Rebecca Houston Headshot

Rebecca Houston

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

585-475-5205
Office Location

Rebecca Houston

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
College of Liberal Arts

Education

BS, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; MA, Ph.D., University of New Orleans, Louisiana

Bio

Dr. Houston joined the Psychology Department in the Fall of 2016. Prior to that she worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Her postdoctoral work was completed in the Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center.

Dr. Houston’s research focuses broadly on the psychophysiological and neuropsychological underpinnings of impulsivity and aggression, particularly in the context of substance abuse risk and treatment. Primary techniques used in Dr. Houston’s lab include event-related brain potentials (ERPs; derived from the EEG), heart rate variability, biobehavioral assessment (e.g., executive function, attention), structured clinical interviews, and self-report measures of behavior/mood/personality. Recent research has focused on impulsivity as a mechanism of change in alcoholism treatment, the application of heart rate variability biofeedback in alcohol use disordered individuals, influences of partner interactions on self-control, effects of binge drinking and aggression on executive cognitive function, effects of smoking and binge drinking on ERP correlates of impulsivity, effects of mental illness and substance use on intimate partner violence, and a laboratory examination of aggressive and impulsive behavior in athletes vs. non-athletes.

585-475-5205

Currently Teaching

PSYC-222
3 Credits
Introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of language, memory, emotion, conscious states, and sexual behavior, with an evolutionary perspective.
PSYC-502
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the psychology major to integrate material covered in earlier courses and examine broad topics in Psychology. The specific topics covered will vary from semester to semester. This course is an opportunity for faculty and students to examine issues that transcend sub-disciplines in psychology. Students will read original research and examine influential theories relevant to the topic.
PSYC-250
3 Credits
This course will serve as an introduction to research methods in psychology, with the goal of understanding research design, analysis and writing. Topics include examining the variety of methods used in psychology research, understanding research eth-ics, developing empirical hypotheses, designing experiments, understanding statistical concepts, interpreting results, and writing research and review papers in APA style. This is a required course for all psychology majors, and is restricted to students in the psychology program.
PSYC-711
3 Credits
A graduate level introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of learning, language, memory, emotion, conscious states, sexual behavior, etc.
PSYC-510
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the psychology major to demonstrate experimental research expertise, while being guided by faculty advisors. The topic to be studied is up to the student, who must find a faculty advisor before signing up for the course. Students will be supervised by the advisor as they conduct their literature review, develop the research question or hypothesis, develop the study methodology and materials, construct all necessary IRB materials, run subjects, and analyze the results of their study. This course will culminate in an APA style paper and poster presentation reporting the results of the research. Because Senior Project is the culmination of a student’s scientific research learning experience in the psychology major, it is expected that the project will be somewhat novel, will extend the theoretical understanding of their previous work (or of the previous work of another researcher), and go well beyond any similar projects that they might have done in any of their previous courses.
PSYC-718
3 Credits
A graduate level introduction to the fields of clinical and experimental neuropsychology. Topics include the historical and theoretical underpinnings of modern neuropsychology and methods used to assess cognitive function including their selection, application, and interpretation. Disorders associated with damage to the brain and how they are assessed and managed will also be covered.
PSYC-412
3 Credits
This course is intended for students in the biopsychology track. This course covers the biological underpinnings of psychiatric mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and developmental disorders. Topics will include neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, genetics and biologically based treatments of mental disorders. Students will learn about biologically based research methods used to study mental disorders and to think critically about research findings in the field. Students will be expected to be able to write at an upper level using APA format.
PSYC-799
1 - 6 Credits
A program of study executed by an individual student with assistance and guidance by an instructor, outside a regular classroom setting. Guidelines for designing and gaining approval for an independent study are provided in College of Liberal Arts Policy I.D.
PSYC-753
3 Credits
The Thesis courses will vary widely but will fulfill the work plan agreed by the student and the thesis adviser. The guiding principle of the Thesis course is to complete the thesis research proposed in Thesis Proposal. The Thesis course consists of carrying out the thesis research, including collection and analysis of data, and completion and public defense of the thesis document for partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree.

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Levine, Jacob A., et al. "Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Brief Approach and Avoidance of Alcohol Questionnaire." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 43. 2 (2019): 353-356. Print.
Ge, Yan, et al. "A Standardised Database of Chinese Emotional Film Clips." Cognition and Emotion 33. 5 (2019): 976-990. Print.
Quigley, Brian M., et al. "Alcohol, Self-regulation, and Partner Physical Aggression: Actor-Partner Effects over a Three Year Time Frame." Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 12. (2018): 1-11. Web.
Houston, Rebecca J. and Nicolas J. Schlienz. "Event-related Potentials as an Index of Behavior Change in Substance Use Disorder Treatment." Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging 3. (2018): 30-40. Print.
Pudane, Mara, et al. "Agent Based Model of Anger Contagion and its Correlations with Personality and Interaction Frequency." International Journal of Education and Informational Technologies, 12. (2018): 7-12. Web.
Quigley, Brian M., et al. "Alcohol Use Moderates the Relationship between Symptoms of Mental Illness and Violence." Psychology of Addictive Behaivors 32. (2018): 770-778. Print.
Bauer, Lance O. and Rebecca J. Houston. "The Value of Instability: An Investigation of Intra-Subject Variability in Brain Activity Among Obese Adolescent Girls." International Journal of Obesity 41. 10 (2017): 1489-1495. Print.
Wan, Jingyan, et al. "Drinking and Driving Behavior at Stop Signs and Red Lights." Accident Analysis & Prevention 104. (2017): 10-17. Print.
Peer Reviewed/Juried Poster Presentation
Derrick, Jaye L, Rebecca J. Houston, and Denis Ethier. "Perceived Partner Responsiveness Moderates the Effect of Partner-specific Stressors on Alcohol Urge in an Experimental Study." Proceedings of the Research Society on Alcoholism. Ed. Henry R. Kranzler. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Gius, Becky K., et al. "Ambivalence Model of Craving and Pretreatment Change: Approach and Avoidance Inclinations in Patients Receiving Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder." Proceedings of the Research Society on Alcoholism. Ed. Henry R. Kranzler. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Levine, Jacob A., et al. "Development and Psychometric Evaluation of a Brief Version of the Approach and Avoidance of Alcohol Questionnaire." Proceedings of the Research Society on Alcoholism. Ed. Henry R. Kranzler. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.