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Title page for ETD etd-03212019-142557

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Calvache Meyer, Francisco Agustin
URN etd-03212019-142557
Title Associations Between Reward Processing in the Monetary Incentive Delay Task and Higher Order Factors of Psychopathology
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David H. Zald, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Andrew J. Tomarken, Ph.D. Committee Member
David A. Cole, Ph.D. Committee Member
Sohee Park, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • reward network
  • higher-order psychopathology
  • neural correlates
  • structural equation modeling
Date of Defense 2019-03-19
Availability restricted
Recent work suggests the high comorbidity across psychiatric disorders can be modeled using continuous transdiagnostic dimensions, including a general psychopathology factor that reflects non-specific vulnerability to all symptom dimensions, and specific factors for externalizing and internalizing syndromes. These higher-order psychopathology factors offer an advantage over traditional case-controlled approaches by allowing us to identify neural correlates associated with broader vulnerabilities to psychopathology while accounting for the full structure of psychopathology, which is not possible in case-controlled designs. However, little research currently exists on the neural correlates of these higher-order psychopathology factors. The goal of this study was to address this gap in the literature by identifying whether higher-order psychopathology factors were associated with activation in the reward anticipation and reward attainment stages of the Monetary Incentive Delay task using a novel voxel-wise SEM approach.

Analyses were focused on a subset of Tennessee Twin Study Wave II sample with viable neuroimaging data (N = 326). A novel voxel-wise SEM approach was used to examine associations with higher-order psychopathology. A cluster in the reward anticipation contrast comprising right pre-SMA and right dorsal ACC showed a significant positive association with the general factor. Eight clusters of brain regions not associated with the reward network in the reward anticipation contrast showing significant associations with the internalizing factor.

Findings from this study are congruent with growing evidence implicating ACC abnormalities in structure and function with broad psychopathology. In addition, this study contributes to the methodological literature by introducing and applying a novel voxel-wise SEM approach.

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