Event Abstract

Exploring individual differences in Affective processing using psychophysiology

  • 1 University of Wollongong, Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute, Australia
  • 2 University of Wollongong, School of Psychology, Australia
  • 3 Wesnes Cognition, United Kingdom
  • 4 Brain & Behaviour Reserach Institute, Australia

Aims: As part of a three year program of research at the University of Wollongong, electrophysiological (EEG) biomarkers for the prediction of treatment response in depression are being investigated. The first phase (2014) involves testing a battery of computerized tasks for reliability and validity in healthy participants. The second phase (2015-2016) will involve using these tasks to investigate electrophysiological differences between healthy individuals and those with a current major depressive episode, as well as to predict treatment response. Methods: In the first phase of testing, 64-channel EEG together with skin conductance (SCR) and startle response were recorded in response to five computerized experimental tasks in order to assess the reliability and validity of these tests for eliciting electrophysiological endophenotypes associated with individual differences in affective processing. The sample consisted of 100 right-handed healthy young adult participants aged 18 - 40 years from the University of Wollongong, Australia. The computerized tasks included (i) an Emotional Sternberg task, (ii) an auditory task designed to explore the Intensity Dependence of the Auditory Evoked Potential, (iii) a visual recognition memory task investigating Object Pattern Separation ability, (iv) Fear conditioning for faces paired with aversive sounds and images, (v) the presentation of emotional imagery from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS), and (vi) Spectral analysis of resting eyes closed EEG. Becks Depression Inventory (BDI-II), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the National Adult Reading Test (NART) were also administered. Results: An overview of the results of preliminary data analysis from the first phase of testing will be presented. Psychophysiological measures that will be discussed include skin conductance response (SCR) and emotional arousal, magnitude of the startle blink and startle P300 in response to aversive imagery, N170 face-specific ERP amplitude change with fear conditioning, event-related alpha synchronization/desynchronization (ERD/ERS) associated with emotional interference during working memory perfromance, left parietal and frontal ERP amplitude changes during pattern separation, power spectrum EEG correlates of negative affect, as well modulation of the intensity dependence of the auditory evoked potential with negative affect. Conclusion: On the basis of the results from the first phase of testing, the most reliable biomarkers will be selected for subsequent studies in individuals with major depressive disorder during 2015-2016. Hypotheses regarding the alignment of each specific EEG biomarker with different underlying pathologies (including HPA axis dysregulation, neurogenesis deficits and serotonergic dysfunction) will also be explored on the basis of the preliminary findings.

Keywords: Affective Neuroscience, Psychophysiology, Electrophysiology, Pattern Separation, International affective picture system, event-related potentials (ERPs), Biological Psychology, Fear conditioning, startle response, skin conductance response (SCR)

Conference: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc, Coffs Harbour, Australia, 26 Nov - 28 Nov, 2014.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Topic: Psychophysiology

Citation: Camfield DA, Boyall S, Kornfeld EJ, Taylor M, Wesnes KA, Barry RJ, Steiner GZ, De Blasio F and Croft R (2014). Exploring individual differences in Affective processing using psychophysiology. Conference Abstract: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2014.216.00023

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Received: 22 Oct 2014; Published Online: 02 Dec 2014.

* Correspondence: Dr. David A Camfield, University of Wollongong, Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia, camfield@uow.edu.au