2006-2016 Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Research
BSc (University of Toronto), MA, PhD (Boston University)
My research focuses on social anxiety and the self. I am interested in how social anxiety affects people’s psychological, behavioural, neurocognitive, and emotional responses to social stress and reward within interpersonal contexts, with an emphasis on the role of autobiographical memory processes. My work is guided by clinical models of social anxiety disorder and focuses on the development of effective psychological interventions that target core mechanisms. Current research questions include:
- How do socially anxious individuals view and appraise themselves and others? What are the effects of such appraisals on social information processing, perceptions of social threat and reward, emotion regulation, interpersonal behaviour, relationship formation, mental images and memories, and psychotherapeutic process and outcome?
- How should we conceptualize the core psychological problems in social anxiety? How should we understand individual differences in social anxiety symptom expression and treatment response? How can we apply our conceptualizations most effectively to improve treatments for people with social anxiety disorder?
How can neurocognitive models of learning and memory help to improve our understanding of self-schema development, maintenance, and updating in social anxiety disorder?
Much of my work is guided by the theoretical models detailed in the following papers:
- Moscovitch, D.A. (2009). What is the core fear in social phobia? A new model to facilitate individualized case conceptualization and treatment (PDF). Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16, 123-134.
- Moscovitch, D.A., Moscovitch, M., & Sheldon, S. (2023). Neurocognitive model of schema-congruent and -incongruent learning in clinical disorders: Application to social anxiety and beyond (PDF). Perspectives on Psychological Science.
The Anxiety Studies research group was established in 2009. It consists of faculty members and graduate students in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo whose research is dedicated to investigating the nature and treatment of anxiety and its disorders. The Anxiety Studies research model is detailed in the following paper:
- Moscovitch, D.A., Saughnessy, K., Waechter, S., Xu, M., Collaton, J., Nelson, A.L., Barber, K.C., Taylor, J., Chiang, B., & Purdon, (2015). A model for recruiting clinical research participants with anxiety disorders in the absence of service provision (PDF). Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 203, 943-957.
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My research lab is typically comprised of several students in our clinical psychology graduate training program, one or two undergraduate honours thesis students, a number of research assistants and volunteers and, occasionally, a postdoctoral fellow. Lab research has been generously funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Medical Research Council of Australia, the Israel Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund. The physical space of the lab is generous and includes an array of specialized facilities, resources, and work spaces that can be accessed by trainees engaged in research at all levels. Students are supported in their acquisition of fundamental knowledge and technical skills within a stimulating and collaborative learning environment.
At the undergraduate level, I teach Psychopathology (Psych 257), which provides an introductory overview to the field of abnormal psychology. At the graduate level, I have most recently taught Adult Psychopathology (Psych 716), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Psych 725), and Ethics, Diversity, and Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (Psych 719).
I am actively involved in the clinical supervision and training of graduate students in Clinical Psychology within our Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment (CMHRT).
I am a registered clinical psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and maintain a small private practice. My specialization is in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and I am certified as such by The Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies.