Anxiety and Stress Alter Decision-Making Dynamics and Causal Amygdala-Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Circuits During Emotion Regulation in Children.
Anxiety and stress reactivity are risk factors for the development of affective disorders. However, the behavioral and neurocircuit mechanisms that potentiate maladaptive emotion regulation are poorly understood. Neuroimaging studies have implicated the amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in emotion regulation, but how anxiety and stress alter their context-specific causal circuit interactions is not known. Here, we use computational modeling to inform affective pathophysiology, etiology, and neurocircuit targets for early intervention.Forty-five children (10-11 years of age; 25 boys) reappraised aversive stimuli during functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning. Clinical measures of anxiety and stress were acquired for each child. Drift-diffusion modeling of behavioral data and causal circuit analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data, with a National Institute of Mental Health Research Domain Criteria approach, were used to characterize latent behavioral and neurocircuit decision-making dynamics driving emotion regulation.Children successfully reappraised negative responses to aversive stimuli. Drift-diffusion modeling revealed that emotion regulation was characterized by increased initial bias toward positive reactivity during viewing of aversive stimuli and increased drift rate, which captured evidence accumulation during emotion evaluation. Crucially, anxiety and stress reactivity impaired latent behavioral dynamics associated with reappraisal and decision making. Anxiety and stress increased dynamic casual influences from the right amygdala to DLPFC. In contrast, DLPFC, but not amygdala, reactivity was correlated with evidence accumulation and decision making during emotion reappraisal.Our findings provide new insights into how anxiety and stress in children impact decision making and amygdala-DLPFC signaling during emotion regulation, and uncover latent behavioral and neurocircuit mechanisms of early risk for psychopathology.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.02.011
View details for PubMedID 32331823
Limited Prediction of Performance Validity Using Embedded Validity Scales of the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory in an mTBI Veteran Sample
JOURNAL OF HEAD TRAUMA REHABILITATION
2020; 35 (1): E36–E42
To test embedded symptom validity scales of the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI) as predictors of performance validity.A Veterans Affairs Level II TBI/Polytrauma outpatient care unit in the Midwestern United States.Veterans with a history of mild traumatic brain injury undergoing neuropsychological assessment as part of their routine care within the TBI/Polytrauma clinic.Retrospective analysis of the existing clinical data.The NSI, the b Test, Test of Memory Malingering, Reliable Digit Span, California Verbal Learning Test-II Forced Choice.Embedded NSI validity scales were positively correlated with number of performance validity test failures. Participants identified as invalid responders scored higher on embedded NSI validity scales than participants identified as valid responders. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, the embedded NSI validity scales showed poor sensitivity and specificity for invalid responding using previously published cutoff scores. Only 1 scale differentiated valid from invalid responders better than chance.The embedded NSI validity scales' usefulness in predicting invalid neuropsychological performance validity was limited in this sample. Continued measurement of both symptom and performance validity in clinical settings involving traumatic brain injury treatment is recommended, as the present results support the existing research suggesting symptom validity tests and performance validity tests tap into related but ultimately distinct constructs.
