Dynamics of Affect Modulation in Neurodevelopmental Disorders


ADHD is a frequent neurodevelopmental disorder and often comorbid with bipolar disorder (BipD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPersD). All disorders are characterized by affect fluctuations; in BipD, these are low in frequency but high in amplitude, while in ADHD and BPersD, mood and emotional state are more dynamic. Whether episodic mood fluctuations, occurring in BipD, and short-term affective states in BPersD and ADHD are distinct phenomena or ends of a spectrum is yet unclear. In this project we employ the DynAffect model which proposes the existence of an affective “attractor” (homebase) reflecting an organism’s main affective state. We extend this by proposing the existence of a second homebase in depressive episodes; also, we hypothesize that attractor strength and variability differ between disorders. To test this, we will examine mood changes using granular real-world data in young patients, suffering from either disorder, regarding their pattern of affective dynamics and stressor exposure. We will also test whether stress and the PRS for Depression, ADHD, BipD, and BPersD load onto critical parameters of the model. We will thus investigate shared and unique aspects of affect fluctuation across disorders. The results of this study can impact on patients’ lives, as they are empowered to link external exposures with their affective state. Also, our results will help in diagnostic assessment and might govern the right timing for therapeutic interventions.


Behavioural methodologies, (epi)genetic approaches, Patient cohorts, Affective neuroscience, ecological momentary assessment, dynamic non-linear systems

Call topic

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Proposed runtime

n/a - n/a

Project team

Andreas Reif (Coordinator)
Germany (BMBF)
J. Antoni Ramos-Quiroga
Spain (ISCIII)
Giovanni de Girolamo
Italy (MOH)
Jan Haavik
Norway (RCN)
Nader Perroud
Switzerland (SNSF)