|| Assistant Professor
||University of Illinois, 2008
Association for Psychological Science
Society for Psychophysiological Research
Society for Biological Psychiatry
My research employs subjective reports (questionnaires and clinical interviews), behavioral methods, electroencephalography (EEG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how brain patterns linked to cognition, emotion, and their interaction intersect with individual differences in substance use, depression, and anxiety. People who are addicted to drugs and/or suffering from severe depression and anxiety often have difficulties processing emotions and making decisions that are evident in patterns of brain activity and behavior. I want to see if we can identify markers of risk for these disorders in young adults who have not yet transitioned to chronic mental health problems.
For instance, are aspects of decision-making (such as selecting a particular choice and receiving positive or negative feedback on the basis of that choice) behaviorally and neurally impaired in young adults who: (1) use prescription amphetamines, cocaine, and/or marijuana; and/or (2) have low versus high anxiety and depression symptoms? How do pleasant and unpleasant emotion inductions (e.g., soft touch brushstroke or breathing restriction) influence brain and behavior during decision-making in these young adults? Do brain and behavior patterns in these young adults resemble those of chronic drug users? Can these patterns predict which young adults transition to substance use disorders in the future? I hope to identify markers of risk for addiction and mood/anxiety disorders that can be used in collaborative prevention and treatment intervention efforts.
Stewart, J. L., May, A. C., Poppa, N., Davenport, P. W., Tapert, S. F., & Paulus, M. P. (in press). You are the danger: Attenuated insula response in methamphetamine users during aversive interoceptive decision making. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Paulus, M. P., & Stewart, J. L. (2014). Interoception and drug addiction. Neuropharmacology, 76, 342-350.
May, A. C., Stewart, J. L., Migliorini, R., Tapert, S. F., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). Methamphetamine dependent individuals show attenuated brain response to pleasant interoceptive stimuli. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 131, 238-246.
Migliorini, R., Stewart, J. L., May, A. C., Tapert, S. F., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). What do you feel? Adolescent drug and alcohol users show altered brain response to pleasant interoceptive stimuli. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133, 661-668.
Stewart, J. L., Flagan, T. M., May, A. C., Reske, M., Simmons, A. N., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). Young adults at risk for stimulant dependence show reward dysfunction during reinforcement-based decision making. Biological Psychiatry, 73, 235-241.
Stewart, J. L., Parnass, J. M., May, A. C., Davenport, P. W., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). Altered frontocingulate activation during aversive interoceptive processing in young adults transitioning to problem stimulant use. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 7.