Hannah R Snyder

Hannah R Snyder
Brandeis University · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

61
Publications
18,510
Reads
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3,967
Citations
Citations since 2017
34 Research Items
3144 Citations
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Introduction
Individual differences in executive functions (EF) are associated with many important aspects of human health and functioning, including mental health. Critically, EF processes continue to develop through the early 20's, a period when new stressors arise during the transition to adulthood and psychopathology risk is high. Our research seeks to better understand the links between EF, stress and stress coping mechanisms, and psychopathology (especially depression and anxiety) during this key adolescent and emerging adulthood period.
Additional affiliations
August 2016 - present
Brandeis University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2012 - June 2016
University of Denver
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2006 - July 2012
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Recent approaches have aimed to represent the dimensional structure of psychopathology, but relatively little research has rigorously tested subdimensions within internalizing psychopathology. Using adult samples harmonized across three sites ( N = 427), this study tested preregistered models of the dimensional structure of internalizing psychopath...
Article
Adolescence and emerging adulthood is likely a sensitive period for the neural effects of stress due to increasing life stress, onset of stress-related disorders, and continued gray matter (GM) development. In adults, stress is associated with GM differences in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), hippocampus, and amygdala, but little is known abou...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted daily life for undergraduates and introduced new stressors (e.g., campus closures). How individuals respond to stressors can interact with stress to increase disorder risk in both unique and transdiagnostic ways. The current study examined how maladaptive and adaptive stress response styles moderated th...
Article
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Background: Emotion regulation deficits are an outcome and risk factor for both insomnia and depression, suggesting that maladaptive emotion regulation might in part explain the bi-directional links between sleep and depression. The current study tests this hypothesis during the COVID-19 pandemic in emerging adult undergraduate students, a high-ris...
Article
Subjective stress severity appraisals have consistently emerged as better predictors of poor health than stressor exposure, but the reason for this is unclear. Subjective stress may better predict poor health for one of at least two reasons. First, because stressor exposure measures consider all stressors as equal, stress severity measures—which “w...
Article
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Both unipolar and bipolar depression have been linked with impairments in executive functioning (EF). In particular, mood symptom severity is associated with differences in common EF, a latent measure of general EF abilities. The relationship between mood disorders and EF is particularly salient in adolescence and young adulthood when the ongoing d...
Article
Understanding the neuroanatomical correlates of internalizing psychopathology during adolescence may shed light on neurodevelopmental processes that make this a critical period for the trajectory of mental illness. However, few studies have simultaneously examined co-occurring and dissociable features of internalizing psychopathology during this fo...
Article
Stressful life events predict changes in brain structure and increases in psychopathology, but not everyone is equally affected by life stress. The learned helplessness theory posits that perceiving life stressors as uncontrollable leads to depression. Evidence supports this theory for youth, but the impact of perceived control diverges based on st...
Article
Poor cognitive control has been associated with maladaptive thinking, like rumination and worry, that increase risk for internalizing psychopathology. However, little research has investigated how cognitive control is associated with commonalities between rumination and worry (i.e., repetitive negative thinking; RNT). The current study aimed to inv...
Article
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Rumination and worry are two types of repetitive negative thinking (RNT) that have been identified as risk factors for depression and anxiety, but it remains unclear whether the common (i.e., RNT) and/or distinct (i.e., temporal orientation and thought content) features of these thinking styles are associated with internalizing psychopathology. The...
Article
Negative emotionality (NE) and multiple cognitive vulnerabilities (CVs) (negative inferential style, brooding, self-criticism, dependency, dysfunctional attitudes) independently predict internalizing outcomes. The present study examined whether NE and CVs could be structurally integrated into a common factor reflecting shared variance across risks,...
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Despite overlapping terminology and assumptions that they tap the same constructs, executive function (EF) task performance and EF/effortful control (EC) questionnaires have been reported to be only weakly correlated. It is unclear if this reflects true lack of association or methodological limitations. The current study addresses past methodologic...
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This study examined how levels of neurotransmitters in the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), a region underlying higher-order cognition, are related to the brain’s intrinsic functional organization. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), GABA+ and Glx (glutamate + glutamine) levels in the left dorsal (DLPFC) and left ventral (VLPFC) lateral p...
Article
Abstract Objective: Depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are prevalent and highly comorbid. ADHD symptoms are associated with specific dependent (i.e., self-generated) stressors in children, and there is a strong link between dependent stress and depression. Despite continued comorbidity of ADHD and depressive symptoms int...
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Personal-enacted identity gaps, defined as the difference between an individual’s self- view and the self that one expresses in communication, affect depression levels of international students living in the United States. Thus, identity gaps are an important construct for understanding the relation between identity and health outcomes. The pres...
Article
Objective: The current study examines how maternal depressive symptoms relate to child psychopathology when structured via the latent bifactor model of psychopathology, a new organizational structure of psychopathological symptoms consisting of a general common psychopathology factor (p-factor) and internalizing- and externalizing-specific risk. Me...
Article
Alterations in neural systems underlying cognitive control are well-documented across individuals with various internalizing disorders. The current study examined how individual differences in underlying traits related to internalizing disorders influence brain activation, as assessed by fMRI, when cognitive control must be exerted to make a decisi...
