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Apr 26, 2020 Return to Blog Homepage

Graduate Student Spotlight: Elizabeth McDermott


Elizabeth McDermott is a first-year Clinical Psychology M.A. student in the Mood Emotion and Regulation Lab, studying under Dr. Ilya Yaroslavsky. Elizabeth was recently awarded the Graduate Student Research Award and $2,500 to fund her thesis, titled, “Anhedonia and physiological hyperarousal may undermine emotion regulation in PTSD.” Her thesis will test the idea that recalling a good personal memory (positive autobiographical memory) would make people feel better when they are stressed. Elizabeth is hypothesizing that individuals with PTSD symptoms would experience fewer benefits from recalling positive autobiographical memory when compared to those who do not have PTSD. Elizabeth’s study is based off of the fact that individuals with PTSD often have greater emotional distress and more difficulty feeling pleasure (anhedonia) than those without PTSD. She theorizes this could be due to a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). This research could be useful in informing interventions for those with PTSD and the physiological activities that underlie them.


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Edited by: Leah Mercedes Sprock

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Current Student