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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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33. Examining Specificity of Neural Correlates of Psychotic-Like Experiences and Depression during an Emotional N-back Task

Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) during childhood are associated with greater risk of developing a psychotic disorder in adulthood, highlighting the importance of identifying neural correlates of childhood PLEs. Further, impaired cognitive functions, such as working memory and emotion regulation, have also been linked to psychosis risk. The current study used an emotional N-back task to examine the relationship between childhood PLEs and neural activation of regions involved in both working memory and emotion regulation, using data from 3,100 9-10-year-olds in the ABCD study. Furthermore, given evidence of shared impairments in both emotion processing and working memory, we also analyzed associations with depressive symptoms to examine specificity. Our results indicated that increased school-age PLEs are associated with both decreased activation of the pallidum during trials requiring working memory and decreased activation of the rostral anterior cingulate during trials requiring emotion regulation. We found that the pattern of decreased activation for the rostral anterior cingulate was significant for both PLEs and depressive symptoms, but the activation of the pallidum was unique to PLEs. These results support the dimensional aspect of psychosis across the lifespan, providing evidence that neural correlates of PLEs, as well as cognitive impairments, are present in school-aged children.

Kathleen O'Brien
Washington University School of Medicine

Deanna Barch
Washington University School of Medicine

Nicole Karcher
Washington University School of Medicine


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