Jennifer C. Britton

Assistant Professor, Child Division

University of Michigan, 2005

We are seeking applications for graduate students entering in the Fall.  We seek individuals interested in child clinical psychology, developmental psychology, or neuroscience degrees.  For more information about applying, please refer to the Department of Psychology's admissions page.

Research Interests

My work focuses on understanding the intersection between anxiety, development and treatment.

Fear and safety learning

Individuals with anxiety often report being afraid and avoid situations where they anticipate being afraid. One goal of exposure therapy is to reduce the anxiety to objects and situations that evoke these inappropriate fear responses. Using extinction-related principles, individuals with anxiety learn over time that the object or situation is safe rather than threatening. In addition, individuals must recall this safety association outside of the clinic to overcome their anxiety when encountering their fears in the real-world.

Several projects aim to understand the boundary between classifying something as threatening or safe to guide the development of novel behavioral treatments.

Attention Biases Towards Threat

Attention biases towards threat have been reported in both pediatric and adult anxiety (Bar-Haim et al., 2007). Threat biases may arise through perturbations in amygdala-prefrontal circuitry (Monk et al., 2006; Monk et al., 2008, Britton et al, 2012). In addition, Attention Bias Modification Treatments (ABMT) are emerging as novel behavioral treatments for anxiety disorders.

Several projects aim at understanding the behavioral, clinical and neural effects of attention biases and attention training.

Affective Flexibility

Adolescence is a developmental period of dramatic cognitive, social and emotional changes. To adapt to changes, flexibility is a critical skill to develop. Although needed in multiple domains, the efficiency to flexibly switch attention within the emotional domain (i.e., affective flexibility) may be particularly pertinent to normative socio-emotional development.

Several projects aim to characterize how affective flexibility develops and is related to internalizing symptoms.

For more information, please visit the BRAIN group website.

Selected Publications

*Shechner, T., Fox, N.A., Mash, J.A., Jarcho, J.M., Chen, G., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D.S., Britton, J.C. Differences in neural response to extinction recall in young adults with or without history of behavioral inhibition. Development and Psychopathology. In press.

White, L.K., Sequeria, S., Britton, J.C., Brotman, M.A., Gold, A.L., Berman, E., Towbin, K.A., Abend, R., Fox, N.A., Bar-Haim, N.A., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D.S. Complementary features of attention bias modification therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy in pediatric anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry. In press.

*Evans, T.C., Walukevich, K.A., Britton, J.C. Vigilance-avoidance and disengagement are differentially associated with fear and avoidant behaviors in social anxiety. Journal of Affective Disorders. 199:124-31. 2016

*Gold, A.L., Shechner, T., Farber, M.J., Spiro, C.N., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D.S., Britton, J.C. Amygdala-cortical connectivity: Associations with anxiety, development, and threat. Depression and Anxiety. 2016. 33(10):917-926.

Shechner, T., Britton, J.C., Ronkin, E.G., Jarcho, J.M., Mash, J.A., Michalska, K.J., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D.S. Fear conditioning and extinction in anxious and non-anxious youth and adults: Examining a novel developmentally-appropriate fear conditioning task. Depression and Anxiety. 32(4):277-288. 2015.

Britton, J.C., Suway, J.G., Clementi, M.A., Fox, N.A., Pine, D.S., Bar-Haim, Y. Neural changes with attention bias modification for anxiety: A randomized trial. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 10(7):913-920. 2015.

*Britton, J.C., Evans, T.C., Hernandez, M.V. Looking beyond fear and extinction learning: considering novel treatment targets for anxiety. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports. 1(3):134- 143. 2014.

Shechner, T., Hong, M., Britton, J.C., Pine, D.S., Fox, N.A. Fear conditioning and extinction across development: Evidence from human studies and animal models. Biological Psychology. 100:1-12. 2014.

Britton, J.C., Grillon, C., Lissek, S., Norcross, M.A., Szuhany, K.L., Chen, G., Ernst, M., Nelson, E.E., Leibenluft, E., Shechner, T., Pine, D.S. Response to learned threat: An fMRI study in adolescent and adult anxiety. American Journal of Psychiatry. 170(10):1195-204. 2013.

Britton, J.C., Bar-Haim, Y., Carver, F.W., Holroyd, T., Norcross, M.A., Detloff, A., Leibenluft, E., Ernst, M., Pine, D.S. Isolating neural components of threat bias in pediatric anxiety. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 53(6):678-86. 2012.

Lau, J.Y., Britton, J.C., Nelson, E.E., Angold, A., Ernst, M., Goldwin, M., Grillon, C., Leibenluft, E., Lissek, S., Norcross, M., Shiffrin, N., Pine, D.S. Distinct neural signatures of threat learning in adolescents and adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 108(11):4500-5. 2011.

Hakamata, Y., Lissek, S., Bar-Haim, Y., Britton, J.C., Fox, N.A., Leibenluft, E., Ernst, E., Pine, D.S. Attention Bias Modification Treatment: A meta-analysis toward the establishment of novel treatment for anxiety. Biological Psychiatry. 68(11):982-90. 2010.

Britton, J.C., Stewart, S.E., Killgore, W.D.S., Rosso, I.M., Price, L.M., Gold, A.L., Pine, D.S., Wilhelm, S., Jenike, M.A., Rauch, S.L. Amygdala activation in response to facial expressions in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. Depression and Anxiety. 27(7):643-51. 2010.

Britton, J.C., Rauch, S.L., Rosso, I.M., Killgore, W.D.S., Price, L.M., Ragan, J., Chosak, A., Hezel, D.M., Pine, D.S., Leibenluft, E., Pauls, D.L., Jenike, M.A., Stewart, S.E. Cognitive inflexibility and frontal-cortical activation in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 49(9):944-953. 2010.

Teaching

  • Psy605: Cognitive Neuroscience (Graduate-level)
  • Psy602: Scientific Writing and Grantsmanship (Graduate-level) – Spring 2018
  • Psy290: Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology (Undergraduate-level)
  • FORUM (Undergraduate-level)