Charlie Davidson, PhD

Updated: 4/10/2018
E-mail Charlie: 
For Charlie's full CV, please click here.

Research Interests

        Charlie’s driving interest is translating research into effective and practical clinical techniques for people with disabling mental illnesses. He aims to conduct multimodal, multivariate clinical research in treatment settings that serve such people, integrating contributions from cognitive neuroscience, psychometrics, and dissemination science to better understand rehabilitation and recovery.

        These aims instantiate adherence to a biopsychosocial approach to psychopathology and recovery in a balanced scientist-practitioner framework.

Clinical Services / Psychotherapy

         Charlie has begun a small private practice at the Atlanta Center for Cognitive Therapy, where he sees participants ages 12 and older.

Post-doctoral Fellowships

         Charlie is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University Department of Psychology in Elaine Walker, Ph.D.’s Mental Health and Development Program. At Emory, he does clinical work and research with the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS), which aims to examine risk for and resilience from subclinical psychosis-like experiences and other vulnerability factors for psychotic disorders. 

         Charlie is also conducting a large student health research study involving sleep behavior problems and simple modifications, designed as a classic “behavioral experiment” in CBT. This study aims to identify targets for sleep treatment among college-aged youths, provide recommendations for student health, and assess the feasibility and effect of simple behavioral modifications in an individually-driven behavioral experiment for improving sleep. This project will be completed in Summer 2018. Based on preliminary results, follow-up research at Emory and collaborations at other universities are in planning.

         Charlie is also working with a group of exceptional undergraduate research assistants. These R.A.s have played an integral role in the design and implementation of the sleep study described above. A subset of these students are working to design a summer study examining the system of services, institutional and cultural stigma, and barriers to social and professional support for people experiencing mental health struggles on Emory’s campus. 

         Charlie has also submitted a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator proposal to test the validity and feasibility of a new mobile assessment targeting at-risk youths living with their families.

         Before coming to Emory, Charlie completed a two-year NIMH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. Specifically, the T32 Research fellowship in functional disability interventions directed by Morris Bell, Ph.D. Charlie designed a training plan with primary mentor: Scott Woods, M.D., and co-mentors Joanna Fiszdon, Ph.D. and Jason Johannesen, Ph.D. During this time, Charlie worked in the Yale NAPLS clinic, conducted research with existing NAPLS data on the lack of pluripotentiality of the psychosis prodrome (see C.V.) and on the development of social cognition in those at-risk for psychosis (revised manuscript under review). He also initiated a new collaboration with Yale Child Studies faculty, Michael Crowley, Ph.D., and conducted a test-retest study of EEG response to the Cyberball social exclusion task, plus a small pilot study in participants at-risk for psychosis. Charlie also adapted a group treatment for social cognition (Social Cognition and Interaction Training) for high-school aged youths at-risk for psychosis and implemented a pilot study that was well-received by youths and their families. Charlie also was trained as a Hearing Voices Network (HVN) group facilitator and submitted a PCORI grant with collaborators from Yale Psychiatry to establish empirical support for non-psychiatric, peer-led support such as HVN. He also submitted an NIMH K23 award proposal to test SCIT with youths at-risk for psychosis integrated with motivational enhancement and, among other things, evaluate treatment response using EEG response to Cyberball. Unfortunately, neither of these projects were funded.

Pre-doctoral Internship

      Charlie completed internship (July, 2014 to July, 2015) at the Connecticut VA Healthcare System in West Haven in the General Mental Health – Serious Mental Illness track. This training includes a diverse array of general and SMI-specific clinical experiences and exceptional research opportunities through VA and Yale research programs.

Ongoing Research


        Charlie has defended his dissertation in May, 2014. The dissertation project, titled “ERP Correlates of Social and Nonsocial Cognitive Processes Related to Schizotypy,” involved exploring electrophysiological responses to social and nonsocial stimuli and their relationships to a battery of assessments typically used in clinical research for SMI. ERP stimuli included scrambled images, neutral faces, and emotional faces and were presented either subliminally (13ms) or supraliminally (1000ms). Undergraduate participants were recruited based on a screening measure for different degrees of schizotypy. Results show brain processes related to face, emotion, visual attention, and basic sensory processes were associated with positive and negative schizotypy, social anxiety, social functioning, and performance on neuropsychological measures of attention and measures of social perception.