View details for DOI 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000467
View details for Web of Science ID 000513147300007
View details for PubMedID 30829816
- Repetitive Negative Thought and Executive Dysfunction: An Interactive Pathway to Emotional Distress COGNITIVE THERAPY AND RESEARCH 2019; 43 (2): 464–80
- Attachment and perceived authenticity across relationship domains: A latent variable decomposition of the ECR-RS JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN PERSONALITY 2018; 77: 126–32
Executive function deficits associated with current and past major depressive symptoms
JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS
2016; 204: 226–33
Although there has been extensive research showing that depression is associated with executive function (EF) deficits, the nature of these deficits is not clearly delineated. Specifically, previous reviews on this topic have yielded different conclusions about the particular domains of EF that are disrupted in depressed individuals. Further, research on whether these deficits persist after depressed mood has remitted is less prevalent and not consistent.In two independent samples of college students, we examined associations between clinical ratings of current and past symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) and difficulties in two domains of EF: inhibition and shifting. In Study 1 (n=162), EF was measured using behavioral tasks shown to index these two domains. In Study 2 (n=95), EF was measured using a self-report questionnaire believed to capture EF difficulties experienced in daily life.In both studies, past MDE symptoms were associated with worse shifting. In contrast, current MDE symptoms were associated with worse inhibition, though only on the behavioral measure (in Study 1).Both studies used college samples and retrospective assessments of past symptoms. Further, only two domains of EF were examined, and the EF measures employed in each study have their own unique methodological limitations.Findings suggest that inhibition deficits vary as a function of current symptoms and thus may be a by-product of distress rather than a causal contributor. In contrast, shifting deficits associated with depression appear to be more enduring, suggesting that they could contribute to risk for depression.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jad.2016.03.070
View details for Web of Science ID 000383817300032
View details for PubMedID 27379618
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5064806
Interactive effects of trait and state affect on top-down control of attention
SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
2015; 10 (8): 1128–36
Few studies have investigated how attentional control is affected by transient affective states while taking individual differences in affective traits into consideration. In this study, participants completed a color-word Stroop task immediately after undergoing a positive, neutral or negative affective context manipulation (ACM). Behavioral performance was unaffected by any ACM considered in isolation. For individuals high in trait negative affect (NA), performance was impaired by the negative but not the positive or neutral ACM. Neuroimaging results indicate that activity in primarily top-down control regions of the brain (inferior frontal gyrus and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) was suppressed in the presence of emotional arousal (both negative and positive ACMs). This effect appears to have been exacerbated or offset by co-occurring activity in other top-down control regions (parietal) and emotion processing regions (orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala and nucleus accumbens) as a function of the valence of state affect (positive or negative) and trait affect (trait NA or trait PA). Neuroimaging results are consistent with behavioral findings. In combination, they indicate both additive and interactive influences of trait and state affect on top-down control of attention.
View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsu163
View details for Web of Science ID 000365540100014
View details for PubMedID 25556211
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4526484
Distracted and down: neural mechanisms of affective interference in subclinical depression
SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
2015; 10 (5): 654–63
Previous studies have shown that depressed individuals have difficulty directing attention away from negative distractors, a phenomenon known as affective interference. However, findings are mixed regarding the neural mechanisms and network dynamics of affective interference. The present study addressed these issues by comparing neural activation during emotion-word and color-word Stroop tasks in participants with varying levels of (primarily subclinical) depression. Depressive symptoms predicted increased activation to negative distractors in areas of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), regions implicated in cognitive control and internally directed attention, respectively. Increased dACC activity was also observed in the group-average response to incongruent distractors, suggesting that dACC activity during affective interference is related to overtaxed cognitive control. In contrast, regions of PCC were deactivated across the group in response to incongruent distractors, suggesting that PCC activity during affective interference represents task-independent processing. A psychophysiological interaction emerged in which higher depression predicted more positively correlated activity between dACC and PCC during affective interference, i.e. greater connectivity between cognitive control and internal-attention systems. These findings suggest that, when individuals high in depression are confronted by negative material, increased attention to internal thoughts and difficulty shifting resources to the external world interfere with goal-directed behavior.
View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsu100
View details for Web of Science ID 000355283700005
View details for PubMedID 25062838
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4420741
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Is Associated With Broad Impairments in Executive Function: A Meta-Analysis
CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
2015; 3 (2): 301–30
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious and often chronically disabling condition. The current dominant model of OCD focuses on abnormalities in prefrontal-striatal circuits that support executive function (EF). While there is growing evidence for EF impairments associated with OCD, results have been inconsistent, making the nature and magnitude of these impairments controversial. The current meta-analysis uses random-effects models to synthesize 110 previous studies that compared participants with OCD to healthy control participants on at least one neuropsychological measure of EF. The results indicate that individuals with OCD are impaired on tasks measuring most aspects of EF, consistent with broad impairment in EF. EF deficits were not explained by general motor slowness or depression. Effect sizes were largely stable across variation in demographic and clinical characteristics of samples, although medication use, age, and gender moderated some effects.
