Poster Day :)

Posted by Audrey WKY On Thursday, April 7, 2011 1 comments

Yesterday (or 2 days ago, since it's already pass midnight), was the first poster day I presented at. It was really nice to present my first poster and explain what I have been working on for the past months. The main thing I've realized is that I need to work on my communication. I often speak too fast and I also forget to explain certain terms that may be jargon for others.

Overall, it was a very good experience. It really reminded me why I really enjoy the world of research! However one negative aspect I found about the poster day is that I was one of the last students to be evaluated. So unfortunately, I wasn't able to walk around to see the other posters. I really would have wanted more time to walk around.

I will post pictures here soon :)

This is part of the research proposal for the Neuropsychology of Abnormal Behaviour class I am taking (part of the introduction). For more information on automatic amygdala activation to emotional faces in Schizophrenia patients compared to healthy participants consult:

Rauch, V.A., Reker, M., Ohrmann, P., Pedersen, A., Bauer, J., Dannlowski, U., Harding, L.,Koelkebeck, K., Konrad, C., Kugel, H., Arolt, V., Heindel, W., Suslow, T. (2010). Increased amygdala activation during automatic processing of facial emotion in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 182 (2010) 200–206

Disturbance in emotion is an important feature of schizophrenia patients (Bleuler, 1950). Over the past decade there has been increasing information about the impairment schizophrenic patients have in the perception of emotions that are expressed by others (Edwards et al., 2002). However, recently there has been more attention paid to facial emotion recognition in these patients and it has been found that patients suffering from schizophrenia have consistently shown impairments in the perception of facial expressions of emotions (Schneider et al., 1998; Phillips et al., 1999; Holt et al., 2006; Das et al., 2007). Facial expressions serve as important social signals regarding current or forthcoming environmental conditions (Kee et al., 2003). It is therefore non surprising that deficits in facial emotion recognition has been seen to play an important role in the psychological outcome of schizophrenia patients (Kee et al., 2003).

Brain structures implicated in facial emotion recognition include the amygdala, the fusiform gyrus and the superior temporal sulcus (Adolphs, 2002). In a 2002 study conducted by Kosaka and colleagues, heightened amygdala activation was found in schizophrenia patients during controlled emotional processing. In another study, Holt and colleagues (2006) also found that within an experiment, schizophrenia patients show greater amygdala activation in comparison to control participants during first encounters with fearful and neutral faces.

However few studies have investigated automatic emotion processing in schizophrenia patients but have instead focused on controlled processing. A recent study, Rauch and colleagues (2010) investigated automatic emotion processing in schizophrenia patients. Their study was created using the emotion-congruent influence of facial expressions shown below conscious awareness on subsequent judgments regarding neutral stimuli (an important characteristic of automatic emotion processing) (Niedenthal, 1990; Murphy and Zajonc, 1993; Rotteveel et al., 2001). While using a 3-T fMRI to examine amygdala responses to sad and happy faces masked by neutral faces in 12 schizophrenia patients and 12 healthy controls, it was found that there was greater automatic amygdala responses to sad and happy faces in shizophrenia patients relative to controls. More interestingly with regard to clinical symptomatology, amygdala responses to masked sad and happy faces were positively correlated with the negative subscale of the PANSS (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale; Kay, Opler & Abraham Fiszbein, 1987).

Brief Introduction to my Thesis & Data Analysis

Posted by Audrey WKY On Thursday, December 2, 2010 0 comments

For whoever is reading:

Quick facts about my thesis
- Title: Examining the relationship between saccades and working memory capacity.
- Hypothesis: Expecting to see an increase in the amount of saccades, as memory capacity increases in diffculty.
- Methods:

participants: Undergraduate Level Students
equipment and measures: ViewPoint Eyetracker and software, Colour-Matching and Letter-Matching Tasks (Arsalidou et al., 2010)


For Joe:
With the help of Cecilia, I will first analyze one participant over all tasks (Balloons, Clowns, Letter-A and Letter-Sq). I will show you the data (either in meeting or on this blog).

Here are the steps I am planning on taking:

1. Change the saccades data files by adding specific information such as where the cross appeared and when each task difficulty appeared for all different trials in number-codes. Different trials include: Balloons, Clowns, Letter-Square and Letter-A.

2 . With the help of Cecilia, I will plot the pattern of the saccades on MatLab.

3. I will then go through all the plotted saccade data and count the amount of saccades that were made. For each trial, I will have an average amount of saccades made. Averages will be done for each participants' own data and afterward on the whole data set of the study.

* Saccades will be counted by the change in direction seen in the pattern that is plotted on MatLab. Coordinates given by the original saccade data will also be used in conjunction to see where changes in saccades were occuring.


(Picture: Henderson et al., 2000)

4. Perhaps look into some extra stuff. For instance, the size of saccades and saccade pattern differences for correct answers and wrong answers.