Current Studies: Check back for current study opportunities.  If you are a Psychology student at UMKC, look for research participant opportunities through the Psychology Research Pool.

Completed Studies


We  partnered with REbeL, a student-driven peer education program to promote healthy body image and self-confidence in teens.  Our study found good efficacy for the program in Kansas City area high schools.  Results were presented at the International Conference on Eating Disorders in Prague (June 2017) and have been published in Eating Disorders, the Journal of Treatment and Prevention. Visit to learn more about REbeL!

Bright Light Therapy for Night Eating Syndrome

Night eating syndrome (NES) is a delay in the circadian rhythm of food intake that results in evening hyperphagia (consuming 25% or more of one’s total daily food intake after the evening meal) and/or nocturnal awakening and consumption of food.  In order to get a diagnosis of NES one must also have associated features such as reduced appetite in the morning, insomnia, mood disturbance, urges to eat at night, and/or a belief that one needs to eat in order to return to sleep at night.  NES can be quite distressing and can impair daily functioning, but treatments are available.  Current evidence-based interventions for NES include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Allison et al., 2010) and sertraline (Zoloft; O’Reardon et al., 2006, 2008 and Stunkard et al., 2006).  Our lab conducted an open label treatment outcome study, led by Ashley McCune, PhD, using bright light therapy.  Results were favorable and have been published in Psychiatry Research (McCune, Ashley M. & Lundgren, J.D. (2015). Bright Light Therapy for the Treatment of Night Eating Syndrome: A Pilot Study. Psychiatry Research, 229 (1-2), 577-9.).


Sleep and Decision Making

Sleep and eating are two necessary and interrelated activities.  Several recent studies suggest that poor sleep duration and quality are associated with increased risk for obesity and metabolic disturbances.  The relationship between sleep and obesity is complex, and likely involves several mechanisms.  One pathway from poor sleep quality to excess weight might be through impairments in decision making and deficits in cognitive and behavioral control.  Think about these examples:  When you are tired at the end of a long day, are more or less likely to exercise?  When you have a poor night’s sleep and feel tired in the morning, are you more likely to make a healthy breakfast or grab something quick on your way out the door (or skip breakfast altogether)?  To examine this, we are conducted a study using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance brain imaging) to measure brain activation in response to a decision making task in poorer and better quality sleepers.  As designed, this study cannot shed light on cause or effect.  It is, however, a first step in exploring the relationship between sleep quality, impulsivity/decision making, and brain functioning.  Results have been published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (Martin, L.E., Pollack, L., McCune, A., Schulte, E. Savage, C.R., & Lundgren, J.D. (2015). Comparison of Obese Adults with Poor versus Good Sleep Quality during a Functional Neuroimaging Delay Discounting Task: A Pilot Study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 234(1); 90-5).

This study was funded by the Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research Pilot and Collaborative Studies Funding Program



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