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Psych Speaker Series welcomes Dr. Bertsch


Nipissing University’s department of Psychology launches the 2015/16 Psychology Speaker Series welcoming Dr. Katja Bertsch, department of General Psychiatry at the University of Heidelberg, to campus for a talk, titled Aggression in Borderline Personality Disorder: Neurobiological Correlates and Clinical Implications, Tuesday, October 6, at 3 p.m. in R309.

Dr. Bertsch studies the influence of hormones on the processing of social information, emotion regulation, stress and aggression and Borderline Personality Disorder using methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and eye tracking.

Here is an abstract:

Reactive aggression is a key feature of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Many patients are regularly engaged in verbal, but also physical aggressive behaviors and BPD belongs to the most frequent diagnoses among violent convicted offenders.  In my talk, I will present a new model, which tries to capture underlying mechanisms of reactive aggression in BPD by integrating data of psychological and neurobiological studies and constructs of the new DSM-5 dimensional model of personality disorders.  According to this model, increased reactive aggression might be strongly associated with the patients’ increased sensitivity for social threats, their behavioral tendency to approach rather than avoid social threat cues, and their reduced capability to differentiate between their own and other peoples’ emotions.  Together these may trigger intense and aversive feelings, such as anger, anxiety, and shame, which the patients are not able to regulate properly eventually resulting in aggressive outbursts.  Similar to self -harming behavior, aggression might serve as a dysfunctional strategy to regulate aversive emotions in patients with BPD. Based on this model and recent empirical data, I will discuss open research questions as well as possible clinical implications for the treatment.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.  Refreshments will be served.​ 

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