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Aprajita Mohanty, Ph.D.


Office: Psychology A-340

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University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (2007)
Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology

Dr. Aprajita Mohanty will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Research Interests:

Impact of emotion on perception and attention

Transdiagnostic neural markers of psychotic disorders

Current Research:

The aim of my research is to understand how and why we prioritize emotional stimuli and how this prioritization is impacted by anxiety. To answers these questions, my research focuses not just on how the brain processes emotional stimuli but also on how the brain generates predictions regarding emotional stimuli. Emotional stimuli do not occur in a vacuum; rather, they typically occur embedded in contexts filled with cues that predict their identity and location. Our brain can utilize information provided by these cues or by the spatial regularities within the context itself and predict upcoming threat. For example, while walking on a desert trail, prior learning regarding the context or park signs warning of rattlesnakes may lead us to look out for rattlesnakes, resulting in their faster and more accurate detection. In my lab, we use cognitive behavioral tasks, computational modeling, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a range of imaging analyses techniques (univariate and multivariate) and different modalities (vision and olfaction) to examine ways in which the brain predicts emotional stimuli even before they happen, and how these prestimulus predictions enhance subsequent perception and attention. The examination of prestimulus anticipatory processing is particularly important in case of anxiety. The clinical literature has distinguished anxiety from fear by emphasizing the anticipatory nature of anxiety. However, our basic understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety is based, not on prestimulus anticipatory response, but on actual neural response to threatening stimuli. Hence, research in my lab aims to understand how anticipation of threatening stimuli impacts attention/perception and contributes to the development and maintenance of anxiety.

While it is highly adaptive to use prior information regarding threat to perceive and attend to stimuli in our environment, if these stimuli pose no immediate danger to our well-being, it is equally adaptive to override their distracting effects and remain focused on ongoing tasks. Another line of research in my lab examines how we use cognitive control strategies to remain task-focused in the presence of emotional distractors. This line of research is particularly relevant to psychotic disorders that are characterized not just by neural deficits related to emotion perception but an inability to stay task-focused in the presence of emotional distractors. In collaboration with Dr. Roman Kotov in Department of Psychiatry, we are examining how these emotion-cognition interactions relate to symptom dimensions as well as global functioning, trasdiagnostically across different psychotic disorders.

Representative Publications

Emotion-cognition interations in anxiety & psychotic disorders

Larsen, E. M., Donaldson, K., Jonas, K., Lian, W., Bromet, E., Kotov, R. Ϯ, Mohanty, A. Ϯ (In Press). Pleasant and unpleasant odor identification ability is associated with distinct dimensions of negative symptoms transdiagnostically in psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia Research

Mohanty, A., Jin, J., Sussman, TJ. (In Press). What do we know about threat-related perceptual decision-making? Current directions in psychological science.

Jin, J., Jonas, K., Mohanty, A. (In Press). Linking the past to the future by predictive processing. Journal of psychopathology and clinical science.

Imbriano, G., Waszczuk, M., Rajaram, S., Ruggero, C., Miao, J., Clouston, S., Luft, B., Kotov, R., & Mohanty, A. (2022). Association of attention and memory biases for negative stimuli with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of anxiety disorders85, 102509.

Glasgow, S., Imbriano, G., Jin, J., Zhang, X., & Mohanty, A. (2022). Threat and uncertainty in the face of perceptual decision-making in anxiety. Journal of psychopathology and clinical science131(3), 265–277.

Donaldson, K. R., Larsen, E. M., Jonas, K., Tramazzo, S., Perlman, G., Foti, D., Mohanty, A. Ϯ, & Kotov, R. (2021). Mismatch negativity amplitude in first-degree relatives of individuals with psychotic disorders: Links with cognition and schizotypy. Schizophrenia research238, 161–169.

Larsen, E. M., Donaldson, K., Mohanty, A. (2021). Conspiratorial thinking during COVID-19: The roles of paranoia, delusion-proneness, and intolerance to uncertainty. Frontiers in Psychiatry. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.698147

Karvay, Y., Imbriano, G., Jin, J., Mohanty, A., Jarcho, J.M. (2021). They're watching you: the impact of social evaluation and anxiety on threat-related perceptual decision-making. Psychological Research. doi: 10.1007/s00426-021-01547-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34143260.

Imbriano, G., Larsen, E. M., An, A. K., Luhmann, C., Mohanty, A., & Jin, J. (2021). Online Survey of the Impact of COVID-19 Risk and Cost Estimates on Worry and Health Behavior Compliance in Young Adults. Frontiers in Public Health.

Jin, J., Delaparte, L., DeLorenzo, C., Perlman, G., Klein, D., ϮKotov, R. ϮMohanty, A. (2021). Structural and functional connectivity between rostral anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala predicts first onset of depressive disorders in adolescence. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

Im, S., Marder, M., Imbriano, G., Sussman, T.J., Mohanty, A.  Effects of a Brief Mindfulness-Based Attentional Intervention on Threat-Related Perceptual Decision-Making. (2021). Mindfulness.

