At the Emotion & Anxiety Research Laboratory (EARL) at Vanderbilt University our aim is to advance knowledge of the measurement, development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders. Although these objectives encompass a broad range of topics, we are specifically interested in the role of emotions (i.e., fear, disgust, anger) in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety pathology. The EARL operates largely from an experimental psychopathology framework. That is, we utilize basic experimental research methods to inform our understanding of anxiety and its disorders. The EARL also operates from a translational framework in that the basic emotion research that we conduct serves the purpose of informing clinical practice. Accordingly, we are also interested in applied clinical studies that extend our basic emotion research to the treatment and prevention of anxiety disorders. The EARL is also a teaching laboratory, training undergraduates and graduate students in the experimental psychopathology of emotion in the context of anxiety and its disorders.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions, affecting between 15% and 20% of the adult population at some time in their lives. They often result in severe emotional distress and impairment in social, occupational, academic, and leisure functioning. Anxiety disorders are also associated with increased medical problems. For these reasons understanding the nature of anxiety problems, and how best to treat them, is crucial.