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Influences of affective processing and emotional context on neural activation during cognitive control from adolescence through adulthood

Ravindranath, Orma (2020) Influences of affective processing and emotional context on neural activation during cognitive control from adolescence through adulthood. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Emotion processing and cognitive control show marked development through adolescence, during which these systems have an enhanced effect on decision-making. Past studies have shown increased engagement of emotion-related regions in adolescents compared to adults during tasks eliciting different moods on a trial-by-trial basis, but few studies have examined state-related effects of emotion. Here, we investigated age-related changes in effects of emotional state on cognitive control using background connectivity, in which task-based signals are removed from fMRI data to examine spontaneous background fluctuations in neural activity.
50 participants completed a standard antisaccade fMRI task in a 3T scanner. Each trial included a positive, negative, or neutral sound that played before and during each trial. All subjects also completed a 5-minute resting state scan in the same session. Outside of the scanner, all subjects completed valence and arousal ratings of all sounds. Data were preprocessed using a standard preprocessing pipeline including wavelet despiking. Resting state data additionally underwent bandpass filtering and global signal regression. To obtain background connectivity data, task-related effects were estimated and then removed using multiple linear regression.
Across subjects, latency significantly decreased with increasing age in negative trials, while the percentage of correct responses significantly increased in silent trials. The negative sounds were also perceived as more “arousing” in adults compared to adolescents. Using a bilateral amygdala seed to examine whole-brain background connectivity, increasing age was associated with increasing connectivity to brain regions with the dorsal attention network and salience network, among others. Resting state connectivity analyses revealed no significant age-related changes in amygdala background connectivity with these brain regions.
This study suggests that negative affective stimuli may be more salient to adults, which may have a beneficial effect on their behavioral performance. Additionally, this may indicate increased emotional awareness in adults, as compared to adolescents, which may be driven by the development of connectivity between the amygdala and various cortical regions through this period.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ravindranath, Ormaorr4@pitt.eduORR4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLuna,
Committee MemberSilk,
Committee MemberHanson,
Date: 17 January 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 February 2019
Approval Date: 17 January 2020
Submission Date: 1 September 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 63
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: fMRI, affect, emotion, antisaccade, neuroimaging, adolescence, development, cognition
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2020 14:03
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 14:03


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