Department of Psychology

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, Ph.D.

Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Experimental Psychology


B.A. (2005) New York University
M.A. (2007) and Ph.D. (2011) Stony Brook University
Postdoctoral Training (2011-2013) Alpert Medical School, Brown University and the Miriam Hospital

Research Interests

Dr. Xu's research focuses on cardiovascular & behavioral health (e.g. weight control, smoking, and physical activity), close relationships (especially romantic relationships), and fMRI neuroimaging. Dr. Xu conducts basic research in each of these areas as well as more applied research in the overlaps. For example, she conducts applied close relationships research on how self-expansion (both at the social and individual level) and other processes affect overall health and health behaviors. Dr. Xu is also interested in these areas in the context of individual differences (e.g. factors such as trait self-control) as well as development over time (e.g. aging, as a romantic relationship progresses).

Selected Publications

Alosco, M.L., Gunstad, J., Xu, X., Clark, U.S., Labbe, D., Riskin-Jones, H., Terrero, G., Schwarz, N.F., Walsh, E., Poppas, A., Cohen, R.A., & Sweet, L.H. (in press). The Impact of Hypertension on Cerebral Perfusion and Cortical Thickness in Older Adults. Journal of the American Society for Hypertension.

Alosco, M.L., Gunstad, J., Beard, C., Xu, X., Clark, U.S., Labbe, D., Jerskey, B.A., Ladino, M., Cote, D., Walsh, E., Poppas, A., Cohen, R.A., & Sweet, L.H. (in press). The synergistic effects of anxiety and cerebral hypoperfusion on cognitive dysfunction in older adults with cardiovascular disease. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology.

Xu, X., Aron, A., Westmaas, J.L., Wang, J., & Sweet, L.H. (2014). An fMRI study of nicotine-deprived smokers' reactivity to smoking cues during novel/exciting activity. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94598. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094598

Xu, X., Clark, U.S., David, S.P., Mulligan, R.C., Knopik, V.S., McGeary, J., MacKillop, J., McCaffery, J., Niaura, R., & Sweet, L.H. (2014). The effects of nicotine deprivation and replacement on BOLD-fMRI response to smoking cues as a function of DRD4 VNTR genotype. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu010 PMID: 24659022

Xu, X., Jerskey, B., Cote, D., Walsh, E., Hassenstab, J., Ladino, M., Clark, U.S., Labbe, D., Gunstad, J., Poppas, A., Cohen, R., Hoge, R., Sweet, L.H. (2014). Cerebrovascular perfusion among older adults is moderated by strength training and gender. Neuroscience Letters, 560, 26-30. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2013.12.011 PMID: 24355360

Alosco, M.L., Gunstad, J., Jerskey, B.A., Xu, X., Clark, U.S., Hassenstab, J., Cote, D.M., Walsh, E., Labbe, D., Hoge, R., Cohen, R.A., & Sweet, L.H. (2013). The adverse effects of reduced cerebral perfusion on cognition and brain structure in older adults with cardiovascular disease. Brain and Behavior, 3(6), 626-636. doi:10.1002/brb3.171 PMID: 24363966

Alosco, M.L., Gunstad, J., Jerskey, B.A., Clark, U.S., Hassenstab, J.J., Xu, X., Poppas, A., Cohen, R.A., & Sweet, L.H. (2013). Left atrial size is independently associated with cognitive function. International Journal of Neuroscience, 123(8), 544-552. PMID: 23394115 doi:10.3109/00207454.2013.774396

Leahey, T.M., Xu, X., Unick, J.L., & Wing, R.R. (2013). A preliminary investigation of the role of self-control in behavioral weight loss treatment. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1016/j.orcp.2012.12.005

Xu, X., Brown, L., Aron, A., Acevedo, B., Cao, G., Feng, T., & Weng, X. (2012). Regional brain activity during early-stage intense romantic love predicted relationship outcomes 40 months later. Neuroscience Letters, 526(1), 33-38. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.08.004 PMID: 22902992

Xu, X., Wang, J., Lei, W., Aron, A., Westmaas, L., & Weng, X. (2012). Intense passionate love attenuates cigarette cue-reactivity in nicotine-deprived smokers: An fMRI study. PLoS ONE 7(7): e42235. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042235. PMID: 22860092 PMCID: PMC3409150

Darlow, S.D., & Xu, X. (2011). The influence of close others' exercise habits and perceived social support on exercise. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 12, 575-578. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.04.004

Xu, X., Aron, A., Brown, L., Cao, G., Feng, T., & Weng, X. (2011). Reward and motivation systems: A brain mapping study of early-stage intense romantic love in Chinese participants. Human Brain Mapping, 32(2), 249-257. doi:10.1002/hbm.21017 PMID: 21229613

Jagiellowicz, J., Xu, X., Aron, A., Aron, E., Cao, G., Feng, T. & Weng, X. (2011). The trait of sensory processing sensitivity and neural responses to changes in visual scenes. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(1), 38-47. doi:10.1093/scan/nsq001. PMID: 20203139 PMCID: PMC3023077

Xu, X., Floyd, A.H.L., Westmaas, J.L., & Aron, A. (2010). Self-expansion and smoking abstinence. Addictive Behaviors, 35, 295-301. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.10.019 PMID: 19931986

Riela, S., Rodriguez, G., Aron, A., Xu, X., & Acevedo, B. P. (2010). Experiences of falling in love: Similarities and differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, and speed. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(4), 473-493. doi:10.1177/0265407510363508

Xu, X., Weng, X., & Aron, A. (in press). The mesolimbic dopamine pathway and romantic love. In A.W. Toga, M.M. Mesulam, & S. Kastner (Eds.), Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference. Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier.

Xu, X. (in press). The magic formula. In L. Bormans (Ed.), The World Book of Love. Belgium: Lannoo Publishers. (Collection on the topic of love by 100 researchers from around the world)

Xu, X. (2013). How does the brain react to a romantic breakup? Scientific American Mind, 24, 76.

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