Study 3

Behavioural and neural correlates of executive functioning performance during late pregnancy: A between-groups EEG study

What is this study about?

This study hopes to better understand how pregnancy may change women’s cognitive functioning. Specifically, we are aiming to investigate whether pregnancy causes changes in brain regions associated with executive functioning. Because this potential change may have many health implications for mum and baby, we will use several computerised tasks to compare pregnant women’s executive functioning  to non-pregnant women in response to both food and non-food images. We will also use a range of different non-invasive measures of brain activity, such as EEG, to help us answer this question.

Who is eligible for this study?

In order to take part in this study, you must have no prior history of significant medical or psychiatric illness and have no prior history of significant head injury or trauma.

This study requires two groups of women over the age of 18 to be part of this study. These are either 1) women who are currently pregnant in their third trimester; and 2) women who are not currently pregnant, have never been pregnant, and are not planning to become pregnant

What does this study involve?

Individuals interested in the study will be asked to participate in three parts. These are as follows:

Part 1 (Demographics – Online):

Upon commencement of this study, you will be asked to complete an online demographic questionnaire which includes information such as age, schooling, employment, and personality traits. It is expected to be take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete.

Part 2 and Part 3 (On-campus):

Once you have completed the online questionnaire (Part 1), you will be invited to attend a lab-based testing session located at Deakin University’s Burwood campus.

Please note that Parts 2 and 3 of this study will be completed in the same testing session.

During the second part of this study (Part 2), you will complete a series of cognitive neuropsychologial tasks measuring memory, attention, and general cognitive functioning. These tests are standard psychological tests and are used to measure these abilities in a wide range of people. Several of these tasks will be computerised, with others involving traditional pen-and-paper responses. This part of the testing session is expected to be completed within approximately 1 hour.

During the third part of this study (EEG – Part 3), you will be asked to complete several short computerised cognitive tasks (e.g. solving simple puzzles and some reaction time tasks). During these cognitive tasks we will use electroencephalography (EEG) to measure your neural responses to various stimuli. EEG is a non-invasive and safe tool to measure brain wave activity. EEG involves the placement of electrodes on the head, and the application of a gel to the electrodes to enhance the signal. You may get a small amount of gel in your hair but this easily washes out. Height and weight will also be recorded during this session. Participating in this part of the testing session will take up to 2 hours.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will provided with a 5-Day Food Diary to complete over five consecutive days at home. This can then be mailed or emailed back to the research team.

Where is this study located? 

The initial online questionnaire can be completed at a time and place that is convenient to you and that has a reliable internet connection. The face-to-face lab-based testing session will be conducted at Deakin University’s Burwood campus.

Is there any reimbursement?

Yes. As a token of our appreciation, each participant will be reimbursed with a $20 Coles-Myer gift voucher at the completion of the lab-based testing session.