Franklin's lab's goal is a large-scale reduction in psychopathology. To make progress towards this, Franklin's combine basic psychological science, unique experimental paradigms, and cutting-edge technology (e.g., mobile app development, custom virtual reality environments, artificial intelligence). In particular, we focus on the development and implementation of scalable interventions for suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injury.
We have three major types of ongoing research projects. First, to most effectively understand what's known and to identify the biggest gaps in existing knowledge, we have several ongoing meta-analytic projects. Second, we are conducting experimental studies aimed closing the gaps identified by our meta-analytic work. Currently these studies are focused on advancing knowledge about: (a) how suicidal thoughts come about; (b) in the moment, what causes someone to initiate suicidal behavior; and (c) how to interrupt the processes that produce suicidal thoughts and behaviors. As noted above, these experiments typically integrate new technologies. Third, building directly from this experimental work, we design, test, and freely disseminate novel interventions via mobile apps. We are currently working on studies aimed at further improving our app-based intervention (called TEC) that has been shown to significantly reduce suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injury.