.G. (November 5, 2021). Developing and Incorporating an Online Active Learning Module in Health Psychology. Poster accepted for presentation at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day, Nashville, TN.
Hooper, M.A., Bruni, P.T., Wild, M.G., Tomarken, A.J., & Bachorowski, J.A. (May 21-24, 2020). Gender Bias in the Social-Emotional Expertise Scale: A Differential Item Functioning Analysis. Poster accepted for presentation at the 32nd APS Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
Bruni, P.T. & Schlundt, D.G. (May 21-24, 2020). Developing and Incorporating an Online Active Learning Module in Health Psychology. Poster accepted for presentation at the 32nd APS Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
Davis, S., Bruni, P.T. & Bachorowski, J.A. (April 25, 2020). Social and Cultural Differences in Social-Emotional Expertise and Related Constructs. Poster presented at the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.
Bruni, P.T. & Bachorowski, J.A. (April 23-25, 2020). How Do We Describe Our Feelings? The Role of Emotional Granularity in Social-Emotional Expertise. Poster accepted for presentation at The Society for Affective Science Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.
Bruni, P.T. & Schlundt, D.G. (October 10, 2019). Effect of an Online ‘Toolkit’ Module to Implement & Assess Learning Goals in Health Psychology. Poster presented at the Gerald S. Gotterer Health Professions Education Research Day, Nashville, TN.
Bruni, P.T. & Bachorowski, J.A. (July 9-13, 2019). Social-Emotional Expertise: Interoceptive Awareness & Person Perception. Poster presented at the International Society for Research on Emotion (ISRE) Conference, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Hooper, M.A., Bruni, P.T., Wild, M.G. & Bachorowski, J.A. (July 9-13, 2019). Item Response Theory Analysis of the Social-Emotional Expertise Scale. Poster presented at the International Society for Research on Emotion (ISRE) Conference, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Compton, S., Bruni, P.T. & Bachorowski, J.A. (April 20, 2019). Gender Differences in Social-Emotional Expertise & Interpersonal Perception. Poster presented at the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.
Wulf, T.M., Girard, J.M., Bruni, P.T. & Cohn, J.F. (November 9-11, 2017). Nonverbal indicators of acute distress in women with PTSD. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL.
Bruni, P.T., Girard, J., Wulf, T., Cohn, J. & Benight, C. (April 17-18, 2017). Analysis of Traumatic Stress and Depression Self-Report Measures in a Civilian Population Sample. Poster presented at the 12th Annual Amygdala, Stress and PTSD Conference: Understanding Stress, Bethesda, MD.
SEC Emerging Scholars Program – Vanderbilt University Nominee, 2021
University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) Trainee – Vanderbilt Kennedy Center & Association of University Centers on Disabilities, 2020-2022
Tennessee Psychological Foundation (TPF) Funded Membership Award & Fellowship, 2020
Division of Science Award, Psychology Scholarship Fund - Vanderbilt University
Future City Pittsburgh Distinguished Alumna Award – DiscoverE Coalition, 2020
Lisa M. Quesenberry Scholarship – Community Foundation of Louisville, 2019
Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Development Institute Travel Grant – Vanderbilt University, 2019
Gayle Fambrough Fellowship Award, Department of Psychology – Vanderbilt University, 2019
Phi Beta Kappa Society, Xi chapter of Pennsylvania, 2015
Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) Voucher
Grant: June, 2018: $1,939.00
Role: Principal Investigator