About Karen Quigley
Dr. Quigley’s work focuses on how bodily regulation and sensory signals from the body help a brain to create feelings, including the role of individual- and situation-level variation in affective experience, and how these experiences relate to behavior, cognition, and health. She uses laboratory and ambulatory (daily life) measures to understand what factors explain the enormous variation in physiological changes, brain activity or expressive behaviors that scientists observe across affective or emotional instances (both within and across people). She also assesses how a person’s ability to accurately detect information from the body’s interior – can be used to better understand affect, a low-dimensional description of feelings (e.g., how activated or calm; how positive or negative). Other studies focus on how interoceptive sense data may help to integrate functions across bodily systems, e.g., how do oscillatory cardiac and respiratory signals influence vision? Other work examines physical symptoms, including how they vary with changes in internal bodily states, and how they change before and after a major life stressor, such as a terrorism event or a military deployment. Finally, Dr. Quigley uses technology-based interventions that incorporate user-specific data to enhance motivation to improve sleep, reduce pain, and decrease unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, especially in those with poor mental or physical health.
This laboratory studies emotions what they are, and how they work. Their research uses experiential, behavioral, psychophysiological, and brain-imaging techniques. The IASL is located at Northeastern University, with a secondary site at Mass General Hospital.