Title page for ETD etd-06142010-095308

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Thompson, Naeem Renaud-Phillip
Author's Email Address nthom06@vt.edu
URN etd-06142010-095308
Title A Functional Cerebral Systems Approach to Depression: Contributions of the Left and Right Frontal Lobes
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Harrison, David W. Committee Chair
Bell, Martha Ann Committee Member
Deater-Deckard, Kirby Committee Member
  • laterality
  • emotion
  • depression
  • Neuropsychology
Date of Defense 2010-05-13
Availability unrestricted

In the majority of the depression literature, there has been little attention paid to the mechanisms underlying the differences that occur among individuals with this label. In a theoretical paper by Shenal, Harrison, and Demaree (2003), they proposed that the differences in depression symptomology may be due to differences in the function (and dysfunction) of the right and left frontal lobes. They go on to explain that each frontal lobe may have a direct influence on patterns of depression symptomology. In the current experiment there was an effort to look at performance differences among depressed and non-depressed males on a tests of affective memory (AAVLT) and functioning for the left (COWAT) and right (RFFT) frontal lobes. Results were non-significant for group based differences but other significant effects were found. Reliable findings included a primacy effect for the recall of words from the negative word list from the AAVLT, whereas t a “normal” primacy and recency effects were found for the recall of positive and neutral word lists. There were also significant differences (across trials) for both groups suggesting a “normal” learning curve. It is thought that the non-significant comparisons among the groups are likely due to the qualitatively mild depression scores among participants, which is likely not adequate to capture the level of dysfunction discussed in the original hypothesis.

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