Aaron Heller

Associate Professor
Director, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Division
Clinical Psychology Faculty

(305) 284-9498
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Current Interests

Dr. Heller is a clinical psychologist and affective neuroscientist. His work integrates neuroimaging, and real-time mobile health (mHealth) methods to track emotion and behavior in humans to better understand the bio-behavioral mechanisms that give rise to the development of depression and anxiety. His work uses computational and data-driven analytic approaches with big-data to identify when ‘state shifts’ occur. Using these methods, his work attempts to identify when state shifts occur in a person’s behavior (using mHealth data), or brain activity (using functional MRI), what are the circumstances that lead to the state shift, and how these state shifts impact well-being.


2013Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
2003B.A. Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

Professional Experience

2013 - 2015Postdoctoral Associate of Psychology in Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College
2012 - 2013Predoctoral psychology intern, Weill-Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital


Dr. Aaron Heller and the MANATEE (Miami Affective Neuroscience and Translational Enterprise) Lab aim to understand the temporal dynamics of positive emotion in healthy individuals and individuals with mood disorders.

Job Openings

Volunteer Research Assistants - We are accepting applicants for volunteer research assistants who would like to be involved in the research being performed in the lab. Please email Dr. Heller if you are interested.

Graduate Students - My lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami will be accepting graduate students for the Fall of 2022. If you are interested in the work we do, please do not hesitate to write me an email and apply to the program.


Representative Publications

Puccetti NA, Schaefer SM, van Reekum CM, Ong A, Almeida DM, Ryff CD, Davidson RJ, Heller AS, (2021) Linking amygdala persistence to real-world emotional experience and psychological well-being. Journal of Neuroscience. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSC

Jaso BA, Kraus NI, Heller AS (In Press) Identification of careless responding in ecological momentary assessment research: from post-hoc analyses to real-time data monitoring. Psychological Methods. DOI: 10.1037/met0000312

Heller AS, Stamatis CA, Puccetti NA, Timpano KR (In Press) Daily affective experiences distinguish psychiatric symptom domains. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. DOI:10.1037/abn0000670

Heller AS, Shi TC, Ezie CEC, Reneau TR, Gibbons C, Baez LM, Hartley CA (2020). Association between real-world experiential diversity and positive affect relates to hippocampal-striatal functional connectivity. Nature Neuroscience. 3(7):800-804. doi:10.1038/s41593-020-0636-4.

Lapate RC, Heller AS (2020). Context matters for affective chronometry. Nature Human Behavior. 4(7):688-689. doi: 10.1038/s41562-020-0860-7

Villano WJ, Ezie CEC, Gillis R, Otto AR, Heller AS (2020). Temporal dynamics of real-world emotion are more strongly linked to prediction error than outcome. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 149(9), 1755–1766. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000740

Heller AS, Bagot RC (2020). Is hippocampal replay a mechanism for anxiety and
depression? JAMA Psychiatry. 77(4):431-432. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.4788

Heller AS (2020). From conditioning to emotion: Translating animal models of learning to human psychopathology. The Neuroscientist. Feb;26(1):43-56. doi:10.1177/1073858419866820.

Baez LM, Heller AS (2020). Impact of age at onset on the phenomenology of depression in treatment-seeking adults in the STAR*D trial. Journal Affective Disorders. Feb 1;262:381-388. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.10.036

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Temporal dynamics of positive emotion in depressed and healthy individuals