Article
Objective: Multiple cognitive risks from different theoretical paradigms (dysfunctional attitudes, negative inferential style, self-criticism, dependency, brooding) predict depression, but may be transdiagnostic vulnerabilities for multiple psychopathologies. Risk factors can be identified as broadly transdiagnostic and relatively specific to psyc...
Article
Full-text available
Executive function (EF) deficits have been proposed as transdiagnostic risk factors for psychopathology, and recent research suggests EF impairments are associated with what is shared across forms of psychopathology (p factor). However, most research has not employed methods that differentiate between EF components, and little is known about the me...
Article
Background: Dependent (self-generated) stress is a strong risk factor for depression and anxiety, but perceptions of stress can alter its impact. Appraisals of dependent stress controllability and severity additionally relate to depression and anxiety over and above stress exposure. Due to the high comorbidity of depression and anxiety, it is uncl...
Chapter
Mood and anxiety disorders are the most common forms of adult psychopathology, and impaired cognitive function plays an important role in daily functioning and disability associated with these conditions. This chapter reviews evidence for impairments in executive function, attention, and memory associated with major depressive disorder, bipolar dis...
Article
One major question in the cognitive neuroscience of cognitive control is whether prefrontal regions contribute to control by upregulating the processing of task-relevant material or by downregulating the processing of task-irrelevant material. Here we take a unique approach to addressing this question by using multi-voxel pattern analysis, which al...
Article
Adolescence is a period of high risk for the emergence of problems with anxiety and depression. Theory and research suggest that executive function deficits accompany internalizing and externalizing problems, although more evidence is required to understand these relationships. This study employed a commonly used rating scale of executive function,...
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Full-text available
Evidence suggests that early pubertal timing may operate as a transdiagnostic risk factor (i.e., shared across syndromes of psychopathology) for both genders. The current study examined associations between pubertal timing and dimensional psychopathology, structured across different levels of three organizational models: (a) DSM-based syndrome mode...
Article
Background and objectives: Stress is well established as a strong risk factor for internalizing psychopathology. Learned helplessness research demonstrates that perceived controllability of stressors affects internalizing symptoms. Furthermore, subjective perceived stress is associated with psychopathology. However, most recent research has focused...
Article
Multiple cognitive risk products (dysfunctional attitudes [DA], negative inferential style [NIS], self-criticism, dependency, rumination) predict internalizing disorders; however, an optimal structure to assess these risks is unknown. We evaluated the fit, construct validity, and utility of a bifactor, single, and correlated factor model in a commu...
Article
Depressed individuals exhibit biased attention to negative emotional information. However, much remains unknown about (a) the neurocognitive mechanisms of attention bias (e.g., qualities of negative information that evoke attention bias or functional brain network dynamics that may reflect a propensity for biased attention) and (b) distinctions in...
Article
Introduction: Performance in the executive function (EF) domain has been linked to symptoms and functional outcomes in psychosis. Studies have found that UHR populations have difficulty with verbal fluency, which involves multiple facets of EF. Two potentially implicated EF facets were examined to explore whether these could be dissociated in UHR...
Chapter
In this chapter, we first describe the symptoms, prevalence and developmental course of youth depression. We then turn to links between depression and Working Memory (WM) and related Executive Function (EF) abilities and the neurobiological substrates supporting these processes, and discuss how these problems may explain some of the academic and in...
Article
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Reduced grey matter volume (GMV) is widely implicated in psychopathology, but studies have found mostly overlapping areas of GMV reduction across disorders rather than unique neural signatures, potentially due to pervasive comorbidity. GMV reductions may be associated with broader psychopathology dimensions rather than specific disorders. We used a...
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Psychopathology is posited to be transdiagnostically linked to chronic stress. Yet efforts to understand the specificity and directionality of these links have been sparse, and the ubiquitous comorbidity of psychopathology has made the seemingly nonspecific links between psychological disorders and chronic stress difficult to interpret. The current...
Article
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Common emotional and behavioral symptoms co-occur and are associated with core temperament factors. This study investigated links between temperament and dimensional, latent psychopathology factors, including a general common psychopathology factor (p factor) and specific latent internalizing and externalizing liabilities, as captured by a bifactor...
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It is well known that comorbidity is the rule, not the exception, for categorically defined psychiatric disorders, and this is also the case for internalizing disorders of depression and anxiety. This theoretical review paper addresses the ubiquity of comorbidity among internalizing disorders. Our central thesis is that progress in understanding th...
Article
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Dimensional models of psychopathology that posit a general psychopathology factor (i.e., p factor), in addition to specific internalizing and externalizing factors, have recently gained prominence. However, the stability of these factors and the specificity with which they are related to one another over time (e.g., homotypic or heterotypic continu...
Article
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Poor cognitive control is associated with nearly every mental disorder and has been proposed as a transdiagnostic risk factor for psychopathology, including depression and anxiety. What specific mechanisms might cause individuals with poor cognitive control to experience higher levels of psychopathology? The current research tests a new process mod...
