Dichotomous Thinking Effects on Gamma Wave Production

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Jim Nelson


Arts and Sciences


Psychology, Neuroscience

ORCID Identifier(s)

https://orcid.org/0009-0008-7373-4992 ; https://orcid.org/0009-0004-2247-6496

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Splitting is one of the most common symptoms reported among people with high levels of emotional thinking, such as those with borderline personality disorder. Splitting, also known as dichotomous thinking or black-and-white thinking, describes how BPD individuals tend to switch between their moods frequently, from feeling in love with a person to quickly feeling like they are your enemy (Parsonage). It's unclear what the neuropsychological reason behind this behavior happens to be, however, we started by taking a deeper look of the patterns in the brain waves present when splitting does occur. The hypothesis of this study states that the characteristic of black-and-white thinking in individuals with BPD-related symptoms is due to a heightened amount of gamma wave production in the brain. The key takeaway for this project has been deciphering relationship between gamma wave production and dichotomous thinking, and what patterns are found in emotional thinking. Our findings conclude that there may be a significant relationship between those who fall under higher levels of emotional thinking with the likelihood of splitting in these individuals.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Kristen Flaws is a senior Psychology major, Neuroscience minor. She became interested in studying Neuropsychology after exposure to the subject in different courses at Valpo. With this project specifically, Kristen was looking forward to using the EEG machine in a research focus. Following graduation, Kristen is looking to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Michela Tenuta is a 2022 Valpo graduate who also studied Psychology and Neuroscience. Michela's passion from this project stemmed from her interest in the neuropsychological aspects of different disorders, especially personality disorders. Michela is continuing on in her education and pursuing a PsyD program in Clinical Psychology. The two started on this project together because of their shared interests and passion for neuropsychology.

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