Greg Hajcak

Stony Brook University, 스토니브룩, New York, United States

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Publications (167)609.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Reward-processing abnormalities are thought to be a key feature of various psychiatric disorders and may also play a role in disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), a new diagnosis in DSM-5. In the current study, we used event-related potentials (ERP) sensitive to monetary gains (i.e., the reward positivity [RewP]) and losses (i.e., the N200) to examine associations between symptoms of DMDD during early childhood and later reward processing during preadolescence. Methods: To assess early emerging DMDD symptoms in a large longitudinal community sample (n=373) of 3-year old children, we administered a diagnostic interview, Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) with parents. At a later assessment, ∼6 years later, children completed a monetary reward task while an electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. Children's lifetime history of psychopathology was also assessed at that time using Kiddie-Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) with the child and parent. Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed that age 3 DMDD symptoms predicted an enhanced RewP to monetary rewards in preadolescence. This association is independent of demographics and lifetime history of symptoms of depression, any anxiety disorder, attention-deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder Conclusions: Early manifestations of DMDD in children as young as 3 years old predicted enhanced reward processing later in development. These findings add to the growing corpus of literature on the pathophysiology of DMDD, and underscore the predictive validity of preschool DMDD on a neural level.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
  • Anna Weinberg · Greg Perlman · Roman Kotov · Greg Hajcak
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal patterns of attention to threat and reward have been proposed as potential mechanisms of dysfunction in anxiety and unipolar depressive disorders. However, few studies have simultaneously examined whether these patterns of attention are shared among disorders or distinguish between them. In the present study, we recorded the Late Positive Potential (LPP), an event-related potential and putative index of motivated attention, from 145 patients with anxiety and unipolar depressive disorders and 32 controls, as they viewed blocks of rewarding and threatening images, respectively. We found that a current diagnosis of depression was associated with a reduced LPP to rewarding visual stimuli. This appeared to be specific to a subgroup of individuals with early onset depression; this subgroup was also characterized by a reduced LPP to threatening images. Anxiety diagnosis and age of onset of anxiety, whether comorbid with depression or not, was unrelated to the magnitude of the LPP. Finally, a transdiagnostic symptom dimension measuring current severity of suicidal ideation was related to a reduced LPP to both rewarding and threatening images. These data suggest that dysfunction in neural markers of attention to threat and reward can effectively distinguish features of depression from anxiety, particularly early onset depression, and may track suicidal ideation across disorders. (PsycINFO Database Record
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Abnormal Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a debilitating disorder characterized by severe deficits in emotion regulation - is prevalent among U.S. military veterans. Research into the pathophysiology of PTSD has focused primarily on emotional reactivity, showing evidence of heightened neural response during negative affect provocation. By comparison, studies of brain functioning during the voluntary regulation of negative affect are limited. In the current study, combat-exposed U.S. military veterans with (n=25) and without (n=25) PTSD performed an emotion regulation task during electroencephalographic (EEG) recording. The late positive potential (LPP) was used as a measure of sustained attention toward, and processing of, negative and neutral pictures, and was scored prior to and after instructions to either maintain or down-regulate emotional response using the strategy of cognitive reappraisal. Results showed that groups did not differ in picture-elicited LPP amplitude either prior to or during cognitive reappraisal; reappraisal reduced the LPP in both groups over time. Time-dependent increases in LPP amplitude as a function of emotional reactivity maintenance were evident in the non-PTSD group only. This latter finding may signal PTSD-related deficits in sustained emotion-processing over the course of several seconds.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
  • Felicia Jackson · Brady D Nelson · Greg Hajcak
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    ABSTRACT: Errors are unpredictable events that have the potential to cause harm. The error-related negativity (ERN) is the electrophysiological index of errors and has been posited to reflect sensitivity to threat. Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is the tendency to perceive uncertain events as threatening. In the present study, 61 participants completed a self-report measure of IU and a flanker task designed to elicit the ERN. Results indicated that IU subscales were associated with the ERN in opposite directions. Cognitive distress in the face of uncertainty (Prospective IU) was associated with a larger ERN and slower reaction time. Inhibition in response to uncertainty (Inhibitory IU) was associated with a smaller ERN and faster reaction time. This study suggests that sensitivity to the uncertainty of errors contributes to the magnitude of the ERN. Furthermore, these findings highlight the importance of considering the heterogeneity of anxiety phenotypes in relation to measures of threat sensitivity.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Biological psychology
