New York University
Department of Psychology
University of Chicago
BA in Psychology, 2003
PhD in Psychology, 2011
My research focuses on understanding how expectations affect emotional experience, including pain and negative emotion. I combine human brain imaging, psychophysiological measures, pharmacological manipulations, and behavioral outcomes to isolate the mechanisms by which beliefs, knowledge, and learning shape our conscious experience. My current research examines the basic components of expectations, how they develop, and whether different types of learning lead to different effects on subjective emotion. I am also interested in unpacking the factors that determine whether perception is biased toward or away from expectations, isolating domain-general and domain-specific pathways that underlie expectancy effects on experience, and testing whether expectancy-related processing is altered in clinical populations.
Wager T.D., Atlas L.Y., Lindquist M.A., Roy M., Woo C. & Kross E. (2013). An fMRI-based neurologic signature of physical pain. New England Journal of Medicine 368(15), 1388-1397.
Atlas, L.Y., Whittington, R.A., Lindquist, M.A., Wielgosz, J., Sonty, N., & Wager, T.D. (2012). Dissociable influences of opiates and expectations on pain. The Journal of Neuroscience 32(23), 8053-8064.
Buhle, J., Kober, H., Ochsner, K.N., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Weber, J., Hughes, B., Kross, E., Atlas, L.Y., McRae, K., and Wager, T.D. (2012). Common representation of pain and negative emotion in the midbrain periaqueductal gray. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
Johnston, N.E.*, Atlas, L.Y.*, & Wager, T.D. (2012). Opposing effects of expectancy and somatic focus on pain. PLOS One 7(6), e38854. * = Equal authorship contributions.
Cribben, I., Haraldsdottir, R., Atlas, L.Y., Wager, T.D., & Lindquist, M.A. (2012). Dynamic connectivity regression: Determining state-related changes in brain connectivity. Neuroimage 61(4), 907-920.
Wager, T.D. Atlas, L.Y., Leotti, L.A., and Rilling, J.K. (2011). Predicting individual differences in placebo analgesia: Contributions of brain activity during anticipation and pain experience. The Journal of Neuroscience 31(2), 439-452.
Atlas, L.Y., Bolger, N., Lindquist, M.A., and Wager, T.D. (2010). Brain mediators of predictive cue effects on perceived pain. The Journal of Neuroscience 30(39), 12964-12977.
Eugene, F., Joormann, J., Cooney, R.E., Atlas, L.Y., and Gotlib, I.H. (2010). Neural correlates of inhibitory deficits in depression. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 181, 30-35.
Lindquist, M.A., Loh, J.M., Atlas, L.Y., and Wager, T.D, (2009). Modeling the Hemodynamic Response Function in fMRI: Efficiency, Bias, and Mis-modeling. Neuroimage 45(1), S187-198.
Knutson, B., Bhanji, J., Cooney, R.E., Atlas, L.Y., and Gotlib, I.H. (2008). Neural responses to monetary incentives in major depression. Biological Psychiatry 63(7), 686-692.
Cooney, R.E., Joormann, J., Atlas, L.Y., Eugene, F., & Gotlib, I.H. (2007). Remembering the Good Times: Neural Correlates of Affect Regulation. NeuroReport 18(17), 1771-1774.
Cooney, R.E., Atlas, L.Y., Joormann, J., Eugene, F., & Gotlib, I.H. (2006). Amygdala activation in the processing of neutral faces in social anxiety disorder: is neutral really neutral? Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 148, 55-59.
Review Articles and Chapters:
Atlas, L.Y. & Wager, T.D. (In press). Expectations and beliefs: Insights from cognitive neuroscience. In Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience, Eds. Kevin Ochsner and Stephen Kosslyn.
Wager, T.D. & Atlas, L.Y. (2013). How is pain influenced by cognition? Neuroimaging weighs in. Perspectives in Psychological Science 8(1), 91-97.
Atlas, L.Y., & Wager, T.D. (2012). How expectations shape pain. Neuroscience Letters 520(2), 140-148.
Atlas, L.Y., Wager, T.D., Dahl, K., and Smith, E.E (2009). Placebo Effects. In J.T. Cacioppo and G.G. Berntson (Eds.) Handbook of Neuroscience for Behavioral Psychologists. (1236-1259). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Atlas, L.Y. and Wager, T.D. (2009). The neural bases of placebo effects in pain. In S. Aizenstat and R. Bosnak (Eds.) Imagination and Medicine. (107-134). New Orleans: Spring Journal, Inc.
Atlas, L.Y. and Wager, T.D. (2009). The placebo response. In William Banks (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Consciousness (201-216). Elsevier Ltd.
May 2013, New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit (NCDEU; sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology) Annual Meeting
Symposium: Placebo analgesia: Psychological, neurophysiological, and neurobiochemical aspects
March 2013, Weill Cornell Medical School, New York, NY
Sackler Science Brownbag
March 2013, Dept. of Psychology, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
Delgado Lab meeting
January 2013, International Placebo Conference, Tubingen, Germany
Symposium: Placebo and nocebo imaging and recording
September 2012, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA
Brainmaps Seminar Series
September 2012, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, BIDMC, and the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, HMS, Charlestown, MA
Placebo Studies Seminar; The Program in Placebo Studies & the Therapeutic Encounter
September 2012, Harvard / Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
How expectancies shape pain: The relationships between expectancies, learning, and opioid analgesia
January 2012, Weill Cornell Medical School Science Brownbag, New York, NY
Expectancy effects on pain: How cue-based expectations shape affective experience
September 2011, Scientific research network on decision neuroscience and aging (SRNDNA) Methods Workshop: Multilevel Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Mediation analysis for fMRI: Application and methods
April 2011, Thinking and Decision Making slide session, Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco
Expectations about stimuli operate independently from expectations about treatments: The role of expectancy during opioid analgesia
April 2011, Guest lecturer, Analysis of change statistics course, Columbia University, NY
Multilevel mediation analysis and its application in fMRI
November 2010, Seeing and Feeling Nanosymposium, Society for Neuroscience, San Diego
Expectancy effects and remifentanil administration: Dissociable contributions of opioid and placebo analgesia
October 2010, fMRI Seminar Series, Yale Magnetic Resonance Research Center
How expectancies shape experience: Brain mediators of cue effects on perceived pain
June 2010, New York University Center for Biomedical Imaging, Advanced fMRI Analysis Workshop
An introduction to mediation analysis for fMRI
June 2010, Organization for Human Brain Mapping Oral Session, Barcelona, Spain
Open vs hidden opioid administration: Belief modulates remifentanil effects on pain-evoked responses
May 2010, Dartmouth University FMRI Brownbag Series
“Brain mediators of expectancy effects on perceived pain: An introduction to multilevel mediation analysis for fMRI
April 2010, Columbia University Cognitive Lunch Series
Expectancy-based enhancement of opioid analgesia: Hidden vs Open Remifentanil Administration