Physiological Reactions to Emotional Images in Individuals with PTSD and Stress-Related Disorders – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Physiological Reactions to Emotional Images in Individuals with PTSD and Stress-Related Disorders

Roshni Mohan

Roshni Mohan

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Duval, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychiatry, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 2 (11am – 11:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 12
Presenter: 6

Event Link


Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have impairments in fear modulation, the ability to change fear responses when an unsafe situation becomes safe or vice versa. Fear modulation deficits can be shown by an overreaction during extinction recall and fear renewal, where we measure patients’ reactivity to the previously presented extinction and fear learning context, respectively. Research has shown that the fear modulation deficits common in PTSD patients also occur in patients with fibromyalgia (FM), which is often comorbid with PTSD. This study aims to examine group differences in their response to extinction recall and fear renewal. We hypothesize that PTSD and FM groups will demonstrate significantly greater skin conductance response (SCR) during extinction recall and fear renewal phases. Participants ranging from 18 to 45 years old have been recruited for each subject group-PTSD, FM, and healthy controls. They went through fear conditioning and extinction learning on Day 1 where an unconditioned stimulus (electrical current) was paired with a conditioned stimulus (e.g., blue light) in a certain context (office vs. bookshelf). They then learned that the same conditioned stimulus is not dangerous in a different context (extinction learning). We have not reached our target sample size and are currently collecting data. We hope that the results of the current study will help us understand these disorders to eventually create a better-suited treatment option targeting the improvement of their fear modulation deficits.

Authors: Roshni Mohan, Elizabeth Duval, Hanjoo Kim
Research Method: Clinical Research

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