Erik Benau

Erik Benau's picture
Assistant Professor, Cognitive Psychology
New Academic Building
Courses Taught
  • PY3010 Research, Design, & Analysis I
  • PY3310 Foundations of Clinical Psychology
  • PY3311 Theories of Personality
  • PY3410 Cognitive Psychology
  • PY3610 Brain & Behavior
  • PY4200 Research, Design, & Analysis II
  • PY4610 Clinical Neuropsychology
  • PY 5320 Senior Seminar in Clinical Psychology
  • PY 5610 Senior Seminar in Neuroscience
  • 2020 - T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY (2018-2020)
  • 2018 - Ph.D. Clinical Psychology - University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • 2012 - M.S. Clinical Health Psychology - University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2007 B.A. Cognitive Science - Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
Certifications & Licenses
  • 2019 - Licensed Clinical Psychologist - New York State (023546)
Student/College Service
  • Chair of the Institutional Review Board
  • Faculty Student Conduct Committee
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Center
  • Old Westbury Warm Line
  • Old Westbury Rainbow
Research Interests

My research primarily focuses on the interaction of cognition and emotion. Within this line of research, I address two broad, overlapping questions. First, how do cognition and emotion influence each other and potentially contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Second, what role does the body contribute to these thoughts and feelings? To address these questions, I conduct research using psychophysiological methodologies (primarily Event-Related Potentials [ERPs]) to better understand the mechanisms underlying emotions and, ultimately, clinical disorders like depression and anxiety. I also have a secondary interest in health psychology, especially the physical and mental health of underrepresented populations. Within this work, I examine the form and function of self-harm, eating, and addictive behaviors.



*SUNY OW Student; †Co-authorship

[26] Zampella, B.J.* & Benau, E.M. (in press). Delay of gratification, gender role attitudes, and death reflections all predict death anxiety. Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying. doi: 10.1177/00302228221085177 *SUNY OW student

[25] Polanco-Roman, L., Ebrahimi, C.T., Satinsky, E.N., Benau, E.M., Martins Lanes, A.M., Iyer, M., Galán, C.A. (in press) Racism-related experiences and traumatic stress symptoms in ethnoracially minoritized children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical evidence, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2023.2292042.

[24] Zavodnick, J.H.†, Benau, E.M.†, Jaffee, R.C. (in press). Initial indices of reliability and validity of an Implicit Association Task measuring bias toward individuals who use substances, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 50(1) 64-75. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2023.2300398

[23] Escobar, L. E.*, Liew, M., Yirdong, F*., Mandelos, K. P.*, Ferraro-Diglio, S. R.*, Abraham, B. M.*, Polanco-Roman, L. & Benau, E. M. (2024). Reduced attentional control in individuals with a history of suicide attempts compared to those with suicidal ideation: Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 349, 8-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2023.12.082. *SUNY OW student

[22] Treger, S.,† Benau, E.M.,† & Timko, C.A. (2023). Not so terrifying after all? A set of failed replications of the effects of mortality salience in a Terror Management Theory paradigm. PLoS One 18(5), e0285267 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0285267

[21] Benau, E.M. (2023) Self-reported interoceptive abilities positively correspond to measures of self-esteem and attentional performance. PeerJ 11, e15348. doi: 10.7717/peerj.15348

[20] Negi, S., Benau, E.M., Strowger, M., Grammer, A.C., Timko, C.A. (2022) Internalization of the thin ideal, not religiosity, mediates the relation between acculturation and disordered eating in South and South East Asian women living in the United States. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behaviors, 13(843717). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.843717.

[19]Benau, E.M. & Atchley, R.A. (2022) The blink and the body: Cardiac awareness modulates the perception of emotionally salient words in an attentional blink paradigm. Experimental Psychology, 68(6), 323-332 doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000539

[18] Benau, E.M., Makara, A., Orloff, N.C., Benner, E., Serpell, L., & Timko, C.A. (2021). How does fasting affect cognition? An updated systematic review (2013-2020). Current Nutrition Reports, 10(4). 376-390 doi: 10.1007/s13668-021-00370-4

[17] Benau, E.M., Wiatrowski, R., & Timko, C.A. (2020). The role of emotion dysregulation, alexithymia, and social anxiety in disordered eating in college athletes. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behaviors, 1648(11), 1-14. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01646

[16] Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A. (2020). Time flies faster when you’re feeling blue: sad mood induction accelerates the perception of time in a temporal judgment task. Cognitive Processing, 21, 479-491, doi: 10.1007/s10339-020-00966-8

[15] Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A. (2020). Some compliments (and insults) are more heartfelt: High cardiac awareness increases P2 amplitudes to emotional verbal stimuli that involve the body. Journal of Psychophysiology, 34(1), 50–59. doi: 10.1027/0269-8803/a000235.

[14] Benau, E.M., Plumhoff, J., & Timko, C.A., (2019). Women's dieting goals (weight loss, weight maintenance, or not dieting) predict exercise motivation, goals, and engagement in undergraduate women: A self-determination theory framework. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17(6). 553-557 doi: 10.1080/1612197X.2017.1421683

[13] Benau, E.M., Hill, K., Foti, D., Atchley, R.A., O’Hare, A., Gibson, L., Hajcak, G., Ilardi, S.S., & Foti, D. (2019). Increased neural sensitivity to self‐relevant stimuli in major depressive disorder. Psychophysiology, 56(7), e13345. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13345

[12] Liese, B.S., Benau, E.M., Atchley, P., Becirevic, A., & Kaplan, B.A. (2019) Revisiting the construct validity of the Self-Perception of Texting Dependence Questionnaire in a national sample. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 45(1), 42-50. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2018.1465572.

