Anxiety type modulates immediate versus delayed engagement of attention-related brain regions
Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Brain and Behavior
Volume 3, Issue 5, pages 532–551, September 2013
How to Cite
Brain and Behavior2013; 3(5): 532–551
- Issue online: 12 SEP 2013
- Version of Record online: 1 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 24 APR 2013
- National Institute of Mental Health. Grant Numbers: R01 MH61358, T32 MH19554, P50 MH079485
- anxious apprehension;
- anxious arousal;
- fMRI ;
- negative valence
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.
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.
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.
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.