Physiological Reactions to Emotional Images in Individuals with PTSD – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Physiological Reactions to Emotional Images in Individuals with PTSD

Sinit Lijam

Sinit Lijam

Pronouns: she/her

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


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition known for its cause of exaggerated fear and emotional responses to perceived threats. Recent findings have suggested that those with PTSD and fibromyalgia (FM), which is highly comorbid with PTSD, may show excessive fear when in safe contexts and not enough fear in dangerous ones, thus suggesting that the ability to contextualize information is hindered. In order to examine this, this study will compare group differences (i.e., PTSD vs. FM vs. healthy controls) in skin conductance response (SCR) during extinction recall and fear renewal phases. Participants ages 18-45 years old were recruited and assigned to one of the three diagnostic groups. On Day 1, participants underwent fear conditioning, in which they associated an unconditioned stimulus (an electrical shock) to a conditioned stimulus (e.g., blue light) and neutral contexts (e.g., an office), and extinction learning, in which they associate extinction contexts (e.g., a living room) with a conditioned stimulus. On Day 2, participants went through extinction recall, which measures the reactivity to the extinction context (i.e., blue light in relation to the office and living room) learned on Day 1, and was measured using event-related SCR. Participants were then shown conditioned feared stimuli through fear renewal, in which their reactivity to the fear learning context was measured. Through this, we hope to find an effective data cleaning process, as well as gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms of PTSD and FM to look for effective treatments.

Authors: Sinit Lijam, Elizabeth Duval, Hanjoo Kim
Research Method: Clinical Research

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