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Influence of Emotion on Cognitive Control from Adolescence to Adulthood

Ordaz, Sarah Jean (2010) Influence of Emotion on Cognitive Control from Adolescence to Adulthood. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Adolescence is a period of development with high incidence of affective disorders representing poor cognitive control over affect, but little is known about how adolescent emotional systems compare to those of adults and how emotion influences still-maturing cognitive control systems. The ability to inhibit a response, which is crucial for cognitive control of behavior, continues to improve through adolescence. Though the core cognitive processes for inhibitory control are available in adolescence, the ability to utilize them in a reliable manner continues to mature, making adolescents susceptible to making errors. This study aimed to explore the vulnerabilities of the adolescent inhibitory control system to emotion by manipulating autonomic arousal. Adolescents (age 15-16) and adults (age 24-29) performed an oculomotor inhibitory control task as they heard sequences of temporally unpredictable tones (increased arousal condition) and temporally predictable tones (lower arousal, control condition) while autonomic arousal was assessed via pupillometry. Results indicated that adolescents have higher levels of arousal compared to adults, but less awareness of their arousal levels. Secondly, adolescents' inhibitory control was comparable to adults' even under arousal conditions but they showed greater effects of arousal reflected in optimal performance with higher levels of arousal. Thirdly, in adolescents but not adults, individuals who scored higher on measures of dysregulation showed greater sensitivity of inhibitory control to arousal. Together, these results indicate that emotional and inhibitory control processes are more susceptible to external stressors in adolescence than in adulthood. This may underlie known limitations during this period in higher level regulation of behavior, particularly in the face of stressors.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ordaz, Sarah Jeansjo12@pitt.eduSJO12
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLuna, Beatrizlunab@upmc.eduLUNA
Committee MemberDahl,
Committee MemberManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberCampbell, Susansbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 8 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 December 2009
Approval Date: 8 June 2010
Submission Date: 22 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
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: development
Other ID:, etd-04222010-182524
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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