Investigation of the relationship between the negative affect in young adults and depression

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Kamat, Anchal
Duarte, Audrey
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Young adults display the negative affect where they pay attention to and remember negative information better than positive information. A similar affect is in observed in individuals with depression. Since depression is prevalent in young adults, this bring into question whether there is a connection between the negative affect in young adults and depression. This study explores this phenomenon by using fMRI imaging to identify any patterns of activation involved in the relationship between depression and the negative affect in young adults. To achieve this, 13 young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years old were recruited. After confirming that they are fMRI safe, a set of neuropsychological assessments and depression questionnaires were carried out, followed by an fMRI Encoding Task. During the Encoding Task participants are presented with a positive, negative, or neutral auditory cue and an imaging matching its emotional valence. They were then asked to evaluate the emotional intensity of the picture. After the fMRI a Retrieval Task where individuals asked if the image is new or old and then how confident they are in their decision. Behavioral analysis of memory accuracy with a repeated measures ANOVA resulted in no significant differences in the memory for any of the conditions. ANOVA analysis of the fMRI images with an uncorrected voxel threshold of .001 also showed no significant activation patterns. Overall, this study was not able to achieve its goal due to time restrains. As this is an ongoing project, greater analysis will be utilized to identify a relationship between the experimental conditions and brain activity.
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