Social cognition is a broad umbrella term encompassing myriad facets of processing social and emotional information, including emotion recognition, attention to social cues, interpretations of social situations, mentalizing (perspective taking), and prospection. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the perception, interpretation, and memory of social information may pave the way toward more precise models of psychological illness, illness classification, and targeted intervention. I have been interested in maladaptive aspects of social cognition in two pathologies characterized by pervasive patterns of social avoidance: social anxiety disorder and body dysmorphic disorder. These processes may be mediated by changes within the default mode network and the oxytocin system, either independently or jointly. As Director of the Center of Neuroscience, Neuroendocrinology, and Clinical Translation (CoNNeCTLab), I employ brain connectivity techniques (e.g., resting state functional connectivity MRI), in combination with traditional experimental paradigms across clinical psychological science, social/cognitive psychology, and neuroscience to investigate the following key questions: (1) What are the neurobiological contributions to maladaptive social information processing in disorders characterized by severe social avoidance? (2) What is the predictive utility of these neurobiological mechanisms in revealing one’s expected course of illness or treatment response? (3) Can these neurobiological mechanisms be manipulated through targeted neuromodulation strategies (e.g., intranasal oxytocin)?
Fang, A., Steketee, G., Keshaviah, A., Didie, E., Phillips, K. A., & Wilhelm, S. (2020). Mechanisms of change in cognitive behavioral therapy for body dysmorphic disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 44, 596-610.
Fang, A., Jacoby, R. J., Beatty, C., Germine, L., Plessow, F., Wilhelm, S., & Lawson, E. A. (2020). Serum oxytocin levels are elevated in body dysmorphic disorder and related to severity of psychopathology. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 113, 104541.
Fang, A., Lawson, E. A., & Wilhelm, S. (2019). Intranasal oxytocin modulates higher-order social cognition in body dysmorphic disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 36, 153-161.
Fang, A. (2018). Integrating neuroscience into research on cognitive behavioral therapy on a continuum of involvement. The Behavior Therapist, 41, 323-327.
Fang, A., & Wilhelm, S. (2015). Clinical features, cognitive biases, and treatment of body dysmorphic disorder. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 11, 187-212.
Fang, A., Sawyer, A. T., Aderka, I. M., & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Psychological treatment of social anxiety disorder improves body dysmorphic concerns. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 27, 684-691.
Fang, A., Asnaani, A., Gutner, C., Cook, C., Wilhelm, S., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Rejection sensitivity mediates the relationship between social anxiety and body dysmorphic concerns. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 946-949.
Fang, A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2010). Relationship between social anxiety disorder and body dysmorphic disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 1040-1048.
- March 30, 2023 Angela Fang quoted in SELF article on body dysmorphic disorder
- June 2, 2022 Angela Fang presented research in an Early Career Spotlight event during the 2022 Association of Psychological Science Annual Conference
- March 2, 2022 Angela Fang receives 2022 Seattle AWIS Award for Early Career Achievement in STEM
- January 27, 2022 Angela Fang receives 12-month grant from the UW Royalty Research Fund
- August 25, 2021 Angela Fang has just been awarded a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator Grant.