School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Project 2: “Emotional reactivity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”

Prof. Dr. Alexandra Philipsen
Medical Campus University of Oldenburg
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Psychiatry and Psychotherapy – University Hospital
Karl-Jaspers-Klinik

Prof. Dr. Pieter Hoekstra
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Academic Centre of Psychiatry
University Center Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
University Medical Center Groningen

 

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a frequent psychiatric disorder in children, adolescents and adults. In addition to the core symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, emotion dysregulation is often seen. Emotion dysregulation is associated with a poor clinical outcome. While the exact pathophysiology of deficient emotional self-regulation in ADHD is unknown, impairments in sensory processing of emotional stimuli, deficient allocation of attention to emotional stimuli, and deficits in executive functions, such as working memory and response inhibition are likely involved.

The PhD project will be embedded in the Dutch NeuroIMAGE study, a large multi-site prospective cohort study designed to investigate the course of ADHD, its genetic and environmental determinants, its cognitive and neurobiological underpinnings, and its consequences in adolescence and adulthood. Participants were assessed via clinical questionnaires and interviews and received structural and functional MR imaging, genotyping and neuropsychological testing. Functional MRI was performed to study cognitive control, monetary and social incentive delay, and emotional reactivity.

The overarching aim of this PhD project is to study the psychological, neural, and genetic mechanisms of emotion dysregulation in patients with ADHD.

Specific aims are:

  1. Compare emotional reactivity between patients with ADHD with and without symptoms of emotion dysregulation and controls.
  2. Predict emotion dysregulation on both the clinical and neural level. Predictors will be selected from neuropsychological and genetic data.
  3. Study emotion regulation in patients with ADHD during magnetoencephalography, allowing the separation of different stages of emotional processing, such as early sensory processing and later appraisal of emotional stimuli.
  4. Study the association between risky decision making and emotion dysregulation in patients with ADHD using neuropsychological and neuroimaging data.

Specific requirements for PhD candidates for project 2:

We are looking for candidates with expertise in neuroimaging and with SPM in relation to neuropsychiatry who are interested in developmental disorders.