Participant Info

First Name
Alana
Last Name
Anderson
Institution
Washington State University
Address
501 Johnson Tower PO Box 644852
City
Pullman
State
WA
Country
United States
Postal Code
99164
Phone
9522889969
Title of Symposium
ALL THE FEELS: A MULTIMETHOD SYMPOSIUM ON EMOTION REGULATION ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
List the Chair(s) and All Presenter Names and Email Addresses

Alana J. Anderson (chair): [email protected]
Elizabeth A. Youatt: [email protected]
Arcadia Ewell: [email protected]
Dr. Martha Ann Bell (discussant): [email protected]

Topics to be Addressed:
Physiological Processes including hormonal modulation, Socio-emotional including attachment & temperament, Sleep
Ages of Research Subjects
infancy, adult
Details of Research Subjects
Humans
Symposium Proposal Text (type or paste from Word doc)

Across the lifespan, emotion regulation is linked to mental health and wellbeing, including anxiety disorders, conduct problems, and risk behaviors such as substance use. Further, emotion regulation processes early in life lay a path toward better mental and physical health throughout development. In this symposium, we will explore emotion regulation from infancy to emerging adulthood using diverse physiological and neuroimaging methods. Three female graduate students from different institutions across the United States will present innovative and diverse research, followed by Dr. Bell, a leader in the field and at ISDP, as a discussant. Elizabeth Youatt will present research showing links between micro-longitudinal changes in infant respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during a period of social fear as it relates to infant soothability. Arcadia Ewell will next describe relations between cortical thickness and parent reported emotion regulation during early childhood. Alana Anderson will then describe contextual influences on the perception and neurophysiological correlates of boredom in emerging adulthood. Dr. Martha Ann Bell will provide an overarching discussion of the links and contributions made by these three presentations. The research presented in this symposium uses a variety of methods (RSA, MRI, and electroencephalography) to shed light on the neural and physiological underpinnings of emotion regulation across the lifespan. Insights provided by this research hold implications for prevention of mental health problems and promotion of human health and wellbeing across the lifespan by providing a better understanding of translatable processes underlying emotion regulation and psychological functioning.

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN DYNAMIC CHANGES IN 8-MONTH-OLDS RSA DURING A SOCIAL FEAR TASK

Elizabeth A. Youatt, Penn State University, State College, PA, United States (Primary Presenter) [email protected]
Zhou, A.M., Lobue, V., Buss, K.A., Pérez-Edgar, K.

Dynamic shifts in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) represent adaptive coping efforts to affective demands and behavioral response readiness (Porges, 2007). Individual differences in temperament have been shown to predict toddlers’ dynamic RSA during a social fear task (Brooker & Buss, 2010). One regulatory aspect of temperament is soothability, which has been positively associated with infants’ physiological regulation (Huffman et al., 1998). However, it is less clear how soothability may be associated with dynamic RSA. In the present study, we examined associations between soothability and dynamic RSA during a social fear task in a sample of 155 8-month-olds. RSA was measured across baseline and three 30-second epochs of the Stranger Approach task, and infant soothability was reported via the IBQ-R (Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003). We fit a multiphase growth model to examine dynamic changes in infant RSA during a Stranger Approach task, with infant soothability as a predictor. The model fit the data well, AIC = 1574.92, BIC = 1631.80, LL = -774.46. Across participants, there was an overall increase in RSA from baseline to the start of the Stranger Approach, and a decrease from start to finish of the Stranger Approach. Infant soothability did not significantly predict baseline RSA or increase in RSA from baseline to task, but lower levels of soothability were significantly associated with less decrease in RSA throughout the task (b=-0.15, SE = 0.05, t=-2.55, p <.05). Findings suggest that infants who are less soothable to caregiver-directed regulatory efforts may show diminished psychophysiological regulation when experiencing fear.

EXPLORING NEURAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL MECHANISMS OF EMOTION REGULATION IN EARLY CHILDHOOD.

Arcadia Ewell, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States (Primary Presenter) [email protected]
Tamara Allard, University of Maryland, College Park Maryland, MD, United States (Co-first author), [email protected]
Benjamin Weinberg, Sanna Lokhandwala, Rebecca Spencer, Tracy Riggins

Emotion-regulation has been linked to neural and physiological correlates of the brain and sleep. However, our understanding of these relations during early childhood is just emerging. Emotion-regulation is a process that modulates lability (e.g. Rothbart & Bates, 2006), or an individual’s rapidity in responding to emotional stimuli and ability to recover from negative emotions (Dunsmore, Booker, & Ollendick, 2011). This study investigates biological underpinnings of emotional lability. 

Currently, 66 children, ages 3-9 years completed the Emotion Regulation Checklist and a structural MRI scan as part of two longitudinal studies. Participants were scanned using a Siemens 3.0 T scanner. A standard resolution (.9mm3) T1-weighted whole brain structural scan was acquired and processed in FreeSurfer. Cortical thickness labels were derived from the Desikan-Killany atlas and inspected manually for accuracy. Measures of sleep physiology were collected on a subset of participants (n=45) 

Preliminary analyses examined relations between cortical thickness in 9 a priori brain regions associated with emotion regulation. A significant correlation was found between emotional lability, the parstriangularis, r(65) = -.252, p = 0.041, and the parsorbitalis, r(65) = -.358, p = 0.003, regions of the inferior frontal gyrus. A marginal relation with the left insula also emerged, r(65) = -.220, p = .075.  Results remained after controlling for potential confounding variables, like age.

These results support the possibility that individual differences in emotional lability may relate to individual differences in brain structure. Additional analyses will consider subcortical regions and the role of sleep which may impact emotional lability.

MORE BORED THAN BEFORE: CONTEXTUAL INFLUENCES ON NEUROPHYSIOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF BOREDOM REGULATION DURING EASY AND OPTIMAL CONDITIONS

Alana J. Anderson, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States, (Primary Presenter), [email protected]
Sammy Perone, Elizabeth H. Weybright 

Boredom is a negative emotion often experienced when a situation is too easy, too challenging, or lacks meaning (Westgate & Wilson, 2018). State boredom is linked to risk behaviors such as gambling and substance use (Maio et al., 2019; Weybright et al., 2015). However, few studies have explored contextual influences on the experience of boredom. This study examines the influence of completing underchallenging and optimally challenging tasks on frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA), a neural correlate of emotion regulatory processes, and the theta/beta ratio, a neural correlate of top-down attentional control.

Participants (N = 113) completed a decision-making task under easy and optimally challenging conditions while electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded. In this task, participants judged whether two lines would collide, or not. Condition order was randomly assigned. Participants who completed the easy task second reported significantly (all p-values <.01) more boredom than those who completed the optimal task second t(111) = -3.04, indicating the under-stimulating task was perceived as more boring after the optimal condition. These participants also exhibited a significant decrease in FAA, t(50) = 2.98, suggesting participants experienced greater negative affect when the easy task was second. Participants exhibited higher theta/beta power during the optimal condition, regardless of task order, F(1,95) = 26.98, suggesting greater cognitive control during the challenging task. Variability in FAA and theta/beta aligned with self-reported experiences during the task, suggesting that stability in bottom-up and top-down regulatory processes improved the task experience. These results hold implications for reducing state boredom in educational and work settings.

Personal Info

Is this a Young Investigator Symposium?
Yes
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