Trina Gill

Major: Biology
Purdue School of Science
Supervisor: Dr. Tom Hummer
Department: Department of Psychiatry and IU School of Medicine

Insula Development and Impulsive Behaviors in Adolescents with Disruptive Behavior Disorders

At Dr. Hummer’s Media and Brain Development Lab, we are testing whether virtual reality can help adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders see other perspectives. In my role, I review different versions of the virtual reality program to determine what improvements need to be made. I have also reviewed brain scans to make sure that they appear normal and can be included in the study. As part of this study, children undergo brain scans and complete surveys. I will be examining this data to investigate gray matter thickness in the insula in boys and girls with behavior problems. The insula is the region of the brain involved in emotional impulsivity. The UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale measures positive and negative urgency, which reflects the tendency to act impulsively in positive or negative mood states. For this project, I will be looking at the difference in gray matter thickness in the insula between boys and girls with disruptive behavior disorders. In addition, I will examine how insula gray matter compares to the positive and negative urgency. This information will provide a greater understanding about insula development in impulsive and problematic behaviors of girls and boys with disruptive behavior disorders.