View details for DOI 10.1177/2167702614534210
View details for Web of Science ID 000409477000012
View details for PubMedID 25755918
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4351670
- Executive Function Deficits in Daily Life Prospectively Predict Increases in Depressive Symptoms COGNITIVE THERAPY AND RESEARCH 2014; 38 (6): 612–20
Aberrant Neural Connectivity During Emotional Processing Associated With Posttraumatic Stress
CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
2014; 2 (6): 748–55
Given the complexity of the brain, characterizing relations among distributed brain regions is likely essential to describing the neural instantiation of posttraumatic stress symptoms. This study examined patterns of functional connectivity among key brain regions implicated in the pathophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 35 trauma-exposed adults using an emotion-word Stroop task. PTSD symptom severity (particularly hyperarousal symptoms) moderated amygdala-mPFC coupling during the processing of unpleasant words, and this moderation correlated positively with reported real-world impairment and amygdala reactivity. Reexperiencing severity moderated hippocampus-insula coupling during pleasant and unpleasant words. Results provide evidence that PTSD symptoms differentially moderate functional coupling during emotional interference and underscore the importance of examining network connectivity in research on PTSD. They suggest that hyperarousal is associated with negative mPFC-amygdala coupling and that reexperiencing is associated with altered insula-hippocampus function, patterns of connectivity that may represent separable indicators of dysfunctional inhibitory control during affective processing.
View details for DOI 10.1177/2167702614530113
View details for Web of Science ID 000409467500009
View details for PubMedID 25419500
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4238937
TRANSDIAGNOSTIC DIMENSIONS OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION MODERATE MOTIVATION-RELATED BRAIN NETWORKS DURING GOAL MAINTENANCE
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
2014; 31 (10): 805–13
Advancing research on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of psychopathology requires the field to move beyond modular conceptualizations of neural dysfunction toward understanding disturbance in key brain networks. Although some studies of anxiety and depression have begun doing so, they typically suffer from several drawbacks, including: (1) a categorical approach ignoring transdiagnostic processes, (2) failure to account for substantial anxiety and depression comorbidity, (3) examination of networks at rest, which overlooks disruption manifesting only when networks are challenged. Accordingly, the present study examined relationships between transdiagnostic dimensions of anxiety/depression and patterns of functional connectivity while goal maintenance was challenged.Participants (n = 179, unselected community members and undergraduates selected to be high/low on anxiety/depression) performed a task in which goal maintenance was challenged (color-word Stroop) while fMRI data were collected. Analyses examined moderation by anxiety/depression of condition-dependent coupling between regions of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) previously associated with approach and avoidance motivation and amygdala/orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).Anxious arousal was positively associated with amygdala↔right dlPFC coupling. Depression was positively associated with OFC↔right dlPFC coupling and negatively associated with OFC↔left dlPFC coupling.Findings advance the field toward an integrative model of the neural instantiation of anxiety/depression by identifying specific, distinct dysfunctions associated with anxiety and depression in networks important for maintaining approach and avoidance goals. Specifically, findings shed light on potential neural mechanisms involved in attentional biases in anxiety and valuation biases in depression and underscore the importance of examining transdiagnostic dimensions of anxiety/depression while networks are challenged.
View details for DOI 10.1002/da.22271
View details for Web of Science ID 000344176200001
View details for PubMedID 24753242
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4418555
Anxiety type modulates immediate versus delayed engagement of attention-related brain regions
BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR
2013; 3 (5): 532–51
Background Habituation of the fear response, critical for the treatment of anxiety, is inconsistently observed during exposure to threatening stimuli. One potential explanation for this inconsistency is differential attentional engagement with negatively valenced stimuli as a function of anxiety type. Methods The present study tested this hypothesis by examining patterns of neural habituation associated with anxious arousal, characterized by panic symptoms and immediate engagement with negatively valenced stimuli, versus anxious apprehension, characterized by engagement in worry to distract from negatively valenced stimuli. Results As predicted, the two anxiety types evidenced distinct patterns of attentional engagement. Anxious arousal was associated with immediate activation in attention-related brain regions that habituated over time, whereas anxious apprehension was associated with delayed activation in attention-related brain regions that occurred only after habituation in a worry-related brain region. Conclusions Results further elucidate mechanisms involved in attention to negatively valenced stimuli and indicate that anxiety is a heterogeneous construct with regard to attention to such stimuli.
