Student Presentation -- Fiona Weathersby
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M.S. Thesis Defense, Thursday December 6, 2018 -- Functional Connectivity of Emotional Well-being: Overconnectivity Between Default and Attentional Networks is Associated with Attitudes of Anger and Aggression

HSEB 5100B , 10:00 am

Speaker: Fiona Weathersby. Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Anderson


Background: Functional MRI connectivity has identified neurophysiology relevant to cognition and personality, but correlates between brain architecture and emotional health and well-being remain unclear.

Methods: Two approaches were used to asses functional connectivity correlates in emotional health and well-being. The first approach used principal component analysis. We evaluated resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 1003 subjects (534 female, 469 male) of the Human Connectome Project. Pairwise functional connectivity measurements were obtained for each subject across 6923 x 6923 regions of interest. Principal components were calculated for individuals and across the group mean connectivity data and compared to obtain typicality which was then compared to reported emotional health metrics using a linear regression model. The second approach calculated functional connectivity between each pair of networks from a 17-resting-state network cortical parcellation.

Results: Typicality of connectivity showed significant correlation across the population to emotional metrics corresponding to aggression in 3 of 10 principal components. These components included features corresponding to association cortical networks including the default and attentional networks. Additionally, functional connectivity between the default and attentional networks was positively correlated with scores of attitudes of anger and aggression.

Conclusions: Atypical functional connectivity corresponding to increased synchrony of default network and brain attentional networks is associated with attitudes of anger and aggression. These findings suggest a mechanism of impaired effortful control and decreased inhibition related to control of impulsivity.