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Electrophysical and Neurophysical Measures of Emotional Regulation in HIV-Infected Women

Grant Winners

  • Jaime Tartar, PhD – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
  • Carlos Garcia, BS – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences


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


Award Winners

Our previous work measuring electroencephalographic (EEG) event-related potential (ERP) responses to emotionally negative images showed that compared to HIV- women, HIV+ women demonstrate very little emotional reactivity- as measured by the late positive potential (LPP, an ERP indicator of attention to emotional stimuli). This reduction in emotional responsiveness was not related to self-report measures of depressive symptomology or trait-anxiety in the HIV+ sample, suggesting that the diminished attention to emotional stimuli in the HIV+ group has a neurophysiological basis. To our knowledge, this was the first study to demonstrate electrophysiological correlates of reduced emotional affect, or apathy, which is often reported as a symptom of the HIV+ population. Here, we seek to expand on these findings by using a combination of electrophysiological and neuropsychological assessments. The primary aim of the study is to determine whether HIV-infected women are able to modulate ERP indicators of attention to emotional stimuli (i.e. the LPP, late positive potential) through the use of previously validated emotion regulation strategies. The secondary aim of the study is to determine whether the use of a positive reappraisal strategy will reduce the subjective rating of emotional valence. This is significant for HIV+ women as the use of the positive reappraisal strategies is shown to be associated with positive mental and physical health outcomes. Finally, we aim to determine whether associations exist between neuropsychological test performance within the executive domain and the electrophysiological correlate of attention to emotional stimuli, or LPP. In particular, we predict that low scores on executive domain performance will be associated with low LPP amplitudes. This study represents an exciting new line of investigation for NSU and the scientific community as it will be the first of its kind to provide a neuropsychological and electrophysiological examination of emotion regulation in HIV.

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