        In collaboration with John Kiat, these data were reanalyzed using empirical spatial and temporal waveform derivation to more precisely characterize brain processes and hone analytic focus. Preliminary results show greatly improved conditional ERP effects replicating and expanding those previously examined with peak and latency analysis. Part of these results have been published in Personality and Mental Health (see C.V.)

Master’s Thesis

        Charlie’s master’s thesis is a psychometric analysis of a brief schizotypy measure, titled, “Psychometric analysis of an updated version of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire - Brief Revised in a large undergraduate sample.” Fit of item responses to the intended measurement model was confirmed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis and replicated across three independent subsamples. Social Anxiety fit best an independent correlated factor rather than as a part of Interpersonal (negative symptom like experiences) in this sample. A problem with inconsistent wording (pronouns) in the original scale was also changed, improving fit. These data were published in Psychiatry Research (see C.V.)

Ongoing UNL Projects

      A collaborative manuscript is in preparation titled, “Self-Efficacy and externality: factor structure, concurrent validity, and parameters in community mental health and undergraduate samples,” including measures of cognitive biases and locus of control across a large samples of outpatients with serious mental illness and one of undergraduates. Analyses include psychometric scale validation, relationships among biosystemicconstructs in each sample, and normative data. These data have been submitted for peer-review, and a revised resubmission is currently under review in a prominent college mental health journal.

VA Connecticut Research

        During clinical internship, Charlie analyzed and prepared a manuscript based on a recent trial of cognitive remediation under supervision of Joanna Fiszdon, Ph.D. and Jason Johannesen, Ph.D.  This data has been published in Schizophrenia Research (see C.V.). Specifically, we showed that dynamic assessment (“learning potential”) predicts learning over a full course of cognitive remediation for people with schizophrenia. 

         Charlie also worked with Dr. Fiszdon to replicate and extend Dr. Pinkham and colleagues’ SCOPE initiative to identify and evaluate measures of social cognitive constructs for evaluating treatments aiming to improve social functioning. We published the results in Schizophrenia Research (see C.V.). Specifically, “lower-level” and social cognitive “abilities” rather than “characteristics” were generally more psychometrically adequate in terms of reliability, validity, and test-retest reliability. “Higher-level” constructs like social perception and attributional biases were not as psychometrically consistent. These results are consistent with Dr. Pinkham et al.’s results. A relatively new measure of attributional biases, DACOBS, which is specifically designed to assess biased behaviors and perceptions related to positive symptoms, showed promise as a more psychometrically-sound measure. Another interesting result was a substantial differentiation in psychometric adequacy and relationship to social functioning for the TASIT theory of mind measure’s Sarcasm and Lying subscales.


        Charlie graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2006 with a BA in Music and a minor in Psychology. During college, he worked with Dr. Drew Westen and Dr. Rebekah Bradley at Emory University ( and with Dr. Nancy Pistrang and Dr. Chris Barker at University College London ( After graduating, he worked as Research Assistant for two years in the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory (, directed by Dr. Martha Shenton.


Placements while in graduate school in Nebraska include:

(2013) clinical and program development at a community day rehabilitation program for people with SMI and the Maude Hammond Fling Fellowship for dissertation research;

(2012) co-taught an undergraduate summer course and was the TA for two core graduate clinical psychology training program assessment courses;

(2011) a 15-bed community residential psychiatric rehabilitation program, which involved program evaluation, staff training, psychological evaluation, treatment planning, and psychotherapy services;

(2010) the local CMHC, which involved psychotherapy, program development, family support group, and psychological evaluations;

(2009) research assistant on the Decision Science in Rehabilitation grant, which involved coordination of several multidisciplinary teams with domain ontology and artificial neural network projects as well as supervision of the assessment lab and psychological evaluation; (2008) neurocognitive assessment lab at the CMHC, which involved neurocognitive, social cognitive, social functioning, and psychiatric evaluation, providing feedback to participants and their treatment teams, and data management. He also facilitated evidence-based group treatment modalities at a day psychiatric rehabilitation center throughout graduate school.

Selected Publications & Posters 

***PLEASE see linked CV above for complete list of publications***

Bottoms, H. C., Treichler, E., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (in press). Cognitive characteristics in “difficult-to-discharge” inpatients with serious mental illness: Attribution biases are associated with suspiciousness only for those with lower levels of insight.  American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

Cook, E. A., Liu, N. H., Tarasenko, M., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). Longitudinal relationships between neurocognition, social-cognition, and community functioning in outpatients with serious mental illness. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease201, 786-794.

