VCU Psychology Department

Do physicians’ racial biases affect clinical decision making?

Research has demonstrated that automatic, and sometimes unconscious, racial bias can affect how we make decisions about others. But can it influence something as important as a medical decision? read more...


What affects parenting in high-risk communities?

We know that living in high-risk communities is stressful for parents and youth. How does stress, including exposure to violence, affect parents’ management of their adolescents? read more...


How can we predict future rates of tobacco use?

Longitudinal population-based surveys of tobacco use can depict current prevalence levels as well as transitions over time, but how can they be used to forecast those in the future? read more...


Can coping skills help the bereaved bend but not break?

How do college students cope when a loved one dies? Bereavement is difficult at any time in life, but is coping with bereavement different for college undergraduates? read more...

school lunch

Why are VCU researchers dumpster diving?

If school cafeterias force children to take fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays, will students eat them? Will they like them more over time when fruits and vegetables are served regularly? read more...


Dr. Scott Vrana

Professor (tenured)

Clinical Psychology (primary), Social Psychology (secondary)


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

Konig, A., Eonta, A., Dyal, S. R., & Vrana, S. R.  (2014). Enhancing the benefits of written emotional disclosure through response training. Behavior Therapy, 45, 344-357.

Quinn, C. A., Rollock, D., & Vrana, S. R. (2014). A test of Speilberger’s state-trait theory of anger with adolescents: Five hypotheses. Emotion, 14, 74-84. 

Margolies, S. O., Rybarczyk, B., Vrana, S. R., Leszezyszyn, D. J., & Lynch, J. (2013). Efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia and nightmares in Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with PTSD. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69, 1026-1042.

Vrana, S. R., Calhoun, P. S., McClernon, F. J., Dennis, M. F., Lee, S. T., & Beckham, J. C. (2013). Effects of smoking on the acoustic startle response and prepulse inhibition in smokers with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychopharmacology, 230. 477-485.

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.