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VCU Psychology Department

Can people have a "relationship" with the natural world?

Human behavior is at the root of the rapid pace of climate change. What leads people to perceive greater interdependence with the environment? How does their commitment to the environment predict pro-environmental behavior? read more...


What increases emergency visits in children with asthma?

How are family/culturally-based beliefs about asthma, caregiver quality of life, and emergency department use associated in pediatric asthma? read more...


Can we train students' brains to work more effectively?

Direct cognitive training in a school setting represents an important innovation for developing the underlying thinking skills needed for educational success. Can we make computers better "trainers"? read more...


Can you strengthen your character in six hours?

Religious and secular self-help experts have long helped people build character strengths. But can people achieve as much—or even more!—benefit by working through six-hour workbooks at home? read more...


Dr. Scott Vrana

Professor (tenured)

Clinical Psychology


PhD (1988), University of Florida

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Virginia

Fellow, International Organization of Psychophysiology

Contact Information

Phone: 804-828-1242

Office: 806 W Franklin, rm 303


Research and Clinical Interests

My research interests involve the study of emotion from a psychophysiological perspective. Current specific interests include psychophysiological studies of emotional and attentional processes during emotional imagery, the psychophysiology of social interaction, psychophysiological response in PTSD, and the effect of ethnic/cultural differences and social context on the expression of emotion and on social interaction. My clinical interests include intellectual assessment and the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders.

Selected Publications

Quinn, C. A., Rollock, D., & Vrana, S. R. (in press). A test of Speilberger’s state-trait theory of anger with adolescents: Five hypotheses. Emotion.  

Vrana, S. R., Calhoun, P. S., McClernon, F. J., Dennis, M. F., Lee, S. T., & Beckham, J. C. (in press). Effects of smoking on the acoustic startle response and prepulse inhibition in smokers with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychopharmacology.

Margolies, S. O., Rybarczyk, B., Vrana, S. R., Leszezyszyn, D. J., & Lynch, J. (in press). Efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia and nightmares in Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with PTSD. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Vrana, S. R., Campbell, T., & Clay, W. R. (2013). Survey of National Consortium of Torture Treatment program therapists about the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the psychological sequelae of torture. Traumatology, 19, 144-153.

Panayiotou, G., van Oyen Witvliet, C., Robinson, J. D., & Vrana, S. R.  (2011). A startling absence of emotion effects: Active attention to the startle probe as a motor task cue appears to eliminate modulation of the startle reflex by valence and arousal. Biological Psychology, 87, 226-233. 

Recent Courses
Recent Grant

Enhancing the mental and physical health benefits of trauma disclosure through response training, National Institute of Mental Health, 1 F31 MH 076675-01 (sponsor), May 2006 - April 2010, $49,424/year, $197,696 total.