|Monday, April 11th|
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM
Little is currently known about the pathology of pulmonary hypertension, and treatment options are limited, with lung transplant being the only treatment option in severe cases. Amphetamines have been shown to increase the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, and the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathway has been identified as a potential target to further understand how the DNA damage seen in pulmonary hypertension is exaggerated by amphetamines. We used western blot analysis, immunofluorescent imaging, and qPCR to examine the effects of amphetamine and hypoxia treatments on pulmonary arterial endothelial cells. This approach allowed us to determine how two HIF proteins are affected by hypoxia and amphetamines, and to explore how dysregulation of the HIF pathway may lead to pulmonary hypertension. We found that amphetamine is likely associated with HIF dysregulation, which leads to an imbalance of HIF-regulated genes. This imbalance may underlie the DNA damage seen in pulmonary hypertension.
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM
Chronic negative affect correlates negatively with quality of life, whereas individual differences in regulating negative affect predict physical and psychological health. The cognitive-affective reappraisal of negative emotion, which involves positive reflections of negative stressors, has received much attention in research as a strategy that promotes psychological adjustment. Relatively little research addresses the question of whether personality traits moderate the effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies. Because openness to experience entails a preference for experiencing strong emotions, we theorize that this trait moderates the short-term effects of reappraisal on positive and negative affect. In our study, we asked participants to recall a sad memory and asked them, randomly, to write about it with or without reappraisal. We sought to bring closer together past research on personality and emotion regulation in the hope that our research will further illuminate the conditions in which certain emotion regulation strategies are most effective
11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Trauma can have lasting detrimental impacts on emotional, physical and cognitive well-being. Studies show that expressive writing helps to alleviate negative psychological and physical effects of trauma. However, the effect of expressive writing on cognition has not been adequately researched. Our study examines the extent to which writing about a traumatic experience yields short-term cognitive benefits. We hypothesize that emotion regulation (i.e., the extent to which an individual modulates her emotional reactions) may influence the effect of expressive writing on facets of cognition such as processing speed and selective attention. The results of our study have implications for the efficacy of expressive writing as a therapeutic technique. Such results are particularly pertinent to college students, whose learning depends on optimal cognitive functioning.
11:30 AM - 11:45 AM
The theory of approach-avoidance motivation, which contends that humans and animals alike approach pleasurable stimuli and avoid unpleasant stimuli, explains the attentional patterns of healthy individuals. However, depression appears to disrupt these patterns. We present evidence for a broken approach-avoidance motivational system in depressed individuals, citing the differences in self-focused attention between healthy and depressed participants. In our study, we examined how depression influences self-focused attention. It has been shown that increases in attention toward the self can be interpreted as a consequence of reduced motivation to pursue positive mood states and escape negative ones. By measuring the time spent attending to various stimuli, including images of the self, and by monitoring mood over time, we are able to examine self-focused attention of participants in the context of the approach-avoidance motivation.
|Tuesday, April 19th|
11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Mindfulness practice has been an important component of Eastern religious tradition for centuries. Only recently has it been recognized by Western clinical psychologists as an effective treatment for mood and anxiety disorders. Among its theorized benefits are stress reduction, decreased symptoms of psychopathology, increased emotion regulation skills and subjective well-being. Because mindfulness is a relatively new and unexplored intervention, the cognitive mechanisms responsible for its beneficial effects remain unclear. Evidence indicates that mindfulness increases one’s willingness to tolerate uncomfortable emotions and engage in emotional reappraisal. With research connecting mindfulness meditation to enhanced reappraisal skills, we hypothesize that brief mindfulness interventions enhance reframing skills and lead to lower levels of negative emotion following a distressing film clip. This research aims to improve and streamline clinical intervention of mindfulness meditation.