View details for DOI 10.1002/brb3.157
View details for Web of Science ID 000346971100006
View details for PubMedID 24392275
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3869982
Cortical organization of inhibition-related functions and modulation by psychopathology
FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE
2013; 7: 271
Individual differences in inhibition-related functions have been implicated as risk factors for a broad range of psychopathology, including anxiety and depression. Delineating neural mechanisms of distinct inhibition-related functions may clarify their role in the development and maintenance of psychopathology. The present study tested the hypothesis that activity in common and distinct brain regions would be associated with an ecologically sensitive, self-report measure of inhibition and a laboratory performance measure of prepotent response inhibition. Results indicated that sub-regions of DLPFC distinguished measures of inhibition, whereas left inferior frontal gyrus and bilateral inferior parietal cortex were associated with both types of inhibition. Additionally, co-occurring anxiety and depression modulated neural activity in select brain regions associated with response inhibition. Results imply that specific combinations of anxiety and depression dimensions are associated with failure to implement top-down attentional control as reflected in inefficient recruitment of posterior DLPFC and increased activation in regions associated with threat (MTG) and worry (BA10). Present findings elucidate possible neural mechanisms of interference that could help explain executive control deficits in psychopathology.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00271
View details for Web of Science ID 000320301700001
View details for PubMedID 23781192
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3680711
Relationships among cognition, emotion, and motivation: implications for intervention and neuroplasticity in psychopathology
FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE
2013; 7: 261
Emotion-cognition and motivation-cognition relationships and related brain mechanisms are receiving increasing attention in the clinical research literature as a means of understanding diverse types of psychopathology and improving biological and psychological treatments. This paper reviews and integrates some of the growing evidence for cognitive biases and deficits in depression and anxiety, how these disruptions interact with emotional and motivational processes, and what brain mechanisms appear to be involved. This integration sets the stage for understanding the role of neuroplasticity in implementing change in cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes in psychopathology as a function of intervention.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00261
View details for Web of Science ID 000320136000001
View details for PubMedID 23781184
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3678097
Emotion disrupts neural activity during selective attention in psychopathy
SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
2013; 8 (3): 235–46
Dimensions of psychopathy are theorized to be associated with distinct cognitive and emotional abnormalities that may represent unique neurobiological risk factors for the disorder. This hypothesis was investigated by examining whether the psychopathic personality dimensions of fearless-dominance and impulsive-antisociality moderated neural activity and behavioral responses associated with selective attention and emotional processing during an emotion-word Stroop task in 49 adults. As predicted, the dimensions evidenced divergent selective-attention deficits and sensitivity to emotional distraction. Fearless-dominance was associated with disrupted attentional control to positive words, and activation in right superior frontal gyrus mediated the relationship between fearless-dominance and errors to positive words. In contrast, impulsive-antisociality evidenced increased behavioral interference to both positive and negative words and correlated positively with recruitment of regions associated with motivational salience (amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, insula), emotion regulation (temporal cortex, superior frontal gyrus) and attentional control (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex). Individuals high on both dimensions had increased recruitment of regions related to attentional control (temporal cortex, rostral anterior cingulate cortex), response preparation (pre-/post-central gyri) and motivational value (orbitofrontal cortex) in response to negative words. These findings provide evidence that the psychopathy dimensions represent dual sets of risk factors characterized by divergent dysfunction in cognitive and affective processes.
View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsr092
View details for Web of Science ID 000316420200002
View details for PubMedID 22210673
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3594718
A brain network instantiating approach and avoidance motivation
2012; 49 (9): 1200–1214
Research indicates that dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is important for pursuing goals, and areas of DLPFC are differentially involved in approach and avoidance motivation. Given the complexity of the processes involved in goal pursuit, DLPFC is likely part of a network that includes orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), cingulate, amygdala, and basal ganglia. This hypothesis was tested with regard to one component of goal pursuit, the maintenance of goals in the face of distraction. Examination of connectivity with motivation-related areas of DLPFC supported the network hypothesis. Differential patterns of connectivity suggest a distinct role for DLPFC areas, with one involved in selecting approach goals, one in selecting avoidance goals, and one in selecting goal pursuit strategies. Finally, differences in trait motivation moderated connectivity between DLPFC and OFC, suggesting that this connectivity is important for instantiating motivation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01443.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000307735000005
View details for PubMedID 22845892
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4559331
Trait motivation moderates neural activation associated with goal pursuit
COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE
2012; 12 (2): 308–22
Research has indicated that regions of left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are involved in integrating the motivational and executive function processes related to, respectively, approach and avoidance goals. Given that sensitivity to pleasant and unpleasant stimuli is an important feature of conceptualizations of approach and avoidance motivation, it is possible that these regions of DLPFC are preferentially activated by valenced stimuli. The present study tested this hypothesis by using a task in which goal pursuit was threatened by distraction from valenced stimuli while functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected. The analyses examined whether the impact of trait approach and avoidance motivation on the neural processes associated with executive function differed depending on the valence or arousal level of the distractor stimuli. The present findings support the hypothesis that the regions of DLPFC under investigation are involved in integrating motivational and executive function processes, and they also indicate the involvement of a number of other brain areas in maintaining goal pursuit. However, DLPFC did not display differential sensitivity to valence.
