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Click here to learn more about our current studies and how you can help.

ABOUT THE LAB

Learn more about the Social Motivation & Imaging Laboratory (SMILe).

CONTACT US

Have questions?  Want to talk to our lab?  Call us at 385-645-FMRI or click for more info.

Our current studies

The SMILe Lab at the University of Utah is currently recruiting subjects for the following studies. Click below to see if you are eligible to participate.

OXYTOCIN, REWARD, & THE BRAIN

A hormone named ‘oxytocin’ has been shown to have positive effects on some social behaviors and is thought to shape the way we perceive social rewards. In this study, we want to understand how oxytocin can change the way social and non-social information is processed in the brain. 

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OXYTOCIN & ALCOHOL USE DISORDER

A hormone named ‘oxytocin’ is currently being considered as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder. In this study, we want to understand how oxytocin can change the way social and non-social information is processed in the brain.

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WOMEN’S HEALTH STUDY

The goal of this study is to examine how social and non-social rewards are processed over the course of the menstrual cycle, discover how sex hormone levels may impact reward processing, and explore whether regular alcohol consumption can influence this activity.

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What we study

Being able to appropriately interpret and respond to rewarding events is essential to our well-being. The brain’s reward system is responsible for identifying the significance of everyday items, assigning a value, and determining what action should be taken. When these systems are affected by disease, reactions to natural rewards like food and social interaction can be impaired.

FMRI

We use functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) to examine the brain ‘at work’.  fMRI uses magnetic fields to detect changes in neural activity and is the most widespread method of investigating brain activity.

REWARD

Your brain contains networks which are responsible for “wanting” and “liking”.  We tap into those networks by scanning you while you play games where you have a chance to win a reward.

BRAIN PICS

If you ever wanted to see what your brain looked like, participating in research studies using fMRI is one way to get a candid look of your own gray matter.

HELP OTHERS

Our studies are designed to help us understand how we process rewards.  We hope to use this information to help people with psychiatric illnesses recover and live happy and fulfilling lives.

About Us

At the Social Motivation and Imaging Laboratory (SMILe) at the University of Utah, we use advanced imaging technologies like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the reward system and determine how factors like genetics, personality, the social environment, and disease can influence how the brain processes rewards.

LAB DIRECTOR

Tiffany Love, PhD
School of Medicine
University of Utah

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The information posted on this site is consistent with the research reviewed and approved by the University of Utah Institutional Review Board (IRB). However, the IRB has not reviewed all material posted on this site. Contact the IRB if you have questions regarding your rights as a research participant. Also contact the IRB if you have questions, complaint, or concerns which you do not feel you can discuss with the investigator. The University of Utah IRB may be reached by phone at (801) 581‐3655 or by e-mail at irb@hsc.utah.edu.