NIH Clinical Center Search the Studies: Study Number, Study Title

Protocol Details

State-Dependent Interoception, Value-Based Decision-Making, and Introspection

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Recruitment Detail

Type: Participants currently recruited/enrolled
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 18 Years
Max Age: 55 Years

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)

Non-English Speaking;


Negative Emotion

Recruitment Keyword(s)




Investigational Drug(s)


Investigational Device(s)



Other: Pain
Other: Stress
Behavioral: Craving
Behavioral: Frustration
Behavioral: Negative valence emotion

Supporting Site

National Institute of Mental Health


Negative emotional states can affect a person s behavior as they make decisions. For example, hunger may make people more impatient; they may then make riskier choices. Other negative emotional states that can change behavior include stress, pain, and sadness. By learning more about how emotions affect thinking and behavior in healthy people, researchers hope to better understand how to identify and treat people with mental disorders.


To learn how negative emotions affect the brain and decision-making behavior.


Healthy people aged 18 to 55 years.


Participants will have 3 clinic visits in 3 weeks.

Participants will fill out questionnaires. They will be asked about their personal history, their personality, and state of mind.

For 2 visits, participants will be assigned to different groups. Each group will experience 3 type of emotional stressor:

Some participants will watch a video.

Some will have to do arithmetic problems.

Some will have heat applied to an arm or leg.

Some will experience cold by immersing their hand in ice water.

For a snack craving test, some will be tempted by food after a 4-hour fast.

During these tests, participants will have sensors attached to their bodies. They will be videotaped. Saliva samples will be collected.

After the stressors, participants will do tasks on a computer. They will need to make choices.

Some participants will perform these decision-making tasks while lying in a brain scanner for functional magnetic resonance imaging. The brain scan involves lying on a table that slides into a cylinder that takes images of the brain.

--Back to Top--



Subject selections will be equitable among those individuals who meet the inclusion criteria. Every effort will be made to balance gender and race. In order to be eligible to participate in this study, an individual must meet all of the following criteria:

-Ability of subject to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document.

-Males and females; Age 18 to 55.

-Able to read and write in English to guarantee understanding of all written and spoken instructions, which are in English.


An individual who meets any of the following criteria will be excluded from participation in this study:

For all experiments:

-Unable to comply with study procedures or follow-up visits

-Has any serious or unstable medical condition or history that in a clinician s assessment implies a cardiovascular, neurological, or physical risk from the study procedures performed to induce negative valence states. This may include chronic systemic disorders that could worsen due to stress (e.g. uncontrolled hypertension, coronary artery disease for example a history of myocardial infarction or stable or unstable angina, or diabetes)

-Has any current psychiatric diagnosis (based on SCID) or no diagnosis but scores >=29 on Beck Depression Inventory II or >=26 on Beck Anxiety Inventory

-Meets criteria for diagnosis of any substance-related or addictive disorder, or endorses any kind of problematic gambling behavior or problematic media-based addictive behavior (such as videogames, social-networking, online shopping, etc.)

-Regular use of psychoactive medications or psychoactive substances

-Regular use of corticosteroids

-Is pregnant

-NIMH employees and staff and their immediate family members

For stress and pain induction:

-Has a major medical condition or medical history that in a clinician s assessment could affect temperature sensitivity, pain thresholds, or ability to comply with study procedures. This may include cardiovascular, autonomic, neurological, psychiatric, or chronic systemic disorders (including but not limited to stroke, blindness, deafness, history of brain damage, neurodegenerative, neurotoxic or demyelinating disorder, or diabetes)

-Has a medical condition that in a clinician s assessment might affect somatosensation (e.g., Raynaud s disease, peripheral neuropathy, or circulatory disorder)

For pain induction:

-Has a current chronic pain condition or has had chronic pain in the past (painful condition lasting more than six months)

-Has a dermatological condition such as scars or burns, or has had a tattoo in the testing region within the previous 4 weeks that might influence cutaneous sensibility

-Regular and recent use of prescription or over-the-counter medication that has a significant effect on pain or heat perception. These include medications such as centralacting agents such as opiates (morphine, tramadol), antidepressants (amitriptyline, duloxetine, milnacipran), anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin), anxiolytics (barbiturates, benzodiazepines), hypnotics (zolpidem, sodium oxybate), antipsychotics (valproate, lithium, olanzapine), antimigraine agents (sumatriptan, ergotamine), and muscle relaxants (cyclobenzaprine, carisoprodol). Use of analgesic medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, salicylates, and acetaminophen, taken on an as needed basis is acceptable as long as the last dose taken was within 5 half-lives of testing.

For craving induction:

-Has a condition that in a clinician s assessment could preclude the ability to hold 4-6 hours of fasting or that is associated with a risk of hypoglycemia (such as diabetes, kidney disease, insulinoma, adrenal or pituitary tumors or disorders, or anorexia nervosa)

-Is currently engaged in any kind of diet medically- or self-prescribed or endorses a very strong desire to start a diet that involves eliminating or decreasing carbohydrate consumption

-Has a history of food allergies such as tree-nut or peanut allergy.

For fMRI experiments:

-Individuals with conditions that could pose a risk relating to the safety of the fMRI procedure but do not meet specific exclusion criteria for all experiments or for specific inductions will be excluded from the MRI portion of the protocol but may participate in the non-MRI sessions. Such conditions include:

-Those with ferromagnetic metal in the cranial cavity or eye (e.g. aneurysm clip, implanted neural stimulator, cochlear implant, ocular foreign body)

-Those with an abnormality on a structural MRI

-Those with an implanted cardiac pacemaker or auto-defibrillator

-Those with an insulin pump

-Those with an irremovable body piercing

-Pregnancy (based on urine test completed within 24 hours prior to scan)

-Left-handed (only for fMRI experiments involving thermal pain stimulation)

--Back to Top--


Not Provided

--Back to Top--


Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Silvia Lopez Guzman, M.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Building 15K, Rm 203
Bethesda, MD 20892
(301) 451-7822

Silvia Lopez Guzman, M.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Building 15K, Rm 203
Bethesda, MD 20892
(301) 451-7822

Office of Patient Recruitment
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Building 61, 10 Cloister Court
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Toll Free: 1-800-411-1222
Local Phone: 301-451-4383
TTY: TTY Users Dial 7-1-1

Clinical Trials Number:


--Back to Top--