Honors & Awards

  • T32 NICHD Developmental Psychology Training Grant Fellowship, University of Michigan (07/2019 - 05/2021)
  • F32 Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award ($213,046), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (07/2022 - 06/2025)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2022)
  • Master of Science, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2019)
  • Bachelor of Science, Portland State University (2012)
  • Associate of Arts, Clackamas Community College (2010)
  • Certificate, University of Michigan, Data Science (2020)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Cognition in adolescence and the transition to adulthood APA handbook of adolescent and young adult development Keating, D. P., Demidenko, M. I., Kelly, D. P. American Psychological Association. 2023: 75-90
  • Mediating effect of pubertal stages on the family environment and neurodevelopment: An open-data replication and multiverse analysis of an ABCD Study®. Neuroimage. Reports Demidenko, M. I., Kelly, D. P., Hardi, F. A., Ip, K. I., Lee, S., Becker, H., Hong, S., Thijssen, S., Luciana, M., Keating, D. P. 2022; 2 (4)


    Increasing evidence demonstrates that environmental factors meaningfully impact the development of the brain (Hyde et al., 2020; McEwen and Akil, 2020). Recent work from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study® suggests that puberty may indirectly account for some association between the family environment and brain structure and function (Thijssen et al., 2020). However, a limited number of large studies have evaluated what, how, and why environmental factors impact neurodevelopment. When these topics are investigated, there is typically inconsistent operationalization of variables between studies which may be measuring different aspects of the environment and thus different associations in the analytic models. Multiverse analyses (Steegen et al., 2016) are an efficacious technique for investigating the effect of different operationalizations of the same construct on underlying interpretations. While one of the assets of Thijssen et al. (2020) was its large sample from the ABCD data, the authors used an early release that contained 38% of the full ABCD sample. Then, the analyses used several 'researcher degrees of freedom' (Gelman and Loken, 2014) to operationalize key independent, mediating and dependent variables, including but not limited to, the use of a latent factor of preadolescents' environment comprised of different subfactors, such as parental monitoring and child-reported family conflict. While latent factors can improve reliability of constructs, the nuances of each subfactor and measure that comprise the environment may be lost, making the latent factors difficult to interpret in the context of individual differences. This study extends the work of Thijssen et al. (2020) by evaluating the extent to which the analytic choices in their study affected their conclusions. In Aim 1, using the same variables and models, we replicate findings from the original study using the full sample in Release 3.0. Then, in Aim 2, using a multiverse analysis we extend findings by considering nine alternative operationalizations of family environment, three of puberty, and five of brain measures (total of 135 models) to evaluate the impact on conclusions from Aim 1. In these results, 90% of the directions of effects and 60% of the p-values (e.g. p > .05 and p < .05) across effects were comparable between the two studies. However, raters agreed that only 60% of the effects had replicated. Across the multiverse analyses, there was a degree of variability in beta estimates across the environmental variables, and lack of consensus between parent reported and child reported pubertal development for the indirect effects. This study demonstrates the challenge in defining which effects replicate, the nuance across environmental variables in the ABCD data, and the lack of consensus across parent and child reported puberty scales in youth.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ynirp.2022.100133

    View details for PubMedID 36561641

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9770593

  • Neural heterogeneity underlying late adolescent motivational processing is linked to individual differences in behavioral sensation seeking JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH Demidenko, M. I., Huntley, E. D., Weigard, A. S., Keating, D. P., Beltz, A. M. 2022; 100 (3): 762-779


    Adolescent risk-taking, including sensation seeking (SS), is often attributed to developmental changes in connectivity among brain regions implicated in cognitive control and reward processing. Despite considerable scientific and popular interest in this neurodevelopmental framework, there are few empirical investigations of adolescent functional connectivity, let alone examinations of its links to SS behavior. The studies that have been done focus on mean-based approaches and leave unanswered questions about individual differences in neurodevelopment and behavior. The goal of this paper is to take a person-specific approach to the study of adolescent functional connectivity during a continuous motivational state, and to examine links between connectivity and self-reported SS behavior in 104 adolescents (MAge  = 19.3; SDAge  = 1.3). Using Group Iterative Multiple Model Estimation (GIMME), person-specific connectivity during two neuroimaging runs of a monetary incentive delay task was estimated among 12 a priori brain regions of interest representing reward, cognitive, and salience networks. Two data-driven subgroups were detected, a finding that was consistent between both neuroimaging runs, but associations with SS were only found in the first run, potentially reflecting neural habituation in the second run. Specifically, the subgroup that had unique connections between reward-related regions had greater SS and showed a distinctive relation between connectivity strength in the reward regions and SS. These findings provide novel evidence for heterogeneity in adolescent brain-behavior relations by showing that subsets of adolescents have unique associations between neural motivational processing and SS. Findings have broader implications for future work on reward processing, as they demonstrate that brain-behavior relations may attenuate across runs.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jnr.25005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000743677300001

