Dr. Keely Muscatell, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, is the 2020 recipient of a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigators grant.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) announced the awarding of its 2020 Young Investigator Grants, valued at more than $10.3 million, to 150 of the world’s most promising young scientists. The grants, awarded annually, support the work of early career investigators with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments and develop prevention strategies for psychiatric disorders.
This year’s Young Investigators are studying some of the most challenging conditions including addiction, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention.
The recipients were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 181 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including one Nobel Prizewinner; three former directors of the National Institute of Mental Health; four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 11 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 16 National Institute of Health Chiefs & Directors; 41 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions; and 54 members of the National Academy of Medicine.
With this grant, Dr. Muscatell will investigate the effects of race-related stress on neural processing and social cognitive functioning, recruiting 40 Black Americans diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder who either undergo a negative, social evaluative stress task in the presence of a “white evaluator” (race-related stress condition) or a “black evaluator” (general social stress condition) while they are scanned using fMRI. Following the scan, social cognitive function in participants will be assessed. The hypothesis is that race-related stress will be associated with poorer social cognitive task performance relative to general social stress, and associated with greater activity in brain regions involved in processing social rejection and negative emotions (e.g., dACC, anterior insula, amygdala) and greater activity in regions involved in thinking about others (e.g., DMPFC), compared to social stress.