[11] Benau, E.M., Gregersen, S.C., Siakaluk, P.D., O’hare, A., Johnson, E.K., & Atchley, R.A. (2018). Sweet-Cheeks Vs. Pea-Brain: embodiment, valence and task all influence the time course of the LPP in emotional language. Cognition and Emotion, 32(4), 691-708. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2017.1342602.

[10] Benau, E.M., DeLoretta, L.C., & Moelter, S.T. (2018). The time is “right:” Brain electrophysiology reveals hemispheric differences in time perception. Brain and Cognition, 123, 92-102. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2018.03.008

[9] Benau, E.M., Jenkins, A.J., & Conner, B.T. (2017). Perceived parental monitoring and sexual orientation moderate lifetime acts of non-suicidal self-injury. Archives of Suicide Research, 21, 322-340. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2016.1182092

[8] Benau, E.M., & Moelter, S.T. (2016). Content of lexical stimuli and self-reported physiological state modulate the amplitude of the Error-Related Negativity. Physiology and Behavior, 163(1), 43-50. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.04.036

[7] Fennel, A., Benau, E.M., & Atchley, R.A., (2016). A single session of meditation reduces physiological indices of anger in both experienced and novice meditators. Consciousness and Cognition, 40, 54-66. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.12.010

[6] Balass, M., Halderman, L.K., Benau, E.M., & Perfetti, C.A. (2016). Semantic processes and individual differences detected through error-related negativities. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 37, 82-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2015.08.002

[5] Benau, E.M., Orloff, N.A., Janke, E.A., Serpell, L. & Timko, C.A. (2014). A systematic review of experimental fasting and cognitive function in healthy adults. Appetite, 77, 52-61. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.014

[4] Votta, R.J., & Benau, E.M. (2014). Sources of stress for pharmacy students in a nationwide sample. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 6(5), 675-681. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2014.05.002

[3] Yean, C., Benau, E.M., Dakanalis, A., Hormes, J.A., Perone, J. & Timko, C.A. (2013). The relationship of sex and sexual orientation on self-esteem, body shape satisfaction, and eating disorder symptomatology. Frontiers in Psychology: Eating Behavior, 887(4), 1-10 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00887

[2] Votta, R.J., & Benau, E.M. (2013). Predictors of stress in pharmacy students: Results from a nationwide survey. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 5(5), 365-372. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2013.06.014

[1] Benau, E.M., Morris, J., & Couperus, J.W. (2011). Semantic processing in children and adults: Incongruity and the N400. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 40(3), 225-239. doi: 10.1007/s10936-011-9167-1


[1] Hamilton, N.A., Atchley, R.A., Benau, E.M., Freche, R.E., & Boddy, L. (2018). Emotion Regulation and Cognitive Control Training. In P. Karoly and G. Crombez (Eds.), Motivational Perspectives on Chronic Pain: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 99-142). Oxford University Press.


[11] Benau, E.M., Jenkins, J., Konecny, E.,  Dozier, B., Gerber, A., & Atchley, R.A. (2018). The blink and the body: Cardiac awareness and the perception of emotionally salient words in an attentional blink paradigm. 58th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological research. Quebec City, QC.

[10] Benau, E.M. (2018). The body on the brain: The role of psychophysiology and interoception in emotional experience, Cognitive Science Wednesday Lunch Talk and Culture Brain and Development Student Group Meeting. Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

[9] Benau, E.M., Jenkins, J., Konecny, E., Dozier, B., Gerber, A., & Atchley, R.A. (2018). The blink and the body: Cardiac awareness and the perception of emotionally salient words in an attentional blink paradigm. 58th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Québec City, QC.

[8] Gregersen, S. C., Benau, E. M., & Atchley, R. A. (2017). Facial expression and selective attention to emotional images: An ERP investigation of embodiment. 29th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA

[7] Benau, E.M., Liese, B.S., Atchley, P., Becirevic, A., & Kaplan, B.A. (2016). Construct validity of a texting dependence scale that predicts motor vehicle accidents and moving violations. Addictive Behaviors Special Interest Group Poster, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 50th Annual Convention. New York City, NY.

[6] Benau, E.M. O’Hare, A.J., Ilardi, S.S., & Atchley, R.A. (2016). Major Depressive Disorder reduces attentional allocation to word stimuli involving people as indexed by the P3b. 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Minneapolis, MN.

[5] Benau, E.M., Svancara, A.M., Parrish, B.A., & Atchley, R.A. (2016). Some insults are more heartfelt: The role of cardiac perception in the processing of insults and compliments using EEG. Ninth Annual Meeting of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society. New York City, NY.

[4] Benau, E.M., Fennel, A., Kirchoff, J., Svancara, A., McCartin, J., Dore, S., & Atchley, R.A. (2015).Time flies when you’re having fun, and it flies faster when you’re feeling blue: Negative mood induction increases the overestimation of time. 55th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research. Seattle, WA.

[3] DeLoretta, L.C., Benau, E.M., Saad, L., & Moelter, S.T. (2013). Tick Tock: Brain electrophysiology and time perception. First Annual Misher College Undergraduate Research Day – University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

[2] Hua, J., Benau, E.M., Moore, Z., Vargas, A., Saad, L., & Moelter, S.T. (2013). Testing the limits of temporal processing: Replicating the attentional blink. Eighth Annual Philadelphia Area Psi-Chi Research Day, Philadelphia, PA.

[1] Fausto, B., Fontana, M., Benau, E.M., & Moelter, S.T. (2012). Attention and aerobic capacity in healthy volunteers: the attention network task and harvard step test. Seventh Annual Philadelphia Area Psi-Chi Research Day, Philadelphia, PA.

Office Hours
  • Please email me to schedule a virtual appointment.