Peter Castagna

Assistant Professor

  • email:
  • phone (860) 705-1340
  • office location Gordon Palmer Hall 368C


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Louisiana State University
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Yale Child Study Center

Research Areas

  • Self-referential Processing
  • Computational Modeling
  • Neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI, DTI)
  • Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (anxiety, depression, conduct problems/callous-unemotional traits)
  • Executive Functioning
  • Emotion Regulation


Peter J. Castagna, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology (Child Clinical Concentration) at the University of Alabama. Broadly, his research is aimed at understanding the biological basis of self-referential processing, emotion regulation, and executive functioning which can in turn inform treatments to improve youths’ overall well-being. Peter’s research often incorporates temporally (i.e., electroencephalography, EEG) and spatially (i.e., functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) sensitive neuroimaging modalities. This multimodal (brain-behavior) approach complements his expertise in computational modeling (i.e., drift diffusion and related variants), which provides a mechanistic understanding via statistical inference and systematic decomposition of task-based behavior into its constituent (latent) processes. Clinically, he has interests in both internalizing (anxiety, depression) and externalizing (conduct disorder, callous-unemotional traits) disorders in children and adolescence. Together, his research and clinical interests serve as a foundation for his unique research program aimed at understanding RDoC domains such as self-concept, acute threat, potential threat, predictable/unpredictable threat, and executive functioning domains (i.e., inhibition, updating, shifting).

Peter has over 30 peer-reviewed publications (19 first author) in a wide range of journals, such as Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (formerly Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology), Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychopathology, and NeuroImage. He received his PhD from Louisiana State University (Clinical Psychology), completed his clinical internship at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Yale Child Study Center.

Selected Publications

  1. Castagna, P. J., Waters, A., & Crowley, M. J. (2022). Computational modeling of self-referential processing reveals domain general associations with adolescent anxiety symptoms. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (formerly Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology).
  2. Castagna, P. J., Waters, A. C., Edgar E. V., Budagzad-Jacobson, R., & Crowley, M. J. (2023) Catch the drift: Depressive symptoms track neural response during more efficient decision-making for negative self-referents. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports.
  3. Castagna, P. J., Farahdel, E., Potenza, M. N., & Crowley, M. J. (2023). The current state-of-the-art in pharmacotherapy for pediatric generalized anxiety disorder. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 24(7).
  4. Castagna, P. J., van Noordt, S. J. R., Sederberg, P. B., & Crowley, M. J. (2023). Modeling brain dynamics and eye-gaze behavior: bias and drift rate relate to frontal midline theta oscillations.
  5. Castagna, P. J. & Waschbusch, D. A. (2022). Multi-informant ratings of childhood limited prosocial emotions: Mother, father, and teacher perspectives. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 52(1).
  6. Castagna, P. J., Babinski, D. E., Waxmonsky, J. G., & Waschbusch, D. (2022). The significance of limited prosocial emotions among externalizing disorders in children European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 31(4), 589-600.
  7. Castagna, P. J., & Crowley, M. J. (2021). Relationship between puberty and inhibitory control: Computational modeling of the drift-diffusion process. Developmental Neuropsychology, 46(5), 360-380.
  8. Castagna, P. J. (2019). Structure related to function: Prefrontal surface area has an indirect effect on the relationship between amygdala volume and trait neuroticism. Brain Structure and Function, 224 (9), 3309-3320.