Psychology Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Safety Signal Learning in Children of Worried Parents

This project was expired on 08/30/2016


To find out about this 499 opportunity contact:

Contact name: Anna Franklin
Telephone: (206) 685-3617
Email: arf9@uw.edu

Faculty Information

Faculty Advisor:
Department: Psychology

Does faculty advisor meet with students?

If yes, how often? Dr. Zoellner attends our weekly lab meetings where we discuss articles relevant to our research in PTSD.

Direct supervisor of students:

Anna Franklin
Supervisor Title: Research Coordinator
Will 499 students participate in weekly or biweekly discussions sessions about research or project? Yes

Short Project Description

This study will examine whether safety signal learning impairments in children are related to parental worry, which has been proposed as a transdiagnostic factor (Kertz, Bigda-Peyton, Rosmarin, Björgvinsson et al., 2012) associated with anxiety, depression, and stress (Olatunji, Broman-Fulks, Bergman, Green, & Zlomke, 2009). Relatedly, this study will also examine whether child safety signal learning impairments are associated with parental PTSD and depression. Parents who have children in their middle childhood years (5-11 years old) will be recruited. We will measure child startle reactivity (i.e., how hard kids blink) in response to pairs of shapes that are either paired with an aversive, air puff to the throat (e.g., a green triangle and a black star), or that are never paired with the air puff (e.g., an orange square and a black star). We will also measure child startle reactivity in response to a critical test of safety signal learning in which the danger signal (e.g., the green triangle) and the safety signal (e.g., the orange square) will be paired together. Parents will be carefully prescrened on the telephone and potentially eligible and interested parents and their children will then be invited to come into the laboratory for a 3-hour visit. All children will complete the AX+/BX- paradigm while their parents complete a structured, clinical interview. In addition, parents and children will also be asked to complete a number of self-report questionnaires. RA responsibilities include assisting with participant recruitment (e.g., flyering around Seattle), phone screening, running participants (both parents and their children), and scoring psychophysiological data.

Work Schedule

Min. number of hours/weekstudent must work: 6
Evenings/weekends OK? Yes
Times a student must bepresent/work: Students need to be available for at least one participant run per week. These take place on Wednesdays from 5-8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-5pm. In addition, students must be able to attend weekly lab meetings on Mondays from 4:00-5:00. Finally, students must be able to attend a weekly D.Y.A.D.S team meeting on Mondays from 3:30-4pm.
Student commitment: Students must be willing to commit to the study for a minimum of three quarters, including summer 2016.

499 Responsibilities

Working with Data Working with Subjects Working with Animals/physiology
% data entry % video taping % animal care
% database management % interview subjects % animal observation
% encoding data % scheduling appt % surgical techniques
% library research % running subjects % histology
% data collection % child care % laboratory protocols
    % recruiting subjects    

Other:15% - attending lab and research team meetings 35% - study recruitment 35% - running study participants 15% - data scoring

Skills / Experience Preferred

209 (Research Methods) and 305 (Abnormal Psychology) highly recommended. No previous research experience is required, but it is preferred. In addition, potential research assistants must be comfortable and skilled at interacting with people (both adults and children).