View details for DOI 10.3758/s13415-012-0088-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000303476100005
View details for PubMedID 22460723
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3345955
Neural mechanisms of attentional control differentiate trait and state negative affect
FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY
2012; 3: 298
The present research examined the hypothesis that cognitive processes are modulated differentially by trait and state negative affect (NA). Brain activation associated with trait and state NA was measured by fMRI during an attentional control task, the emotion-word Stroop. Performance on the task was disrupted only by state NA. Trait NA was associated with reduced activity in several regions, including a prefrontal area that has been shown to be involved in top-down, goal-directed attentional control. In contrast, state NA was associated with increased activity in several regions, including a prefrontal region that has been shown to be involved in stimulus-driven aspects of attentional control. Results suggest that NA has a significant impact on cognition, and that state and trait NA disrupt attentional control in distinct ways.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00298
View details for Web of Science ID 000208864000016
View details for PubMedID 22934089
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3424055
Effects of Adult Attachment and Emotional Distractors on Brain Mechanisms of Cognitive Control
2010; 21 (12): 1818–26
Using data from 34 participants who completed an emotion-word Stroop task during functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined the effects of adult attachment on neural activity associated with top-down cognitive control in the presence of emotional distractors. Individuals with lower levels of secure-base-script knowledge--reflected in an adult's inability to generate narratives in which attachment-related threats are recognized, competent help is provided, and the problem is resolved--demonstrated more activity in prefrontal cortical regions associated with emotion regulation (e.g., right orbitofrontal cortex) and with top-down cognitive control (left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and superior frontal gyrus). Less efficient performance and related increases in brain activity suggest that insecure attachment involves a vulnerability to distraction by attachment-relevant emotional information and that greater cognitive control is required to attend to task-relevant, nonemotional information. These results contribute to the understanding of mechanisms through which attachment-related experiences may influence developmental adaptation.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797610388809
View details for Web of Science ID 000285457200015
View details for PubMedID 21098213
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3056541
Co-occurring anxiety influences patterns of brain activity in depression
COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE
2010; 10 (1): 141–56
Brain activation associated with anhedonic depression and co-occurring anxious arousal and anxious apprehension was measured by fMRI during performance of an emotion word Stroop task. Consistent with EEG findings, depression was associated with rightward frontal lateralization in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), but only when anxious arousal was elevated and anxious apprehension was low. Activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) was also reduced for depression under the same conditions. In contrast, depression was associated with more activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (dorsal ACC and rostral ACC) and the bilateral amygdala. Results imply that depression, particularly when accompanied by anxious arousal, may result in a failure to implement top-down processing by appropriate brain regions (left DLPFC, right IFG) due to increased activation in regions associated with responding to emotionally salient information (right DLPFC, amygdala).
View details for DOI 10.3758/CABN.10.1.141
View details for Web of Science ID 000282066600012
View details for PubMedID 20233962
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4403735
Differential engagement of anterior cingulate cortex subdivisions for cognitive and emotional function
2007; 44 (3): 343–51
Functional differentiation of dorsal (dACC) and rostral (rACC) anterior cingulate cortex for cognitive and emotional function has received considerable indirect support. Using fMRI, parallel tasks, and within-subject analysis, the present study directly tested the proposed specialization of ACC subdivisions. A Task x Region interaction confirmed more dACC activation during color-word distractors and more rACC activation during emotion-word distractors. Activity in ACC subdivisions differentially predicted behavioral performance. Connectivity with prefrontal and limbic regions also supported distinct dACC and rACC roles. Findings provide direct evidence for differential engagement of ACC subdivisions in cognitive and emotional processing and for differential functional connectivity in the implementation of cognitive control and emotion regulation. Results point to an anatomical and functional continuum rather than segregated operations.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00515.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000245645200001
View details for PubMedID 17433093