Aaron Heller

Asst. Professor

(305) 284-9498
Locator Code:


Current Interests

I am interested to better understand the temporal dynamics of positive emotion (ie., how we sustain or don't sustain positive emotion) in depressed and healthy individuals. I use a variety of methods including brain imaging (fMRI), psychophysiological (facial EMG, skin conductance) and experience sampling (using smart phones) techniques to better understand emotion and psychopathology. Relatedly, I am interested in developing better methods to simultaneously acquire fMRI with objective measures of emotion like facial EMG.


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 2019. If you are interested in the kinds of work we do, please do not hesitate to write me an email and apply to the program.

Selected Publications

Heller AS, Ezie CEC, Otto AR, Timpano KR (2018). Goal-Directed Decision Making and Negative Affect: The Moderating Role of Stress. Behavior Research & Therapy

Heller AS, Fox AS, Davidson RJ (2018) Parsing Affective Dynamics to Identify Risk for Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Emotion. Jun 4. doi: 10.1037/emo0000440.

Nomi JS, Bolt TS, Chiemeka Ezie CE, Uddin LQ, Heller AS (2017). Moment-to-moment BOLD Signal Variability Reflects Regional Changes in Neural Flexibility Across the Lifespan. Journal of Neuroscience 37(22):5539-5548. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3408-16.2017

Heller AS (2016). Rethinking strategies for when to acquire neural markers associated with treatment response. Molecular Psychiatry 21(12):1655-1656. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.176.

Heller AS (2016). Cortical-Subcortical Interactions in Depression. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 10:1-20. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2016.00020

Heller AS & Casey BJ (2016). The Neurodynamics of emotion: Delineating typical and atypical emotional processes during adolescence. Developmental Science. 19(1):3-18. doi: 10.1111/desc.12373

Heller AS, Fox AS, Wing EK, McQuisition KM, Vack NJ, Davidson RJ (2015). The Neurodynamics of Affect in the Laboratory Predicts Persistence of Real-World Emotional Responses. Journal of Neuroscience 35(29):10503-10509.

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