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Title:Strength of family bond predicts disrupted neural habituation to visual familial threat in adolescence
Author(s):Sharp, Paul Benjamin
Advisor(s):Heller, Wendy
Contributor(s):Telzer, Eva H.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA)
Family Stressors
Abstract:BACKGROUND: Familial stressors, such as low family connectedness, confer risk for affective pathologies, yet little is known regarding how they uniquely impinge on neural systems involved in adaptive threat processing. METHODS: MVPA analysis of fMRI data was used in a novel way to measure disrupted neural habituation in a threat network comprising nodes of the limbic system across several classes of stimuli including unpredictable familial and nonfamilial threat and joy. In the present longitudinal design, measures of family connectedness were collected for adolescents (n=22, age=14.38) at the study's outset, and a year later, a neuroimaging protocol was carried out. RESULTS: For those low in family connectedness, elevated sensitivity scores derived from MVPA reflected that the encoding of unpredictable familial threat was more stable across time, indicating reduced habituation to familial threat. Reduced habituation was specific to familial threat, as null relationships were found between family connectedness and MVPA sensitivity to familial joy, nonfamilial threat, and nonfamilial joy. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that familial stressors may confer specific biological disruptions to risk-related stimuli, in this case, threatening maternal images. The present novel experimental paradigm and use of MVPA provide the foundation for further exploring how MVPA can be used to test for selective habituation to specific stimuli germane to other environmental risk factors for internalizing pathologies.
Issue Date:2016-04-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Paul Sharp
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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