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Choice-making And Computer Technology for Unipolar depression (CACTUs) Lab

CACTUs lab website

Yan Leykin, PhD ​


The CACTUs Lab research focuses on two broad areas:

  1. Decision-making of individuals with depression.  Difficulty with decisions is one of the core symptoms of depression; it is also one of the least researched.  We seek to better understand the decision-making of depressed individuals, both in highly consequential decisions, such as decisions about treatment and health, and in everyday decisions.  We use tools from the fields of judgment and decision-making and behavior economics to inform our work.

    Student-led projects include:  juror decision-making and depression; influence of depression on eyewitness identification; depression and decisions of forensic evaluators, decisions about pursuing depression treatment in Latin America and the Arab world, decisional considerations of depression treatment among Chinese Americans, decisions about justness and fairness among former foster youth.
  2. Developing internet-based resources for depression.  Depression is on track to become the leading contributor to the global disease burden, yet resources to help individuals with depression are unavailable in most parts of the world.  We aim to develop, evaluate, and deploy automated internet-based resources for depression to offer services to individuals in need.

    Student-led projects include: gamification to improve adherence and retention in internet interventions, development of online micro-intervention for women who had experienced sexual assault, psychoeducation regarding mental health for East Asian Americans, serious game to educate individuals with comorbid PTSD and trauma about CBT, psychoeducation about ECT for individuals with treatment-resistant depression, and evaluations of intervention components to improve adherence in digital interventions.

Students are expected to:

  • Have some interest in depression, suicide, decision-making, or technology
  • Produce and publish first-author peer reviewed papers
  • Present papers and/or posters at scientific meetings
  • Develop their own projects, usually within the scope of the lab's research priorities
  • Collaborate with other lab members
  • Attend and actively participate in lab meetings
To apply to the CACTUs Lab

Please send your CV, transcript (unofficial is ok), and a brief statement outlining your research interests and their fit with the focus of the lab, to, by the official deadline, and preferably earlier.  Select students will be invited to interview in person.