Dispositional fear, negative affectivity, and neuroimaging response to visually suppressed emotional faces

Nathalie Vizueta, Christopher J. Patrick, Yi Jiang, Kathleen M. Thomas, Sheng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


"Invisible" stimulus paradigms provide a method for investigating basic affective processing in clinical and non-clinical populations. Neuroimaging studies utilizing continuous flash suppression (CFS) have shown increased amygdala response to invisible fearful versus neutral faces. The current study used CFS in conjunction with functional MRI to test for differences in brain reactivity to visible and invisible emotional faces in relation to two distinct trait dimensions relevant to psychopathology: negative affectivity (NA) and fearfulness. Subjects consisted of college students (N = 31) assessed for fear/fearlessness along with dispositional NA. The main brain regions of interest included the fusiform face area (FFA), superior temporal sulcus (STS), and amygdala. Higher NA, but not trait fear, was associated with enhanced response to fearful versus neutral faces in STS and right amygdala (but not FFA), within the invisible condition specifically. The finding that NA rather than fearfulness predicted degree of amygdala reactivity to suppressed faces implicates the input subdivision of the amygdala in the observed effects. Given the central role of NA in anxiety and mood disorders, the current data also support use of the CFS methodology for investigating the neurobiology of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-771
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ( MH089727 to CJP; Center support from MH072850 (CJP); HD007151 to NV; postdoctoral support for NV from MH17140 ); and the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2011CB711000 ) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31070903 ) to YJ. The 3T scanner at the University of Minnesota is supported by BTRR P41 008079 and NCC P30 NS057091 .


  • Amygdala
  • Binocular rivalry
  • Continuous flash suppression
  • Functional MRI
  • Individual differences
  • Invisible faces


Dive into the research topics of 'Dispositional fear, negative affectivity, and neuroimaging response to visually suppressed emotional faces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this