Davidson, C. A., Kuroki, N., Alvarado, J., Niznikiewicz, M. A., McCarley, R. W., Levitt, J. J. (2012). An MRI study of septi pellucid in relation to hippocampus volume and fornix integrity in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 134(2), 165-170.

Choi, K. H., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2011). Social cognition moderates the influence of child physical abuse on inpatient psychiatric rehabilitation. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199:465-70.  

Cook, E. A., Davidson, C. A., Nolting, J. R., & Spaulding, W. D. (2011). Observed ward behavior strongly associated with independent living skills. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 33, 111-120.

Kikinis, Z., Fallon, J. H., Niznikiewicz, M., Nestor, P., Davidson, C., Bobrow, L., Pelavin, P.E., Fischl, B., Yendiki, A., McCarley, R.W., Kikinis, R., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (2010). Gray matter volume reduction in rostral middle frontal gyrus in patients with chronic schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 123:153-9.

Cho, C., Corcoran, C., Fiszdon, J., Davidson, C. A., Dixon, L., Choi, J. (September, 2014). Differential Effects of Intra Versus Extra Familial Support on Self-Esteem And Treatment Engagement In Teenagers At Clinical High Risk For Psychosis. Poster presented at 27th Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology (SRP), Evanston, IL.

Davidson, C. A. (Chair), W. D. Spaulding, Tarasenko, M., Nuechterlein, K., Zald, D. (November, 2013). Developing and integrating biological, behavioral, and cognitive indices in treatment research for serious mental illness (SMI). Panel to be presented at the 47th Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Nashville, TN.

Davidson, C. A., Li, F., Tarasenko, M., Spaulding, W. D. (November, 2013). Electrophysiological indicators of facial emotion processing in psychometrically-defined schizotypy. Poster to be presented at the 47th ABCT Convention, Nashville, TN.

Davidson, C. A., Keplinger, A., Tarasenko, M., Spaulding, W. D. (November, 2013). Psychometric properties of measures typically used in SMI research in an analogue schizotypy population. Poster to be presented at the 47th ABCT Convention, Nashville, TN.

Davidson, C. A., Tarasenko, M., Gallegos, Y. E., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). ERP correlates of social and nonsocial cognition compared to psychometric schizotypy: Developing neuroimaging indices of treatment outcome in SMI. Poster presented at 26th Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology (SRP), Oakland, CA, and at EBSCOR Nebraska Neuroscience Symposium 2013.

Gallegos, Y. E., Davidson, C. A., Granholm, E., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). The impact of race and ethnicity in Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Poster presented at 26th Meeting of the SRP, Oakland, CA.

Tarasenko, M., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). Preliminary validation of a novel neurophysiological assessment of affective prosody perception. Poster presented at 26th Meeting of the SRP, Oakland, CA.

Davidson, C. A., Tarasenko, M., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). Analogue development of multimodal electrophysiological indicators for social cognitive treatment response. Poster presented at 16th Cognitive Remediation in Psychiatry Meeting, New York, NY.

Keplinger, A., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2013). Psychometric development of measures of schizotypal personality characteristics and social perception. Poster presented at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Research Fair, Lincoln, NE.

Davidson, C. A., Hochheiser, J., Gallegos, Y. E., Bottoms, H. C., Cook, E. A., Avila, A., Spaulding, W. D. (2012). Social functioning and social cognition in serious mental illness compared to a large undergraduate normative sample. Poster presented at 46th ABCT Convention, National Harbor, MD.

Davidson, C. A., Avila, A., Gallegos, Y. E., Bottoms, H. C., Cook, E. A., Hochheiser, J., Spaulding, W. D. (2012). Assessment of cognitive biases in a community mental health center compared to a large undergraduate sample. Poster presented at 46th ABCT Convention, National Harbor, MD.

Cook, E. A., Allen, A. B., & Davidson, C. A. (2011). Latent factor structure of the multnomah community ability scale and the service engagement scale. Poster presented at the 45th  ABCT Convention, Toronto, ON.

Gallegos, Y., Davidson, C. A., Liu, N., Spaulding, W. D. (2011). Relationships among neurocognition, defeatist attitudes, and community functioning in schizophrenia. Poster presented at 25th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology, Boston, MA.

