Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

The Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Cognitive Control in College-aged Participants

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Timothy Schoenfeld

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Adverse childhood experiences (ACES) have been shown to impact numerous cognitive functions throughout development. More specifically, ACES have been shown to decrease an individual’s cognitive control, or the ability to inhibit fixation on distractors to focus on a task. Cognitive control can be tested with numerous tests such as the Stroop Task and a Visual Search task, both of which ask the participant to complete a visual task with distractors. The current study asked participants to complete the ACES questionnaire in order to provide their ACES score as well as complete the Stroop Task and a visual search task. In order to determine whether participants were fixating on the distractors in the visual search task, an eye tracker was used to read their overt focus. Response times were taken from each task and the distraction fixation times were taken from the visual search task to determine the participants’ performance. Once all of the data is fully collected, a Pearson’s Correlation will be run between ACES Scores and Stroop Task times, ACES Scores and Visual Search Task times, and ACES Scores and distractor fixation times. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between ACES Scores and performance in cognitive control tasks. It is hypothesized that individuals with higher ACES Scores will have higher response times on both the Stroop Task and visual search task as well as higher distractor fixation times.

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