Sheri Johnson
Distinguished Professor
3242 Berkeley Way West
Office Hours: 
By Appointment Only
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Research Area: 
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
 Emotion-related impulsivity: mechanisms and outcomes.
  • whatshotResearch Description

    Basic Research on Mania
    People with bipolar disorder describe themselves as more reactive to rewards and goals in their life, and more prone to positive moods, even when they are asymptomatic.  More importantly, these basic traits help understand the processes through which mania unfolds.  We find that the level of reward sensitivity, as well as recent increases in goal engagement, both predict increases in mania over time among people with bipolar disorder.  We have also found that life involving goal attainment predict increases in mania.  Currently, we are conducting two studies to understand creative accomplishment in bipolar disorder. 

    Emotion-related Impulsivity 
    Considerable research suggests that the tendency to become impulsive during states of high emotion is distinct from other forms of impulsivity, and that emotion-related impulsivity robustly predicts a broad range of psychopathologies.  We are conducting research to understand the mental health outcomes related to impulsivity, including internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders, aggression, and suicidality.  Our aim is to understand mechanisms driving this form of iimpulsivity, by using fMRI, behavioral, and self-report measures.  This work is funded by a two-site R01, with an aim of testing 350 outpatients. We are also conducting small treatment development projects to address emotion-related impulsivity among people who are highly aggressive. .

    Graduate Student Research
    Students on the team are working on a broad array of projects, including how decision-making and reward relate to creativity in bipolar disorder, interpersonal emotion regulation, and executive function as it relates to emotion-related impulsivity.  We seek new team members who are interested in tackling puzzles related to bipolar disorder, emotion, or emotion-related impulsivity.

  • placeSelected Publications

    Selected publications 

    Carver, C. S., & Johnson, S. L. (2018).  Impulsive reactivity to emotion and vulnerability to psychopathology.  American Psychologist, 73(9), 1067-1078.

    Carver, C. S., Johnson, S. L., & Joormann, J. (2008). Serotonergic Function, Two-Mode Models of Self-Regulation, and Vulnerability to Depression: What Depression Has In Common with Impulsive Aggression. Psychological Bulletin, 134(6):912-43.

    Carver, C. S., Johnson, S. L.,  Joorman, J., Kim, Y., & Nam, J. (2011). Serotonin transporter polymorphism interacts with childhood adversity to predict aspects of impulsivity. Psychological Science, 22(5),589-595.

    Auerbach, R. P., Stewart, J. G., & Johnson, S. L. (2017). Impulsivity and suicidality in adolescent inpatients. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 45, 91-103.

    Johnson, S.L., Edge, M. D., Holmes, M. K., & Carver, C. S. (2012). The Behavioral Activation System and mania.  Annual Review of Clinical Psychology,8,243-267, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032511-143148.

    Johnson, S. L., Cuellar, A., Ruggero, C., Perlman, C., Goodnick,  P., White, R., & Miller, I. (2008). Life events as predictors of mania and depression in bipolar I disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 268-277.

    Many of my publications can be downloaded here:

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