Neural Correlates of Emotion-Cognition Interactions in Healthy Functioning and Adolescent Psychopathology

  • Author / Creator
    Shafer, Andrea T
  • The current dissertation implemented two large studies involving brain imaging and behavioral methods to expand our current understanding of the impact of emotion on cognition. Study one focused on the immediate and long-term impact of emotion on cognition in healthy functioning. Study two focused on identifying alterations in emotional and cognitive processing related to adolescent psychopathology. In Study one, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was implemented in conjunction with; (I-i) an attentional capture paradigm containing different levels of emotional and cognitive challenge, (I-ii) the subsequent memory paradigm where memory for stimuli with different levels of emotional challenge from the attentional capture paradigm were examined, and (I-iii) another subsequent memory paradigm where memory for lure items used in the first subsequent memory paradigm were examined. The structure of this study allowed for the investigation of; (I-i) two competing theories of how emotion and attention interact, (I-ii) factors linking the immediate impact of emotional distraction on goal-oriented task performance and its long-term impact on memory, and (I-iii) brain activity linked to different memory operations occurring during the retrieval of emotional memories. Data were collected on healthy, young adults aged 18 to 35 years. Findings from study one provided novel insights and significant contributions to the cognitive neuroscience of emotion and emotional memory by; (I-i) reconciling two competing theories on the interaction between emotion and attention by taking into consideration the amount of both the emotional and cognitive challenge present, (I-ii) identifying that automatic mechanisms are critical in forming a direct relationship with the immediate impairing and long-term enhancing impact of emotion on cognition, and (I-iii) showing medial temporal lobe activity related to the memory-enhancing effect of emotion at retrieval could be delineated and linked to disparate memory operations (i.e., encoding and retrieval) that both occur during retrieval. In study two, a multi-modal imaging approach was implemented to investigate differences in emotional and cognitive processing in adolescents with Axis-I affective-, attentional- and behavioral-based psychiatric disorders. More specifically, in study two changes in the brain associated with adolescent psychopathology were examined by; (II-i) implementing a modified emotional oddball paradigm in conjunction with electroencephalogram recordings and event-related potential (ERP) analyses to assess differences in emotional response and in the emotional modulation of cognition, (II-ii) implementing a modified emotional oddball paradigm in conjunction with fMRI and whole-brain regional as well as network-based analyses to assess differences in executive processes important for response inhibition, and (II-iii) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and whole-brain voxel based analyses to assess differences in white matter microstructure. Data were collected on 20 healthy and 20 clinical adolescents aged 11 to 17 years. Findings from study two provided novel insights and significant contributions to clinical and pediatric neuroscience by; (II-i) providing ERP evidence of increased susceptibility to emotional distraction and emotional modulation of attentional control processes for clinical adolescents, (II-ii) providing fMRI evidence of malfunctional cognitive control and affective networks during goal-oriented processing for clinical adolescents, and (II-iii) providing DTI evidence that differences in white matter microstructure and the developmental trajectory of white matter are part of neuronal sequela associated with adolescent psychopathology.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Centre for Neuroscience
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Singhal, Anthony (Centre for Neuroscience, Psychology)
    • Dixon, Roger (Centre for Neuroscience, Psychology)
    • Dolcos, Florin (Centre for Neuroscience, Beckman Institute, Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Beaulieu, Christian (Centre for Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering)
    • Heller, Wendy (Beckman Institute, Psychology, Gender and Women's Studies)