  • Greg Hajcak · Christopher J Patrick
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    ABSTRACT: The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) reflects a paradigm shift in mental health research aimed at establishing a science of psychopathology that is grounded in neuroscience. In many ways, the RDoC approach to research has been utilized for decades by psychophysiologists who have leveraged a range of biological measures to study variability in psychological processes as a function of individual differences. We highlight the critical role of psychophysiology in the era of RDoC, and briefly review the 13 papers and commentary that form the current special issue.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
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    ABSTRACT: Fear conditioning research on threat predictability has primarily examined the impact of temporal (i.e., timing) predictability on the startle reflex. However, there are other key features of threat that can vary in predictability. For example, the reinforcement rate (i.e., frequency) of threat is a crucial factor underlying fear learning. The present study examined the impact of threat reinforcement rate on the startle reflex and self-reported anxiety during a fear conditioning paradigm. Forty-five participants completed a fear learning task in which the conditioned stimulus was reinforced with an electric shock to the forearm on 50% of trials in one block and 75% of trials in a second block, in counter-balanced order. The present study also examined whether intolerance of uncertainty (IU), the tendency to perceive or experience uncertainty as stressful or unpleasant, was associated with the startle reflex during conditions of low (50%) vs. high (75%) reinforcement. Results indicated that, across all participants, startle was greater during the 75% relative to the 50% reinforcement condition. IU was positively correlated with startle potentiation (i.e., increased startle response to the CS+ relative to the CS-) during the 50%, but not the 75%, reinforcement condition. Thus, despite receiving fewer electric shocks during the 50% reinforcement condition, individuals with high IU uniquely demonstrated greater defense system activation when impending threat was more uncertain. The association between IU and startle was independent of state anxiety. The present study adds to a growing literature on threat predictability and aversive responding, and suggests IU is associated with abnormal responding in the context of uncertain threat.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of top-down factors such as goals and expectations is well-established in both visual perception and anxiety. However, researchers have attributed the perceptual prioritization of threatening stimuli in anxiety to bottom-up, automatic processing of these stimuli while neglecting the role of prestimulus, top-down factors. Furthermore, different kinds of anxiety (dispositional versus induced) impact cognitive functions differently, suggesting that top-down factors may have distinct effects on threat perception. In the present study, we examined whether prestimulus representations of threatening stimuli facilitate perception differently, depending on induced and trait anxiety. Two groups of participants completed a cued discrimination task using threatening or neutral cues to identify subsequently presented fearful and neutral faces, degraded to each participant's perceptual threshold. In Group 1, threat of shock induced anxiety (n = 22; 12 men), whereas in Group 2, no anxiety was induced (n = 29; 7 men). The impact of induced anxiety on perception interacted with trait anxiety. Following fear cues, higher trait anxiety was associated with improved perceptual sensitivity and faster reaction time under threat of shock, and worse perceptual sensitivity and slower reaction time in absence of shock. The present findings represent an important advance in the literature because they elucidate the role of previously ignored top-down factors in threat perception for individuals with varying levels of anxiety and highlight the distinct impact that different types of anxiety have on the perception of threatening stimuli. Furthermore, these findings underline the importance of including top-down factors in future conceptualizations of perceptual bias toward threat in anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Emotion
