White Laboratory of Affective Neuroscience

Welcome to the White Lab!

We investigate the neural basis of emotion and drug effects using MRI, monoamine challenge, and assessments of temperament, affect and behavior.

Our research goals are threefold: To understand 1) the neural foundations of trait and state emotion, 2) mechanisms of vulnerability and resilience to substance use, misuse, and dependence, and 3) brain systems contributing to universal human rights domains of agency, freedom from want, freedom from fear, uniqueness, and unconditionality.

We use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate these topics.  Structural imaging (sMRI) provides information about brain anatomy.  Functional imaging (fMRI) provides information about brain activation and deactivation responses to stimuli.  Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) provides information about compounds in brain tissue.  These neuroimaging methods provide information on structure, function and metabolic processes.

Drug challenge provides noninvasive information about the sensitivity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin receptors, transporters and their contribution to emotion.

Together these methods provide a unique and powerful approach to understanding the neural foundation of emotion and its relationship with physiology, cognition, and behavior. Our studies have relevance for prevention and treatment of substance use, misuse, and dependence, and improve our understanding of basic emotion, wellness and flourishing in humans.


Our Research is Supported By:

National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Science Foundation

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Institutes of Health

Robert J. & Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science

British Academy

NIAID - Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research

The Foundation for Alcohol Research

Join Us!

We are currently accepting students and trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. Research training opportunities available in the lab range from behavioral studies to MRI investigation of emotion and drug effects.


If you’re interested in joining the lab or would like more information, you can reach Dr. Tara White via phone at 401-863-6625 or by e-mail at Tara_White@brown.edu.