Bottoms, H. C., Treichler, E. B. H., Davidson, C. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2010). Trends in attributional style, insight, and symptom severity in inpatients with serious mental illness. Poster presented at 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Cook, L. A., Davidson, C. A., Bottoms, H. C., Kleinlein, P., Wynne, A., Tarasenko, M., Reddy, F., Nolting, J., Choi, K., Spaulding, W. (2010). Exploratory analysis of functioning across biosystemic levels of organization in inpatients and outpatients with serious mental illness. Poster presented at 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Davidson, C. A., Cook, E. A., Bottoms, H. C., Gallegos, Y. E., Spaulding, W. D. (2010). The Inventory of Self-Efficacy and Externality (I-SEE) in a community mental health center: Reliability, factor structure, validity, and a proposed validity scale. Poster presented at 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Gallegos, Y. E., Nabity, P., Davidson, C. A., Liu, N., Spaulding, W. D. (2010).  The Nebraska Consumer Action Team (CART) project: A case study in consumer activist research. Poster presented at 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Choi, K., Davidson, C. A., & Spaulding, W. D. (2009). Social cognition moderates the influence of child physical abuse on inpatient psychiatric rehabilitation. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual ABCT Convention. New York, NY.

Gallegos, Y. E., Davidson, C. A., Cook, E. A., & Spaulding, W. D. (2009). Independent Living Skills Inventory (ILSI) and the Nurses’ Observational Scale for Inpatient Evaluation, 30-item version (NOSIE) predict length of hospitalization. Poster presented at 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, New York, NY.

Tarasenko, M., Kleinlein, P., Choi, K., Davidson, C. A., Cook, E. A., & Spaulding, W. (2009). Emotion perception and social functioning in serious mental illness: differential relationships among inpatients and outpatients. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual ABCT Convention, New York, NY.

Kikinis, Z., Fallon, J., Niznikiewicz, M., Kubicki, M., Nestor, P., Wible, C., Davidson, C. A., Bobrow, L., Pelavin, P., Chiu, M., Fischl, B., McCarley, R. W., Kikinis, R. Shenton, M. E. (2009). Changes in Gray Matter Volume in Rostral Middle Frontal Gyrus of Chronic Schizophrenia Subjects. Poster presented at International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, San Diego, California.

Choi, K. H., Reddy, L. F., Wynne, A., Taransenko, M., Davidson, C. A., Cook E. A., Spaulding, W. D. (2008). Memory Functioning Trajectories as Level of Severity of Child Abuse during Inpatient Psychiatric Rehabilitation: 18-Month Longitudinal Study Using Multilevel Modeling. Poster at 42nd Annual ABCT Convention, Orlando, FL.

Davidson, C. A., Cook, E. A., Nolting, J. R., Spaulding, W. D. (2008). Observed Ward Behavior Strongly Associated with Real World Living Skills: An Analysis of Concurrent Validity between NOSIE and ILSI. Poster presented at 42nd Annual ABCT Convention, Orlando, FL.

Tarasenko, M., Kleinlein, P., Choi, K., Cook, E., Davidson, C. A., & Spaulding, W. D. (2008). Differential processing of emotional cues in inpatients and outpatients with serious mental illness. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual ABCT Convention, Orlando, FL.

Kawashima, T., Niznikiewicz, M., Nakamura, M., Davidson, C. A., Salisbury, D. F., Shenton, M. E., McCarley, R.W. (2008). Progressive decrease of right prefrontal cortex gray matter in first-episode schizophrenia: A longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging study. Poster presented at 63rd Annual Society of Biological Psychiatry Convention.

Alvarado, J. L., Davidson, C. A., Niethammer, M., McCarley, R.W., Kubicki, M.R., Shenton, M. E., Levitt, J. J. (2008). Sobel filter segmentation of the globus pallidus in schizophrenics. Poster presented at the 16th Annual Research Day, Sponsored by the Mysell Committee, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

Davidson, C. A., Levitt, J. J., Kuroki, N., Niznikiewicz, M., McCarley, R. W., and Shenton, M.E (2007). An MRI study of septi pellucidi in relation to hippocampus and fornix in schizophrenia. Poster presented at the 15th Annual Research Day, Sponsored by the Mysell Committee, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

Grant Submitted:

Principal Investigator. Authored, submitted and re-submitted grant proposal for FOA PA11-111, titled, “ERP correlates of social and nonsocial cognition.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). F31 NRSA Fellowship.1st submission: 4/7/2011, 2nd submission: 12/07/2011

Sponsor: William Spaulding, PhD; Co-Sponsor: Dennis Molfese, PhD; Consultant: Margaret Niznikiewicz, PhD.

Not Funded: Priority Score / Percentile: 1st submission: 35/45; 2nd submission: 37/34