Nhi's dissertation research investigated the different stages of biases in human attention. In particular, her research examined how different stages of attention biases could increase the risk for anxiety symptoms among children who were behaviorally inhibited. This was an important question because behavioral inhibition is a temperamental risk for anxiety development. Nhi used a non-invasive technique called Electroencephalograph (EEG) to measure children's brain activity, which allowed her to identify children at greatest risk for anxiety - behaviorally inhibited children who relied more on automatic processes and less so on evaluative processes when attending to faces. These results suggest that we should promote controlled processing of attention as an intervention component when designing treatments for anxiety disorders in at-risk children.
Nhi is now one of our own Teaching Professors in the Penn State Psychology Department.
Congratulations Dr. Thai!