Emotional Influences on Cognitive Processing in HIV-Infected Women

Grant Winners

  • Jaime Tartar, Ph.D. – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kristen DeAlmeida, Student – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Dean

  • Don Rosenblum, Ph.D. – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Award Winners

Although emotional impairment and cognitive decline are both commonly observed in HIV positive individuals, it is currently unclear how these two states influence each other. Poor performance on a cognitive task is often attributed to cognitive deficits when the root problem lies in emotional disturbances, particularly for HIV-infected women. Here, we propose to examine this complex relationship by assessing cognitive functioning while we simultaneously manipulate emotional state through the use of emotionally negative or neutral pictures. We will use electroencephalographic (EEG) event related brain potentials (ERPs) as the primary index of the influence of emotional processing on cognitive functioning. We will also compare EEG/ERP assessments to standard neuropsychological tests of depression, cognition, and quality of daily living. The results of this study will help to clarify in HIV infected women, the extent to which their level of cognitive performance is influenced by related emotional processing. Moreover, we hope to demonstrate that differences in emotional and cognitive processing in HIV are related to differences in patients' self reports of quality of life and success in meeting the day-to-day challenges of life.