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What we do

The research in Dr. Neacsiu's lab focuses on developing novel treatments and improving existing psychotherapies for transdiagnostic difficulties with emotions using affective neuroscience, neuro-modulation, psychophysiology and mobile technology.


Duke IRB # Pro00103683

Thank you for your interest in our study! If you would like to see if you may be eligible, please click here or read below for more information.
You might be eligible for this study if you:

  •  Are between 18-55 years old
  • Experience misophonic distress OR experience emotional dysregulation

Here are some further details about the study that may interest you:

  • This is a study in which we plan to disentangle misophonia from emotional dysregulation and find the optimal neural target for misophonia interventions. The study involves 3-4 visits that are 3-4 hours long. Note: The first visit can be done remotely.
  • One visit will involve an MRI scan and one will involve neurostimulation.
  • You will be paid depending on your time and participation in different parts of the study. You may have to wait until the end of the study to be paid.

Here’s how the process goes:
Once you complete the online survey by clicking this link , you will be contacted by phone by one of our study staff. If you are eligible for the study, you will have 1-2 assessment appointment(s). At your first assessment visit, you will receive a full description of the study and choose whether or not you would like to consent to participate. If you do agree to participate, you will fill out questionnaires and speak with an interviewer. If the study is a good fit, you will then have the option to listen to aversive sounds and rate how distressing they are to you at an in-person visit while we measure your physiological arousal or a modified version completely remotely. This assessment day will last between 1 and 4 hours. The interviewer will ask you about many aspects of your life, including how you cope with stress, ways in which you tend to think about yourself, and how you get along with others.
Based on that interview, we’ll make the final decision about whether or not this study is a good fit for you. If you are not eligible for the study, you will receive $20 plus a parking pass or bus pass to cover your transportation. If it is a good fit, we will ask a few more interview questions and give you a packet of self-reports to complete online.

You will then participate in a brain imaging session. During the brain imaging session, you will be asked to think differently about the different sound presentations you experience, and rate and modulate how intensely you feel when hearing them. Next, you will be asked to return to the research office for the neurostimulation procedure. We will then teach you how to think differently when exposed to distressing sounds so it’s easier to calm down and to feel negative emotions less intensely. We will then identify the dose of neurostimulation that is safe for you using a standardized procedure, and will expose you to different types of repetitive brain stimulation. You will hear different sounds via headphones and will be prompted to use cognitive restructuring to change your emotional experience while concurrently receiving different types of neurostimulation. We will then ask you to complete a packet of questionnaires and an exit interview. If you are eligible for the study, you will be paid between $65 and $250, depending on your participation in different parts of the study. You may have to wait until the end of the study to get paid.

If you choose not to answer any questions you do not wish to answer, this will not affect your access to current or future health care at Duke. Your research data (answers to the online survey questions) will not be stored or be connected to any of your Duke University Health Care information. We will keep the answers to all of these screening questions as part of our research. We will destroy all identifying information such as your name and phone number at the end of the study. Only your answers to the questions, without your identifying data, will be used for research studies. This data will be kept indefinitely.
Click here to begin the online survey for the study.

Note: If you would prefer to do these questions over the phone with one of our study staff, you may contact us directly at (919) 684-6714.
If you have any questions about participating in this study, please contact Ms. Lisalynn Kelley, (919) 684-6701, lisalynn.kelley@duke.edu.