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Suzanne Clerkin

Assistant Professor of Psychology

I serve as the coordinator of the cognitive neuroscience concentration for the Psychology Board of Study. My current research is focused the neurocognitive correlates of grief following the loss of a loved one. We are currently developing and validating survey instruments to measure the grief experience and using neuropsychological tests and electroencephalography to assess cognitive control in the recently bereaved.

Research Interests

In my lab, the Applied Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab, we examine the neurocognitive correlates of grief following the loss of a loved one. We are currently developing and validating survey instruments to measure the grief experience and using neurocognitive tests and electroencephalography to assess cognitive control in the recently bereaved.

Specific questions that are currently being examined in my lab include:

  • Does grief change the way we process information? Do bereaved individuals demonstrate attentional biases (enhanced attentional engagement and/or disengagement) for emotional and attachment-related information? How are these cognitive biases related to attachment styles? How do cognitive biases relate to grief intensity?
  • How can neuroscience help elucidate the varied trajectories of grief? What are the neurophysiological correlates of cognitive biases in the bereaved? Do the neurophysiological correlates of grief predict functional outcomes?
  •  Is it better to hold on or let go? Do continuing bonds with the deceased provide comfort/distress to the bereaved? What variables predict the utility of continuing bonds in the grief process?
  • How does grief change who we are? What variables can account for the tremendous variability in the extent to which grief changes the way individuals view life and themselves? Specifically, what are the predictors of personal growth following the loss of a loved one?

Representative Courses

  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Human Neuropsychology
  • Special Topics in Neuropsychology
  • Seminar on the Biological Basis of Mental Disorders


Peer-Reviewed Original Contributions:

  1. Schulz, K. P., Li, X., Clerkin, S. M., Fan, J., Berwid, O. G., Newcorn, J. H., & Halperin, J.D. (In Press). Prefrontal and parietal correlates of cognitive control related to adult outcomes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosed in childhood. Submitted to Cortex.
  2. Bedard, A.C., Newcorn, J. H., Clerkin, S. M., Krone, B., Halperin, J. M., & Schulz, K.P. (2014). Reduced efficiency of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for visuospatial working memory in youth with ADHD. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53, 1020 - 1030.
  3. Schulz, K.P., Clerkin, S.M., Newcorn, J. H., Halperin, J. M., & Fan, J. (2014). Guanfacine modulates the emotional biasing of amygdala-prefrontal connectivity for cognitive control. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 24, 1444-1453.
  4. Schulz, K.P., Bedard, A.C., Fan, J., Clerkin, S.M., Dima, D., Newcorn, & J.H. Halperin, J.M., (2014). Emotional bias of cognitive control in adults with childhood attention-Deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuroimage: Clinical, 5, 1 – 9.
  5. Ivanov, I., Liu, X., Clerkin, S.M., Schulz, K.P., Fan, J., Friston, K., London E.D, Schwartz, J. Newcorn, J. (2014). Methylphenidate and brain activity in a reward/conflict paradigm: Role of the insula in task performance. European Journal of Psychopharmacology, 24, 897 – 906.
  6. Clerkin, S.M., Schulz, K.P., Berwid, O.G., Fan, J., Newcorn, J. H., Tang, C.Y., & Halperin, J. M. (2013). Thalamo-Cortical Activation and Connectivity During Response Preparation in Adults with Persistent and Remitted ADHD. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 1011 – 1019.
  7. Schulz, K.P., Clerkin, S. M., Fan, J., Halperin, J.M., & Newcorn, J. H. (2013). Guanfacine modulates the influence of emotional cues on prefrontal cortex activation for cognitive control. Psychopharmacology (Berlin), 226, 261-271.
  8. Ivanov, I., Liu, X., Clerkin, S.M., Schulz, K.P., Friston, K., Newcorn, J.H., & Fan, J. (2012). Effects of motivation and reward on attentional networks: An fMRI study. Brain and Behavior, 2, 741-753.
  9. Schulz, K.P., Fan, J., Bedard, A.C., Clerkin, S.M., Ivanov, I., Halperin, J.M., & Newcorn, J.H. (2012). Common and unique therapeutic mechanisms of stimulant and non-stimulant treatment for ADHD. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 952 – 961.
  10. Bedard, A.C., Schulz, K.P., Cook, E.H., Fan, J., Clerkin, S. M., Ivanov, I., Halperin, J. D., Newcorn, J. H. (2010). Dopamine transporter gene variation modulates activation of striatum in youth with ADHD. Neuroimage, 53, 935-942.
  11. *Clerkin, S. M., Schulz, K. P., Halperin, J. M., Newcorn, J. H., Ivanov, J., Tang, C. Y. & Fan, J. (2009). Guanfacine potentiates the activation of prefrontal cortex evoked by warning cues. Biological Psychiatry, 66, 307 – 312.*Featured article
  12. Schulz, K. P., Clerkin, S. M., Halperin, J. M., Newcorn, J. H., Tang, C. Y., & Fan, J. (2009). Dissociable neural effects of stimulus valence and preceding context during the inhibition of responses to emotional faces. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 2821 - 2833.
  13. Clerkin, S. M., Marks, D., Policaro, K. L., & Halperin, J. M. (2007). Psychometric properties of the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire-Preschool Revision. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36 (1), 19-28. 

Peer-Reviewed Review Papers and Book Chapters:

  1. Newcorn, J. H., Clerkin, S. M., Schulz, K. P., & Halperin, J. M. (2010). Adrenergic agonists: Clonidine and guanfacine. In Pediatric Psychopharmacology, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press.
  2. Brocki, K., Clerkin, S. M., Fossella, J. A., Guise, K. G., & Fan, J (2009). Assessing the molecular genetics of the development of executive attention in children: Focus on genetic pathways related to the cingulate cortex and dopamine. Neuroscience, 164, 241-246.