The Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) conducts several research studies in which functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is used to determine areas of the brain that are activated during different behavioral tasks.  Most of our research studies require participants to complete questionnaires, interviews, and an MRI brain scan.  The length of participation and amount of compensation varies between studies.  If you would like to participate please read about our individual studies to see if you are interested.

If you would like more information on mental health services offered at the PRI, see Clinical Care or call the Walker Family Clinic at (501) 526-8200.

Prospection, Time and Addiction (PTA)

This project studies how addiction may change the way people think about themselves and their futures. Future-oriented thinking, or “prospection”, relies upon self-control processes that bias behavior away from impulsive and immediate reinforcers in favor of greater long-term reward. In addition to studying how addiction changes this cognitive process and its neural correlates in adult men and women, this study will also explore the development of prospective thinking among adolescents at risk for developing drug use disorders. The long-term goal of this project is to incorporate a science-based rationale for the development of prospection-related interventions to prevent and treat drug addictions.

Modeling sex-differences in trauma-related neural organization conferring resilience against addiction (RES)

The goal of this study is to understand why some people experience childhood trauma but do not develop an addiction. We are looking for adult men and women to participate in this study. Participants in this study will be asked to come to UAMS for two visits. On the first visit, we will ask questions about how the participant is currently feeling and his or her past childhood experiences. We will also give cognitive tests to the participant. This visit takes about 3 hours to complete. The participant will return for a second visit to complete the MRI scan, which will take about 1 ½ hours to complete. During the MRI scan, we will ask the participant to perform more cognitive tasks.  Participants will be compensated for their time.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Male or female
  • Ages 18-40
  • With or without a history of childhood trauma
  • No internal metals
  • No major medical conditions

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu/Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.

A Risk Factor Analysis of Human Brain States Related to the Development of Addiction (DOA)

The goal of this study is to understand how stress and drug use or non-use is related and to understand how this affects the brain. We are looking for teenage girls and adult women to participate in this study.

For adolescents, participation involves 2 separate visits. The participant and a parent will be asked to come to the Brain Imaging Research Center at UAMS. Both adolescent and their parent will complete a series of interviews and questionnaires. Some of the questions we ask will be about how the adolescent has been feeling, if they have ever been in a stressful or abusive situation, and about any drug use. This visit takes about 4 hours to complete. Following this first visit, the adolescent will come back one more time to complete the MRI scan. The MRI scan takes about 1 ½ hours to complete. Finally, we will contact the adolescent 3 separate times by phone over a 9 month period to ask about any drug use since the last visit. All information that we collect throughout the study is kept confidential. Also, we do not tell parents about any drug use the adolescent reports to us.

Both adolescent and parent participants will be compensated for their time.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Female
  • Ages 12-16
  • Medically healthy
  • No internal metals
  • Must have a parent able to stay for each visit

For adults, participation involves 2 separate visits. The participant will be asked to come to the Brain Imaging Research Center at UAMS. They will complete a series of interviews and questionnaires. Some of the questions we ask will be about how the adolescent has been feeling, if they have ever been in a stressful or abusive situation, and about any drug use. This visit takes about 4 hours to complete. Following this first visit, the adolescent will come back one more time to complete the MRI scan. The MRI scan takes about 1 ½ hours to complete.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Female
  • Ages 25-40
  • Medically healthy
  • No internal metals
  • Must have started using drugs between age 12-16 years
  • Must have abused at least 2 drugs at some point during your life

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu/Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.

Cognitive Control Theoretic Mechanisms of Real-time fMRI-Guided Neuromodulation (CTM)

The purpose of this project is to investigate the brain mechanisms involved in the volitional control of emotion. We will do this by comparing imaging data recorded during opposing goals of a rt-fMRI guided emotion control task (e.g., maximize vs. minimize valence or arousal) to measure changes in areas known to be involved in emotional processing or theorized to be involved in both cognitive control and error processing. In addition, skin conductance will be recorded as an independent measure of emotional arousal.

The current study will consist of two parts: an assessment stage and an MRI scan. Participants may complete study procedures in either one or two days, depending on availability. In the assessment stage, participants will complete a structured clinical interview and a series of questionnaires (see Assessments section). In the scan stage, participants will undergo an MRI scan lasting ~1 hour. All participants will receive compensation.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 18 – 65 years of age
  • Right-handed
  • English speaking
  • Native-born American citizen
  • Medically healthy
  • Negative urine drug screen on day of consent and MRI scan day

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu/Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.

A Causal Test of Emotion Regulation in the Affective Perception of Visual Stimuli (CTER)

The study’s purpose is to learn more about whether if controlling emotions changes a person’s emotional response to images. We will do this by comparing imaging data recorded during opposing goals of a rt-fMRI guided emotion control task (e.g., maximize vs. minimize valence or arousal) to measure changes in areas known to be involved in emotional processing or theorized to be involved in both cognitive control and error processing. In addition, skin conductance will be recorded as an independent measure of emotional arousal.

The current study will consist of two parts: an assessment stage and an MRI scan. Participants may complete study procedures in either one or two days, depending on availability. In the assessment stage, participants will complete a structured clinical interview and a series of questionnaires (see Assessments section). In the scan stage, participants will undergo an MRI scan lasting ~1 hour. All participants will receive compensation.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 18 – 65 years of age
  • Right-handed
  • English speaking
  • Native-born American citizen
  • Medically healthy
  • Negative urine drug screen on day of consent and MRI scan day

Please contact Natalie Morris at NMorris@uams.edu/Nate Jones at NJones@uams.edu or call (501) 420-2653 for more information.