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Aversive disinhibition of behavior and striatal signaling in social avoidance.


ABSTRACT: Social avoidance is a major factor contributing to the development and maintenance of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Converging evidence suggests that social avoidance is associated with abnormal aversive processing and hyperactive amygdala signaling. However, what are the consequences of such abnormal aversive processing for action and for the neural mechanisms implementing action is unclear. Existing literature is conflicting, pointing at either enhanced or reduced action inhibition. We investigated the interaction between aversion and action in social avoidance by comparing the effects of aversive vs appetitive faces on a go/no-go task and associated striatal signals in 42 high and low socially avoidant individuals. We combined fMRI with a novel probabilistic learning task, in which emotional valence (angry and happy faces) and optimal response (go- and no-go-responses) were manipulated independently. High compared with low socially avoidant individuals showed reduced behavioral inhibition (proportion no-go-responses) for angry relative to happy faces. This behavioral disinhibition correlated with greater striatal signal during no-go-responses for angry relative to happy faces. The results suggest that social avoidant coping style is accompanied by disinhibition of action and striatal signal in the context of social threat. The findings concur with recent theorizing about aversive disinhibition and affective disorders.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4187270 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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