Effects of aversive olfactory stimulation on affect and cognition

The current study is part of a larger research project that aims to decouple the effects of nicotine withdrawal on cognitive performance from the effects of negative affect, another key feature of nicotine withdrawal, on cognition. In order to find an effective method for inducing negative affect in an MRI environment, this study investigates the effects of aversive olfactory stimulation on affect, cognitive performance, and the neural correlates of affect regulation and cognitive control. The goals of the current study include demonstrating the efficacy of aversive olfactory stimulation for creating a negative affective state in participants and demonstrating that this manipulation impairs cognitive performance on several tasks that require cognitive control and the efficient processing of information. A final main goal includes the investigation of the neural correlates of this negative affective state in participants while individuals complete the cognitive tasks, with special emphasis on areas related to emotions (e.g., amygdala) and the regulation of emotional reactivity (e.g., ventrolateral prefrontal cortex).

Description: 
In order to better characterize the effects of negative affect on cognitive performance, the effects of a novel method for inducing negative affect, aversive olfactory stimulation, on cognitive performance and the neural correlates of affect regulation, are explored.