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Robin Aupperle, PhD

Robin Aupperle, PhD
Assistant Professor of Community Medicine
College of Health Sciences
Community Medicine


Research Interests

My research focuses on the use of translational and neurobiological methods to enhance our understanding of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I am particularly interested in (1) the intersect between cognitive and emotional processing and how these together influence decision-making and (2) how knowledge from neuroscientific research may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety and PTSD. In regards to the former, I have conducted research related to neuropsychological correlates of PTSD and subclinical anxiety and have developed an emotional decision-making task (the Approach-Avoidance Conflict [AAC] task) to better understand behavioral, physiological, and neural correlates of anxiety. In regards to the latter, I have been involved in research investigating behavioral and neural mechanisms of current pharmacologic and behavioral treatments for anxiety and PTSD, and the investigation of novel cognitive-based interventions (e.g., cognitive training).


  • Stillman, A.N., Aupperle, R.L. (invited chapter, in press). Neuroanatomical correlates of PTSD: Risk, Resiliency, and Sequelae. In C.R. Martin, C. P. Preedy, and V. D. Patel (Eds.), Comprehensive Guide to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. London: Kings College London.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Paulus, M.P. (2010). Neural systems underlying approach and avoidance in anxiety disorders. Review. Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience, 12 (4): 517-531.

  • Beatty, W., Aupperle, R. (2002). Sex differences in cognitive impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 16 :472-480. doi: 10.1076/clin.16.4.472.13904

  • Aupperle, R., Beatty, W., Shelton, F., Gontvoskey, S. (2002). Three screening batteries to detect cognitive impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, 8 :382-389. doi: 10.1191/1352458502ms832oa.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Hale, L.R., Chambers, R.J., Cain, S.E, Barth, F.X., Sharp, S.C., Hall, S.B., Denney, D.R., Savage, C.R. (2009). An fMRI study examining effects of acute D-cycloserine during symptom provocation in spider phobia. CNS Spectrums, 14 :556-571.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Denney, D.R., Lynch, S.G. (2008). Omega-3 fatty acids and multiple sclerosis: Relationship to depression. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31 :127-135. doi: 10.1007/s10865-007-9139-y

  • Aupperle, R.L., Sullivan, S.R., Melrose, J., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M,P. (2011). A reverse translational approach to quantify approach-avoidance conflict in humans. Behavioural Brain Research, 225 (2): 455-463. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.08.003

  • Aupperle, R.L., Melrose, J., Stein, M.B, Paulus, M.P (2011). Executive function and PTSD: Disengaging from trauma. Neuropharmacology, 62 (2):686-94. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.02.008

  • Aupperle, R.L., Lakshmi, R., Tankersley, D., Flagan, T., Simmons, A.N., Stein, M.S., Paulus, M.P. (2011). Pregabalin influences amygdala and insula activation during anticipation. Neuropsychopharmacology 36 (7): 1466–1477. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.32

  • Aupperle, R.L., Allard, C.B., Grimes, E.M., Simmons, A.N., Flagan, T., Cissell, C.H., Thorp, S.R., Norman, S.B., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2013). Neural responses during emotional processing before and after cognitive trauma therapy for battered women. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 214 (1): 48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.05.001

  • Mano, Q.R., Brown, G. G., Bolden, K., Aupperle, R., Sullivan, S., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2012). Curvilinear relationship between phonological working memory load and socioemotional modulation. Cognition and Emotion. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2012.712948

  • Aupperle, R.L., Allard, C.B., Grimes, E.M., Simmons, A.N., Flagan, T., Cissell, C.H., Thorp, S.R., Norman, S.B., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2012). Neural systems dysfunction during anticipation in women with posttraumatic stress disorder related to intimate partner violence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69 (4): 360-371. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.153

  • Aupperle, R.L., Tankersley, D., Ravindran, L., Stein, N.R., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M.P. (2012). Pregabalin effects on amygdala and insula activation during emotional face processing. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, 6, 1-14. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00042

  • Lark, S.L., Bruce, A.S., Aupperle, R.L. (2014). The influence of a working memory task on affective perception of facial expressions. PLoS One, 9 (10): e11-74. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111074 PMCID: PMC4210225

  • Aupperle, R.L., Connolly, C.G., Stillman, A., May, A.C., Paulus, M.P. (2013). Deployment and Post-deployment Experiences in OEF/OIF Veterans: Relationship to Gray Matter Volume. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75880. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075880

