Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Amy Marie Jimenez Humanities and Social Science

Encoding and retrieval of emotional pictures in major depressive disorder

For my senior thesis, I am studying potential neural abnormalities associated with dysfunctional emotion memory and regulation in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). This study will help elucidate the role of emotion processing dysfunctions in the maintenance and expression of the disorder. I will be utilizing previously collected, un-analyzed data for this project. First, I will determine whether individuals diagnosed with MDD demonstrate preferential memory for negative events compared to healthy control individuals in a free recall memory test of emotional pictures. Then I will analyze electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings taken during encoding and retrieval of the pictures, investigating the potentially differential processing of negative versus positive stimuli between the two groups. Finally, I will explore the potential existence of depression sub-types.

Message To Sponsor

The opportunity to complete an independent research project and to have that work recognized by SURF is so remarkable. I have always wanted to do work that helps people and now I am on my way to being able to do that. Having to narrow down my interests and translate them into a viable project was difficult, but very rewarding. I am proud of my thesis and know I am fortunate to be supported by an excellent team of researchers. I can only imagine that completing this project will continue to be a challenge well worth it in the end. This funding will allow me to dedicate an entire summer to my work, for which I am very grateful.
Major: Psychology
Mentor: Robert Knight, Psychology
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