    View details for PubMedID 35043448

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8978150

  • Prenatal androgen influences on the brain: A review, critique, and illustration of research on congenital adrenal hyperplasia JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH Beltz, A. M., Demidenko, M. I., Wilson, S. J., Berenbaum, S. A. 2023; 101 (5): 563-574


    Sex hormones, especially androgens, contribute to sex and gender differences in the brain and behavior. Organizational effects are particularly important because they are thought to be permanent, reflecting hormone exposure during sensitive periods of development. In human beings, they are often studied with natural experiments in which sex hormones are dissociated from other biopsychosocial aspects of development, such as genes and experiences. Indeed, the greatest evidence for organizational effects on sex differences in human behavior comes from studies of females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who have heightened prenatal androgen exposure, female-typical rearing, and masculinized toy play, activity and career interests, spatial skills, and some personal characteristics. Interestingly, however, neuroimaging studies of females with CAH have revealed few neural mechanisms underlying these hormone-behavior links, with the exception of emotion processing; studies have instead shown reduced gray matter volumes and reduced white matter integrity most consistent with other disease-related processes. The goals of this narrative review are to: (a) describe methods for studying prenatal androgen influences, while offering a brief overview of behavioral outcomes; (b) provide a critical methodological review of neuroimaging research on females with CAH; (c) present an illustrative analysis that overcomes methodological limitations of previous work, focusing on person-specific neural reward networks (and their associations with sensation seeking) in women with CAH and their unaffected sisters in order to inform future research questions and approaches that are most likely to reveal organizational hormone effects on brain structure and function.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jnr.24900

    View details for Web of Science ID 000662337400001

    View details for PubMedID 34139025

  • Ecological stress, amygdala reactivity, and internalizing symptoms in preadolescence: Is parenting a buffer? CORTEX Demidenko, M., Ip, K. I., Kelly, D. P., Constante, K., Goetschius, L. G., Keating, D. P. 2021; 140: 128-144


    Ecological stress during adolescent development may increase the sensitivity to negative emotional processes that can contribute to the onset and progression of internalizing behaviors during preadolescence. Although a small number of studies have considered the link among the relations between ecological stress, amygdala reactivity, and internalizing symptoms in childhood and adolescence, these studies have largely been small, cross-sectional, and often do not consider unique roles of parenting or sex. In the current study, we evaluated the interrelations between ecological stress, amygdala reactivity, subsequent internalizing symptoms, and the moderating roles of parenting and sex among 9- and 10-year-old preadolescents from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study ®. A subset of participants who met a priori quality control criteria for bilateral amygdala activation during the EN-back faces versus places contrast (N = 7,385; Mean Age = 120 months, SD = 7.52; 49.5% Female) were included in the study. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed to create a latent variable of ecological stress, and multiple structural equation models were tested to evaluate the association among baseline ecological stress and internalizing symptoms one year later, the mediating role of amygdala reactivity, and moderating effects of parental acceptance and sex. The results revealed a significant association between ecological stress and subsequent internalizing symptoms, which was greater in males than females. There was no association between amygdala reactivity during the Faces versus Places contrast and ecological stress or subsequent internalizing symptoms, and no mediating role of amygdala or moderating effect of parental acceptance on the association between ecological stress and internalizing symptoms. An alternative mediation model was tested which revealed that there was a small mediating effect of parental acceptance on the association between ecological stress and internalizing symptoms, demonstrating lower internalizing symptoms among preadolescents one year later. Given the lack of association in brain function, ecological stress and internalizing symptoms in preadolescents in this registered report, effects from comparable small studies should be reconsidered in larger samples.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.02.032

    View details for Web of Science ID 000656886800011

    View details for PubMedID 33984711

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8169639

  • Interactions between methodological and interindividual variability: How Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) task contrast maps vary and impact associations with behavior BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR Demidenko, M. I., Weigard, A. S., Ganesan, K., Jang, H., Jahn, A., Huntley, E. D., Keating, D. P. 2021; 11 (5): e02093


