Moral Emotions in Youth Depression

Project Details

Brain imaging research conducted over the past two decades has provided us with an increasingly comprehensive account of the neural bases of affective processes that are dysfunctional in adolescent depression. However, the vast majority of experimental studies to date have focussed on ‘basic’ emotions (e.g., fear, sadness). Emerging research has begun to shed light on the neural circuitry of more complex social emotions likely to have much greater real-world, and therefore clinical relevance. Specifically, the negative ‘moral’ emotions: guilt and shame are recognised as core features of depression. This project will use a novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) design to more thoroughly characterise the neural circuitry of guilt and shame experiences in healthy adolescents, and apply this experimental framework and knowledge to a detailed clinical study of adolescents with depression.


A/Prof Sarah Whittle, Investigator
A/Prof Ben J Harrison, Investigator
Dr Chris Davey, Investigator
Coralie Bastin, student (PhD)


  • Orygen, Centre for Youth Mental Health


  • The University of Melbourne

Research Group

Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre Research

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Neuroscience and Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre