Date Thesis Awarded

4-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor

Paul D. Kieffaber

Committee Member

Sarah I. Menefee

Committee Member

Elizabeth B. Raposa

Committee Member

Christopher C. Conway

Abstract

Objective: The goal of this research was to determine the utility of a novel Brief Neurometric Battery (BNB) (Kieffaber et al., 2016) for measuring the neurometric correlates of a) experiences with sexual trauma and b) personality characteristics, and to assess the correlation of sexual trauma with event-related potentials derived through EEG.
Methods: The BNB testing battery uses a nested array of visual and auditory stimuli to elicit several event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory activity in about 20 minutes. This subclinical study at the College of William & Mary used the BNB with college-aged women with past experiences of sexual violence. Participants’ experiences with sexual trauma were measured using the PTSD Checklist for DSM IV – Specific (PCL-S) and the Impact of Event Scale – Revised (IES-R), and personality traits were measured using a very brief ten-item personality measure.
Results: IES-R scores were significantly correlated with both P300 and vMMN ERPs. Grouping participants into “high” and “no stress” groups, a discriminant analysis using components vMMN, P300, and the C1 wave was significant, and achieved 78.9% accuracy in the reclassification of groups.
Conclusions: These results indicate that an ERP-based neurometric profile including the vMMN, C1 wave, and P300 ERPs may be useful for detecting neural changes associated with traumatic sexual experiences.
Significance: This study identified the use of a brief neurometric battery to elicit ERPs which generate a more complete and complex assessment of the manifestation of sexual trauma in the psychophysiology of the brain.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.