    Phenomena related to reward responsiveness have been extensively studied in their associations with substance use and socioemotional functioning. One important task in this literature is the Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) task. By cueing and delivering performance-contingent reward, the MID task has been demonstrated to elicit robust activation of neural circuits involved in different phases of reward responsiveness. However, systematic evaluations of common MID task contrasts have been limited to between-study comparisons of group-level activation maps, limiting their ability to directly evaluate how researchers' choice of contrasts impacts conclusions about individual differences in reward responsiveness or brain-behavior associations.In a sample of 104 participants (Age Mean = 19.3, SD = 1.3), we evaluate similarities and differences between contrasts in: group- and individual-level activation maps using Jaccard's similarity index, region of interest (ROI) mean signal intensities using Pearson's r, and associations between ROI mean signal intensity and psychological measures using Bayesian correlation.Our findings demonstrate more similarities than differences between win and loss cues during the anticipation contrast, dissimilarity between some win anticipation contrasts, an apparent deactivation effect in the outcome phase, likely stemming from the blood oxygen level-dependent undershoot, and behavioral associations that are less robust than previously reported.Consistent with recent empirical findings, this work has practical implications for helping researchers interpret prior MID studies and make more informed a priori decisions about how their contrast choices may modify results.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/brb3.2093

    View details for Web of Science ID 000631159300001

    View details for PubMedID 33750042

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8119872

  • Cortical and subcortical response to the anticipation of reward in high and average/low risk-taking adolescents DEVELOPMENTAL COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Demidenko, M. I., Huntley, E. D., Jahn, A., Thomason, M. E., Monk, C. S., Keating, D. P. 2020; 44: 100798


    Since the first neurodevelopmental models that sought to explain the influx of risky behaviors during adolescence were proposed, there have been a number of revisions, variations and criticisms. Despite providing a strong multi-disciplinary heuristic to explain the development of risk behavior, extant models have not yet reliably isolated neural systems that underlie risk behaviors in adolescence. To address this gap, we screened 2017 adolescents from an ongoing longitudinal study that assessed 15-health risk behaviors, targeting 104 adolescents (Age Range: 17-to-21.4), characterized as high-or-average/low risk-taking. Participants completed the Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) fMRI task, examining reward anticipation to "big win" versus "neutral". We examined neural response variation associated with both baseline and longitudinal (multi-wave) risk classifications. Analyses included examination of a priori regions of interest (ROIs); and exploratory non-parametric, whole-brain analyses. Hypothesis-driven ROI analysis revealed no significant differences between high- and average/low-risk profiles using either baseline or multi-wave classification. Results of whole-brain analyses differed according to whether risk assessment was based on baseline or multi-wave data. Despite significant mean-level task activation, these results do not generalize prior neural substrates implicated in reward anticipation and adolescent risk-taking. Further, these data indicate that whole-brain differences may depend on how risk-behavior profiles are defined.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100798

    View details for Web of Science ID 000551294100009

    View details for PubMedID 32479377

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7262007

  • Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors: Convergent, Discriminant and Predictive Validity of Self-Report and Cognitive Measures JOURNAL OF YOUTH AND ADOLESCENCE Demidenko, M. I., Huntley, E. D., Martz, M. E., Keating, D. P. 2019; 48 (9): 1765-1783


    Self-report and cognitive tasks of reward sensitivity and self-regulation have influenced several developmental models that may explain the heightened engagement in risk behaviors during adolescence. Despite some inconsistencies across studies, few studies have explored the convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of self-report and cognitive measures of these psychological characteristics in adolescence. The present study evaluated the convergent and discriminant validity of self-report and cognitive measures of reward sensitivity and self-regulation among 2017 adolescents (age M = 16.8, SD = 1.1; 56% female; 55% White, 22% Black, 8% Hispanic, 15% other race/ethnic; 49% 10th grade and 51% 12th grade). This study compared the predictive validity of an omnibus measure and specific measures of risk engagement. Convergent and discriminant validity from self-report to cognitive tasks were as predicted, although with weak convergent relationships. As hypothesized, compared to cognitive tasks, self-report measures consistently predicted risky behaviors and explained more variance in the models. These results demonstrate that while cognitive tasks can significantly predict certain risk behaviors, they require increased power to find the very small effects, raising questions about their use as implicit proxies for real world risk behavior.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10964-019-01057-4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000484622000008

    View details for PubMedID 31250164

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6732226