Sabharwal, A., Kotov, R., Mohanty A. (2020). Amygdala connectivity during emotional face perception in psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia Research.

Donaldson, K.R., Jonas, K.G., Tian, Y., Larsen, E.M., Klein, D.N., Mohanty, A, Bromet E.J., Kotov, R. Dynamic interplay between life events and course of psychotic disorders: 10-year longitudinal study following first admission. (2020). Psychological Medicine. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720003992. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33143787.

Corlett, P. R., Mohanty, A., & MacDonald, A. W. III. (2020). What we think about when we think about predictive processing. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 129(6), 529-533.

Glasgow, S., Imbriano, G., Jin, J., Mohanty, A. (2020). Is threat detection Black and White? Race effects in threat-related perceptual decision-making. Emotion, 10.1037/emo0000754. Advance online publication.

Donaldson, K. R., Novak, K. D., Foti, D., Marder, M., Perlman, G., Kotov, R., & Mohanty, A.(2020). Associations of mismatch negativity with psychotic symptoms and functioning transdiagnostically across psychotic disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 129, 570–580.

Sussman, T.J., Jin, J., Mohanty, A. (2020). The impact of top-down factors on threat perception in health and anxiety. In T. Aue & H. Okon-Singer (Eds.), Cognitive Biases in Health and Psychiatric Disorders. Elsevier: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Jin, J., Van Snellenberg, J. X., Perlman, G., DeLorenzo, C., Klein, D. N., Kotov, R., Mohanty, A. (2020). Intrinsic neural circuitry of depression in adolescent females. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines61(4), 480–491.

Imbriano, G., Sussman, T., Jin, J., Mohanty, A. (2019). The role of imagery in threat-related perceptual decision making. Emotion. doi:10.1037/emo0000610.

Szekely, Rajaram, & Mohanty. (2018). Memory for dangers past: threat contexts produce more consistent learning than do non-threatening contexts. Cognition and Emotion, 1-10. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2018.1507998. (view)

Sabharwal, A., Kotov, R., Szekely, A., Leung, H. C., Barch, D. M., & Mohanty, A. (2017). Neural markers of emotional face perception across psychotic disorders and general population. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(5), 663. (view)

Jin, J., Narayanan, A., Perlman, G., Luking, K., DeLorenzo, C., Hajcak, G. Klein, D., Kotov, R., Mohanty, A. (2017). Orbitofrontal Cortex Activity and Connectivity Predict Future Depression Symptoms in Adolescence. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. (view)

Szekely, A., Rajaram, S., Mohanty, A. (2016). Context learning for threat detection. Cognition and Emotion. (view)

Szekely, A., Heller, W., Miller, G., Mohanty, A. (2016). Differential functional connectivity of rostral anterior cingulate cortex during emotional interference. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. (view)

Sabharwal, A., Szekely, A., Kotov, R., Mukherjee, P., Leung, H-C., Barch, D.A., Mohanty A. (2016). Transdiagnostic Neural markers of emotion-cognition interaction in psychotic disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. doi: (view)

Foti, D., Perlman, G., Hajcak, G., Mohanty, A., Jackson, F., Kotov, R. (2016). Impaired error processing in late-phase psychosis: Four-year stability and relationships with negative symptoms. Schizophrenia Research. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2016.05.009 (view)

Sussman, T.J., Weinberg, A., Szekely, A., Hajcak, G. & Mohanty, A. (2016). Here comes trouble: Prestimulus brain activity predicts enhanced perception of threat attention in anxiety. Cerebral Cortex. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhw104. (view)

Sussman, T. J., Jin, J., & Mohanty, A. (2016). Top-down factors in threat-related perception and attention in anxiety. Biological Psychology. doi: (view)

Mukherjee, P., Sabharwal, A., Kotov, R., Szekely, A., Parsey, R., Barch, D. & Mohanty, A. (2016). Disconnection between amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex in psychotic disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin, doi:10.1093/schbul/sbw012. (view)

Jin, J., Zelano, C., Gottfried, J. A., & Mohanty, A. (2015). Human Amygdala Represents the Complete Spectrum of Subjective Valence. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(45), 15145-15156. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2450-15.2015 (view)

Sussman, T.J., Szekely, A., Hajcak, G., & Mohanty, A. (2015). It's all in the anticipation: How perception of threat is enhanced in anxiety. Emotion, 16, 320-327. (view)

Sussman, T.J., Heller, W., Miller, G.A., & Mohanty, A. (2013). Emotional distractors can enhance attention. Psychological Science, 24, 2322-2328.  (view)

