PTSD and time estimation: evidence for disruption of attention allocation networks

Proposal details

Title: PTSD and time estimation: evidence for disruption of attention allocation networks
Research Area(s): PTSD and other Anxiety Disorders
Background: A number of previous studies have demonstrated alterations in attention, working memory and emotional processing among individuals diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Based on attention allocation models, alterations in these cognitive domains would be expected to result in impaired time estimation among patients diagnosed with PTSD, but to our knowledge these relationships have not been examined in this patient population. The purpose of this study is to examine time estimation, attention, and working memory in a sample of patients diagnosed with PTSD. We will determine whether deficits in time estimation are evident in this population, and whether the expression of these deficits is associated with impairment in attention and working memory systems. We will also examine relationships between cognitive performances and the severity of anxiety as measured by the short form version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21).
Aims: It is hypothesized that individuals with PTSD will exhibit impairments in time estimation, as well as impairments in vigilance, and working memory compared to individuals without diagnoses of PTSD. Deficits in time estimation are expected to reflect a bias towards faster time experience compared with those without PTSD. We also hypothesize that performance on the time estimation task will be mediated by performances on the test of attention and working memory, and severity of anxiety on the DASS.
Method: Group comparisons on tests of attention, executive function and timing.