Poster A128, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Translating cognitive neuroscience findings to benefits outside the lab: Promoting resilience in student veterans through a novel cognitive-emotional intervention
Yifan Hu1, Christian Williams1, Howard Berenbaum1, Florin Dolcos1, Sanda Dolcos1; 1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Despite recent progress in understanding the neural and behavioral mechanisms of instructed emotion regulation (ER), typically tested in an experimental setting, little is known about the long-term generalized benefits of systematic ER training. Such evidence-based interventions may be particularly useful for student veterans, who are confronted with a variety of unique challenges with reintegration, and experience high levels of psychological distress. Here, we tested a novel intervention designed to enhance student veterans’ skills in using two ER strategies, focused attention (FA) and cognitive reappraisal (CR). Subjects participated in weekly training, for 5-8 weeks, and comprehensive assessments of psychological well-being, executive function, and resting-state fMRI were performed before and after the intervention. Preliminary results showed overall improvements in psychological well-being and executive function. These improvements were associated with decreased resting state functional connectivity between regions associated with cognitive control (lateral Prefrontal Cortex, PFC) and visual regions (occipital cortex). There was also increased connectivity between control regions and default mode network regions (medial PFC). These findings show that benefits of ER training can translate into increased general ability to deal with emotional challenges, and this positive effect is associated with both behavioral change and neuroplasticity in the resting state functional connectivity.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions