Sheri Johnson

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

    Novel Interventions for Bipolar Disorder

    In work funded by the Wellcome Trust, we are conducting the largest ever study of healthy lifestyles as an adjunct to medication for those with bipolar disorder.  This work builds on findings that bipolar disorder often co-occurs with physical health concerns, and physical health predicts the psychiatric outcomes for those with bipolar disorder.  We will help people with bipolar disorder adopt healthy eating plans, and test the degree to which those plans provide better stability and moods.  You can learn more about the program, and consider signing up as a participant here:

    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 a large-scale study with June Gruber to understand how positive emotions and reward sensitivity can predict the onset and course of 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.  We are currently conducting research to test how cognitive training can help reduce emotion-related impulsivity. If you would like to learn more about or sign up for our cognitive training program, you can click here:


  • placeSelected Publications

    Selected publications 

    Johnson, S. L., Ironside, M*., Clark, L., Michalak, E., Hsu, M., Poh, C. (In press). Behavioral indices of effort discounting are related to creative accomplishment and problem-solving and to bipolar disorder.  Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

    Elliott, M. V., Esmail, S. A. S.. Weiner, K. S., Johnson, S. L. (2023). Neuroanatomical correlates of emotion-related impulsivity, Biological Psychiatry, 93(6), 566-574.

    Johnson, S. L., Levitan, J. M., Marks, L. C., Swerdlow, B. A., Kauer, B., & Timpano, K. R. (2023, online in advance of print). Emotion-related impulsivity relates to one form of speech dysfluency during high arousal states.  Journal of Research in Personality, 105,  104397,

    Pearlstein, J. G., Johnson, S. L., Timpano, K. R., Stamatis, C. A., Robison, M., & Carver, C. S. (2023). Emotion-related impulsivity across transdiagnostic dimensions of psychopathology. Journal of Personality92(2), 1–19.

     *Sandel-Fernandez, D. B.*, Pearlstein, J. G.*, Swerdlow, B. A., Johnson, S. L. (2023). Who disengages from emotion and when?: An EMA study of how urgency and distress intolerance relate to daily emotion regulation. Emotion, 23(4), 1102-1114.  doi: 10.1037/emo0001152.

    Swerdlow, B. A., Sandel-Fernandez, D. B., & Johnson, S. L. (2023). Shame on me for needing you: A multistudy examination of links between receiving interpersonal emotion regulation and experiencing shame.  Emotion, 23(3), 737–752.

    Udupa, N.S., Hanson, J., Gutierrez, P.M., Mandel, A.A., Johnson, S.L., Kleiman, E., Bryan, C.J., Jobes, D.A., & Joiner, T. (2023). Uncontrollability of suicidal ideation adds incremental explanatory power in prediction of later suicidal ideation. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Advance online publication., 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:

  • filter_dramaTeaching