Adapting the Cups Task (ACT) Study

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

This 2-year study involved collecting behavioral and ERP data with 150 children and adolescents during a decision-making task.

Project Overview

The inability to make advantageous decisions under conditions of risk is associated with health-risk behaviors such as early-onset alcohol and drug use. For the ACT Study, an existing decision-making task, the Cups Task, was modified for use with event-related potential (ERP) techniques. Behavioral and ERP performance on this modified task were assessed in 50 10- and 11-year-olds, 50 13- and 14-year-olds, and 50 16- and 17-year-olds. This study provided an opportunity to examine the development of decision-making processes from late childhood to late adolescence, and potentially to facilitate the early identification of children and adolescents at risk for later health-risk behaviors and to improve the ability to develop effective preventive intervention services for these at-risk youth.

Year Project Began: 2013
Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Principal Investigator

Jacqueline Bruce, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Bruce received her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2005 and has been a Research Scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center since 2009. Her program of research focuses on the impact of early adverse experiences (e.g., child maltreatment and multiple caregiver transitions) on the development of young children. She is particularly interested in the development of behavioral regulation (or the ability to voluntarily regulate one’s behavior to meet the demands of the situation) and the underlying neural systems. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on a number of longitudinal studies involving the collection of behavioral and neurobiological measures, including event-related potential (ERP), event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), salivary cortisol, and autonomic cardiac data, with at-risk developmental populations, such as maltreated toddlers and preschoolers in foster care, kindergarteners with developmental disabilities, and maltreated adolescents living with their biological parents. Currently, Dr. Bruce is the principal investigator on a study designed to investigate the effects of early adverse experiences and the cognitive processes underlying behavioral regulation on alcohol use in maltreated adolescents and nonmaltreated adolescents.