  • Taylor, C., Simmons A.N., Aupperle, R.L., Amir, N., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M.P. (2013). Neural correlates of a computerized attention modification program in anxious subjects. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst128

  • McFadden, B.R., Lusk, J.L., Crespi, J.M., Cherry, J.B.C., Martin, L.E., Aupperle, R.L., Bruce, A.S. (in press). Can Neural Activation in Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Predict Responsiveness to Information? An Application to Egg Production Systems and Proposition 2 Advertising. PLoS One.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Melrose, A., Francisco, A., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2014). Neural substrates of approach-avoidance conflict decision-making. Human Brain Mapping, 36 (2): 449-62. doi: 10.1002.hbm.22639 PMCID: PMC4300249

  • Ness, A. Martin, L., Bruce, A., Lepping R., Patrician, T. Hancock, L., O’Toole, K., Aupperle, R.L., Bruce, J. (2014). Pre-surgical cortical activation to food pictures is associated with weight loss following bariatric surgery. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 10 (6): 188-195. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2014.06.005 PMID: 25443066

  • Paulus, Martin, and Robin Aupperle. “Finding the Balance Between Safety and Threat May Hold the Key to Success When Treating PTSD.” American Journal of Psychiatry 172.12 (2015): 1173–1175. Print.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Stillman, A.N., Simmons, A.N., Paulus, M.P., Stein, MS. (under review). Intimate Partner Violence PTSD and Neural Correlates of Inhibition (under review).

  • Francisco, Alex et al. “Are Consumers as Constrained as Hens Are Confined? Brain Activations and Behavioral Choices after Informational Influence.” Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization 13.1 (2015): n. pag. Print.

  • Boyd, Briana et al. “Case Report on the Effects of Cognitive Processing Therapy on Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Speech Symptoms in Comorbid PTSD and TBI.” Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 23.2 (2016): 173–183. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “Combat PTSD and Implicit Behavioral Tendencies for Positive Affective Stimuli: A Brief Report.” Frontiers in psychology 7 (2016): 758. Print.

  • Aupperle, Robin et al. “Neural Responses to Maternal Praise and Criticism: Relationship to Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in High-Risk Adolescent Girls.” NeuroImage. Clinical 11 (2016): 548–54. Print.

  • Jak, A et al. “Neurocognition in PTSD: Treatment Insights and Implications.” Current topics in behavioral neurosciences (2016): n. pag. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “Pilot Investigation of PTSD, Autonomic Reactivity, and Cardiovascular Health in Physically Healthy Combat Veterans.” PloS one 11.9 (2016): e0162547. Print.

  • Mackey, S et al. “Greater Preference Consistency during the Willingness-to-Pay Task Is Related to Higher Resting State Connectivity between the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Ventral Striatum.” Brain imaging and behavior 10.3 (2016): 730–8. Print.

  • Jurick, S et al. “Contributions to Executive Dysfunction in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and History of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation (2017): n. pag. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “PTSD and Cognitive Symptoms Relate to Inhibition-Related Prefrontal Activation and Functional Connectivity.” Depression and anxiety 34.5 (2017): 427–436. Print.

  • Kirlic, N, J Young, and Robin Aupperle. “Animal to Human Translational Paradigms Relevant for Approach Avoidance Conflict Decision Making.” Behaviour research and therapy (2017): n. pag. Print.

  • Chrysikou, E, C Gorey, and Robin Aupperle. “Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation over Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Alters Decision Making during Approach-Avoidance Conflict.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 12.3 (2017): 468–475. Print.

  • Kirlic, Namik et al. “Latent Variable Analysis of Negative Affect and Its Contributions to Neural Responses during Shock Anticipation.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2018): n. pag. Print.

Professional Affiliations

  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
  • American Psychological Association
  • Oklahoma Psychological Association
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Society for Neuroscience

Awards & Honors

  • Corre Anding Stegall Nation wide Leadership Award
  • Student Travel Award
  • Top 10 Graduating Senior
  • Top 2 Graduating Senior
  • Wentz Research Project Scholarship
  • Early Career Travel Award
  • ADAA Career Development Award
  • APF Graduate Research Scholarship
  • PEO National Scholar Fellowship
  • APA Dissertation Research Award
  • B. Kent Houston Award for Excellence in Health Psychology
  • University of Kansas Madison and Lila Self Doctoral Fellowship
  • David Schulman Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychology
  • Outstanding Masters Thesis Award