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Scientific article
Open access
English

Cumulative activation during positive and negative events and state anxiety predicts subsequent inertia of amygdala reactivity

Published inSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 180-190
Publication date2015
Abstract

Inertia, together with intensity and valence, is an important component of emotion. We tested whether positive and negative events generate lingering changes in subsequent brain responses to unrelated threat stimuli and investigated the impact of individual anxiety. We acquired fMRI data while participants watched positive or negative movie-clips and subsequently performed an unrelated task with fearful and neutral faces. We quantified changes in amygdala reactivity to fearful faces as a function of the valence of preceding movies and cumulative neural activity evoked during them. We demonstrate that amygdala responses to emotional movies spill over to subsequent processing of threat information in a valence-specific manner: negative movies enhance later amygdala activation whereas positive movies attenuate it. Critically, the magnitude of such changes is predicted by a measure of cumulative amygdala responses to the preceding positive or negative movies. These effects appear independent of overt attention, are regionally limited to amygdala, with no changes in functional connectivity. Finally, individuals with higher state anxiety displayed stronger modulation of amygdala reactivity by positive movies. These results suggest that intensity and valence of emotional events as well as anxiety levels promote local changes in amygdala sensitivity to threat, highlighting the importance of past experience in shaping future affective reactivity.

Funding
  • Autre - the Academic Society of Geneva (Fund Foremane)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - NCCR sciences affectives
Citation (ISO format)
PICHON, Swann Jean Antoine et al. Cumulative activation during positive and negative events and state anxiety predicts subsequent inertia of amygdala reactivity. In: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 2015, vol. 10, n° 2, p. 180–190. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu044
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Article (Published version)
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ISSN of the journal1749-5016
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