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Mariann Weierich, Ph.D.

Our research focuses on how the brain and the visual system process affective information, and how these processes contribute to the onset and maintenance of stress states and related disorders. We take a systems neuroscience approach to translational investigations of the interrelations of the neural circuitry and neuroendocrine cascades associated with stress. We use a variety of methods, including computerized experimental tasks modified from vision science, eye-tracking, salivary immunoassay, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to investigate the mechanisms underlying both normative and maladaptive affective processing. In particular, we pursue three related lines of research. First, we investigate the role of visual attentional processing in stress-related states and disorders using behavioral paradigms developed by vision scientists. Second, we investigate the phenomenology of post-traumatic stress, with particular emphasis on the re-experiencing and hyperarousal symptoms, using measurement methods that include stress hormone assay. Third, we use fMRI and DTI to investigate the neural systems involved in affective processing in stress states and disorders. We are working to integrate these lines into a program of research wherein we can utilize behavioral paradigms, neuroimaging, and immunoassay to map the systems and trajectories of pathological affective processing in stress states and disorders.

Representative Publications

Moriguchi, Y., Negreira, A.M., Weierich, M.R., Dautoff, R., Wright, C.I., Dickerson, B.D., & Barrett, L.F. (2011).  Differential hemodynamic response in affective circuitry with aging: An fMRI study of novelty, valence, and arousal. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. PMID: 20521849

Gutner, C.A., Pineles, S.L., Weierich, M.R., Resick, P.A., & Griffin, M.G. (2010). Psychophysiological predictors of PTSD in female crime victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23, 775-784. PMID: 21171139

Weierich, M.R., Wright, I.C., Negreira, A.M., Wright, I.C., Dickerson, B.D., & Barrett, L.F. (2010). Novelty as a dimension in the affective brain. Neuroimage, 49, 2871-2878. NIHMSID: NIHMS149677

Wolf, E.J., Miller, M.W., Orazem, R.J., Weierich, M.R., Castillo, D.T., Milford, J., Kaloupek, D.G., & Keane, T.M. (2010). The MMPI-2 Restructured Clinical Scales in the assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid disorders. Psychological Assessment, 20, 327-340. PMCID: PMC2605647

Weierich, M.R., Treat, T.A., & Hollingworth, A. (2008). Theories and measurement of visual attentional processing in anxiety. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 985-1018.

Weierich, M.R., & Nock, M.K. (2008). Posttraumatic stress symptoms mediate the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and non-suicidal self-injury. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,76, 39-44. PMID: 18229981

For more information on Dr. Weierich, please click here.