Theses Doctoral

Influencing Emotions: How Brain Development and Social Factors Shape Affective Responses

Martin, Rebecca Emily

Emotion is difficult to define, quantify, and measure yet it pervades almost all aspects of an individual’s life, from one’s internal motivations and feelings, to his or her external responses and decisions. This body of work tackles three major components contributing to the experience of emotion – development, social influences, and the underlying role of the brain. These three components shape emotion in a fundamental and intertwining way, and methods like brain imaging can provide new insights into how emotion changes and is expressed throughout one’s life. Study 1 showed that reactivity and regulation of craving changes with age and are supported by frontoparietal cortical maturation. Study 2 showed that the value estimations of food change across development and can be heavily influenced by social factors. Study 3 replicated the social influence effects observed in Study 2 and revealed the neural mechanisms contributing to this phenomenon. Additionally, this study used a broader range of stimuli including negative, neutral, and positive images, in order to expand the generalizability of the findings. Taken together this work uncovers neural, developmental, and social influences that shape how individuals experience emotions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Ochsner, Kevin N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 19, 2017