David Penn, Ph.D.
Linda Wagner-Martin Distinguished Professor of Psychology



Lab Members

Resource Links

Department of Psychology
250 Davie Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270

Phone: 919-843-7514
Fax: 919--962-2537
e-mail: dpenn@email.unc.edu

Welcome to the Penn Lab website!

I am the Linda-Wagner Martin Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Associate Director of Clinical Training.  I have been at UNC since 1999.

Previously, I was on the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and LSU. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, under the mentorship of Will Spaulding, Ph.D., and completed my internship at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, under the mentorship of Kim Mueser, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


David Penn was awarded the Beckman award, given to only 10 professors in the U.S., for his mentorship of Dave Roberts

David Penn and David Roberts featured in The New Yorker and ABC news.com

Penn lab named in Journal of Clinical Psychology as one of top producers of scholarly publications in clinical psychology PhD programs

Personally, I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Great Neck LI.  My mother and younger brother still live in Great Neck.  My wife, Leah, is from Madison, WI.  We live in Durham and enjoy travel, restaurants, good films, and living in this area.

My primary research interests are in two areas: Social cognition and psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia.  In regard to social cognition, I am interested in how social cognition (i.e., emotion perception, attributional style, and theory of mind) changes across the course of schizophrenia (e.g., prior to illness onset, prodromal, first episode, and chronic), its neural basis, and how social cognition relates to social functioning.

Over the past few years, my research has had a particular emphasis on psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia.  Specifically, we have conducted studies examining individual CBT for schizophrenia, group CBT for individuals with medication-resistant auditory hallucinations, illness management and recovery, CBT for first episode psychosis, and Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) (for both schizophrenia and high functioning autism). Below are a number of articles about SCIT.

Penn Letter to the Editor

Social cognition and interaction training (SCIT) for
outpatients with schizophrenia: A preliminary study

Social cognition and interaction training (SCIT) for
outpatients with bipolar disorder

Social cognition training as an intervention for
improving functional outcome in first-episode
psychosis: a feasibility study

Transportability and Feasibility of Social Cognition and
Interaction Training (SCIT) in Community Settings

Impact of family involvement on social cognition training
in clinically stable outpatients with schizophrenia—A randomized pilot study

If you are interested in being a member of my lab, you should note that there are a number of rich research and training opportunities in this area. This includes the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health which houses the Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP) for chronic schizophrenia, and the Outreach and Support Intervention Services (OASIS) program, for first episode psychosis. Also, Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC (30 minutes away) provides treatment for inpatients with psychotic disorders.

Lab meetings (both individual and group) are held every two weeks.  Students are expected to be involved in research throughout their UNC careers, and are encouraged to publish their thesis and dissertation.  I also encourage students to attend the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy (ABCT), as well as to present their work there.

You should apply to work with me if you have interest in social cognition in schizophrenia and/or psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia. Our lab has an excellent reputation: students from my lab have won the “Wallach Award,” given to the top graduate student in the clinical program, five times! We seek students who are not only outstanding academically and intellectually, but are also, nice, down-to-earth people (which we consider very important to our lab group). During the interview process, I take the opinions of my lab very seriously, as we want to create as fun and supportive atmosphere as possible.

In addition to research, I typically teach a graduate course in Adult Psychopathology (alternating every two years with Professor Abramowitz) and undergraduate Psychology 101.  Please find my recent evaluations for these courses listed below.

Psyc 101 Spring 2011

Psyc 101 Fall 2011

Psyc 101 Spring 2014

Adult Psychopathology Fall 2012

Thank you for visiting my website!

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site last updated 6/3/2014