dr. allen's research
My research has been featured in multiple prestigious academic journals in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry. My publications include a dozen peer-reviewed articles + book chapters with over 150 citations; my current h-Index = 8, indicating that most of my publications have received considerable empirical attention (i.e., 8-50 citations per article). I am humbled to be considered an authority on the neurocognitive underpinnings of emotion regulation in brain disorders + psychopathology, as evidenced by invitations from prominent scholars to contribute original research in several topical collections (e.g., special journal issues) discussing advances in our scientific understanding of suicide. I am also serving as an invited Academic Guest Editor on an upcoming peer-reviewed book volume tentatively titled, "Response Inhibition".
Below you can find selected highlights from my laboratory's latest published work; please download my curriculum vitae for additional details about my background in neuroscientific research + clinical training.
neurocognition + suicide
Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports (2019)
In this narrative review of the empirical literature, my co-authors and I discuss how disruptions across several major domains of brain functioning may promote suicidal thoughts + behaviors. We further propose a new theoretical framework for understanding how the overlap between general cognitive abilities (i.e., the g factor) and latent psychopathology risk (i.e., the p factor) may represent a transdiagnostic pathway to suicide, which we term the "'g' and 'p'" or g-a-p model of vulnerability.
childhood traumatic experiences + emotional response inhibition
Behavior Therapy (In press accepted manuscript)
This original empirical article details work conducted during my clinical residency + postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University Medical School through funding provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. Psychiatric inpatients hospitalized for recent suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors completed a novel neurobehavioral task I developed at Harvard to measure the extent to which people can control or inhibit negative emotional reactions (a proposed cognitive mechanism underlying affect regulation). My colleagues and I found that experiences of abuse or neglect in childhood were associated with greater difficulty on this task; furthermore, psychiatric inpatients with relatively poor negative emotional response inhibition were nearly 2.5 times more likely to report suicide attempts up to two years after hospital discharge (regardless of trauma history).
suicide following traumatic brain injury: pathogenesis + neurocognitive mechanisms
Invited book chapter contribution (forthcoming)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with varied neuropsychiatric sequelae, including elevated risk for nonsuicidal self-injury + suicidal behaviors (SBs). This chapter will provide a narrative review of hypothesized neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms linking TBI to subsequent SBs. This forthcoming narrative review will specifically discuss: (1) Structural and functional alterations to neural circuitry secondary to severe or repetitive TBI (e.g., chronic traumatic encephalopathy; CTE) as well as more common head injuries, e.g., concussions or mild TBI (mTBI); (2) Overlap between post-TBI neuropsychological deficits and proposed bio-behavioral indicators of suicide risk; and (3) Potential neurocognitive mediators of the relationship between TBI and SBs, with a particular focus on executive functions involved in self-regulation (i.e., cognitive and affective control) and their neural substrates, e.g., corticolimbic and frontostriatal circuitry. The chapter will conclude with implications for assessment and interventions targeting SBs in populations with TBI, based on the reviewed empirical literature.