Chapter
We review the dominant cognitive risks for several prevalent and impairing psychopathologies (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, and schizophrenia). We focus on central mental processes, including attention, memory, and executive functioning, alongside core cognitive product...
Article
Temperament is associated with important outcomes in adolescence, including academic and interpersonal functioning and psychopathology. Rothbart's temperament model is among the most well-studied and supported approaches to adolescent temperament, and contains 3 main components: positive emotionality (PE), negative emotionality (NE), and effortful...
Article
Full-text available
Executive function (EF) is essential for successfully navigating nearly all of our daily activities. Of critical importance for clinical psychological science, EF impairments are associated with most forms of psychopathology. However, despite the proliferation of research on EF in clinical populations, with notable exceptions clinical and cognitive...
Article
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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious and often chronically disabling condition. The current dominant model of OCD focuses on abnormalities in prefrontal-striatal circuits that support executive function (EF). While there is growing evidence for EF impairments associated with OCD, results have been inconsistent, making the nature and mag...
Article
The contributions of familiarity and working memory to transfer were examined in the tower of Hanoi task. participants completed 3 different versions of the task: a standard 3- disk version, a clothing exchange task that included familiar semantic content, and a tea ceremony task that included unfamiliar semantic content. the constraints on moves w...
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Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children's exter...
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Individuals vary greatly in their ability to select one item or response when presented with a multitude of options. Here we investigate the neural underpinnings of these individual differences. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we found that the balance of inhibitory versus excitatory neurotransmitters in pFC predicts the ability to select am...
Article
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People must constantly select among potential thoughts and actions in the face of competition from (a) multiple task-relevant options (underdetermined competition) and (b) strongly dominant options that are not appropriate in the current context (prepotent competition). These types of competition are ubiquitous during language production. In this w...
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People constantly face the need to choose one option from among many, such as when selecting words to express a thought. Selecting between many options can be difficult for anyone, and can feel overwhelming for individuals with elevated anxiety. The current study demonstrates that anxiety is associated with impaired selection across three different...
Chapter
Children show remarkable developments in their ability to decide when and how to flexibly move between a variety of routine and novel activities. While such developments are viewed as adaptive, they may also come with costs. We consider such trade-offs in the development of increasingly active, abstract goal representations supported by prefrontal...
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Children often struggle to behave flexibly when they must use self-directed goals (e.g., doing homework without prompting) rather than externally driven goals (e.g., cleaning up when told). Such struggles may reflect the demands of selecting among many potential options, as required for self-directed control. The current study tested whether (a) 6-...
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The ability to engage in goal-directed behavior despite exposure to stress is critical to resilience. Questions of how stress can impair or improve behavioral functioning are important in diverse settings, from athletic competitions to academic testing to clinical therapy. Previous research suggests that controllability is a key factor in the impac...
Article
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Cognitive impairments are now widely acknowledged as an important aspect of major depressive disorder (MDD), and it has been proposed that executive function (EF) may be particularly impaired in patients with MDD. However, the existence and nature of EF impairments associated with depression remain strongly debated. Although many studies have found...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to flexibly break out of routine behaviors develops gradually and is essential for success in life. We discuss three key developmental transitions toward more flexible behavior. First, children develop an increasing ability to overcome habits by engaging cognitive control in response to environmental signals. Second, children shift from...
Article
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When we speak, we constantly retrieve and select words for production in the face of multiple possible alternatives. Our ability to respond in such underdetermined situations is supported by left ventrolateral prefrontal cortical (VLPFC) regions, but there is active debate about whether these regions support (1) selection between competing alternat...
Article
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Whether grocery shopping or choosing words to express a thought, selecting between options can be challenging, especially for people with anxiety. We investigate the neural mechanisms supporting selection during language processing and its breakdown in anxiety. Our neural network simulations demonstrate a critical role for competitive, inhibitory d...
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A fundamental part of growing up is going beyond routines. Children become increasingly skilled over the first years of life at actively maintaining goals in the service of flexible behavior, allowing them to break out of habits and switch from one task to another. Their early successes often occur with exogenous (externally-provided) goals, and on...
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How do we make decisions when faced with multiple options? In the domain of language, some evidence suggests that we exert cognitive control in order to respond in such underdetermined situations when a good option is hard to find but not when we must select among competing options. However, this conclusion, and conclusions about the neural substra...
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Debates about the function of the prefrontal cortex are as old as the field of neuropsychology--often dated to Paul Broca's seminal work. Theories of the functional organization of the prefrontal cortex can be roughly divided into those that describe organization by process and those that describe organization by material. Recent studies of the fun...
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Education majors' moral judgment development reportedly lags behind other majors. This study questions the degree to which such differences exist. For this study, moral judgment development and other criteria were considered among 74 education and 50 liberal arts majors. Results revealed minimal mean differences and minimal differences in relations...
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In order to better understand contributing factors of moral judgment development, gifted youth and college students were compared. Moral judgment development, ACT scores, attributional complexity, and descriptors of personality were assessed among 140 college students and 97 gifted youth. Important distinctions favoring the gifted sample were seen...

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Project
http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/psych/cope-lab/