1. Behavioural and Neural Bases of Threat-Learning During Adolescence
This project combines fear conditioning and attention regulation paradigms with psychophysiological measures of fear to understand the behavioural and neural bases of threat-learning during adolescence
Anxiety is common in adolescents and significantly impacts social and educational functioning. Adolescent anxiety also predicts later-life emotional disorders. As emphasis on early treatment and prevention grows, we need a greater understanding of how early anxiety develops. We explore questions that use fear conditioning paradigms to assess differences in threat-learning between high and low anxious adolescents and the neural bases of such differences. Specifically, we hope to: (i) identify specific disruptions in threat-learning in high anxious adolescents by assessing subjective and physiological fear responses to threat cues, safety cues that vary in their resemblance to the threat cues, and to the context during conditioning and extinction; (ii) investigate links between threat learning and attention; (iii) map the neural correlates of threat-learning in adolescents varying in anxiety. These questions are timely given calls for research into developmental mechanisms of anxiety.
Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh is working on this project in collaboration with Dr Jennifer Lau, Dr Anneke Haddad, Dr Robin Murphy, Lauren Heathcote, Katharina Pittner, and Tim Shore.
Economic and Social Research Council research grant (2011-2014) to Jennifer Lau and Robin Murphy.