March 26, 2021 at 8:41 am

Participants Sought for OHIO Brain and Behavior Study

The Ohio University sundial

An Ohio University research team is seeking participants for a study on behavior and brain responses to a series of different tasks and questionnaires.

The Behavioral Event-Related Potential Study (BERP) aims to integrate behavioral, physiological and self-reported markers of sensitivity to anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty—with a goal of determining how these risk factors relate to mental health. The researchers will use advanced statistics to see how novel behavioral and physiological markers correlate with past studies and if they can be incorporated into a single latent variable.

“Emotional distress disorders are both common, with a lifetime prevalence rates ranging from 18-32 percent, and costly, with a global economic cost of $1.15 trillion dollars annually,” says Dr. Nicholas Allan, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology. “Despite an increased focus on defining the mechanisms of psychopathology within a psychobiological framework, distinct biological processes have yet to be identified specific to individual emotional distress disorders.”

The result, he says, is a diagnostic system that leans toward dividing emotional distress disorders into two clusters—fear and distress—and Research Domain Criteria proposing a shift to a narrow focus on the psychological constructs associated with biological processes and behaviors.

“Focusing on constructs that operate as risk factors across multiple emotional distress disorders could integrate these two approaches,” he says.

Participants must be at least 18 years old and be proficient in English. A participant could be paid up to $76 in return for participation.

Screening will be conducted online or over the phone. Study participants will attend two sessions, the first a virtual interview and a series of questionnaires. The second includes EEG measurements while participants complete several computer exercises and behavioral tasks in an Ohio University psychology lab. Each session will be about three hours in length.

Allan is the principle investigator on this study, funded by a grant for “A Novel Approach to Integrating Event-Related Potentials and Self-Report Indices of Transdiagnostic Risk Factors of Emotional Distress” from the National Institute of Mental Health.

The IRB number for this study is 18-F-48.


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