Mohanty., A., & Sussman, T.J. (2013). Top-down modulation of attention by emotion. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7, Article 102. (view)

Mohanty., A., & Gottfried, J.A. (2013). Examining emotion perception and elicitation via olfaction. In P. Vuilleumier,J. Armony (Eds.), Handbook of Human Affective Neuroscience. Cambridge University Press. (view)

Zelano, C.M., Mohanty., A., & Gottfried, J.A. (2011). Olfactory predictive codes and stimulus templates in piriform cortex. Neuron, 72(1), 178-187. (view)

Herrington, J.D., Heller, W., Mohanty, A., Engels, A., Banich, M.T., Webb, A.G., & Miller, G.A. (2010). Localization of asymmetric brain function in emotion and depression. Psychophysiology, 47, 442-454. (view)

Mohanty, A., Monti, J., Egner, T.E., & Mesulam, M-M. (2009). Search for a threatening target triggers limbic guidance of spatial attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 10563-572. (view)

Mohanty, A., Small, D.M., Gitelman, D.G., Mesulam, M.M. (2008). The spatial attentionnetwork interacts with limbic and monoaminergic systems to modulate motivation- induced attentional shifts. Cerebral Cortex, 18, 2604-2613. (view)

Mohanty, A., Koven, N.S., Fisher, J.E., Herrington, J.D., Miller, G.A., & Heller, W. (2008). Specificity of emotion-related effects on attentional processing in schizotypy. Schizophrenia Research, 103, 129-137. (view)

Mohanty, A., Engels, A.S., Herrington, J.D., Heller, W., Moon-Ho, R.H., Banich, M.T., Webb, A.G., Warren, S.L., & Miller, G.A. (2007). Differential engagement of anterior cingulate cortex subdivisions for cognitive and emotional processing. Psychophysiology, 44, 343-351. (view)

Engels, A.S., Heller, W., Mohanty, A., Herrington, J.D., Banich, M.T., Webb, A.G., & Miller, G.A. (2007). Specificity of regional brain activity in anxiety types during emotion processing. Psychophysiology, 44, 352-363. (view)

Levin, R.L., Heller, W., Mohanty, A., Herrington, J.D., & Miller, G.A. (2007). Cognitive deficits in depression and functional specificity of regional brain activity. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 211-233. (view)

Shinkerva, S.V., Ombao, H.C., Sutton, B.P., Mohanty, A., & Miller, G.A. (2006). Classification of functional brain images with a spatio-temporal dissimilarity map. Neuroimage, 33, 63-71. (view)

Herrington, J.D., Mohanty, A., Koven, N.S., Fisher, J.E., Stewart, J.L., Banich, M.T., Webb, A., Miller, G.A. & Heller, W. (2005). Pleasant stimuli increase activity in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Emotion, 5, 200-207. (view)

Mohanty, A., Herrington, J.D., Koven, N.S., Fisher, J.E., Wenzel, E.A., Webb, A.G.,Heller, W., Banich, M.T., & Miller, G.A. (2005). Neural Mechanisms of Affective Interference in Schizotypy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 16-27. (view)

Fisher, J.E., Mohanty, A., Herrington, J.D., Koven, N.S., Miller, G.A. & Heller, W. (2004). Neuropsychological evidence for dimensional schizotypy: Implications for creativity and psychopathology. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 24-31. (view)

Compton, R.J., Banich, M.T., Mohanty, A., Milham, M.P., Herrington, J., Miller, G.A., Scalf, P.E., Webb, A., & Heller, W. (2003). Paying attention to emotion: An fMRI investigation of cognitive and emotional Stroop tasks. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, 81-96. (view)

Heller, W., Isom, J., Nitschke, J.B., Koven, N., Mohanty, A., Fisher, J.E., Herrington, J.D., & Miller, G.A. (2002). States, Traits, and Symptoms: Investigating the Neural Correlates of Emotion, Personality and Psychopathology. In D. Cervone & W. Mischel (Eds.) Advances in Personality Science. Guilford Press. (view)

Mohanty, A., Heller, W. (2001). The neuropsychology of mood disorders: Affect, cognition and neural circuitry. In H. D’haenen, J.A. den Boer, H. Westenberg, P. Willner (Eds.), Biological Psychiatry. New York: Wiley. (view)

Mohanty, A., & Flint, R. F. Jr. (2001). Differential effects of glucose on modulation of emotional and nonemotional spatial memory tasks. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 1, 90-95. (view)

Mandal, M.K., Borod, J.C., Asthana, H.S., Mohanty, A., Mohanty, S., & Koff, E. (1999). Effect of lesion variables and emotion type on the perception of facial emotion. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 187, 603-609. (view)

Mandal, M. K., Mohanty, A., Pandey, R., & Mohanty, S. (1995). Emotion specific processing deficit in focal brain-damaged patients. International Journal of Neurosciences, 84, 87-95. (view)