UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Cognitive and Affective Neurodevelopment Lab (CANDL)

How we interpret, process and respond to emotional information in our everyday environments plays a key role in our interactions with others, our decisions, and in some cases, our mental health and wellbeing. Emotional information is especially important during childhood and adolescence as young people take their first steps towards independence.

Emotion processing is underpinned by brain and behavioural mechanisms that rapidly develop across childhood and adolescence. When this development goes awry, it predisposes young people to a greater risk for the onset of common mental health difficulties like anxiety and depression, and potentially, poorer treatment outcomes.

We study the biological and environmental factors that contribute to the development of mental health problems in children and adolescents. Our work uses a range of methods, from computer games to MRI brain imaging, to understand how these factors relate to how young people interpret and respond to emotional information, so that we can ultimately help more individuals feel better and thrive.

We are a multidisciplinary team committed to working together with mental health professionals, parents and teachers to translate our findings into clinical practice and policy. Our work is generously supported by The Prudence Trust and The Wellcome Trust.