Doctor of Philosophy, Rutgers University (2015)
Bachelor of Arts, Suffolk University (2007)
Master of Arts, Rutgers University (2012)
Amit Etkin, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
I am interested in brain network function in humans.
Challenges in Studying Multidimensional Semantic Representations in the Human Brain.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
2018; 38 (32): 7029–31
View details for PubMedID 30089642
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Reveals Symptom-Related Brain Network Abnormalities in Depression
ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2018: S117
View details for Web of Science ID 000432466300288
- Selective Effects of Psychotherapy on Frontopolar Cortical Function in PTSD AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY 2017; 174 (12): 1175–84
Reorganization of Resting Connectivity Patterns Following Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP. 2017: S122–S123
View details for Web of Science ID 000416846301019
Selective Effects of Psychotherapy on Frontopolar Cortical Function in PTSD.
The American journal of psychiatry
2017; 174 (12): 1175–84
Exposure therapy is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but a comprehensive, emotion-focused perspective on how psychotherapy affects brain function is lacking. The authors assessed changes in brain function after prolonged exposure therapy across three emotional reactivity and regulation paradigms.Individuals with PTSD underwent functional MRI (fMRI) at rest and while completing three tasks assessing emotional reactivity and regulation. Individuals were then randomly assigned to immediate prolonged exposure treatment (N=36) or a waiting list condition (N=30) and underwent a second scan approximately 4 weeks after the last treatment session or a comparable waiting period, respectively.Treatment-specific changes were observed only during cognitive reappraisal of negative images. Psychotherapy increased lateral frontopolar cortex activity and connectivity with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex/ventral striatum. Greater increases in frontopolar activation were associated with improvement in hyperarousal symptoms and psychological well-being. The frontopolar cortex also displayed a greater variety of temporal resting-state signal pattern changes after treatment. Concurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation and fMRI in healthy participants demonstrated that the lateral frontopolar cortex exerts downstream influence on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex/ventral striatum.Changes in frontopolar function during deliberate regulation of negative affect is one key mechanism of adaptive psychotherapeutic change in PTSD. Given that frontopolar connectivity with ventromedial regions during emotion regulation is enhanced by psychotherapy and that the frontopolar cortex exerts downstream influence on ventromedial regions in healthy individuals, these findings inform a novel conceptualization of how psychotherapy works, and they identify a promising target for stimulation-based therapeutics.
View details for PubMedID 28715907
Brain network response underlying decisions about abstract reinforcers
2014; 103: 48–54
Decision making studies typically use tasks that involve concrete action-outcome contingencies, in which subjects do something and get something. No studies have addressed decision making involving abstract reinforcers, where there are no action-outcome contingencies and choices are entirely hypothetical. The present study examines these kinds of choices, as well as whether the same biases that exist for concrete reinforcer decisions, specifically framing effects, also apply during abstract reinforcer decisions. We use both General Linear Model as well as Bayes network connectivity analysis using the Independent Multi-sample Greedy Equivalence Search (IMaGES) algorithm to examine network response underlying choices for abstract reinforcers under positive and negative framing. We find for the first time that abstract reinforcer decisions activate the same network of brain regions as concrete reinforcer decisions, including the striatum, insula, anterior cingulate, and VMPFC, results that are further supported via comparison to a meta-analysis of decision making studies. Positive and negative framing activated different parts of this network, with stronger activation in VMPFC during negative framing and in DLPFC during positive, suggesting different decision making pathways depending on frame. These results were further clarified using connectivity analysis, which revealed stronger connections between anterior cingulate, insula, and accumbens during negative framing compared to positive. Taken together, these results suggest that not only do abstract reinforcer decisions rely on the same brain substrates as concrete reinforcers, but that the response underlying framing effects on abstract reinforcers also resemble those for concrete reinforcers, specifically increased limbic system connectivity during negative frames.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.019
View details for Web of Science ID 000345393100005
View details for PubMedID 25234115