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that unpredictability and uncertainty can alter reward system functioning. The present study examined the impact of (1) a task-irrelevant unpredictable relative to predictable context and (2) individual differences in intolerance of uncertainty (IU) on the reward-related positivity (RewP), an event-related potential (ERP) response to monetary gains relative to losses. Specifically, 64 participants listened to predictable and unpredictable tone sequences while electroencephalography was recorded during a monetary gambling task. Participants also completed the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale, which measures both cognitive distress (prospective IU) and behavioral inhibition (inhibitory IU) elicited by uncertainty, in addition to the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 and Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Results indicated that the RewP was reduced during the unpredictable relative to the predictable context. Greater self-reported anxiety elicited by the unpredictable context was associated with a decreased RewP, and a decreased RewP was associated with poorer lose-shift behavioral adjustment. Furthermore, the RewP mediated the relationship between self-reported anxiety elicited by the unpredictable context and lose-shift behavioral adjustment. The IU subscales demonstrated the opposite relationship with the RewP across both contexts-inhibitory IU was associated with an attenuated RewP and prospective IU was associated with an enhanced RewP. In contrast, anxiety, depression, stress, and worry symptomatology were not associated with the RewP. This is the first study to demonstrate that an unpredictable context and individual differences in the degree to which people cannot tolerate uncertainty impact an ERP measure of reward system functioning.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015
  • Brady D. Nelson · Greg Hajcak

    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Natural disasters expose entire communities to stress and trauma, leading to increased risk for psychiatric symptoms. Yet, the majority of exposed individuals are resilient, highlighting the importance of identifying underlying factors that contribute to outcomes. Methods: The current study was part of a larger prospective study of children in Long Island, New York (n = 260). At age 9, children viewed unpleasant and pleasant images while the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential component that reflects sustained attention toward salient information, was measured. Following the event-related potential assessment, Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in United States history, hit the region. Eight weeks after the hurricane, mothers reported on exposure to hurricane-related stress and children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Symptoms were reassessed 8 months after the hurricane. Results: The LPP predicted both internalizing and externalizing symptoms after accounting for prehurricane symptomatology and interacted with stress to predict externalizing symptoms. Among children exposed to higher levels of hurricane-related stress, enhanced neural reactivity to unpleasant images predicted greater externalizing symptoms 8 weeks after the disaster, while greater neural reactivity to pleasant images predicted lower externalizing symptoms. Moreover, interactions between the LPP and stress continued to predict externalizing symptoms 8 months after the hurricane. Conclusions: Results indicate that heightened neural reactivity and attention toward unpleasant information, as measured by the LPP, predispose children to psychiatric symptoms when exposed to higher levels of stress related to natural disasters, while greater reactivity to and processing of pleasant information may be a protective factor.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Biological psychiatry
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    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2015
  • Annmarie MacNamara · Roman Kotov · Greg Hajcak
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    ABSTRACT: The delineation of specific versus overlapping mechanisms in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) could shed light on the integrity of these diagnostic categories. For example, negative emotion generation is one mechanism that may be especially relevant to both disorders. Emotional processing abnormalities were examined among 97 outpatients with GAD or MDD and 25 healthy adults, using the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential that is larger for emotional versus neutral stimuli. GAD and MDD were also assessed dimensionally across all participants. Both MDD diagnosis and dimensional depression scores were associated with reduced ΔLPP. When controlling for MDD diagnosis/dimension, both the diagnosis and dimension of GAD were associated with increased ΔLPP. Both MDD and GAD dimensions, but not diagnoses, were associated with increased ΔRT to targets that followed emotional pictures. Therefore, MDD and GAD have distinguishable and opposing features evident in neural measures of emotion processing.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cognitive Therapy and Research
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    ABSTRACT: Carver and White's (1994) Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System (BIS/BAS) Scales have been useful tools for studying individual differences in reward-punishment sensitivity; however, their factor structure and invariance across development have not been well tested. In the current study, we examined the factor structure of the BIS/BAS Scales across 5 age groups: 6- to 10-year-old children (N = 229), 11- to 13-year-old early adolescents (N = 311), 14- to 16-year-old late adolescents (N = 353), 18- to 22-year-old young adults (N = 844), and 30- to 45-year-old adults (N = 471). Given poor fit of the standard 4-factor model (BIS, Reward Responsivity, Drive, Fun Seeking) in the literature, we conducted exploratory factor analyses in half of the participants and identified problematic items across age groups. The 4-factor model showed poor fit in our sample, whereas removing the BAS Fun Seeking subscale and problematic items from the remaining subscales improved fit in confirmatory factor analyses conducted with the second half of the participants. The revised model showed strict invariance across age groups and by sex, indicating consistent factor structure, item loadings, thresholds, and unique or residual variances. Additionally, in our cross-sectional data, we observed nonlinear relations between age and subscale scores, where scores tended to be higher in young adulthood than in childhood and later adulthood. Furthermore, sex differences emerged across development; adolescent and adult females had higher BIS scores than males in this age range, whereas sex differences were not observed in childhood. These differences may help us to understand the rise in internalizing psychopathology in adolescence, particularly in females. Future developmental studies are warranted to examine the impact of rewording problematic items. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Psychological Assessment
