SURF

Jimmy Yin

Investigating the Effects of Trait Anxiety Vulnerability on Fear Association to Compound Stimuli

With a prevalence of about 18% of the American adult population, anxiety disorders are an increasingly important focus of mental health research. Such disorders can severely diminish the quality of an individuals daily life. In both the animal and human literature, fear conditioning has provided an important model of the abnormal development of learned fear responses associated with anxiety disorders. One important question has been whether anxiety is characterized by greater generalization of fear responses. This is typically examined by testing stimuli that vary along some dimension in similarity from a conditioned stimulus. In my study, I ask whether anxious individuals show a differential tendency to condition to the parts versus the whole of compound stimuli. This research expands upon current studies of conditioned fear in individuals with elevated trait vulnerability to anxiety, and has significant implications for advancing our understanding, and potentially the treatment, of anxiety disorders.

Message to Sponsor

Academic research has been a goal of mine since my first explorations into the field of psychology in high school. As such, being able to devote my full attention to research this summer is a privilege for which I am immensely grateful. The generosity of the Leadership Fund has allowed me to pursue my passions, and I hope to repay their contributions with my hard work this summer and beyond.
  • Major: Psychology, Computer Science (minor)
  • Sponsor: Leadership SURF fellow
  • Mentor: Sonia Bishop, Psychology