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    ABSTRACT: Depressive disorders are associated with significant economic and public health burdens as well as increased morbidity. Yet, perhaps due to the heterogeneous nature of the disease, prevention and intervention efforts are only moderately efficacious. A better understanding of core mechanisms of depressive disorders might aid in the development of more targeted intervention, and perhaps help identify individuals at risk. One mechanism that may be particularly important to depressive phenotypes is reward insensitivity. Examination of neurobiological correlates of reward-processing, which should relate more directly to the neuropathology of depression, may be helpful in identifying liability for the disorder. To that end, we used a family study design to examine whether a neural response to rewards is a familial risk factor for depression in a sample of probands with a wide range of internalizing psychopathology, as well as their biological siblings. Event-related potentials were recorded during a simple forced-choice gambling paradigm, in which participants could either win or lose small amounts of money. Lower levels of positive affect in probands predicted a reduced neural response to rewards in siblings, even over and above the sibling's own level of positive and negative affect. Additionally, the neural response to rewards was familial (i.e., correlated among siblings). Combined, these analyses suggest that a blunted neural response to rewards may be useful in identifying individuals vulnerable to depressive illnesses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Abnormal Psychology
  • Daniel N. Klein · Greg Hajcak

    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Psychological Inquiry
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    ABSTRACT: "Excessive" viewing of visual sexual stimuli (VSS) is the most commonly reported hypersexual behavior problem and is especially amenable to laboratory study. A pattern of enhanced sexual cue responsiveness is expected in this sample if hypersexuality shares features of other addiction models. Participants (N = 122) who either reported or denied problematic VSS use were presented with emotional, including explicit sexual, images while their evoked response potentials were recorded. An interaction of hypersexual problem group and the level of desire for sex with a partner predicted LPP amplitude. Specifically, those reporting problems regulating their VSS use who also reported higher sexual desire had lower LPP in response to VSS. This pattern appears different from substance addiction models. These are the first functional physiological data of persons reporting VSS regulation problems. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Biological psychology
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    ABSTRACT: An attentional bias to threat has been implicated in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Recently, attention bias modification (ABM) has been shown to reduce threat biases and decrease anxiety. However, it is unclear whether ABM modifies neural activity linked to anxiety and risk. The current study examined the relationship between ABM and the error-related negativity (ERN), a putative biomarker of risk for anxiety disorders, and the relationship between the ERN and ABM-based changes in attention to threat. Fifty-nine participants completed a single-session of ABM and a flanker task to elicit the ERN-in counterbalanced order (i.e., ABM-before vs. ABM-after the ERN was measured). Results indicated that the ERN was smaller (i.e., less negative) among individuals who completed ABM-before relative to those who completed ABM-after. Furthermore, greater attentional disengagement from negative stimuli during ABM was associated with a smaller ERN among ABM-before and ABM-after participants. The present study suggests a direct relationship between the malleability of negative attention bias and the ERN. Explanations are provided for how ABM may contribute to reductions in the ERN. Overall, the present study indicates that a single-session of ABM may be related to a decrease in neural activity linked to anxiety and risk.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience

Publication Stats

9k Citations
609.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007-2016
    • Stony Brook University
      • Department of Psychology
      스토니브룩, New York, United States
    • VU University Amsterdam
      • Department of Cognitive Psychology
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2009
    • Stony Brook University Hospital
      Stony Brook, New York, United States
  • 2002-2007
    • University of Delaware
      • Department of Psychology
      Delaware, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States